Monthly Archives: March 2011

Now What?

I’ve realized I’m entering one of those seasons when I can sense change coming, but I don’t know yet what’s going to be different.

I’ve had the feeling for a while that I should be holding everything loosely — my time, my priorities, my commitments, my family, our things, our money, our dreams… All of it.  Everything that consumes my thoughts, requires my effort, and fills my days so full, so quickly that they seem to melt into one another and move past me in waves.  I’m supposed to let go of all of it and wait for a clear sense of what’s next.

Honestly, I’m not sure what that might be.  A new book to write?  A new group to lead?  A completely new assignment from the God who’s kept me very busy for the past few years?  Or, is it simply time to rest?  To do less, and (just) be more?  I don’t know, but it’s time to find out.

The only thing that’s clear to me right now is that I need to quiet my inner voice, so that I can hear God’s more clearly.  I need to carve out some Sabbath time to listen, and try to be more patient than I am naturally as I wait for clearer understanding:  Now what?

In the meantime, I’ll re-run some of the most popular (i.e. widely-read) posts from the past year.  Even if you read them the first time I posted them, I encourage you to ask God to show you something new and to draw you deeper into a trusting, peace-giving relationship with Him.

For starters, here’s a post from last spring….


In a recent study of 200 women, a high correlation was found between those who said they were religious and those with low rates of anxiety/depression during fertility treatment.  Lower rates of depression and anxiety correlate to higher pregnancy rates.  So, it stands to reason that spiritual women should have more pregnancies.

In the beginning, when couples walk through the door to the infertility Bible study, the men look apprehensive, and the women, fragile to the point of tears.  But that changes.  Over the course of the study, they come to realize the wisdom of letting go of (the illusion of) control.  They learn the value of being still and listening for God.  And with that understanding comes peace in the midst of uncertainty.

I can literally see the change occur.  Body language goes from self-protective – arms crossed, gazes averted, huddled close to their spouse – to open, relaxed, and receptive.  The real change is occurring in the spirit, but it is reflected in the unspoken language of the body.  That change indicates God’s growing presence, which creates new possibilities.

So, is the study right in its prediction that these increasingly spiritual women have more pregnancies?  I’d have to say, yes.  And no.  Yes, because experience has shown me—again and again and again—that those who see infertility as an invitation to draw nearer to God, and who respond to that invitation, are likely to become parents.  But no, because sometimes the result is not a pregnancy; sometimes, it is an adoption.

Here’s the important thing:  that is no less a miracle.

I don’t say that as a Pollyanna.  I’m not advocating, “be happy about failure,” or “suck it up and compromise.”  I’m saying, make a paradigm shift.  Recognize that, sometimes, God calls couples to steward a soul who comes into their life in a different way than they might have expected.  That’s not defeat; that’s a different plan for victory.  And it is no less a gift.

Are those couples disappointed?  Truthfully?

“Alumni” couples often return to the Bible study to talk to current participants about their experiences.  One entire class is devoted to hearing from adoptive parents.  They speak with conviction about their certainty that their particular child belongs with them:  “God chose him for us,” “We knew as soon as we held her that she was meant to be our daughter.”  In some cases, they also share stories of the effect the adoption had on the birth parent(s).

With loving grace, I suggest to you:  let go of your vision of how this story will unfold, and when.  Give God as much room as possible to work in your story.  He wants to give you His very best.  He wants to create a pinwheel of blessing, and it may touch souls you don’t even know.

Will you make way for that possibility?

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God Always Goes First

When I tell couples what I mean by saying they are “pregnant with hope,” they want to believe God’s made them a promise. But often, they aren’t sure whether to trust Him – even if He has. Do you feel the same way? Eager to receive a promise from God, but unsure whether to believe it even if you do?

Then look again at the story of God’s people just before they crossed into the Promised Land.

God spoke directly to Moses and told him to tell the people:  “I have given you this land.” It sure didn’t look that way. The land God referred to was already inhabited. The warriors who lived there had built walled cities, and they themselves were giants. In the natural, nothing about that looked encouraging. Still, Moses assured the people, God had made a promise and He would not fail to fulfill it. They could see their future, but only by faith.

As they approached the land God had promised, Moses gave battle instructions direct from God:  “I have given into your hand Sihon the Amorite, king of Heshbon, and his country. I have begun to deliver him and his country over to you. Now, [you] begin to conquer….”

Notice something. God went first. Before the people entered the promise, He had already prepared the way. From His perspective, the battle was already underway and nearly won. God didn’t say, ‘I will fulfill My promise’ – He said, ‘I have begun to.’ In other words, ‘I have preceded you in thought and action.’ God went before His people – into the future He had planned for them – and set in motion all He had promised before they ever began their battle.

That’s what God still does today.

He makes promises to those whom He loves, and He sets the fulfillment of those promises in motion. Then, He expects us to step out boldly, into a future we can see only by faith, and do our part in making it so. He doesn’t do it all for us. If we choose to sit back, hedge our bets, indulge our fears, and wait and see, the promise may not be fulfilled. He has given us a role to play.

As in scripture, our faith determines our future.

Does that worry you? It doesn’t need to. I believe it’s cause for hope. Why? Because notice this: only after ‘God has’ are we expected to ‘begin to.’ Only after He has promised us a future filled with hope and blessings [Jeremiah 29:11], only after He has demonstrated His love for us through Christ who died for us, only after He has proven His faithfulness in a thousand ways – many of which we take for granted or ignore, only then are we expected to begin to trust His purposefulness, to believe that His plan is His very best for us, and to step out in faith.

God always goes first.

Do you believe He’s made you a promise since you are “pregnant with hope”? Do you want to see His promise fulfilled? Then act on the belief that He is a promise-keeper. Lean into trusting that He is part of your infertility story.  Count on Him to use every aspect of this journey to bless you, strengthen you, and prepare you for the future He has planned for you.

Claim His promise and step out in faith. The Promised Land is not nearly as far off as you may think.

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Lessons from an Ultramarathon

My husband ran a 50-mile ultramarathon two weeks ago. It was the second time he’d raced this distance – but one thing about this race was an eye-opening first.

In his previous ultra, the course had wound through a large city – past neighborhoods, through parks, up and down city streets, into a business district… There’d been an endless array of visual diversions and the question, ‘I wonder what’s around the next turn?’ to keep things interesting. But this race was different. It was 50 laps around a 1-mile loop.

So, he went around… and around… and around… and around…. As I watched him, encouraged him, and did my best to support him while he ran (and ran and ran), I thought about the parallels to the infertility “ultramarathon.” You might be interested in some of what God showed me:

At the start, everyone’s optimistic. Before the race to parenthood begins, everyone’s expecting success. No one anticipates failure, heartache, or tragedy. But, that doesn’t mean problems won’t arise. If/when they do, remember:  Unexpected challenges don’t determine the race outcome – only the runner’s response to them does.

Those who start fast don’t always finish well. When you see others breeze past you with apparent effortlessness, it’s easy to get psyched out. Don’t.  Everyone looks strong initially, but fastest isn’t necessarily best. Speed doesn’t guarantee successful-ever-after. Success in an ultra means focusing on the quality of the race, not just the outcome.

Don’t set your pace to beat others; run your own race. An ultra- marathon is too far to go at someone else’s speed. In the same way, years of infertility treatments are too challenging to undergo on someone else’s terms. Take your eyes off the world (and all the people you think are watching you) and focus on running your own race at a pace you can handle.

This is virtually guaranteed to be harder than you think. That doesn’t mean you can’t do it. Expect challenges and they won’t seem so intimidating. Cling to the verse, “I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me” and trust that when your strength fails, God’s won’t.

What you think about matters, so choose wisely. During a race, your thoughts send signals to your body that affect your strength & energy. Your body, in turn, sends signals back which affect your outlook and determination. Fill your mind with thoughts that will help you get where you want to go – hopeful, confident, positive, God-trusting thoughts.

Rest when you’re tired and “fill the well. The smartest runners listen to their bodies. They understand the need to take breaks periodically, and to fuel their efforts with the right kind of sustenance. So, don’t push beyond your limits when rest will do you good. And don’t fill your Self with junk (thoughts, behaviors, choices) that won’t fuel your efforts. Take the long view, pace yourself, and be a good steward of your mind and body.

Get help when you need it. Whether you need advice, encouragement, sustenance, or cause for hope, ask for what you need. There are people constellated around you for the sole purpose of helping you succeed. If they can’t provide what you need, take your requests to the One who always can.

Pray God’s words back to Him. This race is long and it can be lonely, but you are never alone. If you’re tired of struggling, pray for help. If you’re too tired, angry or stressed to pray, ask the Holy Spirit to pray for you. Claim God’s promises and remember that, because He is faithful, He must fulfill His word. He cannot do otherwise. Ask Him to confirm His presence and His determination to see His will done. Then, thank Him and press on.

Don’t let endless repetition dishearten and defeat you. As you run through cycle after cycle after cycle, trying treatment after treatment, remind yourself that you are making progress. It may look as if you’re wandering in circles, but God always has a purpose. Sometimes, forward progress just looks like a circle. Don’t let appearances deceive you. Trust God’s perspective on your progress.

Wherever you are in your race, know that the finish line is waiting. If God placed this dream in your heart, He will see you through. He will equip you. He will strengthen you. He will go with you. He always does. However long it takes, trust that He will help you get there. With God, all things are possible.

Press on.

Finish strong.

And give Him the glory.

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Stepping Out In Faith

Recently, a reporter asked if she could interview me about the story behind Pregnant with Hope. She wanted to hear about our infertility journey, and  about how that led to a growing outreach ministry that delivers help and hope to infertile couples around the world.

I hope you’ll take a few minutes to watch the video — and then, forward it to someone you know who might need a word of encouragement or a change of perspective on infertility.

Who knows? Maybe one day you’ll have a chance to share your own story of God’s goodness and faithfulness. If so, jump at the opportunity! I’m convinced that’s part of how we say, ‘thank you, Lord.’


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Fasting from Fear

My experiences with fasting from something during Lent never quite seemed to fulfill the objective.  Giving up Diet Coke gave me caffeine withdrawl headaches, but that didn’t make me more faith-full.  Putting aside sweets made me think about them, not about God’s presence in my life.  Turning off the TV gave me more time to read books on faith-related topics, and that was good… but I still felt like something was missing.

Then yesterday, for the first time, someone showed me a whole new perspective that changed everything.

Lisa, who’s been reading this blog for about a year as she and her husband struggle with infertility, told me that she is fasting from FEAR.  Immediately, I thought, ‘That’s it!  That’s how fasting draws you closer to Christ.  That’s how this season can be worshipful and a great blessing.’  It was a complete epiphany moment for me – and I think it has huge implications for you.

Here’s what I mean….

1) Fasting from fear breaks your addiction and frees you from constant anxiety.  Fear is addictive.  It reinforces the craving for information and control.  And, because you can never get enough, that just reinforces your fear, which makes you want more information and control.  When you can’t get it, that reinforces the desperate urgency that makes you feel so afraid.  Now, look at you – you’re caught in a death spiral that’s undermining your faith and confident hope.  Fasting from fear can help you break out of this addictive cycle and free yourself from constant anxiety.

2) Fasting from fear starves your stress habit and feeds your hunger for spiritual sustenance . Like most people struggling with infertility, you’ve unconsciously developed the habit of monitoring those around you.  Who’s getting pregnant?  Who’s flaunting their fertility and adding to your stress?  Who’s supporting you, and who’s making your life harder?  Who’s become a parent, and who’s still TTC?  Aren’t you tired of filling your mind with this useless data?  It doesn’t matter to your journey, and it won’t change your outcome.  What could make a difference, though, is feeding your spirit something that strengthens you for this journey.

3) Fasting from fear draws you nearer to God, rather than driving you away from Him.  Initially, you may have felt inclined to pull back from the God you thought was refusing to answer your prayers for a baby.  Over time, you may have felt confused, hurt, angry… and resentful.  If you look deeper, you’re likely to see that fear has slowly driven a wedge between you and the only One with the power to insure you will become a parent.  Fear of what?  That God is withholding, that He is punishing you, that you deserve this.  How do you change that perspective?  Fast from fear and refuse to feed those worries.  God is not punishing you, He will not refuse to forgive anything you’ve ever done, and He is not delighting in your suffering.  Set aside those fears, draw nearer to Him, and – scripture promises – He will draw near to you.

4) Fasting from fear claims God’s promise, “I am with you always,” and fights off the enemy.  Fear is an open door to God’s enemy.  It invites him to whisper worries into your thoughts, to plant seeds of doubt in your mind, and to generate a harvest of anxiety, self-pity, isolation and despair.  How can you fight stealth tactics like those when you are already exhausted?  Claim God’s promise to be with you always, put on the armor of God (Ephesians 6:10-18), and fight off the one who hopes to talk you into choices that lead to a faith-destroying defeat.

5) Fasting from fear is a choice to be obedient (“Do not be afraid”), which always leads to blessings.  God’s commands to us are part of His plan for us.  Telling us not to be afraid is another way of saying, “Trust Me.”  Why is that important?  Because harboring fear causes you to focus more on your feelings than your faith.  Fear tells you to trust your worries over God’s promises, and that makes it impossible to trust the God who longs to bless you with His very best in His perfect timing.  Scripture makes clear: those willing to believe God’s promises receive them.  Fasting from fear is a choice to be obedient to the command “Do not be afraid,” and to trust that what is impossible with man is possible with God.

6) Fasting from fear glorifies God because it affirms that the worries of this world are not all there is. Confident hope is an expression of genuine faith.  It is a choice to look away from everything around you that says, ‘You could fail,’ and toward the promise, “I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me.”  Yes, this journey is difficult, heartbreaking, faith-challenging and, at times, relationship-threatening.  But God has promised never to give you more burden than you can bear.  Keep your eyes on Him and you will find a place of peace in the midst of this chaotic, disheartening, maddening journey.  You will find comfort and strength, and in the process, you will honor the One who has promised, “He who honors me, him will I honor.”

7) Most importantly, fasting from fear lets you get in agreement with God that there is always cause for hope.  The season of Lent is about endurance and obedience as a path to God’s best.  What a great focus for the infertility journey!  Yes, it can seem like a marathon that requires more endurance than you think you can muster.  And yes, sometimes obedience conflicts with your original plan.  But, if you continue to follow the path God lays out for you, there is always cause for great hope.

So many reasons to fast from fear… and this isn’t even a complete list!  Do you want to renew your faith, strengthen your hope, and anticipate good news with calm confidence?  Follow Lisa’s amazing example.  Fast from FEAR.  It could change everything.

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Filed under Battles, Control, Peace

Be Still and Know

A reader wrote me a long email recently detailing her infertility history and describing the fork in the road that she and her husband have reached.  And then, she put a question to me:  “Would you mind me asking what you would do?”

I told her that I sympathized with her desire to have someone tell her “the answer,” but that I would not presume to step in between her and God – or to play God by saying I know the right answer for her and her particular circumstances.

I’m sure that wasn’t the response she was hoping for.  And in some ways, I wish I could have said something different.  But, this is her journey. God has a purpose in it — something He intends to birth into her life — and He hasn’t directed me to do anything more than help her see and understand that.

I was able to offer her one valuable piece of advice, though.  Do you want to hear it, too?  “Be still and know that I am God.”  Is that too simple to be useful?  Not if you dig deep into the powerful promise the verse contains.

“Be still…” means:  recognize that it is human nature to let stress cause you to go a million miles an hour, both physically and deep in your spirit, and that is not a good thing.  Without intending to, you’ve probably allowed infertility to become a frantic race to the finish line – a finish line that seems to keep moving further and further into the distance.  Will you ever reach it?!  Rather than responding with desperation and redoubling your effort to get there faster – only to find yourself increasingly exhausted – this verse says, slow down enough to recognize that faster isn’t always better.

There are so many reasons God could be delaying you and extending your journey.  Are you willing to trust that they are good reasons?  Whether they have to do with your health or the health of your baby, with your circumstances or the demands on you, with the path that will ultimately take you where you want to go, or simply the timing of getting there… embrace the perspective that the best outcome may not be reached by the shortest route.

You can be confident that there is a purpose for this journey that extends beyond reaching the destination.  God has allowed disappointments, losses and grief to come into your life as part of this purpose-full journey.  Why?  What has it shown you – about yourself, your spouse, your priorities, and your commitment to this goal?  Has it shown you anything about God?  It takes periods of quiet solitude to separate the tornado of emotions about what’s happening from the calm, constant Truth.  So, slow down.  Be still.  Quiet your thoughts enough to listen.

And what will happen?

This verse says, “… and know that I am God.”  If you choose to redirect your thoughts – away from your frustrations and impatience, toward the true source of peace – you will be able to return to the knowledge that God is who scripture says He is.  He is constant, even when your circumstances are wildly fluctuating.  He is in control, even when your thoughts and emotions are careening out of control.  He is with you, even when you feel devastatingly lost and alone.  He knows every detail of your story, and He walks with you every minute of this journey.

“… and know…” means:  move past feelings and Self-pitying thoughts to the truth that does not change.  Know it with conviction.  Know it with certainty.  Know it with confident hope. “… know that I am God.”  The only One with control over your circumstances and the outcome of your journey has not ceased to be who He is.  Your faithful, loving Father has not abandoned or forgotten you.  He never will.

Be still and know.

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Getting to the Promised Land

When the words “Every one of you is already pregnant with hope” first slipped out of my mouth at a Bible study for infertile couples, every woman in the room turned to stare at me.  What did I mean?  What did I know that they didn’t know?  Was there cause for hope?   Was “pregnant with hope” a step toward becoming a parent?

As they waited for me to say more, I begged God for help:  ‘They want answers.  What do I say now?!’

Any time I’ve reflected back on that moment, I’ve remembered the mild panic I felt when I realized I had voiced what I’d been thinking.  I’d resisted saying anything aloud because, as a guest at the Bible study, I didn’t want to draw attention to myself.  But, God wanted me to draw attention to Him.  He wanted me to confidently proclaim His faithfulness.  So, He nudged me until the words leaped from my lips:  “You are already pregnant with hope.”  And then, He delivered.

Within a year, 100% of the couples in that group conceived or adopted  – and Pregnant with Hope was born.

I thought about that moment again this morning – of knowing deep in my spirit that God had made a promise He intended to keep, and telling that to people who were hungry for good news – but saw it from an entirely different perspective.  I was reading about Moses sending twelve scouts to explore the Promised Land, and I was struck by the parallel to this particular moment in the infertility journey.

God instructed Moses to send the men to explore the land “which I am giving….”  In other words, God made clear that the land would be theirs.  Even so, when the men returned, ten of the twelve delivered negative reports.  Yes, it looked desirable and yes, they’d love to live there – BUT….  It wouldn’t be easy, they predicted.  There would be opposition, they feared.  They were intimidated, they admitted.  And this wasn’t a sure thing, they concluded.  Bottom line:  Their desire and God’s promise weren’t enough to overcome their lack of faith.  They predicted failure.

But, two of the ten scouts disagreed.  They were unconditionally enthused.  They wanted God’s best, they knew it had been promised, and they were ready to march into their future confident that it held victory.

Guess who made it to the Promised Land?  Only those two scouts.  The ones who followed God’s leading, trusted His promise, and believed “which I am giving” meant “It will be so.”  They did not choose to focus on fear, but on faith.  And it made all the difference.  God rewarded those who chose to believe in His faithfulness.  And those who did not?  They got what they expected:  disappointment.

I firmly believe there is a moment in every infertility journey when God makes a promise and plants it as a seed of hope in our hearts.  What determines whether that seed will grow into a promise fulfilled?  Whether our hearts are fertile soil.  Whether we are ready to believe His word over what we imagine could defeat us.  Whether we are willing to trust Him over what we see and know others fear.

As with the Promised Land scouts, our faith plays a decisive role in deciding our journey’s destination.  That’s not a message of blame; it’s a word of hope.  You can trust the One who knows exactly where your Promised Land is — and how to get there.  It has always been His intention to lead you there, and to delight In your arrival.

Are you ready to move forward with confident hope?

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Confident with Hope

The devastating experience of loss is inherent in the infertility journey.  Loss of a pregnancy, of an achiever self-image, of the illusion of control, of a naïve belief in invulnerability, of the highly-prized idea of Happily Ever After achieved effortlessly and on the ideal timetable.  Every one of us experiences these losses.

And then what?

I firmly believe the way we respond to our losses determines how our journey will unfold.  We can choose to dwell on them incessantly – filling our minds with thoughts of defeat, failure, disappointment and doubt.  Or, we can choose to metabolize our losses, learn what we can from them, and step forward into our future with faith in the Lord’s promise:  “I will never leave you or forsake you.”

I ran into a man I met through the infertility group this past weekend.  His wife conceived recently, after years of infertility.  You’d think he’d be ecstatic, but other things in his life remain challenging.  So, rather than choosing to focus on the incredible blessing they’ve received, God’s responsiveness to their prayers, and the ongoing encouragement of many friends, he continues to dwell on what he doesn’t have.

He maintains a steady stream of negativity – a gallows humor monologue that he says is his coping method.  It may give him an outlet for stress, as he claims, but I’ve noticed that it doesn’t seem to make him feel better.  Instead, it drives away those who try to encourage him (sometimes including his wife), and it persistently speaks a lack of faith over his circumstances.

Does that really matter?  Does his running commentary do any harm?

The Bible says,

“Therefore… since we are surrounded by so great a cloud of witnesses, let us lay aside every weight and the sin which so easily ensnares us, and let us run with endurance the race that is set before us.”

Those words aren’t just a suggestion.  They offer powerful insight into what we can do to change our circumstances and reach our goal(s).  In his book, Success God’s Way, Dr. Charles Stanley explains what this verse says about our role in our success.

“The good news in this passage,” he writes, “is that you are surrounded by a host of encouragers, both those who are living and those who have gone to be with the Lord.  You are wise to be encouraged by them and to seek to be like them… always with the perspective, what God has done for others, He can and will do for me!”  He continues, “The Lord Himself should be our principal encourager.  He is the One who continually speaks deep within our hearts, ‘I will help you succeed.’”

Unfortunately, it is impossible to hear God’s encouragement when we persist in filling our minds with thoughts of failure, disappointment and resentment.  The Holy Spirit can – and will – help us remove these roadblocks when we ask for His help, but He will not overpower our free will.  If we choose to reject thoughts of hope in order to dwell on past heartaches and current fears, He will respect our freedom of choice.  And we will remain mired in hopelessness.

Are you fearful about whether you’ll ever succeed in becoming a parent?  Are you doubting that God is with you in the pursuit of your dreams, or that He will enable you to realize them?  If your answer is yes…

1) Ask God to help you overcome the roadblock of negative thinking that has stalled your progress.

2) Get in agreement with His promise, “Ask and you will receive, that your joy may be full.”

3) Resist the temptation to make self-indulgent u-turns that revisit past failures, refresh feelings of despair, and oppose hope in God’s promises with “realistic” negativity.

4) Anticipate God’s love for you being converted into action on your behalf – and walk boldly into the future He has planned for you, confident with hope.


Need more inspiration and cause for confident hope?  Read Pregnant with Hope: Good News for Infertile Couples and hear ten couples’ first-hand accounts of their journeys from hopelessness to joy.

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Anything is Possible

Recently, I came across a verse from the Talmud that I’d read once before, many years ago:  “Every blade of grass has its angel that bends over it and whispers, ‘Grow, grow.’”  Crossing paths with these words again made me think, is there truth to this child’s eye view?  Is there someone urging me on as I struggle to become what I’m meant to be?

In the self-imposed isolation that is often our instinctive response to infertility, it can be easy to feel very alone – forgotten by all the people who conceive effortlessly and breeze by us, oblivious to our silent suffering.  The world doesn’t seem interested in slowing down to acknowledge our losses, or to comfort us in our grief.  And no one seems to know the words to bend over and whisper to encourage us, “Yes, yes.  You can, You can.”

Author Susan Jeffers writes, “We have been taught to believe that negative equals realistic and positive equals unrealistic.”  She’s right.  And as a result, we tend to brace for the worst even when we hope for the best.

We lean toward anticipating failure (especially if we’ve already experienced it), rather than expecting success.  We instinctively question our optimism when faced with the many disappointments of infertility.  And we doubt that anyone is whispering anything over us… except maybe, “Why are you still hoping?”

So, why are we?

Here’s why I think we should be.  Despite the many hurdles we’ve failed to clear and the many defeats we’ve been forced to face, some part of us believes that the “impossible” is still possible.  And it is. Scripture tells us that “What is impossible with man is possible with God.”  What we, in our realistic assessment of things, believe cannot happen… actually can.  Only two things are required to make it so:  God’s will and our faith.

Nothing will grow apart from God’s will.  No blade of grass.  No seed of hope.  But when God plants a seed of hope in us, I’m convinced it is for a purpose.  There is a plan that involves maturing that seed of hope into a life-changing reality.  When?  How?  I know only that the Holy Spirit has been sent to whisper, “Anything is possible.  With God all things are possible.  Grow, grow, seed of hope.”

Our faith is tested in this time of waiting and wondering.  Will it ever happen?  Will the future be anything like what I envision?  Rather than worrying whether the seed will grow, we should focus on faithfully preparing the soil for it to flourish.  A fertile faith life is the best environment in which to nurture and grow our seeds of hope.

So, is your faith life fertile ground for a miracle?  And, are you trusting that God’s will for you is His very best for you – even if it’s not your plan for you?  If so, the time is coming when your seed of hope will spring to life and become the future God has planned.

How do I know?  Anything is possible.


Want to read more about God doing the impossible?  Click this link, and then read Pregnant with Hope: Good News for Infertile Couples.

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Filed under Peace, Trust

Life is Hard

In the past few days, I’ve received cries for help from three different people.  All three have a sense of being completely overwhelmed by their circumstances.

One (whose story I shared in a previous post) called because she left a family she’d worked with for 12 years for one that seemed considerably saner, but her new employer let her go after a week. Completely blindsided, she knows she can’t go back – and in this economy, there appears to be no way forward.  She’s scared, hurt, angry and confused. “I’ve been crying for a week,” she said. What do you say to such disheartening defeat?

Another emailed me to say his wife finally conceived – naturally, and against all odds – but he wasn’t hired for the job he needs to support them. A business school graduate, he’s been job-hunting for more than a year, working part-time for minimum wage to keep their financial ship from sinking. They got the pregnancy they desperately wanted, but they can’t afford the baby that’s coming. What do you say to someone who’s grateful and resentful all at once?

The third contacted me through an infertility chat room. Her struggle is causing her to have deep doubts about God’s presence and purpose – and whether He cares about her suffering. We’ve never met, and probably never will. What do you offer a stranger who’s lost confidence in God?

Goodness, life is hard.

Here’s the thing:  That’s a given. It’s awful, but it’s true. We all suffer – some of us frequently, some intermittently. Some publicly, and some very privately. But, we all struggle through dark days when we wonder whether things can possibly get any worse. Whether anyone cares.  Whether God’s forgotten us completely. When those moments come, how do we find any real hope?

I believe we can start with this knowledge (from God Calling):

“All sacrifice and all suffering is redemptive:  to teach the individual, or to be used to raise and help others. Nothing is by chance. The divine mind, and its wonder working, is beyond your finite mind to understand. But no detail is forgotten in My plans, which are already perfect.”

In other words, it’s not an accident that you are in the midst of your circumstances. They may help you become the person God intends you to be, or they may prepare you to use your experience and insight to inspire and encourage others. Either way, the fact that you cannot see or imagine how this could possibly be part of any good plan doesn’t mean it isn’t.

If it’s true that there’s some good purpose in your suffering, and you can somehow wrap your mind around it, there’s still the pressing question:  How do you make your way through something so hard? So gut-wrenching, stress-inducing, and heartbreaking? How do you find the strength? The courage? The determination? The hope?

“Cling to the robe.”

That’s the mantra that can sustain you. Remember the woman who came to Jesus after suffering for years with incessant bleeding? Seeing him surrounded by an enormous crowd of people, she told herself that if she could only touch the hem of his cloak, she would be healed. And she was.  Instantly.

Could it be that way for you? If you cling to Christ, will your circumstances change instantly? Maybe, but not necessarily. Not if there’s a good purpose in them continuing — even one you can’t see or understand.

For all three of the people who cried out for help recently, I see a good purpose in their struggle. Questions of God’s role in what’s happening and the extent of His concern for them are coming to the forefront, battling their emotions for attention, and persistently urging them to seek answers. That’s a good thing. Not a fun one, but a profoundly good one.

Here’s the one thing I know will help them — and you, too:  Cling to the robe.  If you do, you will be near the only source of strength that never fails, the only source of wisdom that always comprehends, and the only source of hope more powerful than any circumstance.

Life is hard.

Cling to the robe.


Need help finding cause for hope? Read Pregnant with Hope: Good News for Infertile Couples. It includes ten couples’  first-hand accounts of  God’s role in their infertility journeys, and how He transformed heartbreaking quests into life-changing good news.

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