Waiting is so hard to do in an instant gratification culture. But we are in advent season. It’s a season of waiting.
Looking toward Christmas we are all “waiting” for Christmas Day—when we celebrate the birth of a baby who's changing the world.
As coaching wives we experience various seasons of waiting in expectation of what’s to come … in sporting seasons, in playoffs, while other waits are more painful. Waiting for a job, a diagnosis, a house, or waiting for your baby to come.
Infertility is especially challenging around the holidays.
The advent season is one where we celebrate and wait with expectation, anticipation, and preparation for the birth of our King, who came as a baby. When you’re waiting for a baby of your own, staring at that empty manger each week leading up to Christmas can fill your heart with aches for a child of your own.
I’ve been there before.
Holidays are already emotional as you reflect on the year. But I specifically have one Christmas Eve I remember quite well.
I got a call from my doctor, right before our Christmas Eve service at church. He calmly told me two things—this month’s round didn’t work, and he didn’t want me to worry, but I needed to come in right after the holiday to have a biopsy done of something that looked concerning. It could be nothing, it could be cancerous, but we just want to be safe and have it tested.
Man, that call took my breath away. But I’m tough, Shake that off. I’m a coaches’ wife. We are a different kind of breed, right? Brave face, stay tough. No problem. It’s probably nothing. No big deal.
Who the heck was I kidding? I was terrified. So I did the only logical thing that I could think of to do. I let my thoughts bounce back and forth between “It’s probably nothing” and “it’s cancer, you’re dying.” Thank you hormones for this insane ride.
The irony of it all was that I was sitting in the most beautifully decorated room, filled with hundreds of people. Everyone had their finest Christmas clothes on, smiling and singing all the favorite Christmas songs. They were all so joyous. And all so focused on that beautiful baby.
There was SO much joy in that room … but I sat in the back, trying to conceal my crying.
I was angry. I was sad. I was terrified.
I wasn’t angry with God, but angry that my focus that SHOULD be on the joy of the season was turned to worry for my health, whether I’d ever have a baby of my own, and if they’d find cancer in my test results.
Infertility is a monthly rollercoaster where you go through highs and lows each month.
Sometimes the infertility season is short, sometimes it lasts years and years.
The range of emotions is extreme no matter the duration. Emotions range from feeling selfish, shame, fear, jealousy, embarrassment, anger, and sadness, to feeling excitement, elation, joy, and positivity.
Being in the middle of service now gave me time to think, and remember my cornerstone. It gave me time to focus and remember where my faith lies…
This situation was absolutely out of my control. But God knows my heart, every ache, pain, and fear. He cares and loves me, right where I am.
Even in that place of hurting, He saw me, He loved me, He knew me and met me right where I was. I didn’t have to have my “tough face” on for Him.
We forget that in our culture where coaching families and women in general are supposed to be brave, tough, and strong. We can come to Christ humbly and broken. I didn’t have to fake it for Him.
That phone call shook me a bit until I decided to give it up to Christ.
The center candle on the advent wreath represents Christ. All this time of waiting leads up to HIS arrival. And there are four more candles making up the wreath.
The Candle of Hope.
I used to spend so much time reading books, blogs, and scripture in efforts to find where someone would tell me that one day I would have a child of my own.
Our coaches all desperately want that ring or trophy. Season after season we keep trying and doing everything in our power to make it happen. But we/they don’t ultimately know if they’ll ever have a title. But no matter the outcome, it does not mean the journey itself is fruitless.
There are scriptures and truths we can cling to during our waiting season. We have to put our focus on His promises. We have hope for tomorrow, not because of any trophy or baby of our own … but we have hope because of him and the promises He’s made. (Jeremiah 29:11, Joel 2:25, Romans 8:18-28, Psalm 30:5)
The Candle of Peace.
In my moments of fear, I knew that He wasn’t worried or clueless on what the results would be. He brings peace and He makes all things possible. Giving up your anxieties to Him is what stops our spiraling in those scary times. It does not mean you won’t ever feel hurt or pain as you grieve your want for a child now. There is a time for everything under the sun.
But trust His plan and take His peace.
Have grace for yourself—you’re human. This season is not anyone's fault. Not yours. Not your spouse's. Even though the struggle happened with my body, it was always OUR journey. You have a choice to make: lift each other up or beat each other down.
Be there for each other and communicate with each other, so when your mind races, you can point each other back to THE coach… the one that already knows our story and isn’t the least bit worried what the test results will show. He knows your whole story.
The Candle of Joy.
He has given you a heart to be a mom or a dad. That is a gift and there is a reason you’re blessed with that specific passion. I don’t know what your next chapter looks like, but I know if you trust and obey Him, He will make your story more beautiful than you could ever imagine. Our journey grew our faith and it bonded us closer together as a couple. That refining is an incredible blessing! Joel 2:25
The Candle of Love.
In the Bible, Sarah was blessed with her first child at 90 years old. How much of my life would I have been willing to waste away?
You only get one life to live and it is finite. You’ll never get this time back. He came and died so that we may LIVE.
There were many times I squandered my time foolishly. Especially during my “TWW” (infertility lingo for the “two week wait” each month where you obsess over every bout of stomach nausea, abdominal twinge, cramp, etc until your cycle starts or you are pregnant).
Love your spouse, yourself, and people around you. Instead of getting caught in the obsession over the wait, fill your time with Christ and loving each other now.
You have air in your lungs and the sun has risen another day. At Christmastime we can focus on the things we “want” so badly we completely miss out on all the things right before us.
My fertility struggles made me feel broken and ashamed. But studying His word closer helped me to realize that God uses broken people time and time again for the biggest stories of the Bible. He can and will use my story now because I experienced the season that I did.
We have dreamed up beautiful “perfect” stories- house, child, job, trophy, etc…and it’s hard not to when you compare your journey to someone else’s journey.
But that’s not what the season is about. Jesus didn’t need the finest doula, hospital equipment or special birthing suite.
There was no room reservation or figgy pudding to celebrate his arrival at the Inn of Bethlehem.
This isn’t about “all the fluff.”
The “reason for the season” is what that center advent candle is all about: Christ Jesus. A baby, born of a virgin, placed in cloths, and laid in a manger.
Friend, have hope, peace, joy, and love knowing that whatever God is preparing for you, He is not worried about it.
Winning or losing isn’t as important as the journey and what kind of people we are making out of this season. More than a game’s outcome we pray we leave a mark on the lives of these athletes and make them better people for having played in the sport, on our team. This is all more than just a game. We can have and find the beauty in this season of waiting because of Christ.
He will never leave or forsake you and He will make your season of Advent so beautiful and so worthwhile. I’m excited to see how He is going to use you for His kingdom…