infertility · Poetry

How Thoroughly God Gives Life!

In 2020, while a child grew in me, I returned to the thing I had loved to do as a child. Writing poetry. And I wrote the years down. Infertility. My silent screaming. God’s history of love to me. My grief. The garden. The starkness of the bathroom floor. The healing. The escape from the grave. Hope Gives a Eulogy. How thoroughly God gives life! His miracles are many. His presence is everything.

artwork by the talented Emaline Westbrook!

It’s been one year since I published Hope Gives a Eulogy. What a gift to learn I could love God with all of me, fully trust Him and live in hope from Him without ever trying to make infertility the good thing. I could hate the pain without bitterness, grieve the loss extensively, and still completely love and be loved by God. I could experience His kindness without contorting His kindness into the brokeness of infertility. Anything good I experienced during infertility is because God changed it. He made the childless story different. He gave the barren woman LIFE. He didn’t let infertility stay the story.

And that was all before my my children.

And as I wrote my son in Hope Gives a Eulogy,

You were never missing,

But so many things were–

Joy and peace and healing,

Dreaming, breathing, being.

A real hopeful kind of living.

So I learned how to play

Hide and seek.

Sometimes, buried treasure

Is a box of lost and found.

And the garden is half-priced

Daisies in a grocery cart.

Maybe the eulogy is a prelude

For new life.

See what I mean?

I’ve got much more to tell you,

And I’m so glad you’ve come along!

I can’t wait to show you all the best

Hiding spots.

(There’s a lot.)

This is a story I’ll be telling forever. To my children, and should God give them, my children’s children. “Come and hear, all you who fear God,and I will tell what he has done for my soul.” Psalm 66:16

Truly God has kept my soul among the living! (Psalm 66:8)

It has been a profound journey of hope and healing. God turned my life into spring and then He gave me two children and expanded that springtime in huge ways. I know this story of God’s love and glory is far from over. I’m glad to have part of it written down. To have shared it with you. And here we are one year later.

To celebrate one year of Hope Gives a Eulogy out in the world, you can purchase this personal collection of 96 poems for half off the original price! This is the best deal to date and the offer goes through Mother’s Day should you find yourself or know a friend who is in a spring-less season this Mother’s Day. May these poems meet you wherever you are. Let me wait with you for however long it takes spring to burst in your soul again. And then some.💕

Perhaps the eulogy is, indeed, a prelude for new life.

-S.V.F.

infertility

When a Lot *Doesn’t* Happen in a Year

Haven’t we all said it? Or hoped it? Or desperately wished it to be so? “Well, a lot can happen in a year!”

But what if it doesn’t? Or doesn’t feel like it does? How do we watch friends and family go by without us? Survive another night feeling left behind or afraid of being left behind?

What happens when 2023 comes and it isn’t “our year” and we just look at a trail of days that seemingly led us nowhere. Here we go into more days that are just days where nothing happens, but people cheer from the sidelines with rings on fingers and babies on hips shouting, “A lot can change in a year! It did for me!”

But I want you to know you don’t have to afraid or intimidated by this phrase. It’s true that 2023 may come without fireworks or fanfare or what you hoped for.

So let me tell you about 2017.

I don’t remember much of it, really. It was early stages infertility. It was heartbreaking in more ways than one. I had a lot of hard things to say and admit. I don’t remember much life that happened that year. I remember it like death and loss and wounds just pouring out.

But then 2018 came.

And it continued being hard and escalated in April. Then April became a turning point and Mother’s Day in May found us rolling out of Grocery Outlet with a cart full of flowers. Ever so gently, I woke up to life. I sensed I missed so much in 2017, but I didn’t really feel regret for it. I just felt the gift of waking up to the fullness of life around me. I was thankful I wasn’t missing it. I don’t know if I could have felt 2017 any differently if I tried. I’m so human, and I was in the very vulnerable stages of finding life cut out so differently and myself scraped against those ridges. I had very real, distressing emotions and questions I needed to bring to God.

It was a time where the phrase, “A lot can happen in a year!” didn’t quite fit. . .and yet 2017 was woven into the fabric of a story where a lot did happen. A lot of good. A lot of healing. A lot of growth and joy, happiness and light-heartedness, miracles and spring and life!

It could be that a lot won’t happen or change this year, and you don’t have to be afraid of this or frustrated by this phrase which can be oblivious and short-sighted. So what if it is! And so what if people have the the “first comes loves then comes marriage then comes a baby in a baby carriage.” That’s not a bad thing and should be celebrated.

But you are not as lost as you think. Your year won’t be wasted. You may not remember much of it, but with God, it will be woven into the fabric of a story where a lot does happen. A lot of good. A lot of healing. A lot growth and joy, happiness and light-heartedness, miracles and spring and life! If you’re not celebrating at the start of 2023 (or this year for that matter!), I get it. I’ve been there. Will be there again.

Keep turning to God. “Those who look to him are radiant and their faces shall never be ashamed.” (Psalm 34:5). The year itself may feel like nothing. You may forget it. You may feel disappointed by the whole of it. But it won’t be lost. It won’t be wasted. It won’t be the hopelessness you may feel it is right now. There’s no rush and the pressure isn’t on you or me to make things good and okay. God will do the impossible. He will wrap our years into His arms and from His hand we will receive good. And in His presence we will be comforted and emboldened to live. We will be safe to grieve and to rejoice.

A lot may *not* happen or change this year.

So what if it doesn’t?

God isn’t bound by the days on a calendar. His stories last long and rich and eternal.

Breathe.

Pressure is off.


It Wasn’t All Flowers, poem

Why I Wrote Hope Gives a Eulogy

Your Body Is Strong (To the Women Facing Infertility)

Tomorrow in our Garden Lullaby series I’m sharing thoughts + the best photo from 2018. It correlates with this post and my “waking up to life.” Don’t miss it!

 

Garden Lullaby · infertility

Why I’m Still Writing about Infertility

“This is no thaw. This is spring. What are we to do? Your winter has been destroyed, I tell you! This is Aslan’s doing.”

I have never read the entire Chronicles of Narnia series, but this year, I put them all on my reading list. I read one or two chapters a day. When I read this quote in The Lion, The Witch, and the Wardrobe by the White Witch’s dwarf, of all characters(!), I loved it. It’s a beautiful, triumphant quote all on its own, but it felt so profound to the story I have lived and will surely live again.

Soon we will return to our Garden Lullaby series where I go back in time and share how God used the garden to help me see His love and the life He wanted for me though my womb was empty and my pain was deep. And somewhere along the way I could say in my soul, though not all was right in my world, “This is no thaw. This is spring!” God had healing for me inside and out. I still grieved. I still struggled. But I could breathe. And laugh. I woke up to life. And began to live. I may be taking this C.S. Lewis quote out of context, but it certainly applies!

Not all was well, but I was becoming well. Winter was being destroyed. Month after month. Year after year. When “NO!” screamed in my ears and the bathroom floor felt like home. It didn’t feel like winter was being destroyed, but God was doing it until suddenly there it was,

This is no thaw. This is spring!”

You may wonder why I am still writing about infertility when I have a son, a daughter due in a few months, and have already written about the healing in a whole book of 97 poems. So here’s at least one reason.

The miracles of God don’t get old. They don’t go away. I’m still living it!

“Come and see what God has done: He is awesome in His deeds toward the children of man.” -Psalm 66:5

Come and hear, all you who fear God, and I will tell you what He has done for my soul.” -Psalm 66:16

Reminders of the spring miracle God did within me keep showing up. And will forever. In my two children, in my garden, in books I read, in poetry I’m inspired to write, in my history with God that touches my present and my future. God’s works are wonderful and they are profound.

I’m not done seeing.

And I’ll keep on sharing all I’ve seen God do.

In those years, I never thought to myself those exact words, “This is no thaw. This is spring!,” but I certainly lived it. Winter couldn’t last forever. Not even when infertility did. Spring filled my soul when nothing filled my womb. And spring greeted my children when they came around and that same spring was beautifully multiplied by their presence.

Miracles everywhere.

What light I have known and life I have lived before, during, after.

This is no thaw!

infertility

Those May Marigolds

Garden Lullaby, July 20, 2018

Honestly? Of all the flowers we bought that May weekend, these marigolds were my least favorite. They were a bit beat up. They were kinda just hanging on. They weren’t that pretty. I was okay with getting them because they seemed like a neutral flower that would compliment the rest of the prettier flowers.

Now? They are vibrant, healthy, and many! They are slowly spilling out of the flower pot. And I love these marigolds. I love how hard they fought to live. And I love that they burst with life over and over again! My opinion of them didn’t alter the outcome of their beauty.

You and me? We are marigolds too. Our opinion of this season doesn’t change the outcome of God’s beautiful purpose and plan. Our wilted hearts become vibrant beneath the shadow of His wings. Our soul can spill out in celebration, and our life is rich in His love and promise now.


about this Garden Lullaby series

Holidays on Broken Backs

If December Is Hard, poem