The sky is deep grey, and I hear the steady beat of raindrops. The weather seems appropriate since I’m thinking about the symbolic storm I’m facing in my life. My infertility has taught me many lessons, but most of all, I’ve learned what it means to have God’s umbrella in the storms of life.
My husband and I started trying to have children a few years into our marriage. We thought we would get pregnant right away. But we didn’t. At first the disappointment was like a slow drizzle. Then, six months ago, I had a miscarriage. The drizzle became a downpour. We started fertility treatments, but they didn’t help. The storm kept raging. For over two years, we have walked through the storm of infertility.
A friend recently said to me that she's praying for the rain to stop, and that I must be soaked to my undies already! I smiled at her comment. In a way, I understand just what she means. But in another way, I still feel dry even after all the rain. And that has been the biggest surprise of all.
Discovering God’s umbrella
A few months after my miscarriage, I was reading Stasi and John Eldredge's book, Captivating. In one part of the book, they challenge us to ask God how he is showing us his love. “OK, God,” I prayed, "I’ve been through a lot lately. How in the world are you showing me you love me?" In an instant, the answer came. I felt God say, “I’m walking through the rain with you, and I’m giving you my umbrella.”
As soon as I heard that, my mind flashed back to when my husband and I were dating in college. One day, a storm blew in while I was in class. I was dreading the walk back to my dorm in the rain. But as I exited my class, I saw my future husband standing outside the door with a smile on his face and an umbrella in his hand. He had come to walk me through the rain. It was one of the most thoughtful, loving things anyone had ever done for me.
Now I felt God telling me he was doing the same thing. As I looked back over the last two years, I could see it was true. There had been many times when I’d cried. But there were also moments of joy deeper than I’d ever known. There had been many days when I felt frustrated. But there was also an inexplicable peace covering my life. There had been many moments when it seemed like my dream of having children would never come true. But somehow I also had an enduring hope that made me certain God had a good plan.
Lessons from the storm
As I thought about all these things, I understood what God meant when he said he had given me his umbrella. I also realized there were a few things I’d learned during my walk through the rain.
1. I must choose to stay under the umbrella
There are still times when I walk right out from under the covering God has given me. I get frustrated, scared, and angry. So I walk out into the storm. I notice sadness creeping in, hope disappearing, and I look down to find I’m soaking wet. That’s when I need to head back to God’s umbrella to dry off again.
2. God is the one holding the umbrella
I write greeting cards for a living. One of the cards I wrote said, “I wish I had a big yellow umbrella. I would hold it over your head and the drops would splash, splash and you would never even feel it. But I don’t have a big yellow umbrella — so I’ll walk through the rain with you.” I’ve learned that’s even truer than I thought. I don’t have a big yellow umbrella. Neither does anyone else. There have been many times on this journey when I’ve run to my husband, friends, and family thinking they could stop the storm. I’m finally figuring out they can walk through the rain with me, but only God has the umbrella.
3. The umbrella doesn’t make the storm go away
God’s umbrella has kept me from getting soaked. It has given me peace, hope, and even joy in the midst of the hardest time I’ve ever faced. But I’m still in a storm. When I was younger, I thought I had to have a smile plastered on my face all the time. Now I’ve learned that it’s OK to admit I’m hurting. It’s OK to say I’m struggling. It actually seems God gets more glory when people know I am in a storm and he’s the only reason I’m making it through.
4. The umbrella is made of love
After my miscarriage, I spent a lot of time trying to make sense of things. How could a loving God let this happen? Why wasn’t he taking care of me? I still don’t have the answers to all of those questions, but I no longer wonder if God loves me. I can see his hand even in this time of difficulty. I can sense him grieving with me when I’m sad. Most of all, I have his umbrella over me and his presence with me. There’s a verse that says “His banner over me is love.” I have my own version of that verse now: his umbrella over me is love!
Believing the sun will come out again
As I finish writing this, raindrops are still splashing against the window. The storm outside looks like it will never end. Sometimes the storm in my life still feels that way, too. But as I sip my mocha and stare at the sky, I know I will have God’s umbrella until the sun comes out again.