Give Grace: Looking Back

June is a bittersweet month for us. Two years ago, we began one of the hardest seasons of our lives. Well, actually, the hardest. We had no idea what we were walking into with IVF. If you haven’t read our full story, you can read it here. But as we are about to enter this next phase in our lives, I think it’s important to look back because that is when you can see God working in your life.

 

Sitting here today, I am a different person than I was back then. My heart has softened and become so much more sensitive to the trials people walk through in life. I wouldn’t wish this struggle on anyone, but as I look back, I can honestly say that I am incredibly grateful for our journey. It has taught me to be open, to share my life, to ask for help, to take care of myself, to be faithful in the little things, to hold onto hope even when the world says otherwise, to fight and to trust the Lord like never before.

 

I never thought I would be approaching my 30th birthday and my 5th anniversary with no kids. And there are times when this fact makes me really sad. I imagined my life by now with a full house. It’s easy to allow my heart to go to that place of sadness. I remember it so vividly. . .the days when I couldn’t even get out of bed, when being around people was hard, afraid that I might burst into tears at any moment. Sometimes I think I have shoved those feelings so deep inside because I don’t want to let them out again. I question whether I am just afraid to deal with the pain. But then I remember that I have grieved. I have felt broken, lonely, like a failure. I have lived a season of grief, and I have lived a season of healing. It scares me how unemotional I have been about the whole journey lately, but I just have to trust that God has healed my heart in such a mighty way. Joy truly does come in the morning.

 

As I look back over the past two years, I want to speak directly to all of you who are still in the valley. Let yourself grieve. You must allow yourself to cry, to be a mess, to be really, really sad, even inconsolable at times. Then, you have to pick yourself back up and allow God to heal your heart. You have to share your heartache. It doesn’t have to be publicly, but you need to tell someone (other than your spouse) that you are walking this road. The body of Christ is a powerful thing, and you must allow people to come alongside you and help carry your burden. I know this is a very personal struggle that is hard to share, but you have to push yourself outside your comfort zone. You won’t regret it. Be open and honest with your family and friends about what you can handle. The best thing I ever did was to tell my friends and family that I want them to treat me normally. If things are hard for me or I am having a rough day, I will let them know. I have tried to become an expert at communicating where I am emotionally, and my honesty has helped. Lastly, fight for your marriage. You had each other first. You said for better or for worse. Infertility (or any trial) is not an excuse to attack each other and let your marriage fall apart. You are on the same team, and you must act like it.

 

I never thought our journey to a baby would include blood draws, daily hormone shots in my stomach, endless doctor’s appointments, poking, prodding, so many tears of sadness and very few tears of joy, lots of money and a roller coaster ride of emotions. Infertility is so hard. It’s one of the very few struggles in life that are completely out of your control. People tell me all the time, “God gives only these struggles to those who can handle it” or “You are so strong for walking this road.” Actually, I don’t feel like either statement is true. As with any other severe trial, I am not equipped to handle infertility, but Jesus is. I have to lean into His strength every day. Like Paul said after asking the Lord three times to remove his thorn in the flesh, “My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness. Therefore I will boast all the more gladly about my weaknesses, so that Christ’s power may rest on me” (2 Corinthians 12:9). Yes, it is nice to hear these compliments, but there are times that I wish I could be weak if it meant I got what I wanted. Can you relate?

 

The thing I have struggled the most with lately is not feeling good about the way I look and feel. I was sharing my frustration with a friend recently, and she said to me, “Megan, your body has been through a lot. Give yourself some grace.” Talk about a wake up call. I am all about giving grace to everyone else, but it’s so hard to give it to myself. The stress of business ownership plus all that my body has been through the past two years has taken a toll on me. I tend to put everyone else first and make sure all my people are taken care of before I think of myself. So this summer, I am challenging myself and asking my team to come alongside me in my crusade to feel healthy again: to take care of ourselves first so that we can take care of others. You can follow our journey on Snapchat as we share our workouts and meals, our successes and failures. I need you to help keep me accountable because we are preparing our bodies for the next chapter.

 

This month the blog is going to be a full Give Grace update, and I have lots of exciting things to share with you. I am so grateful for all of your prayers and support the past two years. I truly wouldn’t be here today without every single one of you. And I hope this campaign has touched your heart in some way, encouraged you to be a better friend, challenged you to have more grace in your daily life and motivated you to tear down the walls of your heart and to be more vulnerable with the struggles you are walking through.

 

They say hindsight is 20/20. Looking back over the past two years, I can now so easily see why IVF didn’t work the first time. God had big plans for our story and this campaign. Knowing that hearts have been encouraged and changed for the Kingdom because of our efforts makes every tear and heartache worth it.

 

I love you all from the bottom of my heart!

Megan Smalley


4 comments


  • Lela Buckley

    Sweet Megan,

    Just love your open heart. Know that prayers abound on your behalf! We are right there for you!


  • Meredith Hutchison

    Thank you so much for your beautiful story. My husband and I are going through our first round of IVF and your words were so comforting. I have my Give Grace t shirt and wear it often with a happy heart.


  • Stephanie

    Thank you for sharing your journey! My husband and I have been trying to get pregnant for 3 years. It has been the most frustrating and defeating journey I have ever been on. We have undergone several IUI treatments with no luck. At 34, it’s a scary situation. Every year that goes by, I get more concerned that it is not meant to be. I appreciate you sharing your encouraging words and it is important to remember that you must take care of yourself during this struggle.


  • Marissa

    Megan,

    Thanks for sharing your story! My husband and I are in the midst of our infertility journey and reading your experiences is such an encouragement. I have two of your “Give Grace” prints in my entryway that are a great encouragement and reminder that the pain we feel now will not compare to the joy that is to come. Thank you for this campaign and for sharing your story!

    Marissa


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