For nine years I had what doctors called "unexplained infertility". They had no idea what was wrong, but clearly something was. I felt like a dud, a lemon. And we couldn't even fix whatever was wrong because we had no idea what it was. It was this awful combination of hope since I wasn't told "you can never have kids" and discouragement because how do you fix something when you don't know what's wrong?
Every two weeks my hope would grow, "maybe this month we'll get pregnant" only to be let down time and time again. Infertility sucks. And that's just the physical battle. There's also the mental, spiritual and emotional battle of questioning Why is God letting this happen? and What now? and a thousand other questions and thoughts. But then there is perhaps the most difficult. The well-meaning but hurtful "advice" from others, "Stop trying so hard", "Once you stop thinking it will just happen" "Adopt and then you'll get pregnant." None of which are Scriptural, but unhelpful Christian culture sound bites. So my dear friends who have never gone through infertility, please never say these things to someone going through infertility unless you want to give them a swift punch in the gut.
But though I wasn't able to get pregnant for nine years, the Lord started our family through adoption after six of those years. He gave us the most amazing story of adoption (s) that gave me so many light bulb moments with the Lord. You can read the story here. And then as we were well into our third adoption (snowflake/embryo adoption, you can read about thathere), we got pregnant. The shock of all shocks. And then again. And again. So now we have four kids and another on the way. That's our story, not everyone's. God has a very specific, beautiful, unique plan for each person going through infertility. So having been infertile for nine years, below are three things that helped me. I don't claim to know it all and what helped me perhaps wont help everyone since we are all unique, but it certainly can't hurt to share my experience hoping it will encourage someone.
3 things that helped me persevere through my season of infertility.
1. Yield. So often we hold our dreams and plans for our life so tight that we squish the life right out of it. Like a rose. When we grab it too tight, we destroy it's beauty and hurt ourselves on the thorns. Meekness is a picture of a wild horse, strong and independent, yielding to it's master. Meekness is what God desires from each of us no matter our circumstances.
In order to not only survive but thrive through a season of infertility it takes letting go of our perceived "rights" of how we want our life to look. Yielding takes trusting God is good and committed to our good for His glory. It takes trusting His way is better than ours and takes trusting He has a plan and this season hasn't caught Him off guard.
Whether I liked it or not all those years, it was where God had me. When I yielded to His plan for my life instead of demanding my own way, I experienced peace, joy and contentment and God was glorified.
2. Be real with God. Sometimes when we are angry with God we give Him the silent treatment. Or think we can't or shouldn't talk to Him about what we are thinking and feeling. But really there is nothing better to do than to share your heart- your disappointments and frustrations with the Lord and let Him through His Word give comfort, perspective and rest. "This is my comfort in my affliction that your word has revived me." (Ps. 119:50) External circumstances wont give us the real kind of comfort and perspective we are looking for or need. So turn to the Lord and be real with your heart with Him. Saturate yourself with His Word to outweigh the noise and lies of your heart and hurtful advice of others.
3. Be thankful. You might think, "That's easy for you to say because you have kids now." And I do. But I have two of the most strong-willed kids you may have ever heard about. It's a different story now. It's easy to not be thankful for one of the most challenging seasons of life yet. It's easy to think that once everything is how you want it, then you'll be thankful, then you'll be content. But the reality is, if you can't give thanks now, you wont give thanks later. An uncontent heart is never content no matter the circumstances. Being thankful is the very thing we need to choose to do to guard our heart and mind.(Phil. 4:6-7)
If you've gone through infertility, what other things helped you persevere?
Laura, the creator and host of Missional Women is married and has four kids, two of whom are adopted. Laura and her husband have been missionaries to college students for 11 years serving with Master Plan Ministries. Laura is the Staff Women's Development Coordinator and has discipled over 150 girls, led over 30 Bible studies and speaks to college and women's groups. Laura has authored 5 books, including an award winning 12 week Bible Study on First Samuel, Beholding Him, Becoming Missional, Reach; How to Use Your Social Media Influence for the Glory of God, and A Devotional Journey through Judges, a devotional to accompany the free online Bible study at TheBookofJudges.com. You can find her on facebook, twitter, pinterest, youtube, instagram and her author site.
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12/10/2013 05:30:42 am
I LOVE everything about this. And your three points are applicable to me, even though it's with a different story. Thank you. :)
12/10/2013 11:46:01 pm
Thanks for your encouragement Sara. :) I love you a ton!!
12/10/2013 11:46:57 pm
Whoops, ended too early...
Oh Laura, your words are so timely for me right now. Infertility has been my story for 10 years. I struggle at times with contentment. And even though the Lord has built our family through adoption the desire is still there. Thanks so much for sharing your wisdom and experience.
12/10/2013 11:48:31 pm
Thank you for your encouragement Kerry. Contentment... ugh... wont it be great to be in heaven and not have to wrestle with that anymore. :) Sigh...
12/10/2013 11:43:02 pm
Laura, thank you so much for sharing. This is so needed for both those going through infertility and those who know someone who is.
12/10/2013 11:50:58 pm
Thanks Joy. It is a crazy thing to talk about b/c everyone's situation and experience and feelings about it are so different... it would be so much easier if it was just always the same but I guess that is the joy of differences... we get to depend on Jesus so much more for how to love people well they way they need to be loved.
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