Jealousy, The Big Green Monster
Hello everyone. I’m Hannah, contributing author, and it’s always such an honor to be able to minster to you all here on Dancing Upon Barren Land. To read more about who I am and why I’m here you can read the introduction post here. You can also head over to my blog where you can read the story of my infertility journey in my series called Waiting for Grace.
Today’s post ties into the study we are doing, Surviving Infertility by Beth Forbus, for HOPE infertility support at Lakewood Church. Each month I do a write up surrounding the topic of the chapter we studied that particular month. This month it was dealing with the lie that God doesn’t care about us or love us because we are going through the storm of infertility.
Writing a post about dealing with jealousy during infertility isn’t one I’m excited about sharing because I’m afraid that this emotion hasn’t always painted me in the best light. The range of envious emotions has been wide during my journey. During one particularly rough season when we were disqualified from an IVF study because my ovarian reserve levels were too low, I went as far as avoiding my dearest friends who were pregnant because I was so jealous and it hurt too much. See? I told you…not pretty.
Jealousy is a nasty green monster that, if left uncontrolled and unchecked, has the potential to sour your heart and damage friendships. Ms. Forbus decided to tackle the topic of jealousy in her book Surviving Infertility and this month in HOPE Infertility Support at Lakewood Church it was the topic of discussion.
In the Bible, Rachel lived a life of envy toward her sister Leah because Leah was able to bear children. Rachel let that jealousy toward Leah consume her. In Genesis 30 Rachel tells her husband, Jacob, “Give me children, or else I’ll die.”
I shared a personal story of mine in our group discussion that is comparable to Rachel in the Bible. Earlier in my infertility journey a very dear friend of mine became pregnant. I was elated for her but month after month, as I sat across from her every day at work, my jealousy grew along with the size of her baby belly. It was later in her pregnancy and as we were going through fertility treatments, jealous thoughts overtook my thought life and I was consumed with the questions, “Why was it so easy for her?” “Why don’t I deserve to be pregnant?” One particular day I was sent over the edge, consumed with depression and angry thoughts that all stemmed my jealousy; I got in my car after work and sobbed my entire way home. I opened the door to the house and barely had enough energy to crawl my way up the stairs to our baby’s room where I laid in the middle of the room in the fetal position and cried out to God, “If you won’t give me a baby, you might as well go ahead and kill me now!”
Jealousy had over taken me. I felt that desperation Rachel felt. I identified with that sorrow. I was comparing my life to my friend’s and it consumed me to the point that I felt I couldn’t live if I couldn’t be a mom. It was a very low point in my life, a very depressing point. So low that it’s a true testimony to the power, love, and grace of God that I have been healed from that grief that nearly swept me away that day.
Unfortunately for Rachel, she allowed that envy to consume every crevice of her life, including her parenting once she was finally blessed with Joseph, and up until the day she died. In Genesis 37 we learn that Joseph’s brothers were so envious of him that they sold him into slavery. How sad that Rachel set this precedent for her children because she was bitter about her infertility and jealous of what didn’t come easily to her.
Rachel allowed her jealousy to become a generational curse that loomed over her children. Wow, that’s heart wrenching. When I think that my envious lifestyle could consume my children, causing them to lead a life filled with resentment, it stops me dead in my tracks. As a mother, I don’t want to do anything to cause my children to fall. So when I’m overwhelmed by those gut-wrenching questions I ask out of sheer jealousy and when I find myself comparing my journey to others’ – I’ll think of my babies’ faces and I break the potential generational curse of anger, jealousy, resentment, and bitterness right at those thoughts. It’s not always easy but when we hand the burden of jealousy over to the Lord, he tells us in Matthew 11:28 that all of you who are weary and carry heavy burdens, and I will give you rest.