As he passed by, he saw a man blind from birth. And his disciples asked him, “Rabbi, who sinned, this man or his parents, that he was born blind?” Jesus answered, “It was not that this man sinned, or his parents, but that the works of God might be displayed in him.” – John 9:1-3
For the longest time I believed that my infertility was a curse. I actively believed that I was being punished by God for something that I had done in my past. Heaven knows He certainly had a large enough list of wrong doings to choose to punish me for. I guess that’s how I viewed God growing up, as this vengeful, wrathful, authority figure who was just waiting for me to screw up again and again. It was like I knew God had seen through to my deepest fear and said, “Yep! That’s the one! That’s what I’m going to do to you to prove to you how you are off the narrow path.” My worst fears had come true and I was actively living out my greatest nightmare.
Now there’s a lot of story in the middle of all of those really sorrowful times that I’ll address in future posts, but I don’t believe it’s right to begin there. The reason is that I simply can’t fathom how fruitful it would be for a young woman or a man reading this, dealing with the same troubles, to read through years of travesty and not make it to the best part of the story. So we’re going to start with the joy. In September 2012, after 6 years of failed infertility treatments, miscarriages, and adoption cases that fell through, we adopted our daughter. She had just turned six years old a couple of weeks prior. It was/is/will be the best day of our lives. On that breezy, beautiful day in September, God showed up in an incredibly big way and was very clear to me. It wasn’t a punishment. I wasn’t forsaken. My life was NOT about God making me the poster child for showing others what happens when you lead a life of self and sin. On that extraordinary day in September, God showed up and said, “I’m here, I’ve been here and I’m going to bring you a testimony. Go yell it from the mountaintops!!! Oh, and p.s. I’ve loved you more deeply than you’ll ever be able to conceive of, but you’re going to start finding that out beginning now. This is your turning point.” It was my turning point. She is my testimony. My daughter is God’s grace and mercy in one little short spunky living and loving package. Every time I look at her I’m reminded that I serve a God who is sovereign, and so much greater than any hardship that we may face in life. Leading her to faith in Christ has been a unique and privileged opportunity, because we are walking that path of learning together. Both ‘babes in Christ’ as my dear friend puts it. I can’t imagine life any other way.
I encountered the verse in the book of John on a warm afternoon drive to Fort Worth with my family. My husband and I had decided to begin our daily intake of the word in the book of John, and I thought it would be a great thing to read aloud while we were traveling. I remember the first time I read the verse my mind immediately shot to my infertility. I read it out loud a second time and looked at my husband and said, “Oh my gosh, did you hear that?” He smiled and nodded, and I immediately had to pick-up my cell phone and text our pastor the verse. You know that moment when the teacher walks over to you in class and looks down at your work and gives you that approving smile and nod as if to say, “Well done!” That’s what that moment was like. Yes, Carly, yes you finally get it. Neither the afflicted man nor his parents caused his blindness. He wasn’t being punished, but rather it was all for a greater Godly purpose. The disciples were just walking along thinking, “Gee I wonder what this guy did??” Jesus turns to them and tells them he didn’t do a thing. The blind man was not representative of the absence of well-being, but rather was fully representative of the presence of God at work. My story used to be about infertility, but it became a story about grace and mercy. I used to live as a portrait of sadness and brokenness, but now all I can do is talk about this incredible wealth of light in my life. It was never all in vain, but so that God’s goodness, mercy, and sovereign power could be displayed through my life.
There are countless people in this world. When I try to imagine God loving me individually sometimes I feel like I’m the short kid in the crowd that can’t quite see over everybody’s shoulders. When I think of this testimony I am just blown away. Of all the people in this world who have lived purer lives than mine, God chose me and my life and my family to display the magnitude of who He is. That is humbling. The takeaway here is to remember who makes the sun come out at the end of a rain storm. Who makes the mountains of impossibility move like they were nothing but grains of sand? The next time you’re rounding to the finishing line of some marathon period of despair remember to stop and give glory to the One who carried you home, and then spend the rest of your life proclaiming it to a world that is on their way to their own turning point in life. As my dear friend once told me, you can’t bask in the glory of miracles without looking to the One who makes them possible. God is good, and I am grateful. Be blessed friends!