I have to be honest.
Sometimes, one of the hardest aspects of infertility as a follower of Christ are the seemingly endless articles that go like this:
“I can’t get pregnant. So I prayed really, really hard. And I asked my pastor/preacher/teacher/friend/husband/mentor to pray over me. And now my little bundle of joy is playing at my feet while I try to figure out the cutest way to announce baby #2 is on the way. Tee hee.”
Or the women in churches who have had five children, and still claim to be infertile. If you have popped out five kids in less than eight years, you aren’t infertile.
Or the pastors and well-meaning teachers who continually say, “Just keep praying, and eventually God will bless you with a baby,” Oh…just hush.
I know that comes across as snarky, and I should probably be sorry, but…
But I have been praying for a pregnancy since 2005. That’s 12 years. Over 100 months of having my hopes unmet, tears as my companion, and wondering if God is hearing me.
But there is no pregnancy for me.
Yes, I believe God is sovereign. Yes, like Elkanah asked of Hannah, I do love my husband more than ten sons (1 Samuel 1:8). And our son, whom we adopted at birth? Precious to me beyond words.
But I still cannot get pregnant. Month after month after month after month… the pains begin, the telltale mood swings peak, and we know.
There is no pregnancy yet again.
In a few months I will be 42 years old. Last month a woman at our church told her story, and said, “I was blessed to become pregnant at age 42 with our daughter.” Unless you have never had a pregnancy, and are approaching 42, you have no idea how much I want to cling to that. I want to put all my hope into that one statement.
But I can’t.
My hope must rest in Christ.
How many stories have I heard about adoptive families where “babies fell into their laps”? But unless someone completely renovates our 100+ year old house, or sells it and makes up the $20,000 we’re upside down because of the run down rental houses in the neighborhood… we aren’t even eligible to foster or adopt.
I want to put my hope in adoption.
But I can’t.
My hope must rest in Christ.
My hope must rest in God’s sovereignty – that His plan is so much better than what I think my life should look like. Even after twelve years, I think my life should look like an easy, healthy pregnancy, and more than one child (who is now asking for siblings).
Psalm 42:11 says, “Why are you so downcast, O my soul, and why are you in turmoil within me? Hope in God; for I shall again praise Him, my salvation and my God.”
God is our ultimate and only source of hope.
He is it. We cannot be searching for hope in anything or anyone else. We cannot be praying for anything or anyone else.
My hope must rest in Jesus’ blood and resurrection – that His death for my sins is the only thing I need. Salvation is enough for me.
My hope cannot be in anything on this earth: my husband, our marriage, our existing child, or the mythical pregnancy I’ve dreamed of for over a decade.
It’s National Infertility Awareness Week. One in eight women is infertile, either permanently, or at some point in their life. It is in our churches, and it is terribly difficult to talk about within those walls. When people don’t know your story, it’s easy to assume you are choosing not to have children, and go against the biblical command to be fruitful and multiply. Or worse…you hear that you don’t have enough faith, or that you are praying “wrong.”
There are women who don’t want to serve in the nursery, because rocking a baby against their barren womb is more painful than anything else for them. But guess where their churches stick them?
There are women who will plaster on a smile, congratulate your pregnancy announcement, go home and cry themselves to sickness, because they will never have a baby. But guess what happens week after week?
There are women who don’t want to come to church on a certain Sunday in May. But guess what happens every year? “Spiritual Motherhood,” anyone?
These women are not lacking faith. Most of them have walked such a path that their faith is brightly refined by the fire and is shining.
But there is still pain.
There isn’t always a pregnancy, even when you pray, even when you pray fervently, with faith, and for God’s will to prevail, and that hurts.
The church needs to start acknowledging reality. There are women who hurt, who wonder where God is, who can’t adopt or foster, and who need you. They don’t need to hear that if they just keep praying, God will bless them with a pregnancy or a child. Sometimes He doesn’t. His ways are not our ways, and women need to be taught about His sovereignty – not spoon fed platitudes in hopes they will be quiet or not cause trouble.
These women need to know what to do when they are angry at God. They need to know what to do when they are jealous of their friends. These women need to know that longing for something isn’t a sin. They need to know that praying does not equal receiving.
They need to know that God is bigger, and better, and His sovereignty is perfect. They need to know how to rightly handle Scripture, so when they hear it used incorrectly, they aren’t hurt.
Dear sister, if you are struggling with infertility, my heart breaks for you. It is a lonely, painful path, especially in the church, where “miracles” are expected.
You are not alone. Take heart. Know that the Lord is close to you, and He loves you.
Even if there is never a pregnancy, He is still good…I promise.
This post was written as part of National Infertility Awareness Week 2017. For information on infertility, visit RESOLVE. My archives are full of posts about our infertility and adoption journey. You are not alone, and I am praying for you.