The Rough Edges of Pain

    Jun 28, 2021 | by Andrea Stephens

    What? July? How did that happen? Anyone else wondering the same thing? The good thing about time flying by is that oftentimes distance from unhappy events helps to soften the rough edges of pain. I’m participating in Elijah, the Women’s Evening Online Study by Priscilla Shirer. One question this past week was to think of a time when you experienced a surprise sustenance from the Lord (Elijah was fed bread and meat by ravens when he was alone by the brook in Cherith). What came to mind was not physical sustenance but emotional sustenance. I’ll explain.

    I spent over 12 years dealing with endometriosis, ovarian cysts, and fluctuating hormone levels—that together were preventing a pregnancy. Years of doctor’s appointments, blood work, vaginal ultrasounds, fertility drugs, seven surgical procedures and still, the highly anticipated line on the pregnancy test never appeared.

    My doctor suggested we consider using donor eggs or adopt frozen embryos. We could look through the donor book to select someone with characteristics that would match mine—or those we felt were more desirable. Maybe someone who was naturally athletic or highly intelligent. Actually, we knew this wasn’t for us. We chose to draw the line at third party intervention. When the next painful cyst appeared, I made the decision to have a hysterectomy and be done with it all. At age 39, I had worn out my faith and my hope, ready to raise the white flag of surrender. I was sad and disappointed that this was going to be God’s choice for me—childless.

    As surgery day approached, I cleared my travel and speaking schedule for a month, fully expecting and even planning a deep dive into depression. But it was the weirdest thing. The depression never came. The boxes of tissue, faithfully standing by ready for duty, went unused. I experienced an emotional sustenance—the Holy Spirit rising up within me to provide the peace and strength I needed to get through this difficult time. 

    Even though I chose not to use donor eggs or adopt frozen embryos, I’m careful not to pass judgement on people when they have had to make a tough moral decision. I’m not in their shoes.

    I bring up this topic as it is part of the story in our Women’s Book Club Selection Someone Like You by Karen Kingsbury. One couple experiences success in their pregnancy pursuit but were left with several frozen embryos they did not plan to use. The embryos could be discarded or adopted out. Either choice has consequences. Hope you can join us July 8 at Book Club to talk about this Kingsbury novel.

    Surely God is my help; the Lord is the one who sustains me.

    - Ps. 54:4

    Cast your cares on the Lord and he will sustain you; he will never let the righteous be shaken.

    - Ps. 55:22

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