When Infertility & Ministry Collide: One Couple’s Story

Has anyone ever told you that the Bible is full of good advice?  That it has all the answers?  How did that make you feel?

In my experience, infertile couples tend to feel patronized when someone sends them to the Bible for answers.  Why?  I think because it feels like a spiritual brush-off – like a feigned attempt to help, wrapped in an artificial piety.  And why is that?  Because virtually no one seems to know where to find practical advice for infertile couples in scripture.

And why is that?

Because no one – in the church, or outside it – seems to think that the spiritual questions that accompany infertility are much of a priority… unless they find themselves making the journey.  Then, it takes on a whole new urgency.

I don’t think that irony is lost on God.

Here’s why….

A man and his wife joined our support group several years ago.  They were five years into their quest to conceive.  Still, they hadn’t shared their secret with anyone:  the husband was a minister, and the minister was struggling with infertility.

Week after week, as they processed grief and tried to muster hope, he felt compelled to stand before his congregation preaching on God’s faithfulness.  The obligation he felt to preach something he wasn’t experiencing – and increasingly struggled to believe – transformed the pulpit into a crucible.

At his wife’s urging, he finally stepped aside, and they began driving an hour each way to participate in our Bible study.  Free to express the doubts and fears they’d bottled up for years, they asked:  “Why is this happening?  What are we supposed to do?  How do we change this?  What does God want from us?!”

Now, timeout.  Look at this situation.  A minister came to a group of struggling souls searching for answers.  He didn’t have them.  He couldn’t find them in the Bible.  He felt as lost as they were.  But, he had the good sense (finally!) to ask for help.

Here’s the good news:  he and his wife both found answers, help and hope.  They rediscovered the power of God’s promise, “I am with you always.” And their spiritual lives began to show signs of new life.

One day, soon after the class ended, the wife called me.  She said that the weeks spent in our group had helped them find the peace that had been so elusive for so long.  They’d discovered that they were comfortable considering adoption – for the first time.  They’d completed a profile and, almost immediately, gotten a call.  Twins!  Due to be born in a week!

She started to cry.  “All along we were praying for twins, but we never told anyone.  No one knew… but God knew.  When we got that call, and they said ‘twins,’ we knew He was telling us He’d heard our prayers.”

Why did I share this story?  To say that ministers don’t have all the answers?  That the Bible can seem dense and confusing?  That it’s hard to know where to find actionable advice in scripture, especially in the midst of high-stress  infertility?

Yes.

And to say, it’s okay not to know all the answers.  Even if you’re a minister.  It’s okay to feel overwhelmed, hurt, confused and resentful.  It’s okay to express those feelings honestly and to get help dealing with them.  And yes, it’s okay to admit that infertility is crippling your spiritual life.  God won’t be angry.  Instead, He’ll step into your story.

Not sure where to find good advice in the Bible?  Your minister might not know either.  But you can make this journey together.  If you do, I think you’ll both learn a lot about the goodness of God.

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Equip your minister to help you and other infertile couples.  Pass on a copy of Pregnant With Hope: Good News for Infertile Couples or a link to this blog.

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Filed under Hope, Speaking Up

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