“How can we change our experience?”
No matter how that question is phrased, it’s what every infertile couple wants to know. What can we do differently in order to get a different result? What we’re doing isn’t working, what we’ve tried hasn’t succeeded… so, now what?
Change the paradigm.
A paradigm is “a model that forms the basis for something; an example that serves as a pattern, providing the basis of a methodology or theory.” Too often, this is the infertility paradigm: Pray for a specific outcome… then, if you get what you want, praise God and thank Him. Here’s the problem: most of the infertility journey is spent not getting what you want. That leaves most people not feeling any desire to praise or thank God.
Albert Einstein said, “insanity is doing the same thing over and over, and expecting a different outcome.” He’s right – but that’s exactly what we tend to do. We beg God for a baby, the baby doesn’t come, we feel anger, grief or both, we turn our backs on the God who refused us,… and then, we start the cycle again.
When we change the paradigm from “gimme first” to “praise first,” we create the potential for our infertility story to follow a different trajectory. How? Rather than making our praise and thanks contingent on God’s performance (of our plan, on our timetable), we praise and thank Him before we get what we want.
Why would we? Because doing so expresses our trust in God’s goodness, His faithfulness, and His purposefulness. Because it affirms our belief that God is actively working to give us His best; we will trust His judgment of when and what that is – more than our own. And, because it shows God that our faith is not contingent on wish fulfillment; it is grounded in the knowledge that “all things work together for the good of those who love God and are called according to His purpose” [Romans 8:28].
My friend, Heather, has been living the “praise first” paradigm. For a long time, she and her husband have been trying to conceive with no success. Both teachers, they’ve watched as many of their friends and colleagues have succeeded in starting families of their own.
They’ve been very intentional about expressing joy for others, rather than self-pity. When understandable envy has whispered words of resentment into their hearts, they’ve made the choice to praise God’s timing, trusting that He is at work in their story, too.
Heather read the first copy of Pregnant with Hope: Good News for Infertile Couples. Inspired by it, she passed it on to other teachers who were also struggling to conceive. She wrote a positive review on Amazon, so other infertile couples would be encouraged to read it. She made a point of speaking words of blessing over it & me.
She chose to lean into trusting that God was speaking directly to her through the book – honoring her trust in Him, and lifting her spirits with words of scripture that gave hope. She didn’t consider it a sign of failure that she needed the book. Instead, she took it as an indication of God’s love that it found its way to her.
Last week, she called to tell me that she’s pregnant.
I read this verse today and thought of her: “The light shines in the darkness…” [John 1:5]. Throughout her season of waiting, Heather trusted in God’s word to bring her the light of hope and inspiration. She also sought out people who are full of light, and she chose to be a bright light to her pregnant colleagues and the students she teaches.
She did not let the despair that so often accompanies infertility shroud her spirit in darkness. She praised God and thanked Him that He was at work – even though she couldn’t see it.
Now, look how her story’s unfolding.
Want to change your infertility experience? Want to see your story unfold like Heather’s? Make a paradigm shift. It will change everything.
For more resoures and cause for hope, visit PregnantWithHope.com