Resurrection Year is the story of Sheridan and Merryn Voysey’s journey through the struggle of infertility- how they dealt with disappointment, false expectations, the problem of suffering, faith, and ultimately surrender in the face of their dreams of having a baby unfulfilled.
While I (obviously) have not struggled with infertility, I have a lot of friends who are. I picked up this book in order to try to get a better understanding of the thoughts, feelings, and questions that a couple might have as they learn to cope. How can I be a better support to them? What should I not say? While that was my expectation going into the book, that is definitely not the main thing I learned through reading about this portion of the author’s faith journey.
I knew that this book was going to be an interesting one when I read this in the introduction:
Perhaps a greater tragedy than a broken dream is a life forever defined by it.
That sentence made me stop in my tracks. I put down the book, wondering– what broken dreams threaten to define my life?
When we are growing up, we dream about what we want to be or do when we “grow up”. In our minds, some of us create scrapbooks of what life will be like after college- what will our future look like? Our house? Our jobs? Our family composition? Our adventures? But sometime around 30, we realize that our “future” is actually our present, and that some of our dreams are indeed broken. What do we do with these broken dreams? Do we harbor them deep in our hearts? Do we continue to strive for “our dream” even though it’s obvious that it’s not supposed to happen? Or do we work through it, surrendering it and opening our hearts and lives to the other experiences that await us?
When Jake and I got married, we wrote our own vows. One of the lines in Jake’s vow to me is that whatever dream he asks me to give up, he will be sure that it will be replaced by something even better. For example, if he asked me to sacrifice my dream of a big house in the country, he will do his best to make sure that whatever we are is even better. I think that God does this too– sometimes he asks us to give up our dreams for something better. A big question for those of us who are dealing with the “quarter life crisis” (or mid-life crisis, for that matter) need to ask ourselves what we’re holding onto that just needs to be let go so that we can enter into a life that is ready to accept what the day gives us. Of course, that’s not to say that infertility or other struggles are dreams that God is asking us to give up…I think sometimes it is just the result of sin in the world. But, either way, it’s not happening, so it’s a matter of surrendering.
After struggling with IVF rounds, Sheridan and Merryn decide that it was time to move on. So, they set off for a change of scenery and began their “Resurrection Year”– a time to go on an adventure, take a risk, and discover what was going to be resurrected out of the deep sorrow they experienced by giving up the dream of having children. What they found was not just bows and butterflies, but questions, deep wrestling, strangers who gave healing spaces and spoke balming words, and also new starts. Resurrection Year is also a beautiful story of a man and woman, one flesh, working together, ministering to one another, and giving up dreams for one another as they figured out how to live a resurrected life together.
Another theme that emerges in their story is that of holding onto God, even when one feels angry and confused by Him. Can we love God even when we wonder if God is who stole from us the deepest desire of our heart? Who are you, God? Are you responsible for this broken dream? The ancient mystery of suffering is a struggle that each one of us deals with at one time or another (or again and again). It was comforting to read the pages of this book, finding some of my own questions being asked by Merryn and Sheridan. “Ah,” I thought as I read, “I’m not alone in this.”
One thing that I love about this book is the authenticity that Sheridan shows through the writing of this book. Infertility is an intimate struggle, but he and his wife bare their wounds, thoughts, and feelings for the whole world to see. And I’m so glad they did. It’s helped me to take an honest look into my own heart and mind, asking God to revel to me those dreams I’m holding onto that are only stealing joy from my life– those things that I assumed were “mine” to have.
This book gets a rating of 10 exclamation points for sure. If you have about 20 minutes and want to watch a presentation that the author gives on the book, you can check it out below. Also, if you want to learn more about Sheridan and his wife, you can visit his webpage.
Thank you, Blogging for Books blogger program, for providing this complimentary book in exchange for my honest review!