Almost a year ago, my husband and I sat on our sofa reading a letter from our hospital which confirmed that we couldn’t have children together. It wasn’t completely unexpected but it was completely devastating. We held eachother and wept. And wept. We reached out to our families and friends who had been on the journey with us then retreated. We retreated into the London Olympics and a world away from our pain. We were able to submerge ourselves in the many inspirational stories of athletes from around the world, cheer on our heroes and escape from the sadness which lingered in our home.
I began to grieve. Not a normal kind of grief for someone who you have known but for the children I had dreamt of since I knew my husband was the man for me. Vivid dreams of cheeky little boys with curly hair and dark brown eyes whose smile lit up my world. Of little girls gifted with their father’s musical ability and brains. I loved those children so much but would never know them. I would not mother them. They were not in God’s plan for us. It felt like God had forsaken us, that hope was gone. I was angry with hope and more importantly, with God. I sobbed, I pleaded, I begged God to make it right. But what is right? What would that look like?
Gradually, with time, hope began to rise. I read a wonderful book with an awful title, ‘When Empty Arms Become a Heavy Burden’. It challenged me to reconsider what I thought God wanted for us. We had ruled out using a third party to help us conceive (your dreams don’t tend to be of having a baby with a stranger). So as we packed up to move away, we were joined by hope. Our grief didn’t disappear, it is still here, it creeps up on me when I am least expecting it, but we are beginning to see that God is with us in the midst of our pain. At my lowest point, curled in the corner of my bedroom, rocking, wailing, I cried out to God and poured my heart out. And I believe he provided comfort. I believe this because I feel hopeful. My heart may be broken but it is full. Full of deep joy alongside deep sadness.
This year has been tough. The last one was pretty difficult too but I cannot wish that time away. I have learnt to grieve, be vulnerable and seek my God in the trials of life. A passage which has been a comfort and challenge to me recently is:
“…we boast in the hope of the glory of God. Not only so, but we also glory in our sufferings, because we know that suffering produces perseverance; perseverance, character; and character, hope. And hope does not put us to shame, because God’s love has been poured into our hearts through the Holy Spirit, who has been given to us.” Romans 5:2-5
Since moving we have been overwhelmed by the love and understanding we have encountered. The gentle support we have received has soothed our weary hearts. We have been encouraged to dream again and to be given the space to continue grieving. And we will continue to grieve even though we are moving forward because our grief is giving us such an abundant appreciation for joy. And we are going to hold on tight to this growing hope and trust that if we loosen our grip on it, those around us will hold onto it for us until we can find the strength.