This weekend I had the absolute pleasure of attending the Women of Faith conference. I’d attended before quite a few years back with the young ladies of a church I was a youth leader at. It’s so amazing to sit and listen to all the different stories and the way that God moves in all these lives. The conference was held at a church that my husband and I used to attend called Southeast Christian Church. For those of you not in this area, it is HUGE. Most people in Kentuckiana call it “Six Flags Over Jesus”. HUGE. When we walked in, as I looked around, I immediately was overwhelmed and overcome with emotion. There were SO MANY women there!! We heard from Sheila Walsh, Lisa Harper, Missy Robertson (of Duck Dynasty fame), Liz Curtis Higgs and Charlotte Gambill. These women all amaze me. They each revealed things about themselves that would make even a bad girl blush! And as they reminded us, they didn’t tell us to shock us, but rather to show just how graceful and merciful and wonderful our God is.
Listening to Sheila and Missy and Lisa was WONDERFUL and the strength these women have is simply flabbergasting – but I most closely identified with Liz Curtis Higgs and Charlotte Gambill. Liz Curtis Higgs is the well-known author of “Bad Girls of the Bible“. She told the story of a part of her life that resonated so strongly with a part of mine. I sobbed through most of her story.a story of drugs, promiscuity and a life of pure sin. What’s so great about that story, you ask? The ending. God took that woman from the pits and turned her into a woman who is sharing her testimony and reaching out to woman and reminding them that God is bigger than any mess we can get ourselves into.
Then Charl Gambill took the stage. She is a preacher with her husband in England. When she first took the stage, she spoke so fast and in such a high-pitched voice that I wasn’t sure I would be able to make it through her entire story. But then, her passion overtook everything. Her love for life and Christ shone brighter than the spotlights that illuminated her. She began with a story of a time that she was in the states and was BEYOND ready to get home. It was then that a volcano in Iceland erupted and all flights were grounded. She went on to say she was stuck in the states for a month and then FINALLY the day came and as she was sitting on the plane waiting for it to take off, the pilot came on the overhead and said “Well, I have some bad news. The volcano in Iceland has erupted again. But I have some good news also. I WILL get you there, I just have to take you the long way around.” She said that at that moment, something just clicked in her spirit – God is saying to us “I WILL get you there, I just have to take you the long way around.” She then went on to tell the story of her and her husband’s 5 year struggle with infertility and treatments and injections and pain. As she spoke, I cried. And cried, and cried and cried. I could so amazingly closely identify with EVERY. SINGLE. emotion she spoke of. She told us that God does suddenly and God does slowly. But we need to understand that He is the God of BOTH and though sometimes He takes us the long way around, that He DOES get us there – even if it’s not the “there” that we expect. She did a physical illustration that reminded us that, while the long way around may be painful and NOT what we want, that often, God will give us “double for our trouble”. I, for one, am looking forward to whatever blessings He has in store for me!
Afterwards, as I was talking to my Mother In Law, I was telling her how it’s always so amazing to me that I feel so alone on this journey, but then I can listen to or read the story of a woman on the same journey and all our stories sound so similar and how I can so closely identify to all the emotions. My Mother In Law said that a lot of the things Charl said, I’ve said too. I think the thing I was the most grateful for in listening to Charl was that she was speaking about it! Infertility comes with some deep emotions – shame and embarrassment being the highest on the list I’d say. It’s hard to talk about it. It often feels like the ONE thing that a woman is supposed to be able to do, we’re not capable of – and that makes us feel broken. I’ve said it before, and I’ll say it many more times I sure, raising the awareness of this invisible illness is the only way to cure the world of the ignorance regarding it!
I almost didn’t go to the conference. Friday morning at work, I unexpectedly started bleeding. That is VERY uncommon for me at the point I was in my cycle – I have gotten to know my body better than I ever thought I would!! I just blogged about how it felt nice to not have to worry about “Is this month MY month?” and then, with some blood, all those emotions I’d pushed to the back burner all came flooding back. My heart fluttered with the possibilities – “could this be implantation bleeding? Is it FINALLY MY month?!” Or “is it possibly just a ruptured cysts? Although that usually comes with sharp pain and I’m just cramping.” I waited until my OB’s office opened at 8am and called to explain the situation and see what the course of action should be. They told me to do the one thing I HATE doing because my heart races and races and then often comes to a painfully dead stop – I had to go take a HPT (home pregnancy test). It was, as always, negative but that didn’t explain the bleeding. They decided to have me come in for an ultrasound and a consultation later that day. I was scared and nervous the rest of the day.
The ultrasound showed that I had a nice, mature follicle in my left ovary and possibly hadn’t ovulated yet, which could have been contributing to the bleeding. They led me to a room where there were some very menacing tools laying on the counter that, quite frankly, scared me. When the OB came in, it was not my regular OB, but another… She was pretty awesome, actually. She did an exam and found that I have a muscle that is contributing to QUITE a bit of the regular pain I am feeling. She then had me stand up and did some other evaluations that led her to find that I have one hip that is quite a bit higher than the other (I can’t remember the medical term for it). She said it was normally something that they see in scoliosis patients. Part of the complications of the muscle that was in spasm is that – if I am ever to conceive – natural delivery will be much more painful, if possible at all. She said that it will need to be addressed before that time comes and may require some physical therapy, but that natural delivery may seriously complicate things.
It so often feels like I am receiving bad news more than good news. As hard as it is to wait and annoying as it is to hear people say “God has a plan” – it’s true. One of my favorite verses from this weekend was Luke 1:37 ” For with God, nothing shall be impossible.” Every single woman who spoke this weekend was a testament to that, and I am grateful that I was able to be a part of it. And, as we were reminded this weekend, God catches every tear. He remembers every broken heart. He hears every sobbing plea. God never wastes a hurt.