Monthly Archives: April 2010

A New Infertility Paradigm

“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

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Infertility: One of the Blessings…

What if one of the blessings of infertility is that it exposes our infertile faith – and motivates us to draw near and rely on the God we’ve been taking for granted.  Would it be worth the heartache?

Ultimately, Joe thought so.

When he and his wife joined our infertility bible study, they’d already faced cervical cancer, several failed IUIs, failed IVFs, surgeries (for both of them), and a miscarriage that occurred shortly after they shared news of their pregnancy with a dying parent.

How did they deal with it all?  Prior to these challenges, said Joe, “I was a passive Christian.  I didn’t read the Bible.  We were going to church, but for me, it was at a very superficial level.  I’d go, leave, and put it behind me until the next Sunday.”

In yesterday’s paper, USA Today featured the results of a major survey of young adults.  Among those who consider themselves Christians, 65% said they rarely/never pray with others, read the Bible, or worship.  The article summarized, “They’re mushy, in-name-only Christians.”

Joe embodied the trend of spiritual sleepwalking – mushy, in-name-only faith that’s nothing like a genuine relationship with God.  It’s pointless and largely useless.  But, that didn’t matter to Joe until infertility – and all the challenges that came with it – entered the story.

“I had this experience that I’d never had before,” he recalled.  “I was in the shower upstairs and I lost it.  I was crying.  I literally could feel God, hear God, and He said, “You have to be strong.”  That’s when I realized I needed God on a more-than-superficial level.”  Soon afterwards, Joe and Nancy joined our infertility Bible study.

When couples seek out our group, they’ve often reached their limit.  Whether that limit is psychological, emotional, physical, spiritual, or some combination of these – their circumstances have become unbearable.  They’ve made as much progress as they can under their own power.  Now, humbled by their lack of success and painfully aware of their human limitations, they realize it’s time to try something new.

What can I possibly offer them?

This promise:  God uses our circumstances as a “spiritual refining process” to prepare us [I Peter 4:12].  Rather than ignoring or punishing us, God  is allowing our experiences to mold us in anticipation of the blessing He has planned.  The gift that is coming.  The child we long for.

It’s human nature to feel desperate when we reach our limits.  But when we stop relying on our own ability to bring our dream to fruition, we open the door to a new kind of hope, based on God’s promise and His faithfulness.  The same promise-keeping God of scripture continues to work today in the lives of couples who invite Him into their story.

I’ve watched Him work miracle after miracle in the lives of couples who’ve joined our group and chosen to proceed in God-honoring ways.  They replaced spiritual sleepwalking with conscious, intentional trust and faith-full decisions.  Did it change anything?  Yes.  It changed everything.

Was it worth the effort?

When I interviewed Joe, now the father of a two-year-old son, for Pregnant with Hope, he summarized his experience this way:  “At the end of it, if all that happens is that you become closer to God, it’s worth it.”


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Infertility & Gideon’s Good Example

I think, at some point, most of us wonder about God’s plan for our lives.  What’s coming?  And when?  If life has treated us reasonably well, it’s largely idle curiosity (“hmmm… I wonder”).  But when infertility enters the story, it morphs into something more like desperation.  We need to know the plan.  What exactly is going on?  When will this struggle be over?  And, will it end the way we want?

Rather than build our confidence, the steady stream of test results only makes us more fearful and full of doubt.  The more we know, the more we worry… until the anxiety level borders on panic.  Why is that?  Because we want to control what we can’t – and our lack of control raises frightening questions:  If we’re not in control, then who is?  What’s the plan?  And, how can we get answers?

I got some answers this morning, in a part of the Bible I’d never read before.

This was the story line:  God initiated a conversation with Gideon to outline a plan.  Instead of trusting God, Gideon asked hard questions, expressed doubts, and asked for proof.  Instead of getting angry and punishing or condemning Gideon, God saw past his anxiety to a heart that wanted to believe.  So, He responded to Gideon’s request for a sign.  Not once.  Not twice.  But three times.  Then, Gideon stepped into the story God had outlined and fulfilled His plan.

I think that story is incredibly relevant to our infertility journeys.  Here’s how:

– God is willing to speak when we’re willing to listen

God doesn’t get angry when we speak our hearts

– God sees past anxiety to hearts that want to believe

– God responds to requests for evidence of His faithfulness

When we step out in faith, God works through us to fulfill His plan and to give us His best

To be clear, God never gave Gideon beyond-a-shadow-of-a-doubt proof.  He never guaranteed the outcome.  If that’s what we’re waiting for, it isn’t coming.  Not because God can’t, but because He won’t.  That kind of response to our uncertainty leaves no room for faith.

But, God reassured and encouraged Gideon, “The Lord is with you.  Go with the strength you have [and accomplish what looks impossible]… I am sending you.  I will be with you.  It is all right.  Do not be afraid.” And, He gave Gideon three signs – three very specific encouragements – that enabled Gideon to trust Him enough to risk believing Him.

Still, Gideon had to step out in faith.  Only when he believed – and acted on that belief – did God’s plan become Gideon’s reality.

The same is true for us and our infertility journey.  God has a plan and a purpose.  He plants a seed of hope in our hearts that makes us long for something we cannot achieve without Him.  Then, He initiates a conversation – if we will listen.  He sends us signs of encouragement that enable us to trust Him – if we choose to.  He does not force His plan on us.  If we feel anxiety, doubt or fear, He invites us to tell Him – and looks past those feelings to hearts that want to believe.

Ultimately, we have the same choice Gideon did:  to step into the story, act on our belief, and work with God to bring on His very best… or to hang back in fear and doubt, refusing to trust a God who won’t guarantee the outcome up front.

The choice seems very clear to me.


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Infertility? You Are Blessed

I just left the bookstore and, on my way out, passed a display featuring a book by Mother Teresa, You Are Blessed.  God could not have spoken to me more clearly if the book had leaped off the table and into my hands.

I am blessed, but sometimes – especially when I’m not getting what I’m badly wanting and desperately praying for – I forget that.  I lose sight of my glass half-full.  All I can see is that it’s partly empty.  As I look around me, “everyone else” is already enjoying the blessing I want.  That’s when the negative self-talk starts:  it’s so unfair, why them and not me?  A minute later, I’m caught in a psychological death spiral… down, down, down… into a dark hole of worry and gloom, until I feel so far from God that I can’t possibly hear Him.

Does that sound familiar?

Maybe it doesn’t happen so fast for you.  Or, maybe it’s such a blur, you can’t even describe the stages of descent – just the fact that one minute you’re fine, the next minute you’re losing it.

It’s those death spiral moments that make infertile couples ask, “Where is God in all this?”  He can seem so distant, unresponsive, and unmoved by our trauma and drama.  But, He’s not. We’ve pulled away – out of fear, a need to control, repressed anger, and so much more.  Meanwhile, God is busy blessing us.

How can we see that more clearly?  What would that change?  And why is it hugely important to our infertility experience?

When we focus on what we do not have – and those who already have it, we open the door to resentment and jealousy.  We foolishly invite darkness into our hearts, our minds, and our spirits.  We unconsciously push God aside to make room for His enemy, and then give ourselves over to despair.  We choose a path that cannot possibly take us to joy.

Unbelievably, this is our choice.  It is our decision to marinate in toxic emotions that make it virtually impossible to hear or see  God.  But, it doesn’t have to be that way.

If we shift the focus from self to God – from “I want but don’t have…” to “He’s already given me…” – we find cause for renewed hope.  Even more, we experience a restored confidence in His faithfulness and compassion.  It is choosing to see the glass half-full (thanks to God), rather than half-empty.  And it makes all the difference in how we experience the infertility journey.

So, when you want a child and can’t conceive one, can’t carry one to term, can’t imagine another cycle but can’t imagine giving up… how exactly is the glass half-full?

If you have a loving, supportive spouse, you are blessed.  If you have found a doctor you trust and respect, you are blessed.  If someone outside your marriage is encouraging you, you are blessed.  If you’ve ever gotten a good test result, you are blessed.  If you’re healthy enough to try again, you are blessed.  If you can afford ART, you are blessed.

If you’ve found a community of infertile couples, you are blessed.  If you’ve read an uplifting message, you are blessed.  If you have a friend who understands your struggle, you are blessed.  If you continue to hope despite losses and grief, you are blessed.  If you still believe that God hears your prayers — even if you don’t sense His answers — you are blessed.

You are blessed.  You are blessed.  You are blessed.

And all of it – every bit of it! – was put in your path by the God who loves you and longs to bless you more.  He intends to give you His very best, in His perfect timing.  It’s hard to be patient – especially when you don’t know the details of His plan – but you can trust the God who’s proven Himself faithful throughout scripture.

Mother Teresa’s book reminded me today that I am blessed.  I took several minutes, right in the middle of the bookstore, to think of the ways God has gone before me to prepare a path strewn with blessings – too many to count.  Recalling those blessings was a blessing in itself.  I felt a surge of gratitude for the God who knows and loves me.

Do you have a thankful heart for all that God has already done for you?  Tell Him so.  Thank Him.  And, trust that He is not ignoring your pleas for the blessing of a child.

Mark 11:24 says, “Therefore I tell you, whatever you ask for in prayer, believe that you have received it, and it will be yours.”

What greater blessing could there be than this promise?  Claim it, choose to see that the foundation is already being laid, and give God your “thank offering” of a grateful heart.  The change in your perspective will alter your trajectory.


For more resources and cause for hope, visit


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Infertility & the Power of Prayer

Why, if her own infertility journey is over, would a woman choose to work with infertile women?  Not for the money.  She does it for free, despite her own family’s financial needs.  Not for the recognition.  Few people outside the insular world of infertility even know what she does.

Lisa Graham works with infertile women because she has a servant’s heart, and because it is a joy to watch God work in the lives of women who entrust their stories to her.

Seven years ago, after her own journey made her aware of the profound lack of spiritual support for women battling infertility, Lisa was urged to start a prayer group for infertile women.  A friend told her, “You should get women together, share your stories, and pray for one another.”  At first, Lisa felt intimidated by the idea of being the leader.  But another woman, “who knew scripture much better than I did” agreed to partner with her, and the two women launched a unique ministry.

“We meet once a month,” Lisa explained.  “We go around the circle and everyone shares what’s happened to them since we last met:  test results, where they are in their cycle, the next doctor’s appointment….  Sometimes, there are losses to share.  And almost always tears.  Then, we anoint each woman with oil and pray for her.  Every month, we say, ‘Jesus is in the house!’  You can feel his presence in the room.”

Talking about infertility makes many people very uncomfortable.  Unfortunately, that includes those who are expected to minister to us during times of struggle and heartache.  E.W. Carter of the Regional Council of Churches said, “Clergy don’t know how to talk about infertility in the 21st century, so, when faced with the unfulfilled longing for a child, they are often silent.”  That silence can make infertile couples – especially women – feel judged, neglected, and marginalized.  Lisa Graham’s prayer group models one simple solution to this problem.

“It’s amazing to me that there aren’t more churches doing this, but we are the only group like this in Atlanta.  Every month, Christians, Jews and non-believers gather together to honor God, to share their burdens, and to support one another.  It is a simple ministry, but it’s very powerful.  We see so many miracles – women getting pregnant after their doctors have said they can’t, women conceiving naturally after IVF has failed… we know God is at work.”

Luke tells the story of the Pharisees insisting Jesus rebuke his disciples for calling out praises to God for the miracles they’ve seen.  Jesus’ response is “If they keep quiet, the stones will cry out” [Luke 19:40].

That is how “alumni” of Lisa’s prayer group — who are now mothers — feel about acknowledging God’s role in their stories.  Many of them return to the group every month to pray with and for other women.  They feel compelled to share the good news of their own experiences with those in desperate need of hope and inspiration.  “We praise God for what He does, and we claim His promises for one another,” said Lisa.  “The rest is up to Him.”

As National Infertility Awareness Week approaches (Apr 24-May1), consider whether you — or someone you know — might benefit from a group like Lisa’s.  If so, forward a link to this blogpost to your ministry team or your doctor and let them know there is a simple way to deliver meaningful support.  If you prefer to protect your privacy, feel free to send their contact information to me ( and I will  forward information on how and why to start a prayer group.

Remember:  The God who is so generous and faithful that He must be praised or “the stones will cry out” is ready and waiting to help all those who call on Him.  What are you waiting for?


Find more resources and cause for hope at


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Living Like Lepers with Infertility

“As he [Jesus] was going into a village, ten men who had leprosy met him.  They stood at a distance and called out in a loud voice, ‘Jesus, Master, have pity on us!’  When he saw them, he said, ‘Go, show yourselves to the priests.’  And as they went, they were cleansed” [Luke 17:11-14]

Why do these verses matter to couples struggling through infertility?  Because they provide a template for the transformation from suffering outsiders to blessed & favored ones.

At the start of this 4-sentence story, a group of outcasts – set apart (literally and figuratively) by their affliction – call across the gulf of separation.  They’ve been driven out of their community by an affliction they do not fully understand.  They’ve realized they cannot heal themselves.  And they won’t be welcomed back by society unless they are “normal.”  They know that only a miracle can heal them and pave the way for their return.

So, they intercept Jesus on his way to minister to the community that rejected them.  From a distance, they call out to him.  Their words – “have pity on us!” – reflect the truth of their pitiable condition, and their understanding that only compassion can overcome the typical response to their affliction:  fear and judgment.  Please, they beg, let your compassion overwhelm any other emotion… and then, do something to help us.

Jesus hears them, and he responds.  Not by running in the other direction, as most people do when the lepers announce their presence.  Jesus responds by telling them how to change their circumstances by faith.  He says, “Go, show yourselves to their priests.”  In other words, go to those who will confirm that your suffering has ended.  You are no longer a victim.  Your affliction is gone.  You are healed.  It’s over.  What he doesn’t say – but what they sense – is that by the time they get to the priests, they will be “normal” again.

And it happens.

They head for the priests, still lepers.  They arrive, healthy men.  They respond to Jesus’ instruction in faith, and Jesus heals them on the way.  They don’t wait for evidence, and then depart.  Jesus says, “Go” and they hit the road, trusting that He will transform them.

That’s the template.

Too often, infertility makes couples live like lepers — set apart, judged, condemned and forgotten.  They sink into isolation and despair.  But, it doesn’t have to be that way.

If we want our suffering transformed by a miracle, we need to step out in faith.  We need to trust that a miracle is in the works before we see the evidence.  We need to claim God’s promise that all things are possible, and believe that the lepers’ story can be our story, too.

Will it be?  Scripture is full of stories of suffering people whose circumstances changed in an instant; repeatedly, Jesus told them, “your faith has healed you.”  He meant, your willingness to believe opened the door for me.  You invited me into your story when you believed I would come.  When you called for help and believed I heard you and cared.

Don’t think of yourself as a helpless victim.  Don’t live like a leper.  You can call for help any time.  The one who healed the lepers – simply by willing it to be so – is ready to respond to you, too.  Are you ready to believe that he will?


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Infertility’s “Astonishing” Effect on Fathers

“Men are spending more time with their kids.  Young dads are  now spending more time each day with children than mothers between the ages of 29 and 42 are.  Which is staggering! Astonishingly, married men are now feeling more torn over balancing work and family than their wives are.  Norms have shifted.  Taking care of a child is now part of what it means to be a father.”                                                                                       – Newsweek, 4/19/10

This breathless report on the “astonishing” and “staggering” news that men are becoming involved fathers is most interesting for what it doesn’t mention.  Concurrent with the rise in involved fatherhood, the U.S. is experiencing a steady rise in infertility.  It’s getting harder to get pregnant.  Not for everyone, but for at least 1-in-every-8 couples of childbearing age (possibly, many more).

At the risk of sounding Pollyanna, if infertility results in fathers with a deeper gratitude for the opportunity to parent, I think it’s a blessing.  Not to pick on the guys; I’d say the same thing about us becoming mothers.  A thankful heart is an appropriate response to receiving a much-desired gift from God.  If He converts our gratitude into motivation to be “astonishingly” committed parents, even better.

I’ve seen this happen repeatedly in the infertility groups I’ve led.

“Does infertility teach you something?” asked Mike, formerly a member of the group and now the father of two boys.  “Yeah.  If it takes this much effort to have a child, you cherish them more.  If it takes longer to get pregnant, you appreciate it more than if you had a baby the first time you tried.”

Brent,  a father for three months, agrees.  “I had a life plan.  But now, I don’t feel the rush on the career side.  It doesn’t bother me.  If it happens, it happens.  I’m not going to force it.  I’m focused on being a father.”

In my experience, infertile couples go on to become incredible parents — whether by conception or adoption.  Not only are they deeply grateful for their child(ren), they are also deeply committed to stewarding them in the best possible way.  I believe that commitment is what God’s after.

Sometimes, the commitment is tested.

James, the father of twin girls, says, “Not having children seemed like the hardest thing.  But then, we had one kid who needed heart surgery and they  thought the other kid might have Down’s Syndrome….”  Difficult as it was — “We only had five minutes to enjoy becoming parents!” — James and his wife faced their new challenges head-on, and they continue to work as full partners raising their incredible girls.

That was our experience, too.  Our daughter required open heart surgery when she was just four-weeks-old.  Our son was born prematurely a week before I was (mis)diagnosed with a rare form of cancer and began chemo.  Of course, we recoiled at the thought of more suffering, hard on the heels of infertility.  But my husband had that “astonishing, staggering” commitment Newsweek talks about — so did I — to our children, and to each other.

Not that we would have wished for it, but the challenges of infertility prepared us — individually, and as a couple — for what would follow.  With faith in each other and trust in God’s purposefulness, we got through it all.

That’s one of the great blessings of the infertility journey:  You and your spouse discover strength, passion and a depth of commitment you never knew you had.  And, as best I can tell, they last a lifetime.  As does the desire to continue to grow in the faith that sustained you.

That may be part of how God’s setting the stage for your future — as a parent, as part of a forged-solid relationship, and as a believer whose faith has been tested, renewed, and proven.  May it be so.


For more resources and cause for hope, visit

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Infertility and Kryptonite

“Are you willing to wait for God’s best?”  That question is like Kryptonite for infertile couples.

Many get angry or tearful at the thought of uncertainty.  Most will say they’re willing to wait – but for how long?  What’s the point of waiting?  Does God have a purpose?  Is His best that much better than good enough… and now?  Will there ever be a baby?

Underlying the impatience is rapidly growing worry over increasingly difficult questions.  What does it mean to be singled-out for suffering?  How long will this grief continue?  Why is everyone else able to have a baby?  Where is God in all this?  And why doesn’t anyone seem to have satisfying  answers?

One of the hardest things about infertility is feeling simultaneously set apart and afraid.  Stigma and fear of failure generate an intense desire for privacy, but the result is often deep loneliness and an unsatisfied hunger for hope.

One of the blessings of the infertility Bible study group is the freedom to express feelings and ask questions within a supportive community.  Everyone understands the struggle.

If you were to join us, here are some of the things you’d hear.  From the women [actual quotes, used with permission]:

  1. “I know God is there, but I don’t understand why it’s taking so long.”
  2. “I’m mad at God that He won’t give us a healthy baby.  I can’t understand:  if He has the capability of giving us a healthy baby, why won’t He?”
  3. “I’ve been thinking, “A baby is a baby; give it to me now.”  I have no patience  that’s all I can think about.”
  4. “You wonder, why God?  And you think, what else can we do?  What have we done that’s so wrong?”
  5. “I wonder, ‘Why?  What did I do wrong before marriage, or during marriage?’”
  6. “I keep thinking, why doesn’t God think I should be one of the ones to conceive?”

The men in the group share equally strong feelings about the frustration and uncertainty of waiting for God’s best, but they’re more likely to express their feelings in terms of anger.   They say things like [actual quotes, used with permission]:

  1. “Why isn’t God giving me kids of my own?  That’s what I ask myself.”
  2. “I am angry at God.  We sincerely want to be parents.  We feel like we’re ready.  We don’t understand why God isn’t ready for us to be parents.”
  3. “I feel abandoned by God.”
  4. “We’re going to church and going through the motions, but I’m not getting any traction.”
  5. “Sometimes, it’s like, ‘You’re not doing me right, God.  This just isn’t right.  What did we do to deserve this?’”
  6. “I sure am close to being angry at God.  I don’t understand at all.  I mean, what is going on here?!”

It is not only healthy and appropriate to share feelings like this with people who understand the infertility journey, it’s essential. As Trey said, “You can’t take it all on yourself.  But with infertility, it’s very common to keep it private and not open up.  I think it’s critical to have support.  For us, that was huge.  It’s so important to surround yourself with people who understand and can relate.”

Why?  Because you can’t change your feelings about this experience until you see the connection to your thoughts.  Thoughts determine feelings, actions, and even outcomes.  If your thoughts are consistently anxious and self-focused — When will it happen for me?  Why is everyone able to get pregnant but me?  — you will constantly be filled with worry, feeling helpless and hopeless.

If, instead, you chose to dwell on different thoughts — God has promised His best to those who trust Him, “I can do all things through Him who strengthens me” — you will begin to feel and act differently.  You will find peace in the midst of uncertainty.  And that can transform the journey.

It’s a moment-by-moment battle to “take thoughts captive” [2 Corinthians 10:5], and one worth fighting.  Surround yourself with people who understand, who are fighting the same fight you are.  Encourage and inspire one another.  And in God’s perfect time, you will emerge victorious.


Every person quoted here is now a parent.  It can happen for you, too.  If you’re not in a group, find one or start one; the PregnantWithHope website tells you how.  For more resources and cause for hope, visit

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Infertility and the Promise Land

These words leaped off the page of a book I read last week:  “When God calls you to do something, He prepares you in advance .”  The same day, I read about Moses and the Israelites reaching the Jordan River, just prior to crossing over into the Promise Land.

I started thinking…  God called the people to journey to the Promise Land.  How did He prepare them in advance?  What about their journey through the desert was purposeful?  And, how does that relate to the infertility journey?  In what ways does God use it to prepare us for the “promise land” of parenthood?

The Regional Council of Churches, in its review of Pregnant with Hope: Good News for Infertile Couples, made the comparison, writing…

“This book is a guide for the journey through the wilderness of infertility to joy.  I could not help but think of the children of Israel in the wilderness – their transformational journey.  The lesson learned was to rely on our ever-faithful God, to trust in His hesed.  That Hebrew word, frequently translated as loving-kindness, also means the consistent, relentless, constantly-pursuing, extravagant, unrestrained love of God.”

That God kept the Israelites wandering in the desert for 40 years before they finally arrived at the Jordan River.  They passed their turn-off multiple times as they literally walked in circles.  Does that sound familiar?  Have you covered the same ground multiple times – cycle after cycle after cycle – wondering when you’ll ever cross over to parenthood?

How do you trust the hesed of a God who seems to lead you in circles?

The Israelites learned the answer to that question through the journey itself.  Their learning can help you find the path through the wilderness of infertility to joy:

  • Look for God – In the desert, God led the people by appearing as a cloud (by day) or a pillar of fire (by night).  He taught them to expect His presence, and to look past each other – and their anxiety about reaching the destination – to Him.  He should be their focus.
  • Follow God – God told the people that He would go before them, and they should follow.  He would lead them to the Promise Land.  When He moved, they should move; when He stopped, they should stop.  They were in a barren and unfamiliar land.  They would not find their way by refusing or neglecting to follow Him.
  • Rely on God – For 40 years, the Israelites relied on God for sustenance.  They had no food or water, apart from what He provided.  He delivered what they needed every day – for that day, which taught them to turn to Him and thank Him daily.
  • Trust God – Some of the Israelites complained bitterly about the length of their journey and the monotony of their experience.  They did not trust God’s purpose or His timing.  He kept them wandering until they died off.  Only those who trusted God and were grateful for His faithfulness arrived in the Promise Land.

Consider this:  God may be using the infertility journey to accomplish in your life what  He did in the lives of the Israelites.

If so, you are in the “desert” not because you are being punished, but because you are being prepared.  Live into that perspective.  Believe that this is a time of purposeful preparation.  Apply the Israelites’ learning to your journey — look for God, follow Him, rely on Him, trust Him — and rest assured God knows the way through this wilderness to joy.

He will lead, if you will follow.


For more resources and cause for hope, visit

*Book citation:  Believe That You Can, Jentezen Franklin

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Filed under Peace, Trust

Infertility & Hope for All

Think of this as “a word from our sponsor”….

Periodically, people ask me how or why I wrote Pregnant with Hope. What made me decide to invest so much time and effort in getting these messages to couples struggling with infertility?  The best answer I can give is that it was never my plan; it was always God’s.

Pregnant with Hope: Good News for Infertile Couples came into being in response to an invitation I received to lead an infertility Bible study.  I’d thought I was dropping in on a group of infertile couples to offer an encouraging word…once… and then leave.  But God had other plans.

When I was asked to lead their class, I prayed about it.  Did I have anything to offer?  Anything meaningful to say that would deliver genuine help and hope?  The spirit of God answered me with a hailstorm of ideas – more in a few hours than I could have generated in months!  Those ideas sorted themselves into ten compelling messages which became the basis for the class — and later, the book.

The couples who came to that class were hanging onto hope by the slimmest of threads.  They were desperate for anything that could convince them that God wasn’t punishing them but was, in fact, drawing near to them and fulfilling His plan for their lives — and the lives of their yet-to-be-born children.  I showed up, and God did the rest.

[Fast forward several years….]

Those couples are now “alumni.”  They’ve all conceived or adopted (100% of them!), and they lead other couples through the same journey, using Pregnant with Hope as their guide.  The wonderful thing is that there was never anything special about me leading the group.  It was our decision to proceed in God-honoring ways that delighted God and — I believe — led Him to choose to bless every couple with a child.

God keeps nudging me forward, to spread words of hope to more people.  That’s how this blog was “born,” and the website, too.  Now, new groups are forming — locally, and around the country.  Hospitals have also embraced the book as a way to give comfort and renew hope for couples who’ve experienced a loss.

I hope the messages God’s led me to deliver are helpful to you.  If you ever want to suggest a blog topic, share your story, or learn more about the ministry behind Pregnant with Hope, please email me:

Remember… God is so near to you.  If you invite Him into your story, and let Him show you His incredible love, I promise it will alter the course of your infertility journey — and your life.

blessings always,


p.s.  April 24-May 1 is National Infertility Awareness Week.  If you know someone who would benefit from reading this blog (your doctor, a family member, your minister, a friend…) or visiting the website, please consider telling them about it or sending them a link.  Part of how God works is through you.


Filed under Bystanders, Speaking Up