Blooming in the Dry Place
"I just don't want to look back on this time years from now and think, 'Wow, what a wasted opportunity', you know?"
I spoke the words that had weighed heavy on my heart in conversation with a dear friend from Church. We were talking about waiting—my least favorite thing, let me assure you—and what the Lord teaches us in the periods of wanting.
I was expressing to her that I sometimes felt like all I do is wait. I wait for treatments and I wait for finances to align so we can pursue those treatments and I then wait for both the aforementioned things to pan out so we're finally able to conceive and start a family.
I don't feel like I'm blooming. I feel like the ground I'm in is too rocky and hard for roots. At least the kind of weak and fragile roots my heart is able to stretch forth. But this is where I've been planted, isn't it? In the midst of a desert comprised of vaginismus and infertility and what seems like an endless wait.
How do I do it, God? How do I bloom here? How can I thrive while I'm waiting?
It's not a coincidence that succulents and cacti are the main imagery and theme of this blog. I have a little set of succulents on my windowsill, and as I watch them, I think of the ways that they grow in hard and rocky soil. They're hearty, and long-lasting. Some can go up to two years without a drop of water.
They know how to bloom in the dry places.
I am reminded of chapter 12 of 2 Corinthians. The famed passage where we see Paul begging God to remove the thorn in his side. Multiple times he asked the Lord to take it away, and multiple times the Lord reminds him, "My grace is all you need" (ch 12, v 9). Paul goes on to say that he can now boast about this experience—not because he was healed, but because he was brought to the realization that he is whole when he is completely dependent upon Christ in everything.
I think about the things I've asked God to take away. The pain and anxiety of vaginismus. My battles with depression. Financial strains in our lives. Our inability to conceive.
My grace is sufficient for you.
When I am locked in the bathroom in tears after hearing yet another pregnancy announcement, His grace is sufficient.
When I am overcome by anxiety and a feeling of being less-than because of the pain caused by vaginismus, His grace is sufficient.
When I feel stranded in the middle of a desert wasteland, far from any type of relief or oasis, His grace is sufficient for me.
I don't know all the answers. I know only the grace that has been extended to me in this dry place. I know the Lord has been faithful to meet and sustain me when I've come to Him, broken and begging for aid.
David writes in Psalms 33:20-22, "We put our hope in the Lord. He is our help and our shield. In him our hearts rejoice,for we trust in his holy name. Let your unfailing love surround us, Lord, for our hope is in you alone."
I have loved reading the Psalms during this time. David walked through many a dry and barren place, and although he pens his grief and anxiety with great fervor, he never fails to praise and lift high the name of the God he has put all his hope in. To me, David is a perfect example of thriving in the hard places, rather than just marking the days until you can finally put them behind you.
This post is such an outpouring of feelings and thoughts that still aren't organized and tucked away, but I've promised myself to write consistently, and to write from a place of sincere transparency.
In an effort to have some type of clarity, though, I'm going to outline the 3 things I'm going to be focusing on in order to bloom in this dry place. If you're walking through the wilderness as well, I hope these points encourage you!
1. Staying in Scripture
As I said before, reading through Psalms during this time has been so incredibly helpful. God's word is full of so much grace, and for those of us walking through physical hurdles like vaginismus and infertility, it's an invaluable resource.
2. Engaging in Community
I cannot stress this to myself enough. Community during this struggle is so crucial. I put off opening up and reaching out for almost two years, and it was the most detrimental decision I ever made. Finding sisters in Christ through the blog, through connections in church and through our small group has changed everything. We need to stay plugged in to our communities. And not necessarily just to women who are also going through vaginismus/infertility. None of the women in my small group share my struggles in those areas, but they are still there to pray for me and cry with me. And the women who do walk this road of treatments for vaginismus or the pain of being unable to conceive, they can be our strongest allies. We can pray ever more fervently and specifically for one another because we know the pain surrounding these issues so well.
3. Pursing Transparency
I want to write a post on this soon, but one of the things I'm trying to pursue right now—in order to thrive where God has placed me—is to pursue transparency in all forms. I no longer want to hide behind a thin veneer of vague prayer requests or quick "everything's great"'s in conversations. I want to be open. Raw. Vulnerable. I want to reach out from a place of compassion and allow others to know my story and hope with all my heart that they then feel encouraged to allow me to walk with them through theirs.
So there we are. Thoughts and feelings on where I am in this desert place, trying to bloom in rocky soil and draw on the Living Water, rather than short term fixes and reliefs.
I'm eager to see how the Lord meets us in this place.