I just bought an IPod Shuffle. I can load any songs I choose, and it will play them randomly — over, and over, and over — until an ISomething that’s newer and better comes along. I can’t control which song plays, but it’s always something I’ve made part of my personal collection.
It got me thinking about infertility and how we play the same words over and over in our minds. We choose the playlist, but assume we have no control over what we’re hearing.
When test results come back and they’re nothing like what we wanted, it’s as if someone pushes Play and one of our sad songs starts up: “I’ll Never Have What I Want, Gotta Learn to Love What I Have,” or “It’s That Same Old Song, and It’s Playing Again for Me,” or “She’s Got A Baby, Ain’t Nothin’ Fair About It.” It’s deeply discouraging. And, it’s easy to tell ourselves we have no choice but to listen.
That’s a lie.
You know who told us that lie? It wasn’t the voice of Truth. All through scripture, God tells us not to be afraid, not to worry, not to doubt. Over and over, He tells us, “Trust me. I have a plan and a purpose.” Jesus reaffirms these promises throughout the New Testament. So, why isn’t that the voice we hear? Because we’re busy listening to something else.
“Fear is the false expectation appearing real.”
I saw those words on the sign outside a tiny church not far from my home. I got thinking… “The false expectation” is the thought that our infertility journey will have a negative outcome. That when we reach the end of this, it will have been for nothing and there will be no baby for us. When that thought appears real — when it’s another failed cycle and another round of heartache — we feel fear. What if it never happens?
When we give in to that fear, we open the door to a cascade of negative thoughts that flood our minds with despair and doubt — leaving little room for God’s truth. It’s a terrible choice. It’s one most of us make unconsciously, as if we can’t control the thoughts we think, or the words our minds speak to our hearts.
But we can.
Here’s what we need to do: take these negative thoughts captive, and replace them with hope. How? By rejecting the false expectation that our stories will end tragically, and instead, building our hope on a foundation of faith.
How do we do that? By claiming the promises of scripture as our own. After all, they are God’s promises to us. As Joel Osteen’s congregation says every week, “This is my Bible. I am what it says I am. I have what it says I have. I can do what it says I can do.” By loading these promises onto our mental Shuffle and pushing Play whenever we need to hear the words of our faithful, promise-keeping God, we affirm their truth and power in our lives.
What are the promises of scripture that speak most meaningfully to infertile couples? Here are my nominees for “Greatest Hits” and I recommend you add every one of them to your mental playlist:
1. “I have not given you a spirit of fear” [II Timothy 1:7]
2. “Cast all your cares on me, because I care for you” [I Peter 5:7]
3. “Count on me to give you wisdom through Christ” [I Corinthians 1:30]
4. “What is impossible with men is possible with God” [Luke 18:27]
5. “I will direct your steps” [Proverbs 3:5,6]
6. “I will give you rest” [Matthew 11:28]
7. “I will never abandon you” [Hebrews 13:5]
8. “I will meet all your needs” [Philippians 4:19]
9. “All things work together for good for those who love God and are called according to His purpose” [Romans 8:28]
10. “Therefore I tell you, whatever you ask for in prayer, believe that you have received it, and it will be yours” [Mark 11:24]
When the moment looks hopeless and you’re tempted to call up a collection of self-absorbed, self-pitying songs, choose these verses instead. Keep them in your mind and heart. Put them on your fridge, your dashboard, your bedside table and your screen saver. Write them in your Daytimer, your journal, your emails and your blog. Ask God to breathe power into them, to infuse you with hope when you speak them aloud, and to fill you with peace when you remember them silently.
Fill your thoughts with the words of the only One who can do anything. It will change everything.
Got a favorite verse? Share it with other infertile couples by leaving a comment.
Find more resources and cause for hope at PregnantWithHope.com