Sep 22, 2019 • Written by Heidi Scott
Watch Your Bubbles
“Excuse me, sir… how do I get off of this boat?” I asked the divemaster in charge of my first night scuba dive. My eyes must have betrayed my inner panic: the handful of dives I’d logged had not prepared me for this! The boat was smaller and the current faster with more boat traffic than I’d ever experienced. Night was falling, soon visibility would be limited.
“Back-roll!!” he said grinning, twirling his fingers in loops. What?! I’ve never done that before! Now I really wanted off that boat. Tumbling backward off a boat in these conditions meant we had to reorient ourselves very quickly and then descend into the dark water. Too much time floating on the surface would be dangerous with the risk of getting swept away from the boat faster than I could swim.
I turned to look at my ever-calm husband, Rob. He saw my face and said confidently, “You’ll be OK… Watch your bubbles… Work on your breathing. When you get down, wave your flashlight-- I’ll find you!”
I knew what he meant: watch your bubbles. Rolling backwards, especially in the low light of dusk meant instant confusion, but watch your bubbles- they always go up. Instant clarity. Simple, right? One last check of my gear, a deep inhale, and I rolled backwards into the rippling waters.
Which way is up? It’s too dark! Am I descending too quickly? How deep am I? Where’s Rob? Am I lost? Breathe… Watch your bubbles.
Maybe you’re facing a backward roll into dusky waters right now. It could be the disorientation of a cross-country move, losing a parent to a long illness, struggling with addiction or that sinking feeling that life just hasn’t turned out the way you’d planned.
For me, it was being side-swiped by infertility with the unshakable feelings of confusion, anger, and pain. There is physical pain of tests, treatments and fist-fighting with your own body. The rollercoaster each month of surging hormones and the exhaustion of devastating disappointment. There is the emotional pain of feeling that hole in your heart where you know a child belongs. Facing friends and family who appear to have the family of your dreams. Realizing no amount of hustle or positive thinking can fix it or make it happen. There is the spiritual pain of having big questions for a God who seems silent. Crying out to God in the disappointment of broken dreams. Feeling like I’ve followed the rules and this is what I get for it?
If this sounds familiar, sister, you are not alone! There is hope in the midst of the swirling dark waters of infertility.
Look up. Watch your bubbles. God sees you and He knows your pain. It’s so easy to look down and look inward and get stuck there. God is saying to you right now, “Look up!” Keep your eyes on Him. Hebrews 12:1-2 tells us to throw off anything that gets in between us and God and to fix our eyes on Him. Throw off expectations and comparing yourself to other women. Cling to His promises, even when they don’t match your feelings. You can disagree with your feelings and replace them with God’s truth. Move in closer to God by getting in His word every day. Each time you are tempted to despair or take back control, keep fixing your eyes on God! It’s OK to feel discouraged and even hopeless but God does not want us to stay there. The Bible word for it is lament. Write out your heart’s cry, your thoughts and prayers to Him. He hears you and He can handle your big questions! Read Psalm 13 for an example and notice how the lament-prayer starts in despair and rises to hope in God.
Look out. Listen, my friend: infertility is a big, messy thing. It can become a driving force in your life with cycles, schedules, payments, and promises. It can consume you. But it is not who you are. God has much more for you! You are specifically and intentionally gifted to do God’s work on earth. Ask Him to show you what He needs done around you. Connect with your church and community. In the middle of your pain, you can be a help and comfort to others. One bible passage that became very meaningful to me is 2 Corinthians 1:3-7. God shares our sufferings. He gives us comfort so we can bring hope and comfort to others! Find a sister-friend or two who can walk alongside you in this season. Some of my deepest, most honest friendships grew from leaning on each other during the hard places of infertility and baby loss. It’s been beautiful and praiseworthy to see how God has blessed each one struggling with infertility- through ministry opportunities, foster care, adoption, IVF and even surprise pregnancies!
Look beside you. Remember that man you married? Remember having fun together? Facing infertility can feel lonely, but God gave you a partner to face it together. He may not feel all the feels the same way you do, but don’t count him out. Be vulnerable and ask him to help in some tangible ways (he likes that!). And friend, do not make every conversation about your ovulation cycles and his sperm count! Give the guy a break. Enjoy your time together. Go have some fun and date each other like you’re teenagers again. Discover a new hobby (that’s how I ended up on that dive boat!) or join him in something he likes to do. If he likes fishing, offer to go along. Bring coffee and a book if you have to. When God created marriage in Genesis 2:24, he said: cling to each other! Just because your husband doesn’t show it on the surface doesn’t mean he’s not suffering too. Remember, you’re on the same team. If this is a hard place for your marriage, seek biblical counseling with the goal of coming together. Fight for your marriage and don’t let infertility wedge you apart.
That first night dive? It turned out to be an awesome adventure of seeing God’s creation in a whole new, inspiring way. Even in the darkness, His amazing workmanship was on display. In the murky, dark waters of infertility, don’t allow yourself to be swept away by despair and discouragement. Keep your eyes up… Watch your bubbles.
Heidi Scott with husband, Rob, and daughters