Not Easily Broken: A Call for Passionate Community
"A person standing alone can be attacked and defeated, but two can stand back-to-back and conquer. Three are even better, for a triple-braided cord is not easily broken."
I love the imagery behind this verse. It makes me think of armor clad, battle-tested warriors, standing against insurmountable odds with their eyes on the fight and their backs against a trusted parter. It makes me think of the way I have sat in desperate prayer, hand in hand with a faithful sister, facing a situation that seems impossible, with our eyes on the Lord and our spirits surrounded by the offensive, God-breathed words of the Scriptures.
I've shared enough by now that most of you know what an incredible role community has played in my three years of battling vaginismus and infertility. The women in our church are truly one of the Lord's greatest kindnesses to me. There are days I couldn't have made it through without their fervent prayer and practical love.
If you've followed me on the Anchored and Enough instagram page, or even my personal Facebook account, then you know I've recently joined a faith-based fertility support group known as Moms in the Making. In addition to signing up for their online prayer partners and taking a leap of faith to sign up for their upcoming conference in Dallas, TX, I've also done something I never thought I'd do: I joined a support group.
To preface, I have nothing against support groups. But I just never thought I'd be the one to need one. Most of us probably never think we'll be "that girl", am I right? But there I was, having just signed up for prayer partners, going down the list of local support groups to see if there was one near my area. Lo and behold, there was a local support group being hosted less than 20 minutes away. Not only that, but the upcoming Tuesday was their first meeting. My heart was in my throat as I clicked away on my keyboard to send an email to the group leader saying that I'd be there.
Best. Decision. Ever.
You know those moments where the Lord brings you to do something, and you're half interested and half terrified? But you do it anyway? That was one of these moments. Sitting on a couch alongside another woman who was walking through infertility and eagerly waiting on the Lord in the midst of it was like water for my spirit. The night was filled with more encouragement than I'd gotten in quite a while. And not just encouragement, but a sincere joy in the Lord and His ways. Rather than, "Why can't you just give me a baby, Lord?" it was a night full of, "Wow, Jesus, thank You for giving us the chance to love you more than we want motherhood."
We are beings built for community. We crave things that bind us together: culture, shared interests, teams and affiliations. Yet oftentimes, we shirk the umbrella of community when we need it most.
For me, this was definitely the case. From the first moment I realized that vaginismus impacted our ability to try for a baby, I sealed my lips. I didn't want infertility to be that "shared interest" that bound me to a group. I was hesitant to talk about it, or ask for prayer, because it felt too raw and personal to share. It wasn't until starting this blog, and joining a TTC group for women with vaginismus, and opening up to my small group, that I realized what a stronghold community is, especially when it's built from an inability to walk through a situation alone.
Infertility brings on a whole host of spiritual struggles. Lies from the enemy targeting our worth as women and wives, or our value in the eyes of God, fly at us like arrows on a battlefield. Satan knows the exact type of pain and bitterness and envy that infertility brings. He knows just how that pregnancy announcement on social media hits our hearts, or how much we may inwardly boil over a friend who can't stop talking about her baby. Too many times, in this situation where we need a sister pressed against our back in the midst of the fight, we crumble under the weight of shame and try to stand alone.
I'm here as one who has sat, defeated on the front lines, after trying to battle the lies of infertility alone. I've raged at God and sinned against my sisters, all the while pretending that I was justified in my pain and strong enough to walk this path devoid of help.
Dear friend, this is what the Enemy desires. Faithlessness and wounded pride. He knows that every battle lost is a reason for our hearts to harden towards the Father.
But the King has conquered all, and He stands victorious at the end of time, Champion over all the powers of darkness and all the ugliness of sin. And He calls us to conquer as well: to strive for holiness and battle the lies with the truth of His Word. He calls us to stand, back-to-back, with our sisters and pull together into a cord that is not easily broken. He is our victory, and He is our strength.
Community is an invaluable resource. Joining together as sisters in Christ not only strengthens our own hearts, but it brings glory to God. And while this type of bond is helpful in all walks of life, I'd like to address it briefly as it relates specifically to infertility:
1. We need accountability.
While walking through infertility, I have struggled continuously with jealousy. And I would go so far as to say that this is not unique to me, but an issue faced by most women who desire children and don't yet have them. It seemed like the more I was confronted with my own inability to have children, the more the women around me were blessed with pregnancies and births. It infuriated me at times. And in those moments, what I needed most was a sister who would gently but firmly remind me that anger at another's blessing was a sin. Plain and simple. I was wrong to speak harsh words of another woman who was simply acting out of joy for her new blessing. I was wrong to gripe and complain about the fortune of others. We need community that will love on us fiercely while also holding us to God's standard of holiness.
2. We need prayer.
I cannot overstate this. In my last post, I talked about sitting in church and weeping over my "cup" of infertility before a dear, dear sister (who is in the last few weeks of her own pregnancy!!) came and sat beside me to pray. She had experienced a miscarriage before this beautiful new blessing, and she could have easily walked off to mourn her own loss, but instead she chose to come and physically be with me as I prayed. What an incredible act of love it was. And what a reminder of how much we need others when we pray. Whether it's together or praying our own prayers in our minds, we need women who can come and be beside us as we approach the throne and speak to the Father.
3. We need to weep and rejoice with one another.
I have no doubt that there will be miracle babies conceived and birthed before I get to snuggle my own child. I've no doubt that there will be babies lost through miscarriage or stillbirth as well. To be part of a community means that we will weep when dreams are lost and we will rejoice when they are realized. In a community of women who walk with each other through infertility, we should ask the Lord for opportunities in which we can bear one another's burdens and fulfill the law of Christ (Gal. 6:2). We should pray for strength and wisdom as we open our hearts to feel and break and swell along with those of our sisters.
If you're still standing on the battlefield of infertility alone, this is my call to you: come and join us. Pick yourself up and dust yourself off and allow us to watch your back and lift you up and care for you. Allow us to honor the Lord by becoming women around you who will call you towards holiness and spur you on towards love and good deeds.
Take a first and small step of faith and go explore the Moms in the Making community, or a small group in your church. Don't be afraid to let infertility be the reason you need passionate community. Sign up for a prayer partner or take a leap and come to the conference! If you're in the area, message me and let me take you out for coffee or bring you to our support group.
Whatever you do, don't keep doing it alone. We are here to bring you into our community, and more importantly, the Father is here to bring you into His fold.
I pray that your week is FULL of sweet community and the love of sisters,