Coming Home: The story God is giving me through infertility
By Andrea Frankenfeld
I know Advent isn’t about Christmas trees or baking cookies in the shape of a candy cane.
It’s about the tradition, or discipline, of waiting. We wait because we believe it is worth it. We wait because we know God is faithful. We know he is our reward — no matter our circumstances.
Like most people, I hate waiting, but I can’t deny God has used the pain of waiting to turn my heart toward him. When my husband and I started thinking about having children, we expected that it would happen like it does for everyone.
We expected that when we were ready, we would start our family, renewing the years with younger versions of ourselves.
It never crossed my mind that becoming a mother wasn’t certain, but in fact a fragile hope, no more and no less than a prayer submitted to a sovereign God.
Many years have passed with nothing to show for my prayer, save some grief, an ever-intense longing and God’s nearness.
My story isn’t extremely unique. As I read through Abraham’s story in Genesis, I see the story of broken humanity transformed by God’s faithfulness, a foreshadowing of the Jesus who would come to redeem us in spite of our sinfulness.
In our early years of longing for children, my husband and I followed the Lord to India on mission. We sacrificed many things to fulfill this calling. When we, eventually, returned home to the U.S., we had no clear direction and were no closer to being parents.
I knew God was good and powerful because I had seen him work in my life before. I wrestled with God. There were — and still are — dark moments.
Despite my trust in God’s faithfulness, I long for a different story.
The story of infertility is not one I would have chosen for myself, but it is the one God is giving me.
For me, coming home is about acknowledging the home I have in relationship with Christ — with or without children.
Because our home is not made up of children, I am tempted to think no one is impacted by my traditions.
But, my heart is changing while I wait. Becoming more like Jesus doesn’t mean forsaking or burying my human pieces. It means redeeming them. Yielding them. Learning to be unapologetically broken. Letting him replace my broken pieces with wholeness. Realizing that the deepest longing I have can only be met in Christ.
When my home is an authentic place where people are welcome, I’m choosing to be proud of my story.
In a season when everyone is busy, I can focus on simple things that reflect what home means to me. A cozy house with space for a few more at our table. Time to listen and share life with a friend. Abundant blessings to share with others. Quiet evenings to savor with my husband.
Over the last five years, I’ve decorated two artificial Christmas trees in two states and two countries. I’ve sung Christmas carols in the homes of Indian people who don’t know about Jesus. I’ve celebrated warm-weather Christmas mornings with my Indian family at the early dawn. I’ve played more games of Dirty Santa than I can count in Bible Belt America. I’ve hosted large and small numbers of people in my home.
I’ve slowed down to notice the people around me, the people God has put in front of me. I’ve considered my place as my mission field — whether it’s in the Southern Bible Belt, the progressive Pacific Northwest or urban India.
I continue to wait for a child until God leads my heart in another direction, but I still want to know when the waiting will end. I want to make the longing go away.
But the season of Advent reminds me that it never will. It’s worth waiting to know more of Jesus.
Because we don’t have children, I get to be more creative about how to include people in my traditions. I just have to be willing to live out my story and intentional enough to gather others around.
Because I belong to Jesus, I always have a home. In my home, there is hope that transcends my circumstances. I can wait in either grief or joy.
And, I will wait. Hope is coming.
Andrea Frankenfeld is a writer, editor and consultant who lives in the Seattle area with her husband. Despite her Southern roots and missionary heart, Andrea feels at home in the beauty of the Pacific Northwest. Some of her favorite things are traveling to new places, sharing tea with new and old friends and analyzing movies with her husband. She blogs regularly at http://www.coffeeandcondensation.com/