Winter is wearing off. The icy cold covering on my heart is slowly melting away. The seasonal shift from cold, grey winter to warm spring – to growth and new life – has been ongoing for about a year or so now.
Jay and I had come to a point, 3 or 4 years into this path of infertility, where we did not believe in much. Months and months of disappointment. Feeling the pain of a longing unexplainably unfulfilled is bad enough, but masking that pain for the sake of not dumping the weight of it all on our friends and family became utterly exhausting for us both. Our relationships with God were both hanging on by a thread and our relationship with each other had seen its fair share of bad days and disconnect. Our hope and faith was whittled away to almost nothing with each month of disappointment.
I felt like Artax in the Neverending Story…stuck in the swamp of sadness, unable to move…to do anything and yet, not let anyone know that this was our reality. (Smile…smile…smile and pretend everything is good.) Our situation – this infertility junk – felt TOO difficult for me. I was reaching my breaking point. Jay knew it…I knew it…and no one else.
Then like the Samaritan woman, Jesus met me. For one of the first times in my life, I had a real life experience with God and Jay witnessed it. Jay and I had just received the bad news that we were NOT pregnant again this particular month. I was an emotional mess and Jay, being the truly loving husband he is, knew he had to get me out of the house. We went for a movie and then I needed to go by Target to get some unmentionables. (Side note…at this point, I was playing this game where I wouldn’t buy these particular “items” in an attempt to sike out my cycle…maybe?! I don’t know…wink)
So, back to my story…he dropped me off to run in for a minute and get what I needed. As I roamed the aisles and made my way to the feminine products, I noticed a group of 3 or 4 teenage girls. They looked right at me and then laughed. Feeling like I was back in middle school again, I put on my best “get lost” face and kept walking. I was in no mood for judgmental teenagers. I grabbed what I needed and turned the corner. There they were, looking and giggling at me…again. Annoyed and with a little fearful pep in my step, I managed through the checkout line and called Jay to make sure he was ready with the car.
I walked out of the door and there they were again…like they were waiting for me. I thought surely I was going to get mugged (by little teenage girls) or worse, hit up for some fundraiser. Luckily, there was a police patty-wagon right out front. But I put my phone up to my ear quickly to pretend I was on the phone and to NOT to be bothered. I got in the car, shut the door and then Jay said “What’s going on?” I looked up and the girls were RIGHT outside my window. Totally freaked out, I rolled down the window and said “What’s up?”
There was a lady with the girls now. She said they were sorry to bother me (and stalk me) but that they were a youth group on a scavenger hunt (WHAT?!). She said they were praying before they got to Target and I matched the description of the woman seen in one of the girl’s visions. My first thought was “Oh great…those crazy PTL people are here in Pineville still”. So Jay and I played along and said “Oh cool, that’s so neat” and hoped that they would walk away.
She said that they felt like they had a “word” for me specifically. Coming from the Southern Baptist tradition, I didn’t encounter “words” of the prophetic nature EVER, so these kind of things freaked me out a little. She asked if there was something that we had been dreaming of or hoping for. Giving her the generic answer of “Sure…lots of things”, she didn’t seem convinced. Just then, the little teenage girl behind the woman spoke up and asked “Do you have any children?” My arms prickled with goosebumps. I told her the short version of “No”.
The girl teared up, looking down and disappointed. She said “Oh because I saw you. I saw you pregnant and with morning sickness.” Just then I joined her in the tears. I couldn’t stay silent and let her feel like her vision was totally wrong. I told them that we didn’t have children…that we really wanted them, but for some reason, we couldn’t have them. That’s when she looked up and got a HUGE smile on her face.
She said she felt like God wanted to tell me something. That He wanted me to “never to give up, to keep believing and have faith in Him. He wanted to blessed me.” And then they left. I looked at Jay and the glimmer in his eyes made me realize that what just happened was real…VERY real.
Now…I didn’t leave that experience thinking that I was going to get pregnant the next month (well, maybe I did for the next few months…oops:)), but after awhile, I knew. I knew that the experience that night was my “woman at the well” experience. God CAN do amazing things, but what He wanted me to know from that night was 1. He is real and 2. He SEES me and KNOWS me and LOVES me. He fully and completely knows me.
At this point, I’m not sure of very much, but I am sure of the fact that God is real because I encountered Him that night in a Target parking lot with a group of random, stalker teenage girls. Those girls didn’t provide me with an explanation of why our circumstances are the way they are, but they didn’t need to. I didn’t need an explanation.
That night marked the beginning of a new journey for me and for Jay. Not one of infertility, but one of renewal and growth. My heart was slowly being pulled from the swamp of sadness. Every day for the past year, I am reminded of that night at Target. I am reminded of the night that God introduced himself to me…not as a rule-maker or a puppet-master, but as my creator who SEES me and wants to bless me.
Until recently, we haven’t shared this story with too many people, but like the Samaritan woman at the well, it was her TELLING her story of her encounter with Jesus that changed other people’s lives. So I’m here, telling our story of when the warmth of spring crept into the cold, dark winter of my heart, hoping that it might be the story that brings someone else hope.