September 5, 2011

Intimacy In The Shadows

I hesitate. Wondering how to phrase my answer – how much to divulge.

She asked me the dreaded question. “How many kids do you have?”

Why should it be so hard to answer that question?

How much of the truth do I tell her?

The answer sticks in my throat, my tongue twists in knots, and my heart sinks.

Can she tell how painful this question is for me? My cheeks redden. What must she think?

The full truth is I have 25 children. That isn’t the answer she wants to hear. I know.

Twenty-two are in heaven.

Two I held in my fallopian tubes. Both ruptured, leaving natural conception impossible.

Ten babies were held in a petri dish, I never even got to hold them in my womb. They were whisked to Jesus’ side.

Six I held in my womb, but they never implanted. They slipped from this physical world into eternity.

One made it to nearly seven weeks gestation and stopped growing. He was not intended for earth, but I cannot wait to know him in heaven.

Three,” I manage to tell her. I smile through the pain. She may never know the fight, loss, or grief that accompanied my quest for three. She may never realize that three does not seem near enough when 22 are awaiting me in eternity.

But you know and understand – you who walked similar roads or are walking those roads now. In the midst of the loss and grief there is something I learned and continue to learn.

I learn it along with David. He says in Psalm 23:4, “Even though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I will fear no evil, for You are with me; Your rod and Your staff, they comfort me.”

Infertility feels like the shadow of death. Many days the grief and longing feel suffocating. Oh, but there is something else permeating the darkness of those days. It is the presence of God. He is there in the valley with us, using His rod and staff to keep us on the right paths. In those dark days we have the opportunity to develop an intimate relationship with Him who is able to give us children, but may not.

I would never wish the dark shadow of death days on anyone, but I would never give up those days for the intimacy they developed between my Savior and me.

What has He done for you in your dark infertile days?

Angela Mackey lives in the Arkansas River Valley with her husband and three children. She desires to honor God in all she does and says. She writes about faith, learning to let God’s word transform your thinking, parenting, infertility, and anything else that comes to her mind. You can connect with her on her blog at She is also on twitter and on facebook at