I am 1 in 8

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Infertility. 

Infertility affects 1 in 8 couples trying to conceive. This week is National Infertility Awareness Week – April 24 – 30, 2016. Most people are not familiar with infertility, its causes, its effects or the aftermath of infertility.

Ryan & Krystle Phillips are 1 in 8.

My husband and I have been battling infertility since 2008 and if you have read our journey then you know, infertility has created unimaginable, horrific, tragic, blessed, graceful, beautiful and unforgettable impressions in our lives. Through tragedy we have found hope, love, peace and grace, all at God’s feet.

Be Still My heart. 

My eyes well up with tears, tears that show vulnerability, fear, disappointment, neglect, hope, faith, love and wonder; tears for all the us for the couples/women/men that suffer/struggle/endure/overcome infertility. It’s not easy and it can try to suck the life out of you and everything around you.

Infertility doesn’t define me, who I am, what I am worth, or God’s promises for my life. 

Devil, get thee behind me! I used to allow infertility/loss/tragedy/incapability plague me, cripple me and keep me in the depths of despair and negativity. It was toxic. It was affecting my marriage, my friendships and my sanity. I would label myself as “infertile” and tell myself I am not worthy, God has forgotten me, I am not special enough to have children, I don’t deserve it. I would cringe at every commercial, every pregnant woman, baby showers, anything that had to do with children. Boy, was I more wrong than ever?! Infertility is not my label. To hell with that. I am a daughter of  the King, a most prized possession of the Lord of Lords and God has not forgotten me, He loves me and He will fulfill the deepest desires of my heart. Infertility is not who I am, its only part of my journey.

Y’all, I can’t even begin to tell you the enormous amount of tears I’ve cried. Over our lost babies, the surgeries, the mental and physical effects, over the future children we will have, over the children’s lives we impact and over the provision in our lives when the Lord rains down His blessings in conception. I spent most of my life making sure pregnancy wasn’t unplanned, then, right when I want to have a child – I can’t. Well can’t isn’t in my vocabulary. So, wth?! I have been in the depths of hell, at the feet of Jesus, in my prayer closet crying out to God to heal me, save me, bring me peace. He hears and feels every cry.

Infertility sucks. 

This journey, although not how my “amazing planner self” planned it out, has brought me to a place I never imagined being. A place of redemption, salvation, forgiveness, growth, healing, restoration and reconciliation. Then, I think, God’s plans for my life are greater than I can ever imagine. Y’all, my life is in the best place it has ever been. Not because I’m perfect, my husband is perfect, my marriage is perfect, or anything is perfect. Because of grace. His grace. I literally have worked over the last few years to give up my infertility and the entire topic of conception/children/expanding our family to God. I mean, really? What the heck can I do? Children are a divine and intentional blessing from God. No matter how many IVF treatments, labs, doctors, money or fertility attempts, the last check box to conception is God’s mighty hand. Even with adoption, God’s will has to be done to complete the child entering your life. I was missing every blessing in our lives and driving myself bonkers by labeling myself infertile and living in that black hole.

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Thank God for His grace. Thank God for His mercy. Thank God for His forgiveness.

This very blog started because of infertility. The restoration in my marriage accelerated because of infertility. The inseparable/irreplaceable/invaluable relationship I have with God strengthened through infertility. Every lesson is a blessing. God is working all things together for our good. It took me a very, very long time to see these blessings. I made a choice not to live in negativity anymore and be consumed by infertility. Rather, I decided to grow, improve, advance and excel through infertility. I pray my journey brings hope and love to others. I am a fighter and a survivor, but what God has done in my life and in our lives, is nothing short of a miracle. I am everything they said I wouldn’t be. Thank God.

To every single person dealing with infertility, you are not alone. I am there with you. I feel your pain. I understand the tears. I am fighting the same fight. I encourage you to look UP not down and know that your heart’s desires will come to fruition. In God’s timing. In the meantime, use your story, your journey, your legacy to bring hope to others and to continue building awareness for infertility. To those that know people suffering with infertility, sometimes a simple “I’m here for you, I don’t understand, but I am here to listen” is all you need to bring support and comfort. I can promise you, there are far more people close to you suffering with infertility than you probably even know about. Don’t feel pity and don’t feel sorry for those suffering with infertility. Feel empowered by their strength, their tenacity, their perseverance and their faith. Infertility Warriors.

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So, during this week it is bittersweet but it is also so exhilarating. God knew what He was doing in our lives. He knew I and we are strong enough to handle these storms and He knew what we needed when we had no clue at all. Never in a million years would I have wished to have multiple children and lose my mind, my job, my husband or my self-worth. I would have never wanted to trade children for salvation. I want children more than anything in the world but the blessings in my life, the path I am walking, the strength I am building and the love I am living are all grooming me for the greatest of God’s gifts that have my name on them.

Happily we are praying for provision and direction in our infertility journey. We will pursue expanding our family again, later this year, and we are seeking the will of God to cover us and guide us in the direction He knows is right. Who knows if we will conceive or be granted adoption, only God knows that. BUT, what we do know – we can’t be defeated, we are stronger together than separate, we can and will survive, God is fighting the battle on our behalf, God’s love is our greatest gift and no matter what, we are blessed beyond anything we deserve.

#StartAsking
#NIAW2016

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