Friday, October 3, 2014

Joy and Hurt

What do you do when you feel like you have been robbed of your blessings?
I’ve made it known to just about everyone that knows me that I love children and I always have. That all I’ve ever wanted to be in life is a mom. When I got diagnosed with cancer that was the first thing I asked the doctor. “Will I still be able to have children?” At that point the answer was “yes.” Then with the failure of my first treatments, the answer became “maybe, but let’s harvest your eggs to be safe.” With each disappointment and failed treatment the answer is pretty much “no.” or at least “not any time soon.”
When I reached the only remission I’ve ever had, I was so excited because I thought I could begin my two-year count down. The doctors say you should go two years being cancer free before trying to get pregnant. I thought about it so much during my transplant. I could wait two years and then if we needed to use my harvested eggs we would. Waiting would be hard, but in the meantime I could fulfill the dream I’ve had since I was a child and be a foster parent. I could take care of little babies who needed my love and maybe we’d even be able to adopt one. I had it all planned out. . . . And then I relapsed again . . . . And my heart broke into a million pieces again.
Just like so many women who want to be mothers but can’t, I’ve watched person after person become pregnant and have children or become foster parents or adopt babies. People younger than me and older than me. People who have been married a smaller amount of time or who have children already or weren’t planning it or had planned it for a long time. People I truly love and deeply care for and want good things for them.
The feeling is truly a difficult one to describe. I do have joy for my friends who get to see their dreams come true. I want them to have these miracles and blessings. But every announcement, every baby shower, every comment about sleepless nights and baby names causes a pain so deep in my heart. A longing that I just can’t put into words. I am happy for them, I truly am…but the desire to be a mother as well is just so overpowering.  I want a baby too. I want to know what it's like to love someone that way. I want to know what a baby kick feels like and what it feels like to see my husband love a child that much. I want to fulfill the call I’ve always felt on my life to care for a child, to rescue orphans.
My thoughts go so quickly to unhealthy places.
Why is it that so many around me get to be parents and I don’t? What did I do wrong? Wasn't I wired for this? It feels like the blessings I’ve asked for, hoped for, and prayed for have been given to everyone else. I feel like Esau running to Isaac expecting his blessing and hearing the words “sorry I’m fresh out. I gave it Jacob.” It’s like God is saying to me, “I gave all the babies away while you were busy with cancer.” It’s stupid I know, but that’s what it feels like. Where’s my blessing? Where’s my healing? Where’s my happy ever after? I don’t want this story, I want a different one.
There’s a lot of flaws in this way of thinking and I’m sure a ton of sin. I’m broken and I don’t know why God has allowed my life to look like this. So I have to do that thing where I try and remember what’s true. What do I know that’s true?
~I know God is good and He has a plan for my life.
~I know His ways are better than my ways.
~I know He can redeem any situation, no matter how bad.
~I know even now He could heal me and restore back to me what has been lost.
~I know that just because other people get to live my dreams, it doesn’t mean I don't get to as well.
~I know that God’s timing is not my timing.
It still hurts. I don’t know how to make it not hurt. But these things help.
I don’t want to make any person who is pregnant or is going to be pregnant feel bad. I would never want to steal the joy away from her blessing. Trust me, if I were pregnant, I would want to shout it from the rooftops and talk about it every waking moment! I would put posts on facebook and take pictures and do everything that I could to celebrate. I never want my friends to feel bad for doing those things. And I want to be included in those baby conversations and those joyous moments. But the pain and the joy are so deeply intertwined.
So how should the multitude of women out there who get to be mothers act around those of us who don’t and desperately want to? I don’t know exactly. I know I’m not the only woman who feels these feelings or has these thoughts. I know I’m grateful to have a few people in my life that listen when I’m hurting and try to understand, but don’t exclude me from their joy. You can try to understand their pain, but know that you never really will. You can be sensitive to their hurt, but don’t leave them out because that hurts more. You can pray for them and hope for them and believe for them and Lord willing rejoice with them when their day comes.
I know that you should never apologize to a barren women for being pregnant. Just like you should never apologize to a single person for being married or a sick person for being well.
It’s hard not to feel like my blessings have been given away. But the truth is they're not mine. Just because I want them, doesn’t make them mine. God is the giver of all good things, and He chooses who to give good gifts to. Truthfully, I don’t deserve them or any blessing for that matter. My sins mean I deserve death. Jesus gave me the ultimate blessing when He died on the cross for me and allowed me to have life.
“But blessed is the one who trusts in the Lord,
whose confidence is in him.
They will be like a tree planted by the water
that sends out its roots by the stream.
It does not fear when heat comes;
its leaves are always green.
It has no worries in a year of drought
and never fails to bear fruit.”
Jeremiah 17:7-8
I am blessed in so many ways. I consider it a blessing to be able to minister to and love on the children at church. I consider it a blessing to be an “aunt” to the babies in my lifegroup and close friends. It’s just hard to see sometimes when the things you’ve prayed for, hoped for, and believed for still haven’t come to fruition.
Lord please heal my heart and the hearts of those women who struggle like I do. Fill us up so completely with joy that there’s no room for hurt. Help us trust completely in you during the drought and allow us to bear fruit even when the heat and hurt try to choke us. Forgive me for feeling like I deserve something that you have chosen to give to someone else. Please use my story to bless others and allow my pain and heartache to mold me into a person that is more like you. Please heal me and redeem my life. If it’s in your will, allow me to be a mother to some of your precious children here on earth. Amen.
New York Update: My second treatment went well. They gave me Benadryl and Tylenol which prevented any more reactions. It made me very sleepy, but at least there was no sneezing or back pain or chills!
I actually had the week off this past week which has been a much needed break. I go to New York next week for a CT scan to see if the tumors have shrunk at all and to get my third treatment. Pray that everything goes smoothly and the results of this scan are good! As much as I hate being away from home so much, I would love for this treatment to be the one that works!


  1. Leslie, I understand your Joy & Hurt. I have felt the same feelings in my younger years. These feelings are so deeply intertwined in us. I can remember holding babies of my friends, one baby in particular, David Vogel that I just would hold him and cry. I was so happy for Ralph and Cindy. But I wanted a Husband and children too. Now in my 50's that is not the case for me. I having been praying for you and just wanted you to know that I completely understand. Even though I have never meet you The Lord has put His Love into my heart for you. I have stood in the gap for you and brought you before our Lord and Savior and I will continue to do so. Love you Leslie.

  2. I feel the same way about getting married... I get in the rut of wondering, "What's wrong with me," and "why do other people pray for it and get married, or don't even pray for it and get married, but not me??"

    I hope you do have kids some day!!

  3. Leslie,
    Thank you for sharing your honest, heart-felt thoughts. I pray that however God chooses to do it, you will be filled with his joy, love, and peace. We love you.
    The Baders