I have always been an adventurous, goal-oriented free-spirit, with perfection issues. It was not uncommon to be studying at the University one minute and booking a flight to somewhere I have never been, the next. When my husband and I were married in the fall of 2003, I knew it was not just the beginning of our married lives, but an epic adventure. It was; the first weeks of our marriage were spent driving across the United States of America. While there are many incredible things to see and do along the way, there are also hundreds of miles of uninhabited plains. This afforded us an opportunity to discuss our upcoming life together and what we wanted to experience in this life. Everything revolved around having children. As a Christian, I truly believe the scripture in Psalms 127:3-5. “Lo, children are an heritage of the Lord: and the fruit of the womb is his reward. As arrows are in the hand of a mighty man, so are the children of the youth. Happy is the man that hath his quiver full of them…” And we could not wait to fill our quiver.
Early on, we discovered that I had PCOS, which causes infertility. The doctor told me it was fairly common and would not be an issue; I would take a couple medications and we would conceive. No worries.
Fast forward nine years and worry seemed to be the only thing I had. During that time, we went through fertility treatments, failed adoption attempts, surgery, a great deal of money, time and heartache. The doctors had been wrong, and I felt like a complete failure. It caused struggles in our marriage and my faith that God, our Heavenly Father, would answer my prayers was starting to waver. There was a constant heaviness in my heart. The free-spirited adventurer was being crushed by what I perceived as my failures. For all of the successes I had achieved and the dedication I had in finishing those goals, I was unable to fulfill the basic biological function of a woman. I was unable to do the one thing I wanted, more than anything, to expand our family.
Proverbs 3:5-6 says to “Trust in the Lord with all thine heart; and lean not unto thine own understanding. In all thy ways acknowledge him, and he shall direct thy paths.” While my faith that my prayers would be answered was wavering, I chose to trust in the Lord, even though I did not understand why we were going through these trials. I have always been stead-fast in challenges, looking at them as a way to grow and be stronger. Since I had tried everything I could think of, I knew that there was nothing more I could do, but put trust in our Heavenly Father’s plan. Through prayer, it was slowly revealed to me that I was looking at our situation incorrectly. It was not an issue of me not being good enough or trying hard enough. In fact, it was God using my very driven personality to be His hands, helping those around me. Through these experiences I was able to see physical manifestations of good. I would have missed these marvelous experiences, if I was only focused on what I did not have. He taught me to appreciate all that life has to offer, both good and bad. It was a hard lesson to learn.
C.S. Lewis offered a great observation, “Imagine yourself as a living house. God comes in to rebuild that house. At first, perhaps, you can understand what He is doing. He is getting the drains right and stopping the leaks in the roof and so on, you knew that those jobs needed doing and so you are not surprised. But presently, He starts knocking the house about in a way that hurts abominably and does not seem to make sense. What on earth is He up to? The explanation is that He is building quite a different house from the one you thought of. Throwing out a new wing here, putting on an extra floor there, running up towers, making courtyards. You thought you were going to be made into a decent little cottage but He is building a palace.”
During this transition period, I felt like I was stumbling under my load. My faith, that my prayers would be answered, trembled. Then I read a book by Neal A. Maxwell. He stated, “The Lord knows our bearing capacity, both as to coping and to comprehending, and He will not give us more to bear than we can manage at the moment, though to us it may seem otherwise. Just as no temptations will come to us from which we cannot escape or which we cannot bear, we will not be given more trials than we can sustain.”
The process has not been easy; there have been many tears and plenty of pleading prayers. However, with these trials there have been countless blessings, both for us and others. Most often, we do not get to choose the challenges we face, but we do get to choose how we handle them. We can focus on the positive things in our life or we can be drug down by the bad influences. Faith is fragile, especially if we do not nourish it. Miracles abound, we just have to have faith and trust. Trust that God, our Heavenly Father has a plan for each of us and that He will provide the blessings we need. Just remember, they will not necessarily be what we are asking for; He is building a palace after all.
You can follow Shanon on her blog: http://brownwingfamily.blogspot.com/
Story written by: Shanon Brown
This story appeared first on Real Imprints.