A Good, Good Father

I've seen many searching for answers far and wide

But I know we're all searching

For answers only you provide

'Cause you know just what we need

Before we say a word

You're a good good father

It's who you are, it's who you are, it's who you are

And I'm loved by you

It's who I am, it's who I am, it's who I am

My husband and I always knew we wanted children. It was my favorite topic in our pre-marital counseling. How many? How long did we want to wait? How would we discipline? Public or private school? Would they have his blue eyes or my wavy brown hair? Chubby cheeks and fat thighs? Yes, please!

But, I have always had an inkling that this would not be easy for us. I was a “late bloomer,” struggling through adolescence with things most of my friends gushed about in the dance team locker room. It was just always there, a small thought in the deepest corners of my mind, a small lie, that I was not a fertile woman. 

After 3 years of marriage, my husband Sam and I decided that we were ready! (As if it were us deciding where we wanted to go eat! Although, in our household, that decision alone causes disagreement.) We spent a year trying, taking my temperature, peeing on many-a-stick and other things I won’t mention here. I read books on family planning, gathered the advice of all of my friends, prayed, waited, hoped, waited some more, and begged the Lord for answers. It felt like the longest year of my life, the waiting. Like waiting to catch a train, only it was a train I wasn’t sure was coming, a train who’s schedule was a mystery, a train I kept looking around the corner to arrive but had left me standing in the cold. 

After a visit with a doctor, she confirmed what I had always wondered, that I had PCOS and stated that we would NEVER be able to have children without medical help. PCOS or Polycystic Ovarian Syndrome, is a endocrine disorder that causes cysts to grow on your ovaries. These cysts disrupt your hormones, causing a bunch of unfortunate side effects like acne, anxiety, infertility, obesity, increased risk of diabetes, etc. (Aren’t you jealous?) She suggested that we begin Clomid to spur on ovulation so we might be able to conceive. After our second round of Clomid, we discovered we were pregnant. 

I wrapped the positive test up and presented to my husband as a gift, we bought small onesies for our parents, told those closest to us, and spent our evenings dreaming and thinking of this small person growing inside me. Our little miracle! Everything was right in our world. God was good, and we were happy. 

At our 9 week appointment, we discovered that our little person, our bundle of hopes and dreams, had no heartbeat. A small, still figure on the sonogram screen. It was devastation at its worst. A week later, I had a DNC and found solace in only my bed. I struggled to understand, going between crying out to the Lord and shunning Him for abandoning me. How would such a loving Father turn his ears away from his children? Children who loved him, who went to church, who prayed all the right prayers and children who felt like they were asking for all of the right things. I was angry, sad, and terrified. 

Three days later, my husband dropped me off at my friend Danielle’s house. He had to go into work for a few hours and I was too upset and sad to be left alone at the house. I sat across from her, on the couch, pouring out my grievances, talking through trying to understand what had happened, and expressing my disappointments. And then, I voiced the question that had haunted my mind for years, “What if we don’t get to have children?” And then and there, my wise and beautiful friend, asked me this:

“Well, what if you don’t? Does that mean that the Lord is not still good?”

Stop traffic. Face to palm. 

Was I basing the goodness of the Lord on whether or not He was giving me what I wanted? Was I labeling Him as an “abandoner” because I felt like he wasn’t answering my prayers? Was I loving the Lord conditionally based on whether or not he gave us a child? Yes. Yes to all of this. 

It’s not that I didn’t believe Him, and it’s not like I didn’t know He loved me. But I felt like He had forgotten me, pushed me to the back of the closet like an old pair of shoes that didn’t quite fit anymore. But if I would have taken an honest look at myself, I would have realized that I thought the Lord was just “not as good” anymore because we were struggling. And that, my friends, was a lie. 

Two months later, I was pregnant again! (Thank you, Clomid.) At 6 weeks, I began to spot. I spent the weekend on my knees, begging the Lord for a small mercy. Three days later, our doctor confirmed we were having another miscarriage. I grieved. I cried. I spent time in bed. It felt like the same song, second verse. 

However, that Friday, at a friend’s Bachelorette party, I passed out from extreme abdominal pain. My parents had to come pick me up because my husband was in Colorado for a Bachelor party. I was scared, alone and unsure what was happening. After many hours of tests, pain, and tears, the doctor discovered I was bleeding internally from an ectopic pregnancy and needed emergency surgery. 

I think every woman who experiences infertility finds herself, at some point, in a pivotal moment. A standoff. A duel, if you will, between her and her infertility. I imagine it like a scene from an old western, standing back to back, pacing off, turning around at the exact moment to face each other, wondering who will give in first. A moment where she has to decide to either keep pressing on or to tap out and wave the white flag. 

This was my moment. My duel. And as I was rolled into the operating room, I heard the tenderest whisper. A small, quiet voice from the Lord, echoing the words of my friend,

“I AM good, Lauren. I AM good. Trust me.” 

My soul gave a collective sigh. Here it was. The reminder I needed to continue on, to keep from screaming “Please! Don’t take my womb!”, to put my trust back in the Lord, because He was good. He saved me. Not only did He save my life physically, but He saved me spiritually. He rescued me from the pit, sent HIS ONE AND ONLY SON to die in my place, and I had the audacity to question whether or not I thought He was good??!?!? His goodness was undeniable. It was (and still is) a constant, not ebbing and flowing with the struggles of my life, but a fact. The Lord is, and has always been, GOOD. It is his essential character. 

I wish that I could say that after I felt the Lord’s hand of protection over me, that suddenly I was content and trusting in where the Lord had us. But, alas, I was not. The fear and doubt followed me around, interrupting my mantra that the Lord was good. We decided then to seek the help of a fertility specialist. We did a lot of testing, a lot of crying, and a lot of praying. Two weeks after an HSG, while we were patiently waiting for a cycle to start for IUI, I yelled at my husband for watching TV too loud. And then I took a pregnancy test. And then, I fell to the floor in the kitchen because it was positive. 

Oh, it's love so undeniable

I, I can hardly speak

Peace so unexplainable

I, I can hardly think

As you call me deeper still

As you call me deeper still

As you call me deeper still

Into love, love, love

It was unexplainable. Our fertility doctor was confused. We could never really pinpoint the date of conception. But here it was, the goodness of the Lord smacking me right across the face. Our miracle baby. We made it past 6 weeks. At our 10 week appointment, I cried big, ugly tears in the doctor’s office because we had made it farther than ever before. At 15 weeks, we found out it was a girl. At 20 weeks, we had a scare because she was displaying abnormal genetic markers. And, at 39 weeks, on December 20th, we welcomed a healthy baby girl. Our gift, our living symbol of goodness from the Lord, our Meyer Jane. 

I would like to hope that I would still be believing the goodness of the Lord even if we didn't have a baby. I don’t know, y’all. Infertility sucks. It tests the depths of everything you know to be true, things like love, marriage, God, family.

But, I do know this, that even if I don’t always BELIEVE it in that moment, that I will go on PROCLAIMING it. 

He is a good, good Father, friends. A Father who loves us, who desires to be close to us, who speaks to us through the trials of our lives. A Father who blesses us, who hears our prayers, who battles daily for our souls, who surrounds us with a community of believers. A Father who creates life, who leads us to his word, who gave HIS only Son so we could be with him eternally. 

And, he is a Father who whispers to us, in the bleakest days and the darkest nights, that HE IS GOOD. 

I've heard a thousand stories of what they think you're like

But I've heard the tender whispers of love in the dead of night

And you tell me that you're pleased

And that I'm never alone

You're a good good father

It's who you are, it's who you are, it's who you are

And I'm loved by you

It's who I am, it's who I am, it's who I am

Lauren Himmelhaver leads a Waiting in Hope support group in Fort Worth, Texas where she lives with her husband and two children. Find her on Instagram: @laurenhimmelhaver

-Waiting in HOPE- A Good, Good Father