I love fall weather, particularly once we pass Halloween (or as I call it – Reformation Day!) and get into November with all the glory of the cooler weather and full blown holiday preparations. I can’t get enough of the pumpkin flavored treats, changing leaves, warm drinks (coffee!!) and lots of opportunities to be around friends and family.
November and the Thanksgiving holiday mark the perfect time to reflect back on the year and recall all the reasons you have to be grateful. But... What if reflecting back causes your heart to hurt more than it causes it to swell with gratitude? I understand.
As time marches forward, and another holiday season is upon us, I can’t help but feel the sting of unmet expectations. One particular hope for a few years has been to have children. To have a little family of my own to make our own traditions with and to watch my son or daughter experience the joys of the holiday season for the first time. Instead, this fall marks five years of unsuccessfully pursuing adoption and two years of experiencing infertility. This is not what I hoped. Not what I expected.
One of the hardest moments of this journey was when our doctor told my husband and I what our chances were for getting pregnant. It was not good. I wanted the numbers to be different. I wished they weren’t true. I wanted to wake up from my dream. But it wasn’t a dream, this was our reality.
Shortly after we received this difficult news, I had a friend tell me what she does when she is troubled. She lives out the situation to the worst-case scenario in her mind. Once she gets to that worst case, she said she realizes, that even in that place, she would be okay because of her relationship with Jesus. She could still be thankful for her hope in Him. That was powerful and freeing for me.
“Consider it pure joy, my brothers and sisters, whenever you face trials of many kinds, because you know that the testing of your faith produces perseverance.” James 1:2-3
I’ve played forward in my mind the possible scenario: What if we never have children? Even so: Jesus. I don’t need Jesus plus children in order to find joy at the holidays, or any other season. With Jesus, no matter what, my life is full. For that, I am eternally thankful.
Meet the author!
Lauren McAfee is Corporate Ambassador for Hobby Lobby and PhD student in Christian Ethics and Public Policy. She grew up in Oklahoma City and loves her church community at CRBC. Lauren and her high school sweetheart, Michael McAfee, have been married for over eight years.