Sheridan & Merryn Voysey | A Journey Through Broken Dreams | Infertility & Childlessness |

SHERIDAN VOYSEY: THAT PATTERN OF EXPECTATION AND DISAPPOINTMENT CONTINUED ON IN VARIOUS WAYS FROM VARIOUS CAUSES FOR US FOR THE NEXT TEN YEARS MERRYN VOYSEY: THAT’S IT THAT’S THE END OF THE JOURNEY WE’RE NOT GOING ANY FURTHER THE FIRST THING WE DID WAS GOT RID OF ALL THAT STUFF IT WAS THE END OF THAT CYCLE OF HOPE AND THEN DISAPPOINTMENT THERE WAS NO MORE HOPE. BUT IN A SENSE, THAT WAS FREEING WE DIDN’T HAVE TO HAVE THAT BURDEN OF HOPE ANYMORE WE HAD A CLEAN SLATE WE COULD HAVE A NEW START SHERIDAN: THE JOURNEY BEGAN IN THE YEAR 2000 WHEN MERRYN WALKED INTO THE KITCHEN AND SAID TO ME, “HONEY, I THINK IT’S TIME.” AND I SAID, “TIME FOR WHAT?” AND SHE SAID, “TIME TO START A FAMILY.” AND IT WAS TIME WE’D BEEN MARRIED FIVE YEARS. WE WERE IN A GOOD, SETTLED SITUATION AND SO WE DECIDED THAT WE WOULD START TRYING FOR A FAMILY AND OF COURSE, IT’S SO COMMON FOR MANY COUPLES THAT THE FIRST COUPLE OF MONTHS YOU HAVE THIS THIS LITTLE PATTERN EMERGE OF EXPECTATION AND THEN MAYBE DISAPPOINTMENT IT’S COMMON. ANOTHER MONTH: EXPECTATION, DISAPPOINTMENT AND FOR SO MANY COUPLES: EXPECTATION, EXCITEMENT AND THEN AFTER A FEW MONTHS OF TRYING AND A FEW MORE MONTHS, YOU KNOW, WITH NOTHING HAPPENING, WE WENT AND GOT SOME MEDICAL TESTS DONE, AND THEN SOME MORE MEDICAL TESTS THE UPSHOT OF WHICH WAS THAT THE… THE DOCTORS SAID THAT WE COULDN’T WE COULDN’T NATURALLY, WITHOUT ANY ASSISTANCE, START A FAMILY ON OUR OWN SO WE… WE WOULD NEVER GET PREGNANT ON OUR OWN THAT WAS THE BEGINNING OF THE JOURNEY, COMING TO TERMS WITH THAT NEWS SO I GUESS THERE WAS A BIT OF SHOCK. I GUESS YOU ALWAYS THINK THERE’S THERE MIGHT BE PROBLEMS, BUT THEY’RE ALL FIXABLE MEDICINE THESE DAYS CAN DO ANYTHING, TECHNOLOGY, YOU KNOW SO WHILST THERE MIGHT BE PROBLEMS, I’M SURE THERE’S A PILL WE CAN TAKE TO FIX THEM I’M SURE THERE’S A ROUTINE WE CAN GET INTO YEAH, SO TO HEAR THE NEWS THAT ACTUALLY THERE WAS NO FIX, YOU KNOW, THIS WAS NOT GOING TO HAPPEN, WAS… WAS QUITE A SHOCK SO EVERY MONTH THERE’S THERE’S A HOPE THAT SOMETHING WILL HAPPEN THIS MONTH BUT FOR US, WE KNEW THAT IT WOULD NEVER HAPPEN THIS MONTH OR NEXT MONTH, OR WHATEVER, WITHOUT ASSISTANCE, WITHOUT IVF’S AND TO HEAR THE NEWS THAT THE THAT THE REASON WE WOULDN’T BE ABLE TO HAVE CHILDREN WAS BECAUSE OF HIS SPERM COUNT SO I HAD TO BREAK THAT NEWS TO HIM AT HOME AND, YEAH, HE JUST WAS REALLY QUIET. HE JUST… I THINK TRYING TO ABSORB WHAT WHAT THAT MEANS AND TRYING TO FIGURE OUT HOW HE FELT SO IT WAS JUST… IT WAS JUST A MOMENT OF QUIET SADNESS SHERIDAN: I THINK WHAT REALLY CAME WITH THAT WAS A SENSE OF LETTING MERRYN DOWN AND WHAT REALLY CAME, AND THAT ONLY GREW AS THE YEARS WENT ON AND OUR JOURNEY CONTINUED, WAS A SENSE OF, “I’M THE REASON WHY MERRYN CAN’T HAVE WHAT SHE DESPERATELY WANTS, “AND WHY MERRYN CAN’T BECOME WHO SHE DESPERATELY WANTS TO BECOME, WHICH IS A MOM.” THE SURPRISING THING FOR ME WITH GOING THROUGH THIS WHOLE PROCESS, WAS HOW BURDENSOME HOPE CAN BE AT TIMES SO WITH EVERY CYCLE THERE’S A HOPE THAT IT WILL BE SUCCESSFUL WITH EVERY CYCLE OF IVF OR WITH EVERY ATTEMPT OTHERWISE TO TO BE PREGNANT OR TO ADOPT OR SOMETHING, THERE’S THIS HOPE AND EVERY TIME YOU PRAY, YOU HOPE AND ACTUALLY, BY THE END OF IT, I FOUND THE HOPE REALLY BURDENSOME, ALMOST DEBILITATING AND AND IN THE END I COULDN’T PRAY ‘CAUSE I JUST HAD IT’S LIKE I HAD NO EMOTIONAL ENERGY LEFT TO HOPE ANYMORE, WHICH MEANT I COULDN’T PRAY ANYMORE AND I WAS JUST GLAD WE HAD FRIENDS AND FAMILY WHO WOULD PRAY, ‘CAUSE… ‘CAUSE I JUST GAVE UP YEAH, SO THE HOPE IN ITSELF IS… IS PAINFUL IT WAS HARD TO HOPE THAT THE IVF WOULD WORK BECAUSE IT HADN’T WORKED PREVIOUSLY

AND IT WAS HARD TO HOPE THAT THE PRAYERS WOULD BE ANSWERED, BECAUSE THEY HADN’T BEEN ANSWERED PREVIOUSLY SO I FELT I HAD TO HAVE SOMETHING TO HOPE FOR DURING THAT WHOLE PROCESS YOU HAVE TO HAVE SOMETHING TO HANG ON TO SO BY THE END OF THAT TEN YEARS, WE WERE EXHAUSTED WE HAD THE PHONE CALL ON CHRISTMAS EVE FROM THE IVF CLINIC SAYING THAT WE HAD BEEN GIVEN THE FALSE POSITIVE WE DIDN’T FEEL LIKE CELEBRATING CHRISTMAS ANYMORE THERE WAS A MIXTURE OF EMOTIONS. THERE WAS A MIXTURE OF DEEP, DEEP GRIEF THERE WAS A MIXTURE OF ANGER, DEEP ANGER, ALWAYS A LITTLE BIT OF GUILT, ‘CAUSE I’M THE REASON WHY SHE CAN’T HAVE WHAT SHE WANTS, A SENSE OF SPIRITUAL FAILURE, A SENSE OF UNFAIRNESS, AND THEN A SENSE OF HELPLESSNESS AND REALLY, THAT’S WHEN OUR JOURNEY CAME TO AN END THAT’S WHEN WE JUST DECIDED, “OKAY, THAT’S IT WE’RE DONE. NO MORE IVF “NO MORE TRYING ADOPTION WE HAVE TO BRING THIS JOURNEY TO AN END “WE NEED TO DRAW A LINE, AND WE NEED TO GET ON WITH OUR LIVES.” MERRYN: HEARING OTHER PEOPLE REJOICE OVER BEING PREGNANT WAS REALLY HARD AND OUR JOURNEY WAS OVER MANY, MANY YEARS, SO SOMETIMES IT WAS HARDER THAN OTHERS AND PEOPLE WOULD SEND, YOU KNOW, YOU EMAIL ‘ROUND THE PHOTOS OF THE NEW BABY, OR YOU PUT THEM ON FACEBOOK AND I JUST ENDED UP I DIDN’T OPEN THOSE EMAILS OR I HID CERTAIN PEOPLE FROM MY NEWSFEED ON FACEBOOK, BECAUSE I DIDN’T WANT TO SEE THE PICTURES AND… AND YET OTHER TIMES, I WAS REALLY HAPPY FOR MY FRIENDS WHEN THEY GOT PREGNANT, ESPECIALLY IF I KNEW THEY’D BEEN TRYING FOR AGES. AND THAT WAS A CAUSE FOR REJOICING I THINK LONGING TO BE A MOTHER IS JUST PART OF BEING FEMALE IT’S JUST NATURAL, AND SO THAT NEVER GOES AWAY NO MATTER WHAT YOUR CIRCUMSTANCES, FOR MOST PEOPLE SO WHEN THAT DIDN’T HAPPEN FOR… FOR ME AND AND WE SPENT YEARS TRYING TO MAKE THAT HAPPEN, YEAH, IT DID IMPACT ON MY RELATIONSHIP WITH GOD, SPECIFICALLY BECAUSE WE HAD ASKED AND ASKED IN PRAYER FOR THIS ANSWER TO PRAYER, FOR SOME SORT OF HEALING OR FOR SOME SORT OF MIRACLE, OR JUST FOR TECHNOLOGY THAT WE WERE USING FOR THE TECHNOLOGY TO WORK SHERIDAN: GOING FOR SUCH A LONG TIME WITHOUT ANY ANSWER TO PRAYER IN THIS WHOLE ISSUE, FEELING THAT IT WAS MY FAULT, THAT SOMEHOW I WASN’T SPIRITUALLY UP TO THE TASK, IT DOES, IN A SENSE, PICK AWAY AT YOUR DNA IT STARTS TO DISASSEMBLE YOU. YOU START TO KIND OF COLLAPSE INSIDE I WAS JUST EXHAUSTED BEYOND WORDS, BEYOND PRAYERS, BECAUSE THERE WAS THAT DEEP SENSE, THAT LITTLE NIGGLING DOUBT IN THE BACK OF MY MIND THAT ALL THIS WAS MY FAULT AND IT WAS EXHAUSTING IT WAS DEPRESSING. IT WAS DISAPPOINTING. IT WAS CONFUSING FOR US, FOR YEARS, YOU KNOW, OUR LIFE STARTED TO REVOLVE AROUND THE FOUR WALLS OF AN IVF CLINIC, OR THE FOUR WALLS OF THE ADOPTION AGENCY OFFICE SO ANYBODY WITH A BROKEN DREAM KNOWS THAT VERY SOON YOUR LIFE BECOMES CONSTRICTED TO THESE FOUR WALLS, AND IT CLOUDS EVERYTHING ELSE OUTSIDE OF THOSE WALLS I THINK OUR FIVE YEARS IN SYDNEY WAS A LOT ABOUT ABOUT STARTING A FAMILY IN IN DIFFERENT WAYS, ‘CAUSE WE LOOKED AT IVF AND WE LOOKED AT FOSTERING AND ADOPTION, AS WELL SO THE WHOLE FIVE YEARS WAS WAS ABOUT STARTING A FAMILY, AND SO IT HAD THOSE MEMORIES AND I THINK I WANTED TO LIVE SOMEWHERE ELSE THAT WASN’T ASSOCIATED WITH THAT PROCESS, AS WELL SHE SAID, “THE ONLY OTHER THING I’VE EVER WANTED TO DO APART FROM BECOME A MUM, “IS I WANTED TO LIVE AND WORK OVERSEAS.” I THOUGHT, “OVERSEAS.” AND SHE SAID, “IF WE DON’T HAVE A CHILD, CAN WE GO TO EUROPE?” AND I WENT, “EUROPE, REALLY? SHE SAID, “YEAH, IF WE DON’T HAVE A FAMILY, “CAN WE TAKE THIS OPPORTUNITY TO START AGAIN AND MOVE OVERSEAS?” AND I HAVE TO BE HONEST WITH YOU, THAT WAS THE LAST THING I WANTED TO CONTEMPLATE MYSELF, PERSONALLY BECAUSE FUNNILY ENOUGH, WITH ALL THIS TEN YEARS OF WHAT WE CALL OUR WILDERNESS EXPERIENCE, GOING THROUGH THIS WILDERNESS OF INFERTILITY, THESE BROKEN DREAMS, DURING THAT SAME TEN YEARS, THINGS WERE GOING WONDERFULLY FOR MY CAREER AND FOR MY MINISTRY AND SO WHEN I HEARD THOSE WORDS, I HAVE TO SAY THERE WAS A LITTLE BIT IN ME THAT WENT, “ANYTHING BUT THIS ANYTHING BUT THIS.”

MERRYN: THE OTHER THING THAT I HAD OFTEN THOUGHT ABOUT DOING WAS MOVING OVERSEAS AND WORKING IN EUROPE OR SORT OF DOING HAVING MORE OPPORTUNITY TO TRAVEL AND SEE THINGS THAT I HADN’T HAD A CHANCE TO SEE SO, FOR ME THAT WAS KIND OF LIKE A CONSOLATION PRIZE, TO HAVE SOMETHING ELSE TO HOPE FOR THAT WOULD BE SOMETHING I COULD HAVE THAT I WANTED, WHEN I ENDED UP NOT HAVING THE OTHER THING I WANTED, WHICH WAS THE FAMILY BETWEEN LEAVING SYDNEY AND ARRIVING IN THE UK AND STARTING… STARTING AGAIN, WE TOOK SOME TIME OUT WE WANTED A NEW START AND I KNEW THAT PART OF THAT, FOR ME, I WANTED TO RESURRECT MY RELATIONSHIP WITH GOD, WHICH HAD JUST DECLINED OVER THE YEARS GETTING NO ANSWER OR GETTING AN ANSWER WHICH IS, “NO,” FROM SOMEONE WHO’S SUPPOSED TO LOVE YOU DOES FEEL LIKE, YOU KNOW, THAT THEY’RE NOT BEING THEY’RE NOT SHOWING THAT LOVE THEY’RE NOT BEING LOVING, SO THAT’S HOW I FELT ABOUT GOD IT DID FEEL LIKE GOD WOULD JUST NOT ANSWER OUR PRAYER THERE WAS JUST SILENCE, AND… AND BECAUSE OF THAT, I FELT MORE AND MORE DISTANT I FELT LIKE GOD WAS SOMEONE I USED TO KNOW BACK WHEN I WAS YOUNGER, BEFORE ALL OF THIS HAD HAPPENED, LIKE AN OLD FRIEND WHO NOW NO LONGER RETURNS MY CALLS AND I FELT REALLY DISAPPOINTED, LIKE LIKE YOU WOULD IF YOU HAD A FRIEND THAT YOU THOUGHT YOU WERE CLOSE TO, AND THEN THEY… THEY’RE JUST NOT INTERESTED IN YOU ANYMORE I THINK I FOUND IT HARD TO TRUST GOD AFTER THAT, OR DURING THAT PROCESS, ‘CAUSE I HAD ASKED FOR SOMETHING THAT SEEMED TO ME SOMETHING THAT IT WASN’T WRONG TO ASK FOR IT WAS A GOOD THING TO ASK FOR, AND WE WOULD HAVE BEEN GOOD PARENTS. AND YET, AND THE ANSWER WAS NO, OR THERE WAS NO ANSWER SO… SO THEN I I DOUBTED THE CHARACTER OF GOD, WHETHER HE WAS REALLY LOVING, WHETHER HE WAS REALLY LISTENING, WHETHER HE REALLY CARED YEAH, SO TRUST WAS A BIG ISSUE. AND AND EVEN NOW, YEARS LATER, I… I FIND PRAYING FOR PEOPLE’S HEALING DIFFICULT NOT DIFFICULT TO PRAY, BUT DIFFICULT TO THINK THAT WHEN I PRAY IT WOULD MAKE A DIFFERENCE, BECAUSE IT DIDN’T IN THE PAST SO THAT’S THAT’S SOMETHING I’VE BEEN TRYING TO SORT MY HEAD AROUND IS THAT IT’S NOT ABOUT ME PRAYING. IT’S ABOUT GOD DOING THE WORK, DOING THE ANSWERING AND I… MY RELATIONSHIP WITH GOD HAS BEEN HEALING, BUT THERE ARE STILL THINGS LIKE THAT, LIKE PRAYING FOR PEOPLE, FOR THEIR HEALING, THAT I STILL FIND WITHOUT REALIZING IT, I KIND OF THINK I PROBABLY WON’T GET AN ANSWER TO THAT PRAYER AND THAT’S WRONG. I’M WRONG I’M WRONG WHEN I THINK THAT, AND I HAVE TO CATCH MYSELF AND SAY, “ACTUALLY, THAT’S NOT TRUE.” IT’S STILL GOOD TO PRAY. IT’S NOT JUST ABOUT YOUR PRAYERS THAT WILL MEAN WHETHER OR NOT THIS HAPPENS IT’S ABOUT GOD’S WILL AND WHAT GOD’S DOING AND SO IT HAS BEEN A VERY GRADUAL PROCESS OF HEALING AND FEELING LIKE I HAVE SOME SORT OF CLOSENESS AGAIN WITH GOD, AND IN THE END I CAME TO ACCEPT THE FACT THAT IT I DIDN’T THINK GOD WAS MEAN OR BEING MEAN IN NOT ANSWERING OUR PRAYER THE WAY WE WANTED IT BUT IN… AS PART OF THAT I HAD TO ACCEPT THAT I WOULDN’T ACTUALLY EVER UNDERSTAND WHY THAT WAS SO I HAD TO LET GO OF EVEN ASKING THAT QUESTION: “WHY IS OUR LIFE LIKE THIS? WHY DID YOU NOT ANSWER THAT QUESTION?” IN ORDER FOR US TO MOVE TO THE UK, THAT WOULD MEAN SHERIDAN WOULD HAVE TO QUIT HIS JOB, AND HE WAS VERY HAPPY IN HIS ROLE HE HAD A RADIO PROGRAM THAT HE’D BEEN WORKING TOWARDS MANY YEARS SO I REALIZED IT WAS A BIG ASK TO ASK HIM TO QUIT THAT JOB, KNOWING THAT HE COULDN’T GO TO SOMETHING IDENTICAL TO THAT HE IS A PERSON WHO WILL SACRIFICE FOR ME ‘CAUSE HE LOVES ME AND I… AND I LOVE HIM, SO I WOULD SACRIFICE FOR HIM, AS WELL AND THAT’S ALWAYS THE WAY WE’D WORKED TO TRY AND MAKE TO TRY AND MAKE LIFE GOOD FOR THE PERSON THAT YOU’RE WITH THAT YOU LOVE, AND TO TRY AND SEE THEM GROW AND DEVELOP AS MUCH AS THEY CAN, SO THAT TOGETHER YOU SORT OF BUILD EACH OTHER UP TO BE SOMETHING THAT YOU COULD NEVER BE ON YOUR OWN SO I COULD PROBABLY NEVER HAVE HEALED AND GROWN AFTER THIS EXPERIENCE

WITHOUT HIM ENABLING THAT FOR ME BY DOING THIS SO, IN THAT WAY, WE’VE SORT OF ENABLED EACH OTHER TO BECOME SOMETHING NEW THAT, ON OUR OWN, WE WOULD NEVER HAVE ACHIEVED ONCE THAT INITIAL PROCESS OF SETTING OURSELVES UP HERE IN THE COUNTRY HAD ENDED, I WAS THEN ABLE TO SIT DOWN AND SAY, “OKAY, SHERIDAN, WHERE NOW? “WHAT IS YOUR LIFE AND CAREER GOING TO LOOK LIKE?” AND I HAD SOME CONTACTS, BUT NOT A LOT. IT REALLY WAS A CASE OF STARTING AFRESH AND VERY SOON, IT BECAME VERY OBVIOUS THIS WAS GOING TO BE A DIFFERENT A DIFFICULT ROAD INDEED TO ACTUALLY NAVIGATE AND I WASN’T TOO SURE WHERE I WAS GOING TO GO OR WHO I WAS GOING TO BECOME AND VERY RAPIDLY, I HAD THESE VERY UGLY FEELINGS ARISE IN ME, AND THEY WERE BOTH I CALL THEM WHISPERS, SINISTER WHISPERS OF WORDS BEING SPOKEN AGAINST ME AND WORDS THAT THINGS THAT I FELT ABOUT OTHER PEOPLE WHO HAD WHAT I WANTED SO FOR THE OTHER PEOPLE I GOT… FELT JEALOUS, AND I FELT ENVIOUS OF THE AUTHORS AND THE SPEAKERS AND THE RADIO BROADCASTERS WHO HAD WHAT I MAYBE USED TO HAVE, OR A LITTLE… LITTLE TASTE OF AT LEAST, WHICH I DIDN’T HAVE AND I COULDN’T HAVE OR DIDN’T SEEM TO BE ABLE TO HAVE IN THE UK BUT ALSO THOSE FEELINGS OF INSIGNIFICANCE I THINK I USED THE PHRASE “SPIRITUAL IMPOTENCE” AT ONE POINT I JUST FELT SPIRITUALLY IMPOTENT, LIKE, YOU KNOW, WHO ARE YOU? I HAD TO VERY QUICKLY ASK MYSELF, “SHERIDAN, YOU’VE ALWAYS TAUGHT “THAT AS CHRISTIANS OUR PRIMARY IDENTITY IS BEING CHILDREN OF GOD “DO YOU REALLY BELIEVE THAT NOW? DO YOU REALLY BELIEVE THAT? “BECAUSE THE WAY THAT YOU’RE RESPONDING AND THE JEALOUSY THAT YOU’RE FEELING, “AND THE ENVY YOU’RE STARTING TO FEEL WITH THE PEOPLE “WHO HAVE WHAT YOU WANT AND YOU DON’T HAVE, “AND THE SENSE OF THE SENSE OF YOUR SENSE OF SELF BEING SHAKEN, “AND ALL OF THAT IS BEING QUESTIONED VERY, VERY MIGHTILY RIGHT NOW “DO YOU REALLY BELIEVE THAT, SHERIDAN?” I WAS PRAYING AND SEEKING GOD OF COURSE, AS CHRISTIANS, WE LIKE TO THINK THAT, YOU KNOW, GOD’S THE ONE WHO LOVES US AND PROTECTS US AND LOOKS AFTER US, GIVES US ALL THOSE IMPORTANT THINGS THAT WE SEEK IN LIFE OF COURSE, BEING A PERSON OF FAITH ACTUALLY BRINGS A WHOLE HEAP OF OTHER PROBLEMS INTO YOUR LIFE, AS WELL THE PROBLEM OF ANSWER UNANSWERED PRAYER, THAT’S A PROBLEM THAT CHRISTIANS FACE MERRYN: AND I STRUGGLE WITH THAT PHRASE THAT YOU HEAR OFTEN, “EVERYTHING HAPPENS FOR A REASON.” SO WE TAKE COMFORT IN THAT, THAT WE DON’T UNDERSTAND IT, BUT EVERYTHING… THERE MUST BE A REASON BEHIND EVERYTHING AND… AND I SOMETIMES WONDER WHETHER THAT’S ACTUALLY NOT THE CASE, BUT PERHAPS NOT EVERY OUTCOME IS SOMETHING HE STEPPED INTO DIRECTLY AND IMPACTED SPECIFICALLY AND ONLY IN SPECIFIC CASES HAS GOD STEPPED IN AND MADE A SPECIFIC OUTCOME FOR A SPECIFIC PERSON, AND POSSIBLY FOR A SPECIFIC PURPOSE I THINK HE’S MUCH MORE FOCUSED ON HOW WE RESPOND TO THESE SITUATIONS THAN FOR US TO UNDERSTAND A REASON BEHIND THEM FOR ME, IT WAS HARD TO PICTURE WHAT IS LIFE LIKE WHEN YOU DON’T HAVE KIDS AS A… AS A MARRIED CHRISTIAN WOMAN, YOU KNOW, PEOPLE TALK ABOUT A CHRISTIAN WIFE AND MOTHER THAT… THAT SORT OF PHRASE GOES TOGETHER SO WHAT WHAT DOES LIFE LOOK LIKE WHEN YOU DON’T GET THE SECOND HALF OF THAT PHRASE, YOU JUST GET THE CHRISTIAN WIFE BIT? IT WOULD HAVE BEEN NICE GOING THROUGH THAT JOURNEY IF WE’D KNOWN SOMEONE ELSE WHO HAD BEEN THROUGH THAT JOURNEY AND COME OUT THE OTHER SIDE SO I… I DID FIND IT ISOLATING IN THAT IT WASN’T SOMETHING WE COULD REALLY SHARE WITH ANYONE WHO… WHO HAD BEEN THROUGH IT I MEAN, WE… WE TOLD PEOPLE. PEOPLE KNEW THE THE CIRCUMSTANCES OF OUR LIFE, BUT I DIDN’T KNOW ANY COUPLES WHO HAD NO CHILDREN UNLESS IT WAS BY CHOICE BECAUSE IT’S NOT A BROKEN DREAM FOR NO REASON IT’S SOMETHING YOU DESPERATELY WANTED IT MIGHT HAVE BEEN A HUSBAND OR A WIFE. IT MIGHT BE A CHILD. IT MIGHT BE A CAREER IT MIGHT BE THAT YOU’RE AN ARTIST AND YOUR ART HAS NEVER MADE IT TO THE MASSES OR MAYBE YOU’RE A MUSICIAN AND NOBODY’S DOWNLOADING YOUR SONGS OFF ITUNES WE’VE ALL MET SOMEBODY WHO’S BEEN IN THAT SITUATION, AND IT IS… IT IS SO TRAGIC IT’S SO UNDERSTANDABLE AND I UNDERSTAND NOW THAT WE’VE GONE THROUGH OUR BROKEN DREAM, AND I UNDERSTAND IT AND I’VE I’VE FELT THAT SENSE IN WHICH IT STARTS TO PICK AWAY AT YOUR VERY BEING, BECAUSE YOU CANNOT BECOME THE PERSON YOU WANT TO BECOME WRAPPED UP IN A BROKEN DREAM IS A LOST IDENTITY AND YOU CAN BECOME SO MANY OTHER THINGS THE GREATER TRAGEDY THAN A BROKEN DREAM IS A LIFE FOREVER DEFINED BY IT DON’T LET IT DEFINE YOU DRAW A LINE, GRIEVE, MOVE ON I HAD A CONVERSATION WITH A DEAR FRIEND OF MINE NAMED ADRIAN ONE EVENING,

AND IT REALLY BECAME THE TURNING POINT OF OUR JOURNEY HE SAID, “SHERIDAN, YOU KNOW, YOUR STORY IS SO MUCH BIGGER THAN INFERTILITY “YOUR STORY IS ABOUT BROKEN DREAMS AND STARTING AGAIN “YOUR STORY IS ABOUT HOLDING ON TO HOPE. YOUR STORY IS ABOUT TAKING A RISK “IT’S ABOUT HOLDING ON TO GOD EVEN WHEN YOU DON’T UNDERSTAND HIM “I THINK YOUR STORY IS MUCH BIGGER THAN THIS “I THINK YOU SHOULD BE TALKING ABOUT YOUR STORY “I THINK YOU SHOULD BE SHARING YOUR STORY WITH OTHER PEOPLE.” WELL, I HAVE TO I HAVE TO SAY THAT I DIDN’T SLEEP VERY MUCH THAT NIGHT, ‘CAUSE THIS WAS THE LAST THING I WANTED TO DO I SHARED IT WITH MERRYN SHE THOUGHT IT WAS PROBABLY THE RIGHT THING AFTER SHE PRAYED ABOUT IT, SO WE STARTED SHARING OUR STORY. THAT WAS THE TURNING POINT OF OUR LIVES MERRYN: JUST HEARING THAT WE CAME OUT THE OTHER SIDE OF THAT STRUGGLE AND ARE OKAY, JUST EVEN THAT SIMPLE THING, FOR SOME PEOPLE, HAS BEEN MEANINGFUL TO THEM, TO GIVE THEM HOPE THAT THEY WILL ALSO COME OUT THE OTHER SIDE AND AND THEIR LIFE WILL BE MEANINGFUL AGAIN AND WON’T BE JUST ALWAYS STUCK IN THAT DISAPPOINTMENT AND STUCK IN THAT DIFFICULTY SHERIDAN: YOU CAN HOLD ON, KNOW THAT YOU DO NOT HAVE A LOT OF ANSWERS FOR SO MANY OF THESE THINGS, AND YOU CAN HAVE YOUR FAITH DEEPENED AND TAKEN INTO A MORE MATURE SENSE OF FAITH, WHICH I THINK IS ALL… WHAT THE CHRISTIAN JOURNEY IS ALL ABOUT NOW, THAT MATURE FAITH IS NOT NECESSARILY THAT WE COME OUT MORE TRIUMPHANT OR MORE VICTORIOUS AT THE END I ACTUALLY THINK IT’S THAT WE LIVE WITH A LOT MORE TENSION AND A LOT MORE UNRESOLVED QUESTIONS IN OUR LIFE, BUT WE STILL HOLD ONTO A GOD WHO’S HUGE AND BIG AND BIGGER THAN US I FEEL VERY BLESSED NOW THERE MIGHT BE ONE ASPECT OF OUR LIFE THAT HASN’T WORKED OUT THE WAY WE WANTED IT, AND THAT WAS THIS… THAT WAS THIS DIFFICULT STRUGGLE BUT THERE ARE SO MANY OTHER WAYS IN WHICH GOD HAS REALLY BLESSED US LIVING IN OXFORD IS GREAT WE… WE LOVE IT HERE IT’S AN INTERESTING PLACE IT’S A BEAUTIFUL PLACE, AND WE JUST HAVE NEW EXPERIENCES IN OUR LIFE THAT WE WOULDN’T HAVE HAD IF WE STAYED IN SYDNEY SO THERE ARE SO MANY WAYS THAT WE FEEL REALLY HAPPY ALTHOUGH I MIGHT NEVER UNDERSTAND WHY, OR IF THERE WAS A REASON FOR US TO GO THROUGH THIS PROCESS AND AND HAVE THESE EXPERIENCES, THAT DOESN’T MEAN THAT THERE AREN’T GOOD THINGS THAT CAN COME OF IT IT MIGHT NOT HAVE BEEN THE PURPOSE OF THE EVENT IN THE FIRST PLACE, BUT GOD CAN CERTAINLY TURN WHATEVER HAS HAPPENED INTO SOMETHING NEW AND SOMETHING GOOD AND BRING BLESSING AND BRING CHANGE AND COMPLETELY TURN THAT AROUND SO IT’S A DIFFERENCE BETWEEN LOOKING AT WHAT IS THE PURPOSE OF SOMETHING AND WHAT IS THE RESULT OF SOMETHING. AND SO, DEFINITELY, NOW THAT WE HAVE BEEN THROUGH THIS, WE FEEL THAT THIS CAN BE THIS CAN BE AN EXPERIENCE THAT CAN BE USED TO HELP OTHERS, AS WELL SO SINCE WE HAVE STARTED TO SHARE THIS STORY PUBLICLY, PEOPLE WITH ALL SORTS OF BROKEN DREAMS: INFERTILITY, UNWANTED SINGLENESS, CAREER PROBLEMS, THE LOSS OF LOVED ONES, ALL SORTS OF THINGS IN BETWEEN, ARE NOW SAYING TO US, “MY GOODNESS. YOU HAVE AWOKEN AN ECHO IN US “EVERYTHING THAT YOU HAVE SHARED WE HAVE KIND OF BEEN THROUGH,” EVEN THOUGH THE STORY MIGHT BE COMPLETELY AND UTTERLY DIFFERENT I’VE HAD PEOPLE SAY TO ME, “MY WHOLE LIFE IS GONE “MY DREAMS ARE GONE, EVEN MY HUSBAND HAS WALKED OUT ON ME “BUT NOW, AS I’VE HEARD YOUR STORY, NOW I CAN START AGAIN AND I CAN START FINDING GOD AGAIN.” I HAVE TO TELL YOU, THAT WASN’T THE EXPECTED OUTCOME OF OUR TEN YEARS OF BROKENNESS, AND OUR TEN YEARS WALKING THROUGH THE WILDERNESS OF INFERTILITY SOMEHOW GOD IS TAKING THIS STORY, AS WE SHARE IT VULNERABLY AND OPENLY, GOD IS TAKING IT AND BRINGING HEALING INTO PEOPLE’S LIVES THAT’S NOT WHAT I WAS EXPECTING, AT ALL COMMUNITY IS JUST SO IMPORTANT FOR ANYBODY WHO’S GONE THROUGH A BROKEN DREAM, BECAUSE WE NEED YOU SOMETIMES WE CAN’T HAVE YOU AND WE CAN’T… WE DON’T WANT YOU THAT’S PART OF THE PROBLEM OF GOING THROUGH INFERTILITY OR ANY BROKEN DREAM THERE ARE TIMES WHEN WE NEED YOU AND YET WE CAN’T HAVE YOU, AND YOU’RE GOING TO SAY THE WRONG THING, AND WE’VE GOT TO FORGIVE YOU, AND WE DON’T HAVE THE ENERGY FOR THAT. BUT IF WE COULD JUST STICK TOGETHER, THERE’S A HEALING POWER IN TRUE CHRISTIAN COMMUNITY LIKE NO OTHER WE CAN’T GET THROUGH WITHOUT IT WE REALLY CAN’T. WE COULDN’T MERRYN: THERE’S A VERSE IN THE BIBLE THAT SAYS, “A HOPE DEFERRED MAKES THE HEART SICK, BUT A LONGING FULFILLED IS A TREE OF LIFE.” AND SHERIDAN REALLY NOTICED THAT THIS VERSE APPLIED VERY MUCH TO OUR SITUATION OF HOPING FOR SOMETHING AND NOT SEEING THAT COME TO FRUITION AND AND FEELING VERY DOWN ABOUT THAT AND HAVING THAT BE A SUCH A NEGATIVE THING BUT THEN WHEN WE CAME TO THE UK AND WE SORT OF HAD A NEW START, AND WE SORT OF HAD A NEW DIRECTION, IN MANY WAYS IT’S LIKE THE SECOND HALF OF THAT VERSE WE WEREN’T SEEING THE ANSWER THAT WE WERE EXPECTING, BUT WE WERE SEEING A NEW LIFE IN A DIFFERENT WAY, A NEW TYPE OF LIFE, A NEW NORMAL, NEW EXPERIENCES

AND… AND THAT IS A LIFE-GIVING EXPERIENCE IN ITSELF SHERIDAN: CAN THERE BE A BEAUTY THAT ONLY EVER COMES THROUGH BROKENNESS? GOD CAN TAKE THESE BROKEN THINGS AND DO SOMETHING ABSOLUTELY ASTOUNDING AND SURPRISING AND UNEXPECTED OUT OF THEM BEAUTY, PLAY, ALL OF THESE THINGS ARE GOOD GIFTS TO HELP US RESTORE FROM A BROKEN DREAM THAT’S THE ONLY WAY IT CAN COME IT’S NOT A PRISTINE BEAUTY IT’S NOT A SHINY BEAUTY IT’S A BROKEN BEAUTY I THINK THAT CAN GIVE HOPE TO A FEW OF US, THAT MAYBE THERE’S A BEAUTY THAT CAN COME OUT OF THE BROKENNESS OF OUR OWN LIVES AND CERTAINLY THAT WAS THE HOPE FOR MERRYN AND ME