Monday, August 8, 2011

Things I'm Learning Through Infertility: Part Three

And number 3 in the things I'm learning:

I will NOT be defined by this!  

Today, "Infertile" is NOT a label I wear.  I did wear it for a long time.  And I believed everything about me was... barren. 

Before I was diagnosed with endometriosis, I was working in a job I loved and I was good at it.  I believed that too.  I felt that I knew who I was, I felt confident in my abilities and I had a lot of dreams.  After getting diagnosed and then experiencing disappointment upon disappointment, my identity (along with my womb) became the center of this attack.  I began doubting who I was altogether... revealing that a huge part of my identity was wrapped up in this dream of bearing children.  And I began seeing things in my life unravel.  I doubted all my abilities... especially my relational abilities which was the core of my job at the time. I even quit my job... some for need of rest, but a little because I just became so anxious about it.  I began shying away from all areas of leadership.  I felt like a horrible wife, a horrible friend and mentor, and on top of that, I couldn't even get my garden to grow.  Seriously, my joke was "Well, my own seeds don't grow without the help of chemicals, why would my garden grow?"  I truly believed that everything about me and my life was "infertile."  And I stopped dreaming.

Through a series of events, God lead me to give up that label.  It is not what He says is true about me.  And it's a lie!  I am not "infertile."  I will not be called barren any longer.  A couple of years ago, I was given an opportunity to share this publicly (about how God asked me to lay down the barren label and believe truth about myself).  In much fear and trepidation, I went and shared it.  Then Felipe and I got in the car to drive home.  Ironically, on that day I had been waiting on a call from the fertility clinic... it was THE call to find out if we were pregnant or not after our last IVF cycle.   I got the call in the car on the way home.  We were not pregnant.   Of course, it was devastating.  But this time it was also different.  I no longer believed that that negative test defined me.  It has been a life changing truth to hold on to.  

I feel today, as though I have my life back.  I believe that this change even gave me the freedom and courage to adopt... the best decision Felipe and I have ever made!  I have also stepped back into many areas of life that I had previously been afraid.  My garden, it grows! And I'm dreaming again!  All this has made me very aware that if I let it, infertility will steal my destiny!  

"The thief comes only to steal, kill and destroy.  I came that they may have life and have it abundantly." - Jesus of Nazareth

"Sing, barren woman, who has never had a baby. Fill the air with song, you who've never experienced childbirth!  You're ending up with far more children that all those child bearing women."  God says so!  "Clear lots of ground for your tents!  Make your tents large. Spread out!  Think big!  Use plenty of rope, drive the tent pegs deep.  You're going to need lots of elbow room for your growing family.  You're going to take over whole nations; you're going to resettle abandoned cities.  Don't be afraid- you're not going to be embarrassed.  Don't hold back- you're not going to come up short.  You'll forget all about the humiliations of your youth, and the indignities of being a widow will fade from memory.  For your Maker is your bridegroom, His name, God-of-the-Angel-Armies!  Your Redeemer is the Holy of Israel, known as God of the whole earth."  Isaiah 54:1, The Message


Anonymous said...

A part of my prayer during Kate's dedication was, "Lord, You have satisfied the barreness of my womb!":) After the dedication was over, a great friend of mine came up to me and said,"There is NOTHING barren about your life Cheryl!" :)It was a "Tree of Life" for me.
I can't believe how people label themselves. My niece who is adopted, labels herself "denied" because she has no access to her original Birth Certificate. I agree they should have access by the way, but I'm sure there are good reasons why people need to keep that closed. There is another T-shirt out there-I'm adopted! It has the scripture from Rm. 8 on it. This one I believe is insensitive to those who have been adopted who may be struggling with it. Not all adoptees struggle, but some do. The Bible tells us that the "Word" is "Spiritually" discerned. I hate how the "Word" is used like a commercial sometimes, and NOT for what it IS-the very WORD OF GOD!

Cheryl Sellstrom :)

Anonymous said...

For those who read the blog I should mentioned that our sweet daughter Kate is adopted, and God truly satisfies us in the deepest places of longing and need. I always joke that Trey & I could never have produced such a beautiful baby. :)