Monthly Archives: July 2010

When We Can’t, God Will

Infertility doesn’t strike most of us as a great calling.  In fact, just the opposite.  It is a tremendous burden, an enormous obstacle, a prolonged season of undeserved suffering.  Everything bad and nothing good.  But what if that’s not how God sees it?  Does that matter?  If we could understand God’s purpose, would it change our perspective on infertility?

My husband and I rented “The Ten Commandments” DVD not long ago and watched Charlton Heston’s Moses journey from birth to the moment at the burning bush.  In that moment, when God calls him to confront Pharaoh and free his people, Moses’ first thought is:  I can’t.  But, God doesn’t take “no” for an answer.  As He makes clear, this isn’t about what Moses can do;  it’s about what God can do.  If Moses is willing, God is able.

He has a purpose for making it (appear) impossible for Moses to succeed, which He explains:

“…‘Go to Pharaoh, for I have hardened his heart…so I can perform these miraculous signs of mine… so that you may tell your children and grandchildren… and that you may know that I am the Lord”  [Exodus 10:1-2].

God isn’t interested in humiliating Moses or putting him in danger, despite how it may seem.  This story isn’t just about Moses.  God is setting the stage “for these miraculous signs of mine” which require the appearance of impossibility.  Why?  “So that you may tell your children and grandchildren… and that you may know that I am the Lord.”  All Moses needs to do is trust  God, and obey.

Like Moses, we miss sensing God’s purpose when we’re confronted with what appears impossible.  We’re too busy concentrating on our limitations and our fears.  Infertility focuses our attention on what we can’t do.  That’s all we can see, and all we can think about!  We forget that this isn’t about us; it’s about what God can do in and through us.

When Moses says, I can’t, God repeatedly assures him, I will:  “I will send you,” “I will be with you,” “I will help you,” “I will show you,” “I will teach you.”  Why?  “So that you may tell your children and grandchildren… and that you may know that I am the Lord.”  That’s the reason.  That’s God’s purpose.  This is about the story that will be told to generations.

Now, God wants to step into your story.  He wants to assure you, “I will be with you,” “I will help you,” “I will show you,” “I will teach you.”  Why?  “So that you may tell your children and grandchildren… and that you may know that I am the Lord.”

The same I who knew the outcome of Moses’ story knows the outcome of yours.  Trust Him, and one day, you will be telling your children an incredible story of God’s amazing faithfulness.

===================================================

Find many more resources & cause for hope at PregnantWithHope.com

2 Comments

Filed under Perspective, Trust

The Most Important Choice You’ll Make

Information is power.  That’s the presumption that drives the incessant desire to gather facts and statistics when couples discover they’ve entered the realm of infertility.  But what happens when the data is conflicting and the messages contradictory?

Recently, one group of experts announced IVF babies are no more likely than naturally-conceived babies to suffer chronic health problems later in life.  The same day, another study declared women’s fertility drops off at a much faster rate than previously imagined, as does egg quality [By age 30, 88% of a woman’s eggs are gone; by age 40, only 3% remain – and are likely to contain a higher proportion of abnormal eggs].

So is the news good, or bad?   Should we be encouraged, or disheartened?

This is a particularly difficult question for Type A women.  The same vigilant monitoring of relevant information that makes us a success at work, causes tremendous stress during infertility.  Each bit of news forces us to adjust our perception of reality, so we can factor the newest variable into our calculations.  It’s tiring, but we keep pushing because we tell ourselves it’s critically important.

The problem is, the onslaught of good news-bad news-good news-bad news keeps coming.  And the clock keeps ticking.  Over time, the constant uncertainty about how this will end – and when – becomes increasingly destabilizing.  With each day, the emotional roller coaster seems more and more likely to careen out of control – taking us with it.  It’s crazy and exhausting… but what is the alternative?

Rest.

Stillness.

Quiet.

“Peace I leave with you; my peace I give you.”  Jesus spoke these words as he promised the presence of the Holy Spirit to those who trust him.  “Do not let your hearts be troubled and do not be afraid.”  How can we possibly experience peace in the midst of infertility?  How can we hear statistics and read news reports and not be filled with fear that our dreams won’t be realized?

The apostle Paul provides the answer, “It’s wonderful what happens when Christ displaces worry at the center of your life.”  That new center enables us to focus on whom we trust, rather than what we fear.  And from that center, “peace that passes understanding” can radiate in all directions.  Faith can gain the upper hand on fear, if we choose this new focal point.

So, what will you choose to think about today, and what will it bring you:  panic, or on peace?

====================================================

Find many more resources & cause for hope at PregnantWithHope.com

Leave a comment

Filed under Control, Peace

The Verse I Clung To…

Periodically, someone asks me if there is a single Bible verse that gives hope when nothing else can.  For me, there is.  I clung to it through what seemed like something out of the book of Job:

In the span of a few years, my parents died tragically young.  I miscarried twins – one at a time.  We moved cross-country for a demanding residency.  We learned our baby had a “biggest ever seen” hole in her heart.   Failure to thrive required open heart surgery.  And then, it got really bad.  A fragile pregnancy, a miscarried twin, five months of bedrest, a premature birth, a life-or-death crisis in the delivery room.  Then a cancer diagnosis, chemo with a newborn….  And, so… much… more.

It was relentless.

Wave after wave engulfed us.  We were constantly in survival mode.  Crisis was our “normal.”  Surely, no one would’ve chosen to live our story.  And yet… our marriage grew stronger.  Our daughter survived open heart surgery.  Our premature baby thrived.  The cancer was misdiagnosed.

Every time we felt our heads going under water, we found our feet under us.  Whenever we felt we couldn’t go on any longer, we’d get a moment of unexpected rest.  God was keeping His promise, “Don’t be afraid, because I am with you. Don’t be intimidated; I am your God. I will strengthen you. I will help you. I will support you with my victorious right hand” [Isaiah 41:10].

So is that verse from Isaiah my favorite?  No, because God gave us more than just the strength to withstand.  He transformed our struggles into these valuable lessons:

1)      Take nothing for granted – Not life, not health, not prosperity or safety.  Not a baby’s heart beat, or a family’s support.  It’s all a gift.  We realized we are not entitled to joy, and it is never guaranteed.  So when those amazing moments come, we should pause and give God our thanks.

2)      Value each other’s contributions – Neither of us could have survived the onslaught of stress and grief alone.  We needed each other’s love, humor, grace, and tears.  Every trial strengthened our commitment to protecting our relationship at all costs.  That forged a solid foundation for our family.

3)      Learn to trust God’s plan and purpose – We would never have written our script; we would have made everything come easily.  But in hindsight, we see that the struggle made us stronger – our faith, our marriage, our passion for parenting, our sense of purpose.  Everything is more focused, concentrated, purposeful.  It has surprised us… but not God.

So, given all that, this is my favorite verse:  “And we know that in all things God works for the good of those who love him, who have been called according to his purpose” [Romans 8:28].  Our journey gave us the proof.  We now know the power of this promise, and the peace that comes from claiming it in the midst of any circumstances.

Don’t be afraid of the hard road.  It leads you to God’s very best.

====================================================

Find many more resources & cause for hope at PregnantWithHope.com

2 Comments

Filed under Perspective, Trust

More Than You Can Imagine

I met Kirsten and Mike when they were well into their infertility journey.  They’d had a spontaneous miscarriage at 18 weeks.  “When you go through a miscarriage that’s further along in a pregnancy,” Kirsten said, “a big, huge hole opens up in your life.  You feel like you’re completely isolated.  You know in your mind that other people have gone through this, but you never expect it to happen to you.”

When they felt ready to try again, they had four unsuccessful IUIs and an IVF cycle that resulted in no embryos.  Their doctor, a well-known infertility expert, told them they had infertility “of unknown origin” – and then dropped a bomb.  As Mike recalled, “The doctor actually said to us, ‘You will never have kids.’  It took every bit of emotional strength to try to get through it.  Kirsten was nuts.  She was hitting herself and saying, ‘I’m worthless!’  It was really tough.”

Their doctor pushed them toward egg donation.  Mike was willing to think seriously about international adoption.  But Kirsten felt a need to try IVF one last time.  “I needed a period at the end of the sentence that said, ‘It will not work.’”  They found a doctor at Cornell who was trying a new IVF protocol.

When Kirsten woke up from the retrieval, they’d recovered ten eggs.  “Now, there was hope,” Mike remembered.  A couple days later, there were five embryos.   After the transfer, they flew home and waited for test results.  The call came.  She was pregnant.   “I didn’t relax the entire pregnancy,” said Mike.  “It was horrible – I was so anxious something would happen.  I didn’t exhale until the babies came.”

Two of them.  A boy and a girl.

“God can do anything, you know—far more than you could ever imagine or guess or request in your wildest dreams! [Eph 3:20]”

Their dismal track record indicated no chance.  Their doctor said, “not possible.”  Their common sense told them:  not realistic.  Their fear repeated, “not happening.”  But their faith affirmed: “I still believe.” And God breathed life into their hope.

The story doesn’t end there.

They brought their twins by to visit me recently.  Laughing as they shared the news, they told me, “We’re pregnant again!”  This time, it’s completely natural.  Unplanned.  Definitely unexpected.  A total gift from God.

He can do anything.

==================================================

Find many more resources & cause for hope at PregnantWithHope.com

1 Comment

Filed under Battles, Blessings, Hope