I was recently on a flight home from Israel, following an amazing trip led by the Israeli Tourist Board. In the seats next to me were a couple of teenage girls who were flying for the first time. For the first three hours, we had a very smooth flight, and there was much movement throughout the cabin as families congregated in the aisle, sharing food and stories. These two girls were laughing and giggling together, very much enjoying their experience, as they stood next to their mothers seated in the seats behind us. As the cabin crew made their rounds for dinner, the plane suddenly dipped, and the girls giggled... more with hysteria than a genuine sense of fun and adventure! Then the plane repeated its turbulent manoeuvre, and they both collapsed back into their seats laughing while grabbing the others girls hands and looking at each other wide-eyed, trying to make sense of what was happening. They looked to their parents for reassurance the plane wasn't about to fall out of the sky, even though it felt like it was; they also checked across to see how I was reacting. For the record... after retrieving my stomach from the ceiling above me, I continued tap-tap-tapping on my laptop, as I was working on a report about the trip.
There are many times in life when we hit turbulence, when life suddenly takes an unexpected turn and we look to someone... anyone... for reassurance. It may be a situation others are experiencing at the same time and we watch how they respond; or we look to someone older, wiser and seek their assurance that what is happening is not as scary as it seems to be.
And then it hit me... Infertility is very much like that! As we grow up, we have dreams about meeting our Mr Right, getting married and having two, three, four... a football team... number of children, preferably one of each, whose names we chose while the teacher was out of the room with our friends. We imagine how they may look, taking the best bits of ourselves and the current guy we have our eyes on... there are even apps for merging the faces of you and your man in order to see how your baby might look. Yep... I'm serious!! (NEVER tried it, though!!) Then suddenly, we reach our mid-thirties and realise the dream hasn't quite worked out as it should have done, and we're surrounded by this thick fog of turbulence... faith, emotions, future plans and fear are all impacted. How on earth am I supposed to deal with this? How on earth am I supposed to go from the smoothness that life had once been, to suddenly dealing with this huge, dark, cloud hanging over my head, and over my future hope?
I looked to the Bible, to see how women in my ancestry had dealt with it. I looked to friends who had experienced the same turbulence, to see how they were handling it. I looked to the internet, to dig out what I could about what was happening, and the correct way to respond... sometimes I found assurance, other times I didn't.
Back to the flight, as the turbulence continued to affect the plane, our pilot switched on the seatbelt sign, and the flight attendant's voice calmly explained the situation we were encountering.
My Pilot, is God. He knows the full extent of the turbulence in my life, and He is fully aware of what's ahead in my life. I may not be blessed with children right now, but I have so many other things around me that I am thankful for, and instead of looking at the difficulty of infertility and all that it brings, I need to make the choice to enjoy the life He has blessed me with. Oh, that's not to say the turbulence doesn't bother me - it does, a great deal. But I'm done with sitting in my seat, rocking with fear and staring out of the window to see how quickly the ground is rushing towards me before impact. And so... I continue with the tap-tap-tapping of living each day as best I can. Trying to rest in God's shalom instead of allowing hysteria to overwhelm me. I say trying.... because there are times when it seems much worse than other days... these are the days when the turbulence threatens to drown me the most... that's when I need God's shalom the most.
Father God, I pray that You will help me to rest in your shalom, because honestly.... I can't always! I pray that You would be with every woman who experiences the turbulence of insecurity and all that it brings: fear, insecurity, hopelessness, intimidation, anxiety etc... replacing this with a deep sense of stillness - Your shalom. Be the pilot through the fogginess and whatever Your plans for everyone of us who longs for a child of our own, be the hope of the future You have destined for us. Oh God, may we really rest in Your shalom. In Yeshua's name.