I was so angry at God. How could he let this happen? We had been trying to conceive for seven years. We’d done all the medications, surgery for endometriosis, 4 IUIs, and moved on to our first IVF cycle.
Then we got our first positive pregnancy test! It was a blissful, amazing time, until I was 9 weeks along, and the doctor couldn’t find a heartbeat. In that moment, everything I believed about God came crashing down. If he loved me, how could he let me lose this baby?
The next three years, we went on to do six more IVF cycles and lost four more babies. We were thankful that two of those cycles resulted in twin pregnancies. Each pregnancy we lost a twin, while the other survived through delivery. We now are grateful to have two sons.
I was like a train wreck during that time. I was barreling down the tracks, headed toward my destination of becoming a mother. I was willing to destroy my marriage, my finances, my friendships, and my relationship with God to get to my destination of motherhood. I believed that I could just run from God and live my life the way I wanted to. I put all Bibles away in my house, ran from church or any talk of Christ, and chose to be a bitter, angry person.
When our first son was born in 2009, I thought that everything I had plowed through would just heal instantly, but it didn’t. I had spent so many years running away and hurting others that it would take some time to heal those wounds. Praise God that no matter how far or how fast I tried to run, he never left me. I might not have felt his presence, but he was there. I might not have heard him speaking, but he was whispering in his still small voice. For about a month I heard a message of fear over and over and over again.
God was softening my heart to hear him again, and he was telling me to stop fearing the hurt and the loss. Instead of running FROM him, I chose to run TO him.
I may never understand why I have five babies in heaven. But I’ve come to understand that God is good and loving and sovereign and mighty. He allowed me to plow my train through so many people and so many things. All that my anger created was chaos, hurt, depression, bitterness, and emptiness. I have known Jesus my whole life, but I finally saw my NEED for a Savior. I could only see those present moments that I was living in, but thankfully God is eternal and he saw what was to come. He had his plans set for me.
I am not the same person I was before infertility. God has grown my faith to know him more, to understand his love for me more, and to trust him more.
When I was in the thick of my hurt, it was hard to hear Scripture. But I truly believe what it says in James 1:2: “Consider it pure joy, my brothers and sisters, whenever you face trials of many kinds.” Trials grow our faith in Jesus, our Savior. No matter what, my life is his!
Brandy Sheltraw has been married for 24 years and is a mother of two boys, ages 7 and 10. She leads a Waiting in Hope group in The Woodlands, Texas.