Joy Above Jealousy

“‘Tis the season for having babies… If only it were that simple for all of us.

From my earliest memories, I have longed to be a mother. I wanted children and figured by now I’d have already been pregnant and delivered healthy babies. I figured that we’d be knee-deep in diapers, pacifiers, cries, and poop. But as our life continues, we are still childless. Some days are easier than others, but we continue to grieve the loss of fertility.

Never did we imagine that our dreams of conceiving, carrying, and delivering would be erased. Never did we imagine that we wouldn’t be alongside our friends with kids in tow. Never did we imagine that we’d never see if our babies would have my blue eyes or Matt’s thick and luscious hair. Never did we imagine that I would get cancer. Clearly imagining doesn’t always produce results.

Being in our late twenties, nearly all of our peers are either pregnant or have newborns or toddlers. I can think of only a couple of our young and married friends who do not have children yet. Everyone else has a baby bump, a child in their arms, and/or kids running through their home.”

This past weekend, I began to think about this entry. This idea of writing about fertility, or rather, our loss of fertility. In fact, I’ve thought about this post for several months. I actually wrote the above section many weeks ago. Yet, for some reason, I didn’t feel ready to complete my thoughts, nor post them. This entry was originally titled, “Infertility Isolation,” however, as time has passed, my thoughts have transformed, developed, and grown. In no way do I want to come across as bitter, angry, or envious. And seeing my written words, I notice that if I were to finish my original idea, it may leave those whom I love feeling guilty for the blessing of pregnancy and children. Please know, that’s not what I want. That’s not my intention. I am genuinely and deeply happy for those blessed with such a miraculous gift(s). Therefore, as I sat in church yesterday (forgive me Pastor Doug!), I began to journal. The sermon was extremely fitting. In the midst of writing, listening to the Word, and reflecting, I heard our pastor say…”We cannot compare our overflow with anyone else’s overflow.” Meaning, our blessings are incomparable to the blessings of others. We must remember that we are given a special story, unlike anyone else’s. And, truthfully, that’s exciting. Below are my thoughts from yesterday and today…

Are we really happy for other people when they experience favor and blessings? Or do we look at them with a jealous spirit?

After cancer, an unwanted fog has seemed to linger in my life. I am abundantly thankful that I am currently cancer-free (for nearly 9 months now). I am grateful that my energy, health, and body are being restored. I am truly blessed to wake up every single morning with breath in my lungs. I am in no way minimizing any of those miracles, yet sometimes the after-effects from treatment don’t slough off as speedily as I’d prefer. The dust continues to settle, and I feel so far behind. I’m looking out from my eyes on a life that doesn’t appear to be my own. My life is not where I expected it to be.

I’m stating the obvious, right? I mean, I should know that by now. After all, my life forever changed on January 25, 2012 at my diagnosis. Duh. But some days, it hasn’t fully set in. I am a work in progress, and my life continually reflects that.

When we get stuck living life clinging to the past and what we “thought” things would be, bitterness, anger, and envy towards others can evolve. My husband and I both believed that by now we would own a home and have children running through it. Yet, here we are, still living in an apartment, with only “fur babies” to call our own. I am barren—incapable of creating and sustaining life within me. It would be easy to view everyone else with bitter jealousy after being dealt such a crappy hand. It would be simple to think, “Look at the abundant blessings that they have. Babies. Homes. Fabulous Jobs. Wealth.” However, like with most things in life, I am making the choice to not live in envy. No matter how natural those feelings may be, I am making the decision to choose joy. Joy in my own story, and joy for the stories that surround me.

Grief is an inexplicable thing. It ebbs and flows. I’ve spoken about it before HERE. Some days are easier than others. But through grief, wisdom is born. Grief can last for weeks, months, and even years. However, once we work through the sorrowful moments, wisdom, knowledge, and perspective mature.

Seeing my dearest friends with the cutest baby bumps warms my heart. They are adorable. Now that I have moved forward in my journey through grieving my infertility, I am genuinely elated for those with the miracle of life growing within them. I am astounded at the true miracle that occurs… astounded that a human being is developing within another. God never ceases to amaze me. I enjoy celebrating the pregnancies of my friends. I enjoy feeling their baby kick from the outside. I enjoy asking questions; Probably too many questions, in fact. “How does it feel when the baby moves?” “Do you think it’s a boy or a girl?” “Are you choosing natural labor or an epidural?” When I hear the news of another friend expecting a child, I am thrilled for them. Who am I to be angry that God chose to bless them? Blessings are gifts. No matter if the blessings are pouring over my life or onto another’s, we are to celebrate joyfully with those who surround us. My heart is healing, and my joy is overflowing. Now, for those few friends who have yet to be pregnant, I can’t help but ask, “When are you having kids?!” And if I haven’t harassed you yet, beware, your time will come!

God blessings on each of our lives are unique. Not one of His gifts are cloned for multiple people. Sure, the gifts of pregnancy and parenthood are gifted to many, yet the blessing is in the child whom is given to us. And no child is the same. Matt and I will be parents one day, of this I am certain. I am joyfully expectant for the journey in meeting our children for the first time. For now, I am choosing to be happy for those who are receiving their gifts today, for mine will soon come.

Today, I challenge you. Rather than envying those who surround us, take a step back and be thankful for what God has already blessed you with. His never-ending gifts are unique to each of us. If He has placed a dream in your heart, He wants to honor that. Don’t give up hope. Blessings are about to overflow!

Living in the overflow of blessings! (July 2013)

Living in the overflow of blessings! (July 2013)

Proverbs 14:30 (ESV)

“A tranquil heart gives life to the flesh, but envy makes the bones rot.”

8 Comments on Joy Above Jealousy

    August 19, 2013 at 11:49 PM (11 years ago)

    Hi Steph. Very good pic of you and Matt. I also enjoyed your message. I hope you guys will consider adopting a child. Love, Grandpa Shaw

  2. Rebecca Tai
    August 21, 2013 at 8:45 PM (11 years ago)

    Hi, Stephanie! Thanks for your very transparent and encouraing sharing. It’s also good to learn that your are recovering from your cancer so well. I do praise the Lord with you. Yes, the Lord’s blessings are tremendous. We are to look at this from His angle, not ours….Keep trsuting and we all can see miracles in our life. BTW, I am Rebecca, from Heritage Baptist Church, a church your parents planted in HK 40 years ago. Other than Jesus, we have also walked with you in your very difficult but victorious past jounrney. We will continue to walk with you in the days ahead. Love from Hong Kong~~~

  3. Rebecca Tai
    August 21, 2013 at 8:48 PM (11 years ago)

    Sorry, I mean a church planted by your grandparents 40 years ago in HK.

  4. Linda
    August 22, 2013 at 1:01 AM (11 years ago)

    You are so beautiful, inside and out. You make me ashamed at the minor things I have been whinning to myself about. I love your strength and faith! Some Saturday night I would love for you to stop by my church – Flatirons – in Lafayette (on South Boulder Road just east of Hwy 287) and check it out for fun. I think you would love it!

  5. Ginger
    September 1, 2013 at 3:37 PM (11 years ago)

    HI Stephanie,
    Thank you again for your writing. I just discovered this, as gmail has introduced a new ‘thing’.
    You are choosing wisely. I was just thinking of you last month as I was rereading a wonderful book called “Deadly Emotions”. What you write in this relates to what is written in the book – I still recommend it!
    love from Oregon
    ps I’ll try to put in the link below – see if it works:

  6. stressandmotivation
    September 3, 2013 at 9:50 AM (11 years ago)

    Stephanie, thank you for being so transparent and sharing your thoughts here. Reading your words here provided me with an absolutely wonderful moment of reflection on not comparing my blessings with those given to others. Thank you so so much for sharing :)

  7. xoxorheanon
    September 26, 2013 at 10:03 AM (11 years ago)

    Hi Stephanie, Audra posted your blog on Facebook, which is how I came across reading about you and your story. I just wanted to say how touched I am by your writing. Thank you for this post – I really need this wisdom today. You are in my thoughts and prayers.


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