You did not choose me, but I chose you and appointed you so that you might go and bear fruit—fruit that will last—and so that whatever you ask in my name the Father will give you.John 15:16
Ever since we’d been diagnosed with infertility I felt this gut-wrenching, anxiety-filled shame encompass my entire body with every doctor’s appointment and follow-up phone call with results. Finding out that there’s something wrong with your body and it can’t do on it’s own what comes so easily to some is shameful. My therapist asked me how I felt when I found out that my tubes had been removed and the first word that came to mind was shameful. I felt betrayed by my body and the embarrassment that came from it left me feeling worthless. “This can’t be happening to me.” “Why would God allow this to happen?” Just some of the many thoughts and questions that plagued my mind daily. God had showed me in a dream Joe and I holding our son and crying in excitement, admiration and praise. I remember that dream as if it was real because it was one of the most vivid dreams I’ve ever had. With that in mind, I remember asking God why would He give me that dream and then allow this to happen. It doesn’t make sense.
My therapist, as she does so well, wanted to explore that feeling of shame. She said that shame is about others and how I feel I may be viewed by others or even how I feel I don’t measure up to a certain standard. We explored the definition of shame which is a painful feeling of humiliation or distress caused by the consciousness of wrong or foolish behavior. While all of this was exactly how I felt, hearing it out loud really didn’t fit with my situation, or at least it shouldn’t have. Although I did feel a sense of responsibility for what was going on with my body, my faith in this being the beginning of a powerful testimony rather than a punishment for wrongdoing filled a greater part of me. She affirmed me for allowing myself to feel all of what I was feeling. She then challenged me to exchange that feeling shame for something God would want me to feel instead. I told her that even though I was feeling shameful, a greater part of me felt chosen. Deep down I didn’t feel like God was punishing me but that He was choosing me as His vessel to work a miracle in a way that hasn’t been done before.
Letting go of shame freed me in that moment and allowed me to feel something that one would not normally feel in a stage of infertility – honored and humbled. I feel honored that God chose me of all people to demonstrate His next big miracle. I feel honored that God thinks I’m strong enough to go through such a difficult and challenging process. I feel honored that God chose me to be the hope that so many will need. I feel humbled because I know that Joe and I are not going to get ourselves through this – God is. He brought us to this and He HAS to be the one to get us through. I have relinquished control, which is something I don’t easily do, but because this is uncharted territory for me I have no choice but to let Him lead – that brings me to a place of humility.
In addition to letting go of shame, I also have had to let go of fear. I didn’t realize how much fear either paralyzes me or has me in a tizzy trying to figure out a solution (in most times it’s the latter). Both can be detrimental in various ways. In this situation after finding out that we have to do IVF I was in a tizzy and on a desperate search to figure out how Joe and I were going to pay for this expensive process. IVF, if not covered by insurance, can cost anywhere from $11,000-$25,000 or more (depending on the additional cost of medication and the need for additional IVF cycles) OUT OF POCKET. It’s not cheap!! God stopped me in my tracks and reminded me that He’s in control and He doesn’t need me to figure anything out because He already has. While I was busy stressing myself out, looking into getting a second job at Starbucks (they cover IVF for full and part-time employees FYI – another reason why I love them 😉☕), researching what routes other people took, loans, etc. God reassured me that He’s got this. He told us to put the $500 deposit down to secure our spot on the IVF calendar at our clinic and then He would tell us what to do about the remaining balance later. When you want to know so bad how and when God’s going to work that thing out, but you sit your behind down, zip your lips and WAIT for instructions. We don’t know how the IVF treatments are going to be paid, but we just know they’re going to be paid! Talk about #crazyfaith!
As Joe and I prepare for IVF we are trying to walk into this thing with bold crazy faith. We have seen God work some miracles in our lives and we believe those situations where we’ve had to grow and exercise faith only prepared us for this moment. We see the growth that has come from those situations. We respond to things differently now – instead of being upset over a denial, appointment push-back, or not-so-good news, we now laugh because we have no worries. God has taken care of us before, He has not let us fail so why would this time be any different?! This is another opportunity for God to get the glory and for us to be used to set someone free from shame, fear, betrayal, the need to control, inadequacy, and any other feeling that is not from God.
Joe and I have decided to document our IVF process and journey to our miracle baby – we will be sharing this very soon. We decided to do this for two reasons: one being that telling our story while we are going through it signifies an act of faith to us. We believe that God has called us to share while we are going through and as scary the whole process is we feel that it becomes a little less scary the more we talk about it and our feelings. We were raised by generations that talked about the importance of faith, but rarely shared what faith looks like. We want to break generational habits and do things that look crazy because we know that what looks crazy in one season is faith in another (Mike Todd, Crazy Faith). The second reason we decided to do a docu-series of our process is we feel there is very little representation of black couples on this infertility/IVF journey and we want to be among the first to not only shed light, but to tear down shame and create conversation about this topic that affects so many families. Many of us do not know what IVF is, we do not feel it is for us because of the cost, or many of us who are spiritual may feel it’s stepping outside of God’s will or forcing His hand. We want share and discuss all of that and help educate our community.
For those who do not know (I received some questions), IVF is in-vitro fertilization and it is the process of extracting eggs, retrieving a sperm sample, and then manually fertilizing an egg or eggs and sperm in a laboratory dish. The embryo(s) is then transferred to the uterus. This is the short version, the longer version involves days of hormone injection shots, ultrasounds, monitoring and more – which we will document and share.
We appreciate everyone who has shown us so much love and support. We invite anyone who’s reading our story for the first time to join us on this journey of crazy faith and we encourage you to exercise crazy faith in an area of your life. Remember that whatever God is allowing you to go through right now He chose you for it. He assigned you to your mountain so that others know it can be moved. It may not look like it now, but once that mountain is moved you will look back at the journey in praise, thanksgiving and admiration knowing that your faith was crazy enough to move it. Keep going, keep seeking God, keep praising Him and keep the faith 💛