Infertility and Psalm 77
I’m writing today with an honesty that many may judge as unwise. A person who has never experienced deep grief may write it off as unbiblical. Modern-day stoics might question where my faith lies. However, a quick look at the Psalms would shed light on what it looks like to lament before God. Before you are words I long to say to the girl who is facing a similar road as me—the girl whose heart feels shattered under the weight of longing for motherhood. I write it for her, not me. And I write with tears for all of us: those who can’t conceive and those whose babies are in heaven.
Dear friend, who feels crushed by the negative pregnancy test in her hand, I weep with you. To those who haven’t experienced this grief, it may seem like one test—better luck next month. But to us who are walking through the thorn-filled path of sorrow called infertility, it acts as a dagger which pricks our heart, exposing the deep grief that lies within. The memories of countless months gone by with no baby, the flashbacks of positive tests that ended in the loss of babies, the reminder of a barren womb—it all comes pouring out like a river.
Over the last two weeks, I’ve pumped my body with blood thinner shots that feel like hot pokers in your stomach and an extra dose of a hormone that’s side effects mimic pregnancy symptoms. (For those who might be wondering, we are not doing IVF). My stomach is covered in bruises. The simple act of bending over or picking up my dog is a reminder of my current circumstance. The hormones fill my body with what seem to be signs of new life, granting false hope to my weary soul. All of this to no avail. No baby has taken root in my womb.
I share this because I know many of you are upon the roller coaster with me. It’s the ride at the park that no one dares to stand in line for. It’s too bumpy. It rattles your brain and beats your body. The loops make you pass out and the hills make you sick to your stomach. Worst of all, you fear it may never end. It just keeps starting over, refusing to come to a halt.
I wanna give you the answers because I want to have them in my pocket too. But the knowledge of why God gives and takes away isn’t ours. So while I can’t lead you to answers, I can lead you to scripture, which is where the Spirit led me this morning. I’ve found Psalm 77 to be the cry of my heart today and maybe it’s yours too.
I’m seeking the Lord and reaching out for help but truly, my soul refuses to be comforted (vs. 1-2). When I try to meditate, my spirit faints (v. 3). At times, I’m so troubled I can’t speak (v. 4). I wonder, have I been forgotten? Have I upset you, Lord? Why do I not feel your graciousness or your compassion? (vs. 7-9).
Here’s the truth I’m fighting to grasp and striving to recall: God is faithful. He has done great things in my life (most importantly, salvation) and his works are mighty (vs. 10-12). Soul, please remember the joy of your salvation. Remember how he crushed his Son on your behalf and adopted you as his own. God’s ways and thoughts are higher than mine because he is holy. Who is like him? (v. 13). Sometimes his way is through the ever billowing sea. And his path is against the high waters that seem all consuming (v. 19). Sometimes we feel lost and alone and fragile and broken as the waves of grief crash upon our backs. But he is near. He carries us as a Shepherd carries his flock (vs.19-20).
So I keep reaching. I keep crying out to him. I keep my face buried in his Word. I continue submitting to his plan even as I weep. I echo David and beg my soul to hope in God. And I say to my soul…be satisfied, be still. Christ will give you strength to bear it.
I cry aloud to God,
aloud to God, and he will hear me.
In the day of my trouble I seek the Lord;
in the night my hand is stretched out without wearying;
my soul refuses to be comforted.
When I remember God, I moan;
when I meditate, my spirit faints. Selah
You hold my eyelids open;
I am so troubled that I cannot speak.
I consider the days of old,
the years long ago.
I said, “Let me remember my song in the night;
let me meditate in my heart.”
Then my spirit made a diligent search:
“Will the Lord spurn forever,
and never again be favorable?
Has his steadfast love forever ceased?
Are his promises at an end for all time?
Has God forgotten to be gracious?
Has he in anger shut up his compassion?” Selah
Then I said, “I will appeal to this,
to the years of the right hand of the Most High.”
I will remember the deeds of the Lord;
yes, I will remember your wonders of old.
I will ponder all your work,
and meditate on your mighty deeds.
Your way, O God, is holy.
What god is great like our God?
You are the God who works wonders;
you have made known your might among the peoples.
You with your arm redeemed your people,
the children of Jacob and Joseph. Selah
When the waters saw you, O God,
when the waters saw you, they were afraid;
indeed, the deep trembled.
The clouds poured out water;
the skies gave forth thunder;
your arrows flashed on every side.
The crash of your thunder was in the whirlwind;
your lightnings lighted up the world;
the earth trembled and shook.
Your way was through the sea,
your path through the great waters;
yet your footprints were unseen.
You led your people like a flock
by the hand of Moses and Aaron. (Psalm 77 ESV)