In the last few years, I’ve learned a lot about friendship. Some I gave my complete trust to only to find a knife in my back. Some I thought would be in my life until death, but for whatever reason, it was just a season and they are gone.
And then there are the bold friends.
This is a group that rose from the ashes of grief we all shared. We shook ourselves off and started praying together. When I was up against some spiritual mountains that were threatening my peace and family, they didn’t ask if they could come and pray.
These friends told me when they were coming.
Their mission to pray so focused they didn’t want coffee or snacks. They prayed that kind of prayer where you feel the gates of hell shake. It was a top moment not just from this year, but my life.
I don’t see these ladies every day. We haven’t met in awhile to pray. But when we send up a request, the responses are immediate and real. Intentional. Bold.
And I am forever thankful for each one of them.
April is a month set aside to make people a little more informed when it comes to infertility. On April 28th our book, A Walk in the Valley: Christian Encouragement for your Journey Through Infertility releases. Our heart is make sure everyone who is walking or has walked in these shoes will have a copy so they can read our transparent stories and find hope and healing.
I thought I’d take some time to share aspects that are fresh in my mind as if they were yesterday. The book contains my full story but here is a topic that hurts to this day:
When people tried to say something about my infertility or miscarriage.
Our wedding song is Allison Krauss’ When You Say Nothing at All. As a title, it’s what I wish 99% of the people would have done. I know they meant well but the pain was excruciating. The Bible says in Proverbs 18:21, “The tongue has the power of life and death.” Oh, how true.
Again, you need to read the book to learn specifics but the Bible verses, pat answers and the replies I call the “Job’s friends comments” cut through me like a knife. People with no loss of their own suddenly had a ministry degree to measure my sins and level of faith against my menstrual cycle. Some gave advice for the next time. Others tried to make me understand in my pain it was the same as their one bad hair day or something that was definitely apples and oranges.
Then there was timing. When the first round of people did a great job spreading the happy news, but failed to mention the subsequent loss. So when an acquaintance asked about the baby, I had to give the update. It was awful. Or the glowing new mom sharing details regarding life post delivery. I wanted to sink in a hole.
The grief is that deep and that’s why most answers hurt so much. Years have passed but infertility hasn’t changed. It is a deep ache and sense of loss. If that’s not your story not even my own favorite Bible verse is going to help at that moment. Trust that in time, it will. But spouting it out as a “this covers all” statement makes things worse.
So what do you say to someone who is hurting from infertility and/or miscarriage?
If you haven’t walked that out, say nothing. Okay, nearly nothing. Admit you have no idea what to say but that you care, deeply. Open your arms and allow her the freedom to enter that hug and literally snot all over you. Give the opportunity for her to speak with transparency, which will include raw hurt. Don’t judge her. It is healthy to get those toxic thoughts out. When she is done, ask if you could pray. If she doesn’t want to at that time, promise you will, and do it. If you pray at that moment, be simple. Don’t wax eloquent, this isn’t about you. Be that gap that takes her hurt to the Lord.
If you have walked this out, I believe you can, with discernment, be bolder. I fell in a deep pit and my dear friend had the experience to call me out because she’d been there. She showed up when I said I wasn’t ready for company. She gave a deadline (after prayer) where I was able to share everything for one hour, no matter how vile. After that hour, she led me in a healing prayer. That. Changed. Everything.
I hope this helps and I hope you can read my heart here. I’m not about pushing a product. I am about women finding freedom through surrender in Christ. The toughest surrender for me was giving the Lord my infertility and then again the anger I had when I miscarried. I searched for a book that would help me feel less alone and I couldn’t find any. I believe A Walk in the Valley is a source of hope and a feeling of “they get it. They get ME.”
God bless you all.
In the beginning of 2013, I felt led to start my own blog. I wrote about God, but nothing in particular. I also ended up going through a divorce that year, which completely changed my life. I was married for 19 years. I was a stay at home mom for a great deal of that time. The last 3 years had been dedicated to my three children, because we pulled them out of public school to home school.
As I sit and type this up, I am thankful for so many things. It is hard to pick just one.
I am thankful for my Heavenly Father who has gotten me through the rough spots. This journey we call life is not an easy one. Being a Christian is not a “get out of trouble” free card. We are still going to have hard times. Jesus even said, in John 16: 33, “33 “I have told you these things, so that in me you may have peace. In this world you will have trouble. But take heart! I have overcome the world.”
It’s not an IF, it’s a WHEN type thing. God is always here for us, no matter what.
I am also thankful for my children, friends and family. Without them, I don’t know where I would be. They have made me laugh, hugged me as I cried and told me the truth when I did not want to hear it.
God has really moved in my life and heart over the past several months. He has started talking to me in every day ways. I have started writing those things for others to see that He is there, daily. He cares about our daily lives and He just wants to help us make it to tomorrow.
Take a moment and think about what you are thankful for. Maybe it’s totally different from me. And, guess what? That’s ok.
Jill Barlow is a mom of three, an administrative assistant to two, and a writer. Divorced after a lengthy marriage, she started finding God in her every-day life. Jill says, “God really cares and is interested in talking to us through the little things. Showing people His love and character in a way they might not have ever experienced is my passion.” You can find Jill at www.coffeewithsnoopy.blogspot.com and on Facebook .
It wasn’t that people didn’t offer.
“How can I help?”
“Do you want me to come over and unpack with you?”
And it wasn’t that I was too stubborn to say yes.
I turned down a lot of help because of this—
I wanted to do it my way.
I’m not Martha Stewart but I like to have organization.
I haven’t moved a lot, but when I did, there was an anxiety that was hard to shake.
The loving people who came to help who asked, “Where do you want this?” “Where does this go?”
I felt like I’d turn and someone was waiting on me. I absolutely come apart with that kind of pressure.
So, I’d ask what they thought. There was so much wisdom there.
I didn’t feel like I owned the process.
Nor did I feel like it was my kitchen.
But this time around, I unpacked each box and decided where things went on my terms. No pressure. No explaining why I went with this cupboard instead of that one. I might have made some foolish choices.
Yet, they were mine to make.
I’m tired and sore, but I’m pretty excited. I know where things are. I like their location.
And the best thing of all—it makes sense to me.
Do you like to be organized? Do you want help getting to that organized place, or like a toddler or me, do it yourself?