God father
We went for a counselling session today, (part of the failed ivf package) and the word I came up with was ‘useless’.

Not the counsellor – she was very nice.

– Me. 

I wasn’t pregnant a month ago and I’m not pregnant now. Nothing terrible has happened. Nothing dramatic has changed.But it’s like the switch marked ‘Emma’ has flicked and I can’t get it back on. Things to do.  But I can’t quite reach.

A whisper that crashes like a wave:

Your body doesn’t work.  You – don’t work. The embryo didn’t implant because your womb, like the rest of you, is a bit crap. Sad and stopped. Empty as your brain. A tape that keeps replaying: You threw away your life on an eating disorder – and you got another chance- but the chance; whatever it was, has gone.  You stuffed it up. And you’re broken again only this time, you don’t get back up.  A shucked oyster without the pearl.

Not fulfilling a purpose. Use-less.

And worse. Faithless.  Unable to deal with even the slightest bit of pain.

I wrote a book about grace in brokenness.  And I know that my Redeemer liveth. But I’m tired. I’m not like Joni or Elizabeth Elliot.  Women who know what it is to suffer; whose faith burns brighter in darkness.

I’m not like them. My flame is flickering. I’m just keeping going.  Not singing.  Not praying. Not praising. Not – useful.

But maybe that’s the heart of this.

The need to be needed. I’m not Brainy – I say to myself – or Thin or Beautiful. But I got this: Necessary.  I’m Useful. I can Do Things.

Except, right now, I can’t. And that’s what grates.

The baying boss is not from up above but deep within.  God is a Father – not a heavenly line manager. I get this. And I want to be a daughter. But it hurts to be sacked.


19 thoughts on “GodFather

  1. I know it’s hard. But we need to accept that not everything will happen as we wish.

    I always wanted at least 3 kids. No husband even. No close family almost at all, as I buried them. I can say you are still lucky, Emma. You have got a loving husband, parents, siblings.

    But I know well that little voice which shouts in your ears. I don’t understand my life and I stopped trying to understand. I can’t play this guilty game anymore and I don’t want to analise myself every minute. Life doesn’t seem fair, but we have to accept things and try to see the beauty around us.

    Only God knows what is in front of us. But He can turn for good our hardest moments.

  2. Dear Emma – I have cried with you in your pain tonight. I don’t know what to say. I will however pray for you – for both of you. Cry out to the Lord – He is right there with you.

  3. More importantly even, Joni and Elizabeth Elliot aren’t like you! There’s only one of you, uniquely gifted and serving God in a unique way.

    Anyway, I bet they have had some pretty untriumphant blobby days too…

  4. Hi , Everytime i read your postings, i am quite frankly amazed at the ruthlessly exposed emotions as a result of all that ‘sucks’ in life! That is the postive, you ‘do’ the emotional stuff so well. However, negatively, i wonder if you do this stuff too well, for I am horrified. Let me try to explain and i thread as cautiously as possible. How much these emotions have to do with underlying emotional issues of a pre-existing or historical complaint – anorexia, i am not sure. But emotions of the nature described in my opinion are perhaps more dangerous than might appear. In short one can soon go all negative in which case life really does suck and the further one goes into this abyss, the harder it is to get out of the hole. But i have a residual interest and that is why i do not wholly avoid your emotional frankness, namely, that although i have not been anorexic, i sometimes fall into, what i call, an emotional enorexia . That is to say one can end up complaining about all the miseries in life which befall us. Thinking about this has made me realise that problems and difficulites – i cannot think of the useful word which twins with problem – beset us everyday unfortunately. Maybe we have to love problems, and hopefully with the love of the lord in us, we have chyming away the thought of his Mathew 6 and the bit about the lillies in the field etc. The next time i complain or become overcome with emotions maybe i shall recoin it and say i am doing an Emma, but, and this is the difficult bit to say, maybe i have been fortunate in that i have never felt so much pain so deeply as to perform like yourself? Or, maybe i have felt the pain of life, in my own particular circumtances of course, but been blessed by open ears/and or/ fantastic voices of opposition to my oppression? Cheers tim …, from Belfast

  5. love and prayers. you are certainly not useless. and as you say, God is Father and you are his much loved daughter, whatever it might feel like right now. xxx

  6. Your honest, searching words are useful. So very useful. To me, to others. On days when you have no words, your Father loves you tenaciously all the same. I heartily agree we may not ‘feel’ that love He has for us as we take in our surroundings, but your words in particular have taught me to remember His love is still true.
    Thank you Emma. Praying.

  7. I’m so sorry life so tough at the moment. know its hard to argue with the useless voice but can honestly say that your honesty and your blogs have kept me going when things have been really tough over the last few months. knowing someone else has felt how I’ve felt and your constant pointing to Jesus has been a huge support to me. cannot imagine how hard things are for you at the moment but rest assured that even if you are struggling to talk to god he is there holding you throughout the pain and maybe its now time to let others support you. will be praying x

  8. …maybe the reason for the pain
    is so that we will pray for strength,
    and maybe the reason for the strength
    is so that we will not lose hope,
    and may be the reason for our hope
    is so that we can face the world,
    and the reason for the world
    is so that we will long for home.
    -Mathew West, The reason for the world

    Not sure about the theology of the above song but I found it during a particularly dark stretch, an it really helped me, if nothing else, to see I am in no way alone in my blind groping for something to grab hold of.

    Chris and I are praying for you both.

  9. Emma,
    I’m not sure whether this will be helpful, but there were two sets of Bible verses that came to mind when I read your post.

    The first is about the complete trustworthiness and gentleness of Jesus FOR you in this situation, whether you feel it or not:

    Isa 42.3
    “A bruised reed he will not break, and a smoldering wick he will not quench, until he brings justice to victory”

    There WILL be justice, and it’s not dependent on your faithfulness (and remember, we’re all unfaithful!). And I think justice for you means a redemption of all your pain and desolation (which isn’t ‘your fault’): see Isaiah 54 for a vision of this. I know this has to be taken in its historical context first, but this is God’s nature for every micro as well as macro story of redemption. I will pray this vision into being for you, whether it’s in this life or after. And I will also pray that you see ‘the goodness of the Lord in the land of the living’.

    Secondly, I also had the verses in 2 Corinthians 1:

    3Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of mercies and God of all comfort,4who comforts us in all our affliction so that we will be able to comfort those who are in any affliction with the comfort with which we ourselves are comforted by God.5For just as the sufferings of Christ are ours in abundance, so also our comfort is abundant through Christ.6But if we are afflicted, it is for your comfort and salvation; or if we are comforted, it is for your comfort, which is effective in the patient enduring of the same sufferings which we also suffer;7and our hope for you is firmly grounded, knowing that as you are sharers of our sufferings, so also you are sharers of our comfort.

    There is probably no one who has demonstrated the power of these verses more than you in my life so far. This is a big deal, a great gift.
    And so please don’t feel like you’re worthless, even if your value at the *moment* doesn’t seem to be in quite the place you’d like it to be.

    Blog if you want to, but don’t if you want a break – that would also be fine, and not giving up. I just want to reiterate that we do receive so much insight about and comfort from God through your shared experiences, so thank you, thank you, thank you! The risk you take to be vulnerable to so many is very Christlike.

    May any unhelpful words not land on your ears and anything of encouragement plant itself in your heart.

    Lots of love,

  10. Hello Emma,

    I am sorry you are going through such a hard time. It is awful to always be reminded of your past and through that all these false feelings and voices of uselessness and self-hatred for what happened come up again and again. But you have been stronger than those many times before. You can do it again, you know how to tame them. It is a time when it seems like it is not possible, but remember the times when you thought the same before.

    I thought of two Bible verses which I found very helpful when I thought I don’t believe and when I found it hard to pray.

    “In the same way, the Spirit helps us in our weakness. We do not know what we ought to pray for, but the Spirit himself intercedes for us through wordless groans.” Romans 8:26
    Even if praying is hard, or you can’t pray because you don’t know what for, God knows and

    “Though you have not seen him, you love him; and even though you do not see him now, you believe in him and are filled with an inexpressible and glorious joy, for you are receiving the end result of your faith, the salvation of your souls.” 1 Peter 1:8,9
    This reminds me that even though I doubt, God is still there, Jesus died for my sins and deep down I know that.

    I will be praying for you Emma, and I know that you can go through this “for I am convinced that neither death nor life, neither angels nor demons, neither the present nor the future, nor any powers, neither height nor depth, nor anything else I all creation, will be able to separate us from the love of God that is in Christ Jesus our Lord.”

    Lots of love!

  11. Thanks for all these comments: big big help and a reminder of what is most real. Sorry for ranting: but thanks for listening and taking the time to respond in such thoughtful ways. X

  12. Hi Emma, I am also going through the infertility journey. I wanted you to know about a website that has been most helpful to me and where you will find others who totally understand what you are going through.


  13. Emma,

    You are not useless. Because I am broken, and I have ruined my life because of my eating disorder. But I read your book and I read your blog and for just a moment I remember that I am loved. Loved by a father and reminded that I might not always get what I want, but I do get what I need. I gave up the dream of children when I decided to turn back to food. I watch my friends have babies and I tell them that I wouldn’t want kids because they are too much trouble. My hurt is deep and they don’t understand it. But there is this great blog by this girl who knows. And shared pain is the only kind you can trust. Keep trying just for one more day and so will I.

  14. Never have I read so many blogs from one person. Why? Because they’re useful. To me. Which means you’re useful. I know I’m a stranger (we may have met – my husband knew your husband when they were in London, before you guys were married) but you’ve got to be pretty useful to be useful to not just your friends but other people too! Just saying. It’s so hard, I know, but you’re useful to God.

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