On the Walls

It’s been a sick rollercoaster ever since we got married. And it’s my fault.

I need to get pregnant. 

I need to get pregnant.

I need to get pregnant.

Every month I felt like junk “for no good reason,” every time the test read negative, it was a colossal discouragement. A six foot overhead wave that put me on the floor. Every time.

Even still, I knew I had another option on the horizon: a fertility pill that basically makes you super susceptible. It’s well known and it works. My doctor suggested it because of my history with endometriosis and the issues I continue to have. And as time rolled on–given the fertility window I was given in March (6-12 months)–we figured there was no point in messing around.

But when my HSG test came back clear and my fertility-related hormones actually came back good (a small miracle), we decided to put the pill off for a more few months. My doctor thought it was very possible we could make it happen on our own. HSG tests are known to actually improve fertility immediately following, and given my new results, we thought we’d give it a shot.

I tracked things, popped prenatals, no luck. And there we were chipping away at that window.

So, last month I took the pills. And they seemed to be doing something, because one week in, the emotional upheaval began. My fuse shortened drastically, I was hit by waves of depression, I cried at almost everything. But that’s par for the course. And I had high hopes this was going to be it.

But it was bad. So bad. Trev suggested I take a break if this month didn’t pan out how we hoped. That I focus on feeling better. If we were supposed to get pregnant, God would make it happen. I told him we couldn’t do that. We had to keep going.

And so launched the waiting game.

A few days before we were due to find out, we took my sister to the coast. It was her birthday and sitting in the sand while the waves crash is sort of her love language. We made avocado toast and coffee on the beach and strolled around the Headlands.

What little activity we did that day was enough to kickstart a pain spike. I was crushed all the way home, knowing I had to function through it the rest of the day. And we had a meeting scheduled with a local ministry later in the afternoon. A ridiculously incredible group called City of Refuge.

Every ounce of me wanted to bail. My pain had gotten worse and the discouragement had already gripped me like a hungry boa. It was the kind of pain I knew meant another negative.

I would normally use this kind of situation as grounds to back out. I was hurting too much, I was too emotionally drained. In fact, had bailed on this team before. But they never shamed me for it. They just loved me and told me to come as I was.

But I never did.

Until that day.

I hadn’t seen Loren and Rachelle in quite some time and we spent the first few minutes catching up. Heidi and Trev were both at the meeting too and it eventually came up that I was still dealing with this stuff. I said it was okay. It was fine. But it wasn’t fine. It was discouraging as hell and I was wrecked.

Some places are thick with the presence of God. You just walk in and get slammed with the Spirit whether you’re ready for it or not. City of Refuge is that kind of place.

Years ago, God had placed it on Loren and Rachelle’s heart to build a house of refuge in the belly of the hood. Sacramento’s Oak Park district is riddled with violent crime, trafficking, and at-risk youth. It’s a place you don’t go.

But Loren and Rachelle went there. Bought a house there. Became neighbors there. Listened to God there. And He’s been moving big time.

“You know what’s interesting?” Rachelle turned to me somewhere in their overview of the ministry. “So many of the women giving their time to City of Refuge are sick.” She meant literally sick. Lyme disease, cystic fibroids, autoimmune diseases, endometriosis.

“And God’s just meeting and using you guys where you’re at.”

I choked up. But I stuffed it like a pro.

And then they took us to the house.

It was an utter and undeniable miracle, this place. One of those “this was only God” type of things. Just months ago, the eight bedroom structure was a well known trap house. For years it had been home to violence, addiction, despair, fear. It was trashed beyond redemption–toilets kicked over, obscenities decorating every wall.

I won’t get into the full story, because if I did I would’t do it justice. Somebody needs to write about it. But somewhere along the line, the house was gutted, remodeled and delivered to City of Refuge. A new safe home for exploited women and children. The couple toured us through the redeemed rooms, spelling out the miracles that had taken place.

Rachelle stopped in the downstairs bathroom and took out her phone. She told us it was the last room in the house that had been painted. Something that was odd to her at first, because it naturally should have been one of the first.

“But I know it’s because God wanted me to see this.” She clicked into her photos and showed us. Prayers written all over the walls. Prayers from people living in sheer torment.

God I’m scared.

God help me.

God I know you can do miracles. Do one here.

Broken people crying out from the pit. And their cries were heard. Once a trap house, now a place of refuge. Once a hub of chaos, now a structure of hope.

Ashes to beauty.

As Rachelle told me more of the story, I spaced. Leaning against the doorframe of the bathroom, something heavy came over me. It’s like the lights came on. Or something was lifted away.

God do you even want me doing this?

And I suddenly saw it for what it was. The last four months I had wrapped a white-knuckle choke hold on this idea that I had to have a baby. That I was given this timeline so I could do something about it. I was hanging my whole heart on pregnancy. And I was killing myself to make it happen.

Trev has always wanted to adopt. I thought it would be cool maybe after we had kids of our own. But something in me shifted–drastically–as I listened to stories of the homeless and the hopeless and the exploited and the broken coming home.

Some kid needs love.

Adoption wasn’t a cool thought anymore. It was going to happen.

I mean, who am I to decide how our family comes into being, anyway? Who am I to stuff God into a box? What if He wants something different?

Maybe He has something bigger in mind.

In that moment I knew I wasn’t going to take the pills again. And the tears came pounding at the door because fear was just rooted out of me and this alien peace had taken its place. Even if I wanted to, I couldn’t chalk it up to happenstance.

That was Jesus. In a bathroom. In the hood.

The next day I got that definite, absolute negative. My test results had been good, I had taken the miracle drug, we had followed all the steps. Still, nothing.

But for the first time in months, I didn’t care. Because I know God is up to something insane. The same God who carried me through debilitating pain. The same God who moved me to Sacramento. The same God who brought me Trev. The same God who just dropped a full-time writing job in my lap.

His creativity does not stop there. It only gets better.

And I want to be ready for it.

 

This morning I woke up at 4:30am (I’m not sleeping through the night these days) and I saw that stupid fertility window in a whole new way. I used to think God blessed me with the knowledge of a time frame so I could do something about it. But in my discomfort in the dark, He dropped a thought in my head:

What if I’m setting you up for a miracle?

8 thoughts on “On the Walls

  1. Wow. This just struck me straight though the heart. My husband and I have been intentionally trying to grow our family for just about 5 years now, going through IVF for the past year. The doctors call us both rockstars with our health (that’s sort of a blessing and a curse in the circumstance), and yet nothing has worked. I wouldn’t be able to do it without faith in God and while we are open to parenting in whatever form that takes in our lives the waiting game is a mother f*cker (excuse my language). I know there are grander plans in play and when we have our little one(s) we will love the heck out of them but it’s definitely an uphill battle in the meantime. Thanks for sharing something that is so precious and deeply heart wrenching. ✌🏼❤️

    Liked by 1 person

    1. This is a massive encouragement to me Lauren. I can’t thank you enough 🖤 haha and no pardon necessary – I’m a firm believer in telling it like it is. And this stuff is so gnarly. I’m genuinely so inspired by your story and your faith throughout. The waiting game is a giant MF and I’m humbled by your attitude. Thank YOU. For sharing this with me. Much love and prayers and hi-fives. Praying for your fam!🖤

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  2. Hi Hannah,
    I just recently discovered your writing, and have been so touched and encouraged by it. I feel like your words are so honest and laced with truth in a way that my heart and soul have needed. While going through some stuff, he has used this to point me back to Himself. Thank you for sharing your stories and thoughts. I appreciate it and have been reminded of who He is through you. I pray peace and grace in the midst of your journey.

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    1. Dang Laura I’m super humbled thank you for this 🖤🖤 it is hugely affirming for me when I hear of God using this situation to encourage others. My hope is that God would use my story (and my dumb stubbornness) to highlight His immense creativity and relentless and radical love for us. It’s straight real. And it knocks me over again and again.

      If any of this points even one person to Him or resonates or offers encouragement in any way – the process is well worth it. Thank you again Laura! 🖤 praying God would show you his love for you today.

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  3. Hannah,
    Not sure if you remember me, but your mom can fill you in if you don’t! Hope and Mark are my kids!
    I suffered terribly with endometriosis, had hysterectomy at 26. Hope and Mark are adopted , and we also have a 14 year old boy we adopted when he was 4! These three are the blessing of the Lord for Bill and I! I cannot love them any child more if they were my blood!
    I wish you the best in the adoption journey, please feel free to contact me if you have any questions!
    God bless you and your husband on your journey! You won’t regret it!

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    1. Oh my gosh of course I remember you! Hi Carolyn!🖤🖤 Thank you so much for this – it is so encouraging. I didn’t know you dealt with endometriosis too. I’m just thankful that right now we’re at a place where we’re at peace with whatever happens. I’ll definitely be reaching out when we get to around to starting the adoption journey. Thanks for this😊 Much love!

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