Tag Archives: baby

Therefore, We Do Not Lose Hope

Several years ago, I suddenly stopped writing this blog. What I didn’t tell you was that life had taken an unexpected turn… as it often does… and everything I’d ever written was being put to the test.

It started when a doctor told my husband he had Stage 3 colon cancer and offered sobering odds of survival. Surgery was scheduled immediately, and chemo began soon afterward. My husband continued to see his patients while fighting for his life. His pallor and weight loss went unnoticed only because the patients were so consumed with their own struggles.

As he fought for the health of his body, I wrestled with God for his life.

I had released any claim to our children’s lives long before — when our daughter had had open heart surgery at 4 weeks old, and when I’d miscarried our son’s twin and spent 5 months on bedrest in the hope that he’d survive. Those challenges had seemed all-consuming at the time. I had found peace only by entrusting their lives to the God who’d first entrusted them to us.

But my husband had been my rock. Naive as it may sound, it had never occurred to me that his life could suddenly end. When that possibility became a very present reality, we got scared. And I got angry.

I fought with God around-the-clock. I railed at the injustice. I begged for mercy. I pleaded and negotiated and tried everything I could think of to sway the outcome.

And then finally, exhausted and powerless, I surrendered. I opened my hands and admitted that I could not control things; I could only trust the God who claims to love me.

Over many, many tears, I acknowledged the Lord’s right to take away what He had given and to test my willingness to live what I believe. Despite my fear and anticipatory grief, like Abraham, I put my beloved on the sacrificial altar and prepared to fulfill my promise to trust God even when His ways are not my ways.

And I was flooded with peace.

I knew in my spirit that He would care for me. He would be my beloved, my provider, my comforter, and my source of hope. He would never fail me. His promises would be fulfilled in every way I needed them to be.

Tears of grief gave way to tears of gratitude as I embraced the truth of His faithfulness and His promise, “I am with you always.”

Fast forward….

My husband survived. He’s now cancer-free — back to running, practicing medicine, and helping raise our children.

Why tell you this story? Because words of encouragement don’t matter if I’m not facing trials, too. And, because pollyanna posts can wear thin, but the Truth has a power of its own….

“Be strong and courageous. Do not be afraid… for the Lord your God goes with you; he will never leave you nor forsake you.”  – Deuteronomy 31:6

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Want to hear more about the God who makes all things possible? Order your copy of Pregnant with Hope: Good News for Infertile Couples today.

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“What if They Never Conceive?”

Yesterday, an aspiring grandfather contacted me to ask about groups in Oregon.  He has already given a copy of Pregnant With Hope: Good News for Infertile Couples to his son and daughter-in-law, and also been reading the book himself.  What more can I do, he wanted to know, and… what if they never conceive?

That is every infertile couple’s deepest fear:  What if we never become parents?  What if this is ultimately a pointless quest – a wild goose chase that consumes time and money, and leaves us empty-handed?

I’ll tell you what I told him – and I urge you to consider it carefully.

The only couples I’ve ever seen wind up empty-handed are those who insist on dictating the terms by which they’ll become parents.  They say things like, “We’ll try IUI, but we’d never consider IVF.”  Or “We’ll do 10 cycles of IVF if we have to, but we’d never consider adoption.”

They acknowledge, “We would happily adopt a baby whose family history we know and approve of,” but they’re adamant that “We’d never consider a foreign adoption…, or an egg donor…, or a sperm donor…, or foster parenting…, or [insert line in the sand here].”  Some couples even insist, “Natural conception is the only godly way to become a parent.”

I’ve already written several posts about this mindset.  I believe it’s dangerous not because of the boundaries themselves, but because of the presumption to know the mind and will of God.  Intentionally or not, these couples are playing God, rather than inviting God to be God in the midst of their circumstances.

When couples insist on barring the door to possibilities God might lead them to, they risk closing the door on His best for them.

I realize it might sound as if I have an agenda – as if I’m trying to steer couples toward a particular path, or around the prohibitions of particular denominations or religions.  I’m not.  I have no agenda other than compassionate, attentive listening to the concerns of infertile couples, and obedient, attentive listening to the word of God.

My deep desire is to deliver hope to those who have begun to question God – both His plan and His purpose.  I would never presume to tell a couple what direction to take through the wilderness of infertility.  It is their responsibility to listen for the Lord’s voice, to discern His direction, and to follow it toward the future He has always had planned for them.

I am only here to encourage, to deliver hope, and to point toward Him as the source of all wisdom and truth.

So, what can this aspiring grandfather say to encourage his son and daughter-in-law as they struggle?

He can tell them that, in all my years of experience, I have yet to see the Lord abandon any couple that feels called to parent and remains open to the Lord’s leading on how that will happen.  If they trust and obey, sooner or later, it always happens.  Maybe not the way they imagined.  Maybe not when they expected.  Maybe not as they would have scripted at the beginning of this journey.

But always.

Every.  Single.  Time.

Scripture says that God honors those who honor Him, and He delights in blessing those whom He loves.  So, praise God from whom all blessings flow.

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Need more encouragement?  Click this link to purchase your copy of Pregnant With Hope: Good News for Infertile Couples.

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Sisters in the Struggle — Sharing Hope

It’s so easy to feel isolated and alone when you’re struggling through infertility.  Somehow, it helps to know that other women (and men) are struggling, too.  The community that’s built through sharing stories is invaluable — which is why I consistently urge you to set aside secrecy in favor of finding others who understand.

Of course, understanding doesn’t always translate into the kind of support or sympathy you need in the moment (that’s what inspired my last post), but it’s worth the risk.  As one reader commented,

“As one who has been through many trials, it is so much better doing it transparently. There will always be those who look at you with pity, but there will also be those who LOVE you and know you just need a shoulder to cry on and a hand to hold.”

Yesterday, I discovered that hundreds of SingaporeMotherhood.com readers made their way to this blog in search of community and understanding.  They were following a link in a chatroom post that read, in part…

“Dear sisters, I am touched by the care which you have rendered to support one another.  I have been married for 12 years and am dying to have a baby of my own.  I have been praying to God to answer my prayer, and in the midst of searching for God’s voice, I chanced upon this blog last night. As I was reading it, my emotions were greatly stirred! I felt a strong urge to share this blog with sisters who have been through a tough, roller coaster ride in their hope of becoming parents.”

It is both thrilling and humbling to know that my blog posts can inspire people struggling through infertility half a world away.  The Lord knows the glory is His.  But here’s what was most exciting to me….

In 2010, the fertility rate in Singapore was the third-lowest in the world.  That makes for lots of community if you want a baby but can’t seem to conceive and bring one to term.  The problem is not quality of care.  Singapore has the lowest infant mortality rate in the world.  So, what’s the problem?

And, at least as important, when those statistics define your experience, where do you turn for help and hope?

In a country where the predominant religion is Buddhism, one woman had the courage to say to others, “I found hope.  There is hope in Christ.  And you can read more about it at PregnantWithHope….”

That is God’s incredible grace.  He plants a seed of hope, meeting one need, and it generates a great harvest.  One woman in Singapore found hope – and she risked sharing it with others hungry for the same kind of hope.  One online forum post led to almost 200 new readers for this blog.  That’s the awesome goodness of God in action.

So, are you feeling alone?  Can’t find community?  Don’t worry.  God can.  He’ll lead you to it, and then use you to guide others there.  All so He can give you the love, compassion, mercy and grace you need to make the journey through infertility to parenthood – and the future He’d always planned for you.

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Predicting the Future

Raise your hand if you’d like to be able to predict the future.

Wouldn’t it be nice to know how the story’s going to unfold?  Whether you’re going to conceive – and when?  Or whether you’re not?  Whether you’re going to adopt a healthy, beautiful baby?  Or whether, at some point, you’ll move on to live life without children?

What will happen?

Wouldn’t you give anything to know?

You’re not alone.

A friend confessed to me that she’s begun seeing a psychic.  Her need-to-know overcame her initial unease, and she made an appointment.  Reassured by the predictions she was given, she quickly became addicted.  She’s now a regular, allocating portions of each week’s budget to psychic predictions.

The “need” to know can make us all do crazy things.

This morning, I read about a king turning to his captive for dream interpretation. It seemed crazy to his royal counselors, but threatened by a dream he could not understand, Pharaoh called on Joseph to tell him what it meant for the future.  Generations later, Nebuchadnezzar asked the same of Daniel.

These rulers were used to absolute power.  But, they knew they were at the mercy of an unseen, unknown future.  They needed to know what was coming — and God’s followers knew Someone with the answers.

When Pharaoh called for Joseph to explain his dream’s meaning, Joseph responded, “I cannot do it, but God will….”  Daniel had a similar exchange with Nebuchadnezzar.  He said, “No wise man, enchanter, magician or diviner can explain to the king the mystery he has asked about, but there is a God in heaven who can….”

The prideful arrogance of both kings made them want to resist God, but their urgent need to know caused them to humble themselves – briefly – and admit, “I need to know what God has to say to me.”

There have been times – especially recently – when sobering statistics have made me want to know the future with certainty.  The doctor has told me the odds of a particular outcome and I’ve felt a surge of fear.  And a need to know.  In the moment, I’m tempted to attribute god-like powers to the doctor so that he can tell me what will happenBut he can’t really.

He can speculate, based on the available test results and those who’ve covered this same ground before us.  He can make an educated guess.  He can even pretend to know (like my friend’s psychic).  But the truth is, he doesn’t know.  Only God knows.

And only God can tell me, if He so chooses.

If He doesn’t?  Then, like my friend, I can create false gods.  I can resort to substitute sources of information — people who believe in their ability to predict my future (especially if I’m paying them).  I can tell myself to trust them, and project onto them a level of knowledge and understanding that they don’t actually have.  I can choose to believe, “now, I know” and put my energy into proving them right.

But experience has taught me, none of that will bring peace.

Or, I can follow the kings’ example.  I can recognize my limitations – and those of the people I typically consult as I try to anticipate what’s coming.  And then, I can give God my undivided attention:  “What do you have to say to me, Lord?  What do you want me to hear?  You’re the only One who knows what’s coming… and I’m listening.”

With those words, I fling open the door, welcoming Him into my story and the future that only He knows.

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There is Nothing Wrong with Hope

In his book, Love, Medicine & Miracles, Dr. Bernie Siegel writes, “In the face of uncertainty, there is nothing wrong with hope.”  How often has your infertility specialist said that to you?  How about your family or friends?  There is something in Siegel’s unconditional assertion – “there is nothing wrong with hope” – that implies a confidence infertile couples often crave, but do not feel.

Dr. Siegel, a cancer surgeon, discovered years ago that a subset of those patients who came to him for help were able to live lives of meaning and purpose in the midst of uncertainty.  These “exceptional patients,” as he called them, experienced something during their journey that they shared repeatedly with him:  attitude is everything.  As they explained, the belief(s) that guide your thoughts will determine the quality of the life you live.

The same is true of the infertility journey.

Couples who learn to trust God’s plan, release their grip on (the illusion of) control, and lean into believing that there is a purpose in their struggle, invariably go on to become parents.  Some by conception.  Some by adoption.  A few by foster parenthood.  But all of them get there.  I have yet to see a couple give their dream to God and forever remain a twosome.  It’s a matter of how – not If.  A question of when – not Whether.

“… There is nothing wrong with hope.”  Siegel’s words are a great reminder that there is no great risk in hoping that God is faithful.  Hoping that His promises hold true for ALL believers.  Hoping that He will elect to bless those who trust Him – His purpose, His plan, His timing.  There is nothing wrong with hope!  It is not irrational. It is not delusional.  It is not unfounded.

It is faith.

And we have been called to walk by faith, and not by sight.  We have been taught to trust a God we cannot see, but who hears our prayers, knows our thoughts, and shares in our suffering.  It is this God who alone is able to realize our deep desire to become parents.  It is His will that makes it possible.  And when we are in the flow of His will, “there is nothing wrong with hope.”

I know several couples who will be finding out in the next few days whether their recent IVF’s have resulted in Christmas conceptions.  I hope that they have.  But even more, I hope that the God who knows their hearts, feels their longing, and intends to bless the seed of hope He has already planted will give these couples nothing less than His very best.  ‘

I know from experience — it’s worth waiting for.

Emmanuel.  God with us.  There is cause for hope.

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Filed under Control, Hope, Perspective