Ryan and I sat in the doctor’s office, me staring awkwardly at the doctor and he twiddling his fingers, while we waited for our results. The doctor was reviewing all of our tests when he suddenly looked up. “Your sonogram shows an endometrial cyst,” he said, and my stomach sank. Endometriosis. I felt the large bubble in my throat rise to the surface, ready to unleash a heavy, violent stream of tears. Mind in a haze, I listened to the options we had if we wanted to pursue fertility boosters, and before I knew it, we walked out of the office confused, frustrated and, more than anything, heartbroken.
I am someone who likes to be in control. No, needs to be in control. I like to plan and could be considered “Type A.” So when my husband and I decided to start a family, I had my mental pen, paper and calendar ready to go.
I grew up in the church, being baptized at the age of 12 by my Papa in Granbury, Texas. I pursued the Lord throughout high school, living a life I thought was obedient to God. I graduated high school and headed straight to college, transferring after my freshman year from Abilene Christian University to the University of North Texas. During this time, I pursued different relationships and rebelled against the Lord, constantly putting idols before God. Yet all the while, the Lord continued to draw me back with each breakup, with my friendships, with school and with my jobs.
In the fall of 2010, I met my husband, Ryan, at the restaurant where we both worked. We were both dating different people, but as those relationships ended, we came together and began dating. I knew after the first two weeks that we were going to get married. We graduated college, got engaged in October 2012 and were married in the summer of 2013.
For the most part, the Lord had granted me what I felt like were my desires. I went to the college I wanted. I graduated with the degree I wanted. I married who I wanted. I got the job where I wanted. But what I saw as my careful planning was really the Lord graciously giving me those things. Even in my sin and rebellion, He chose to give me the desires of my heart.
When it comes to your health, you kind of always expect everything to be okay.
About a year and a half into our marriage, Ryan and I felt convicted to start a family. I had recently read an article from The Village about God’s design and intention when it comes to children. Originally, Ryan and I had a five-year plan, and we thought that we’d wait to have children until we felt like it. Again, we were only concerned with our own timing, our own convenience. The Lord calls us to “be fruitful and multiply” (Gen. 1:28), and I struggled with my understanding of God’s plans versus our own planning or timing. If the Lord desires us to “be fruitful and multiply,” should we not be obedient to that? I wondered. Ryan and I continued to talk about it and spent time in prayer, and then, a few months later, we began trying for our first child.
One month went by. Not pregnant. No big deal, I thought. According to most doctors, it usually takes six months to a year for couples to conceive. Two months went by. Nothing. Three months, still waiting. As each month passed, I realized how much I hoped for a child. It began as something that I felt the Lord calling us toward and quickly changed into something I truly desired. Before I knew it, it was close to a year we had been trying. My heart grew from hopeful to bitter to angry. Every month felt like an emotional rollercoaster: trying, getting our hopes up, then seeing those hopes dashed. Hadn’t the Lord put this on my heart as a good and right desire? Why wasn’t it happening? I struggled with the realization that I had zero control in fulfilling this desire.
In the midst of our fertility struggles, I joined a women’s Bible study, which our Home Group leader suggested in order to grow in knowledge and understanding of God’s Word. I began to cling to the Lord, plugging myself into this group, our Home Group and serving in Little Village. All the while we heard everyone’s encouragement: “It’s all in God’s timing. God opens and closes the womb.” These were well-meaning words but also frustrating. In my mind, I knew these things were true, but my heart wanted others to mourn with us. The Lord became both the only comfort and the source of my frustration. As I attempted to pursue Him with open hands, He revealed to me my sin of control.
After almost a year, my doctor suggested some tests to see if everything was okay. Based on the results, nothing was preventing us from getting pregnant. The doctor then referred us to a fertility specialist. In our consultation, he found a cyst. The cyst revealed that I had endometriosis, a genetic disease that can prevent pregnancy.
This is a story about the Lord’s sovereignty, about His will and His plan. He reigns over all things.
When it comes to your health, you kind of always expect everything to be okay. That seasons of suffering won’t happen to you. Unexpectedly, I came to the serious conclusion that Ryan and I might never be able to conceive a child. It shattered my world.
After receiving the diagnosis, I decided to go through a minor surgery for endometriosis—all the while transitioning my mind into the new reality that our “plan” was changing; the Lord was leading us in a different direction of a family and our future. I began to let go and instead sought what the Lord wanted of us. Ryan and I started to pursue contentment where the Lord had brought us.
But then, a month after my surgery, I was pregnant. It seemed unbelievable. After a year and a half of our “plan,” after heartache, frustrations and bouts of anger, I was pregnant.
Let me be clear: This is not a story of good and right desires being fulfilled. This is a story about the Lord’s sovereignty, about His will and His plan. He reigns over all things. The Lord is good in times of suffering and in times of joy. He. Is. Good.
In that year and a half of heartache, I began to understand the Lord’s sovereignty like I never had before. He is all-knowing. And even in the midst of pain and suffering, the Lord sees. The Lord hears. And the Lord provides. He might not provide what we plan or what we desire, but the Lord is at work, for His glory and for our joy. This would have been true whether Ryan and I got pregnant or not. To say that my control-freak nature is gone forever would be false. But the Lord has transformed my heart and revealed to me that while I am finite, He is infinite. Charles Spurgeon said, “God is too good to be unkind and He is too wise to be mistaken. And when we cannot trace His hand, we must trust His heart.”
Although the Lord heard my cries, His provision is not of my plan. It is not of my own doing. It is the Lord’s doing. It is His sovereign plan. Ryan and I are so thankful for this season of life, and we are overjoyed to welcome a baby boy soon. More than that, we’re thankful to God for helping us recognize His generosity with more clarity than ever before, including those gifts we so often take for granted: children, yes, but also friendships, good food and even the breath in our lungs. We have no right to these gifts, but God gives generously in hopes that we would realize the goodness of His mercy. And they are all signposts to our greatest gift, Jesus Christ. The Lord has revealed so much of who He is and what He is accomplishing, and I am grateful be a small part of His plan. The Lord provides. The Lord hears. The Lord sees. We only have to trust His heart when we cannot see His hand.