Oh, the blessing. Oh, the blessing.
Can’t you see, what God has done.
– Jesus Is King, a film by Kanye West
So the truth is, I hadn’t really been into the ‘Christian God’ thing for quite a while… I was always spiritual to a degree, spiritual including feeling things from my ancestors and I always believed there was/is a higher power, something bigger than us, something we owe our own individual power to. Organised religion was and still is not for me… I think when you know too much it becomes increasingly difficult to continue to believe in a concept that just doesn’t ring true to you. And although I was raised a Christian, this is how I feel about organised religion; the focus is way too much on the church and the pastor and other physical things of the world than it is about a true one-on-one relationship and experience with God. So I don’t subscribe to the organised (for man) part of religion and when I initially intended to write this post I had very different feelings about God and in particular where fertility was concerned. However, dealing with infertility, led me down a path of seeking, of searching for understanding and it is from that space that I reached out to God.
I was watching Bishop TD Jakes’ sermon today and he said that God is a God of intention and that he sets things up, sometimes to prepare you for something bigger and sometimes to show you that he is still God even if, as in my case I wasn’t really checking for him at the time. It made made think about the time I ended up in hospital with pelvic pain which I talked about in my first blogpost and how at that point we had been trying to conceive for over 2 years and how even then I had no intentions of seeing someone about our struggle because in my mind I had planned to see someone if we were not pregnant by January 2020. But out of nowhere I had this pain I have never had in my entire life, which was preceded by 7 days of light spotting and ended up in hospital for 2 nights and at the end of it had senior nurses and senior doctors telling me that 2 years is too long to be trying without seeking any medical help and that they will be referring me to a gynaecologist. Note how they did not give me the option to do so myself via my GP. As I was listening to TD Jakes I realised that if that hospital incident did not happen, I would still be in the dark about ALL that we have discovered about our fertility in the last 6months, we would still be trying not knowing that we have a male factor which significantly reduces our chances for spontaneous (natural) conception, because in my basic mind, we were going to seek help in January. Are you getting what I’m saying right now?! We are on the verge of starting IVF treatment and God-willing having a family soon, and the thought that if that incident had not occurred we would still be where we were in March, right now, fills me with tears because God in his omniscient mind made sure we were on the trajectory that we are on now. God is in the detail.
When we started our investigations, I was initially okay but with the waiting and the results, and another day/month not falling pregnant, it increasingly became very difficult not to be consumed by everything and I started looking for churches in my area. But again when you know too much, and know yourself too much I didn’t want to go to a church and pretend to be connecting and experiencing God when I wasn’t and I honestly have no shame about knowing what I am seeking in terms of the presence and experience of God and I remembered how Bishop TD Jakes’ ‘Woman Thou Art Loosed’ album saved my mother through what was such a painful and horrible time for her. It was the 90s and I was very young at the time but now as an adult, knowing what it was she was going through and how we spent full days in worship to this album over the school holidays in my Dad’s apartment in South Africa (while he was at work) and how she held on to God during this time. In my search for God, I searched for that same God that was there for my mother and I searched in Google for the ‘The Potters House’ UK because I knew that was the name of TD Jakes’ church and I thought he might have some version of his church somewhere in the UK, the same way they have Hillsong Churches everywhere now. What I found was even better… something he has been doing but I had no idea was available, I found his YouTube channel with recorded sermons from his church which were uploaded every Sunday. I could have cried seeing this and I internally wrestled with the tradition VS unconventional way of connecting with God argument and that whole notion that church is where 3 or more are gathered played on my mind and I kept asking myself, if I am going to watch this alone at home, is it right? Will God connect with me? But I asked myself the more important question; what rings Truer to you? That is, what will foster a genuine connection and experience with God that is personal and about YOU & GOD? Then I thought about the unconventional in un_fertility and I thought I am out here campaigning essentially for unconventional routes to fertility yet I am here wrestling with the idea of an unconventional route to God. When TD Jakes said God sets things up…. He wasn’t lying! God is in the detail.
So for the last few months, I have been tuning in every Sunday to Bishop TD Jakes’ sermons on YouTube and it has been the weekly dose I need/ed to gain renewed perspective on our fertility journey. I talk a lot about the everyday of infertility being hard but because God led me/us on this path of discovery and the investigations and the outcome, I have found the journey less hard because we know now… we know what the issue is and what the “solution” is. I initially started watching the sermons on my own but now my husband sometimes joins me and he takes away his own perspective. For me personally, coming back to God… I don’t really like the word ‘back’ in this because back implies you are returning in the same way and to the same thing which for me is not the case because I am completely re-innovating the way I seek and receive God. But anyway coming back to God has shown me even when I am wavering, he isn’t, that even when I am not seeking him, he is constantly seeking me… a few days before I got married, one of my really good friends Kudzi said to me “I want to pray for you because I feel like you don’t think or realise what God can do for you. Is there anything in particular you want me to pray for?” At the time as I previously mentioned, I wasn’t down with God like that and I wasn’t even thinking about God to be honest and what she said is only making sense to me now, because it’s true I did not believe that God did things for me, I believed I made decisions that bear different consequences and that the Higher Power gave me that freedom and power to exercise. I did not believe in a God, I believed in an ideology of a higher power, something abstract, something very general. But I replied to my friend and I said “I am worried I won’t be able to have children” – this was 15months ago when I said these words and even with that frame of thinking it was not until 6 months ago that God forced me into a position that I had to be referred for fertility assistance. I can’t say this enough, God is in the detail.
I was talking to Dionne of Love Laid Bare during a recording of a podcast (coming soon) and I was telling her the story of how un_fertility came about and I was just explaining to her that for a long time before I started it I had this strong pulling towards something but I didn’t know what, all I knew was I needed to be doing something ‘meaningful to help women’, this was all the clarity I was getting from the energies I was receiving and at the time I was barely on social media, in fact I despised it and the more clarity I gained, it was Instagram that I was going to use. And here is something I haven’t told anyone yet, in my quest to find this meaningful concept/platform/business for women, I actually began preliminary work and research on a clothing line for “unconventional” women like me. I had spoken to different designers, I was getting a logo done, a manifesto, a business plan etc… this all started in February. And in March that’s when I ended up in hospital – on abcompletely different trajectory. God. Is. In. The. Detail. I have a lot of women following my story who have their own private stories which they haven’t shared with me but they are learning/becoming informed or gaining perspective through my story. I have met women who have shared their IVF success stories with me, one who I consider to be my mentor in all this. I have had opportunities to speak on radio and a podcast about infertility – opportunities to break the silence, shame and stigma. All of this would not have happened if I had not been willing to share my story and more importantly all of this would not have happened if I had not been receptive to what God was trying to show me and where he was leading me. The entire 6month journey would have not have happened If I had missed him – in the detail – because I was so focussed on the outcome I wanted.
I still believe that as christians we are constantly telling couples who are dealing with infertility to pray, pray and pray and not telling them to seek help. I do not subscribe to that way of thinking because it encourages denial and perpetuates the stigma around infertility. Even with God in your life/heart, I encourage anyone to seek medical help for medical problems. Although I have reconnected with God, I have not prayed the prayer asking Him for a child/ren, what I have prayed for is understanding – I have prayed for God to equip me with the mind-frame I need to endure this process, and more so now as we enter the realms of IVF. I have prayed for acceptance, for peace in our current reality, I have prayed to maintain joy outside of this process. And with all that God has shown me in the last 6 months alone, I pray for His will to be done and I pray I continue to be receptive to his will.
Because God is in the detail – and not in the outcome alone.