Is it possible to experience true joy in the midst of an unsuccessful quest to conceive? The visceral response is, “Of course not” – especially this time of year, when that instinctive answer is likely to be tinged with more than a little resentment or despair.
The world has taught us to associate this holiday season with family celebrations and wish fulfillment. But what if we don’t feel like celebrating because our biggest wish is still unfulfilled? What if our lives look nothing like what we’d pictured for ourselves — especially for this season? Does it mean we’ve been chosen to suffer while others experience joy?
I don’t think so.
Then what does it mean to be infertile this season? To have an unfulfilled longing for a child that God just seems to ignore? That’s a great question, and it’s one that breaks the hearts of many infertile couples.
Here’s what I believe God wants us to understand about the answer….
We can see only what we want and don’t have when we put ourselves at the center of the story. Why am I suffering when this should be a season of joy for me? Why can’t I have the baby I want when I want it? Why is God withholding the best gift I could imagine in what’s supposed to be a season of giving?
Consumed with thoughts of “I want! I want!” we struggle to see any blessing, much less cause for joy, in this season. But, if we put God at the center of the story, we can see this season very differently.
It can become a reminder that God has already given each of us the baby that was promised — baby Jesus. He has already shown us that an “impossible “conception is possible by giving us proof of His ability to create life, despite the inability of science to explain how it happened — baby Jesus. On top of all that, He has given a gift that is evidence of His great love for us, His deep desire to draw near to us, and His divine purpose: to bless and save us.
There’s our hope. There’s our reason to believe that what we see and understand and feel able to explain is never the whole story. There’s the proof that God never fails to fulfill His plan or accomplish His purpose in His perfect timing.
Why does that matter to couples struggling through the infertility journey? We are seeing only a moment; God sees forever and always.
Too often, our focus is what’s just behind us and right in front of us. If the past is full of failures and the future full of uncertainty, it is hard to feel confident – much less joyful, especially if our faith in God’s goodness is faltering.
This season gives us a very real reminder that God works in and through — but also outside and beyond — our circumstances. His perspective on our story is very different from our own. It extends from the first promises made in scripture into a future we can only imagine, but which He can see clearly.
In the midst of this season, God is weaving our stories – and those of our children, and our children’s children, and their children — into the one Great Story of love and salvation.
Is our longing for a baby lost in all that? No. Somehow, God knows every worry, every thought, every action… every detail of every aspect of our lives. And in this moment – in the midst of this season – He has not lost sight of us. He is actively working to bring about His perfect plan, and it will be cause for great joy.
This season, we can welcome Baby Jesus with the joy of anticipation. He is the reminder that all things are possible, that God is full of extravagant grace, that He loves us deeply, and that He wants us to receive the gift of life.
May confident joy be your response — this season and always.
Need more inspiration and cause for hope this holiday season? Read Pregnant With Hope: Good News for Infertile Couples, and find additional resources at PregnantWithHope.com.