Coming Out of the TTC Closet
My inspiration for this week's post comes from my new favorite magazine, The Magnolia Journal, where the current summer issue features people who demonstrate what Joanna Gaines calls "quiet confidence". Thrust into the limelight on the heels of Fixer Upper, Joanna has been forced to grapple with how to stay true to herself while an abundance of popular opinion swirls around her.
Lucky for us, the crew behind Magnolia Journal saw fit to include in the issue not only one, but two women who have faced infertility and pregnancy loss. The first is a woman identified only as Brittany, a pastor's wife who has walked through infertility and is now expecting her first child. The second is Sara Brawner, whose journey through recurrent miscarriage led she and her husband Billy Jack to foster, and eventually adopt, four kiddos before giving birth to a biological child. You can read more about Sara and Billy Jack's journey here, here, and here, and view their video about their daughter, Willa, below (Warning: Have a box of tissues at the ready).
I admire these women for having the confidence and the courage to share both their struggles and their hope.
For years, infertility was my ugly secret. Carrying deep hurts on the inside, I slapped on a happy face and served my coworkers, family, friends, and church by keeping a heavy heart to myself. After all, everyone had their own stuff; they didn't need to hear mine. And, I reasoned, nobody likes a prayer hog. Nope, I would brave my suffering -- my disillusionment with God -- alone. How noble, huh?
Except not really. Hiding our hurts and our doubts often has more to do with pride than selflessness. In fact, when was the last time someone revealed a personal struggle to you? And what was your reaction? My guess is that you (at least inwardly) sighed with relief to find that you were not flying through life solo. I would even argue that sharing our burdens with one another fills one of our deepest human needs: the need to know that we are not alone.
The enemy whispers lies about our pain, namely that we must hide it from one another. That we must project a perfect persona to present an effective testimony. Friend, we are giving ourselves way too much credit. God has already offered his plan for our redemption and (spoiler alert) we lay claim to it only through Christ's suffering.
It's time to stop Photoshopping, smoothing, and Instagram filtering our lives into images that we deem suitable and instead lay out the truth of our pain. Not to wallow in misery, but to expose our hurts to the light of day, to the light of Christ's perfect healing. Only then will our weaknesses serve as a conduit to Christ's power and strength for ourselves and for all who know us.
The world, especially the infertile world, needs you to be brave. We need you to boldly tell your story with head held high so that we can all send shame packing. When our secrets instead become stories of a living God who is present even in our doubt and pain, the hurting among us can't help but take notice. We all hunger for an authentic hope which bears the weight of our heaviest secrets yet refuses to crumble.