Today was hard. Everything – house, work, fellowship – felt like it was moving at the same time. By early afternoon I had been to a meeting and hit up the paint store twice. I was done.
I sat in my office and a wave of emotions overtook me. Fear. Doubt. Anxiety. Confusion.
My feet had failed me. I could not take another step. No move felt right so I sat down.
Then my answer came via song. Oceans by Hillsong United started playing in my head. Like always, the lyrics ministered to my weary soul.
I breathed out my angst and breathed in His peace.
You call me out upon the waters
The great unknown where feet may fail
And there I find You in the mystery
In oceans deep
My faith will stand
And I will call upon Your name
And keep my eyes above the waves
When oceans rise
My soul will rest in Your embrace
For I am Yours and You are mine
Your grace abounds in deepest waters
Your sovereign hand
Will be my guide
Where feet may fail and fear surrounds me
You’ve never failed and You won’t start now
Spirit lead me where my trust is without borders
Let me walk upon the waters
Wherever You would call me
Take me deeper than my feet could ever wander
And my faith will be made stronger
In the presence of my Savior
I cannot remember if I wanted to become a sister when my brother was born 36 years ago. I do remember that my life changed. I also remember bossing him around and as he got older learning to listen to him.
In 2011, I became a sister again. This time to thousands of women with whom I had something in common — infertility. 1 in 8 couples (and 12% of women) in the U.S. struggle with infertility. While our struggles may look different, we are sisters.
I have never met most of my sisters. I read their books and blogs and listen to their podcasts. These women talk about how infertility has impacted their marriages, faith, diets, sex lives, health coverage and more. Some women have health issues like me and some have no known cause for their inability to get or remain pregnant. Many women feel shame because their struggles take away dreams and lives.
My infertility journey has ups and downs. But I am never ‘over it.’ I am never over the fact that my body does not do what I was raised to believe it was created to do. I am never over the fact that people judge things like my faith, career or sex drive for my inability to get pregnant. I will never get over the fact that the plans I had for my life will likely remain dreams.
Two years ago, I would be crying while I typed this blog. Today I feel strong enough to share without the unbridled rage and sorrow my situation caused me. Today I can focus more clearly on how my infertility has led me to such an unexpected path. I can see a purpose for my life beyond traditional motherhood. I can see a life of me and my husband traveling the world, learning and serving others well before traditional retirement age.
I credit my village of therapy, my faith, my marriage and my sisters with my new outlook on life. My sisterhood is a mod poge of women across the globe who have (re)created lives that are healthy, shaky, vibrant, muted, reserved and bold. Our lives may seem unstable to some but some days opening our eyes to greet the day is all we have to offer the world.
My sisters are black, white, married (both same-sex and heterosexual couples), single, young and more mature. My sisters mainly come from an online community called, The Broken Brown Egg (BBE). My BBE sisters are supportive in ways I never knew I needed. I can share stupid things people say to me or painful memories/experiences. I can rant and rave and drink wine via Skype (#insider) with them. I can listen and support other women. Now, I can even meet my sisters in the flesh.
(So far) this year I have met two of my BBE sisters face-to-face. One of my sisters is in the beginning stages of mourning the loss of her baby boy (L.B.) and the other is celebrating the successful birth via I.V.F. of her baby boy (J.K.). Neither sister’s journey is more important than the other. I learned this from my BBE sisters. Each journey should be validated NO MATTER WHAT. Though desired, there is not required timeline, deadline or outcome on the journey. Just breathing and healing.
I am proud of my BBE sisters. I wish I did not know them but I cannot imagine my life without them. These ladies have helped me to grow in ways I did not think possible. Without these ladies and my the rest of my village I would have surely given up on dreaming. I would have become lost in the sea of doubt, self-hatred, depression and anger that is infertility. Today I am stronger and a better person because my village included these remarkable women, my sisters.
Hi, my name is Kelli and I am a hoarder.
I am not an ordinary hoarder. I am an emotional hoarder with OCD. This means that instead of piles of stuff all over the house I have things neatly tucked away in baskets and binders. I have found elaborate systems to keep ‘stuff’ I or my family might need ‘organized.’
Don’t get me wrong, there is a method to my madness.
My family binders are organized by household category. That could be ‘Kelli’ or ‘Cars’. Anything related to the category is tabbed and placed neatly in the binder. I try to go through the binders each year to purge things that to be shred. Note that I did not say toss out. Clearly, my OCD does not let me throw out (seemingly) important papers. Nope, said papers must be discarded in the most secure way possible.
Generally, I am proud of my organizing tools and processes. As we are preparing to sell our home my systems are highlighting how much stuff I have to think about and release.
But it is sooooooo emotional for me. What if I need my husband’s explanation of benefits from 2011? What if I do not have the 12 years of shot records for my dog when we switch vets?
You see I have issues 🙂
I did not know that my emotional problems included stuff. In fact, I’m so organized about my stuff that my friends give me kudos for my filing system instead of ‘checking’ me about my inability to let stuff go.
This whole process of downsizing means that some stuff can’t go to our new home. I thought the stuff would be clothes in my closet that are too small or out of style. Nope, of course God uses the experience to teach me a deeper lesson. Now I get to go through the important paperwork of our family and release all the emotions that the pages hold. Illnesses. Vacations. Education. I even have a binder for family drama I wouldn’t dare blog about.
Like most of us, I assumed that my husband and children (who no longer live at home) would have the hardest time. Of course, I was wrong. It will be me. I will be processing dreams fulfilled and deferred. The end of my children’s adolescence and the tender transition to adulthood. The re-commitment to my marriage as my first priority. Even the death of a family dog.
I know without a doubt that the process will be for my benefit. Releasing stuff now will allow me to be free during this transition. Some ‘stuff’ — and the emotions that are attached to it — are better left in this house. I want our new home to be open to new memories, new experiences and new dreams.