Tag Archives: God’s plan

Hanging on by a Thread

Men rarely discuss infertility.  That’s why it’s so important and helpful for them to participate in support groups.  In this “safe” environment, they can expose feelings and share concerns they’d otherwise feel compelled to hide.

My husband had no such support group.  He had to struggle through infertility with no one but me to talk to about his questions, his fears, and his sense of frustration that he couldn’t “fix” our problem.  Now, as a psychiatrist, he specializes in helping people face their challenges head-on, confident in the knowledge that “all things work together for good” [Romans 8:28].

Over the past few weeks, I’ve shared with him some of the stories you have shared with me — and invited him to write a guest post in response.  Here’s what he wanted to say….


As a New Year begins, thoughts often turn to hopes and plans for the future.  But, what is for many a time of eager anticipation can, instead, be a season of continued suffering for those battling infertility.

That’s the story of a young minister in Manchester, England.  Despite his strong faith, he is experiencing spiritual struggles following his wife’s recent miscarriage.  He finds himself obsessing over “Why?”

The loss of a pregnancy or death of a baby is one of the darkest points during the long night of infertility.  How do I know?  Because I’ve been there.  So have countless others.  Where can we turn for hope and inspiration during this time?

Scripture gives us the answer.  It tells us the disciples were overcome by grief and fear when  Jesus was captured, crucified and buried.  For them, the days following Jesus’ death were a period of great spiritual confusion and despair.

What a dramatic turn of events.  A few days earlier, they’d been celebrating Jesus’ return to Jerusalem with hope and excitement.  But his death left them believing their dream had died. Where was their faith?  Circumstances had led them to focus on unanswerable questions:  “Why is this happening to me?” and “What am I going to do now?”

In the midst of their despair and confusion, God acted.  Not on their timetable, but on His.  The resurrected Jesus stood before them (on several occasions) and renewed their hope.  What they had been sure they understood was not the end of the story.  There was no cause for despair; this was not defeat.  This was victory – in a way they could never have imagined!

The disciples’ story reveals the pattern of God’s intervention.  He allows our dreams to motivate us.  Then, when we realize we are powerless to bring them to pass, He lets them die and lets us grieve.  But then, he resurrects the dream in a new form – and He demonstrates His incredible love and power by realizing His dream for us in all its fullness, completeness and glory.

That’s the pattern Scripture reveals.  And, that’s God’s promise to us.

Many of you going through infertility may have had a period of initial joy when you got pregnant, only to see that feeling give way to despair following a miscarriage.  Like the disciples, you may feel like huddling in a spiritual corner, overwhelmed with fear and confusion.  You may believe you’re hanging onto faith by a thread.

Take heart in knowledge the disciples didn’t possess – the knowledge that God’s faithfulness will bring about your victory.  You may not see it or feel it, but it is coming.  Victory will be yours by the will of God.

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This is the Prayer God Always Answers

There is a prayer that God always answers for infertile couples.

No one told me about it when we were struggling to conceive.  At that time, the God I’d grown up believing in no longer seemed generous, loving and faithful.  Instead, He seemed distant, silent, and even secretive.  I had some strong feelings about that, but I was afraid to express them for fear of making a bad situation worse.

So, we struggled on in silence (as if He didn’t know my thoughts).

I felt increasingly invisible and lost to God.  Either rejected by Him or simply ignored, all I could see was that He didn’t seem to be working with us.  In fact, He seemed to be working against us.  Rather than breathing life into our dream, He was thwarting our desire to become parents.  He could have made it happen at any time, but He kept saying, “no.”

Does it seem as if God is thwarting your will, too?  Are you doing everything you can to get to “yes” only to sense He’s repeatedly telling you “no”?  Then pray the prayer He always answers:

Thy will be done.

This 4-word prayer has the power to set life-changing events in motion.  It can overpower whatever emotional distress buffets us, whatever circumstances devastate us, whatever fears paralyze us, whatever thoughts terrorize us.  It is the “open sesame” that makes all things possible because it is the prayer that puts all things in our lives under God’s authority – including us.

It is a prayer of incredible power… because it a prayer of total submission.  It acknowledges that God sees what we cannot see, and knows what we cannot know.  It invites Him to accomplish His perfect plan in and through us, with our complete cooperation.

Can we trust Him enough to give Him complete control?  Can we stop obsessing over our own plans and trust that “no” means His plan is better?  Can we set aside our impatience long enough to give Him whatever time He needs to accomplish His purpose?  And will we?

That’s the hugely important choice we must make.

We can continue to insist on our plans and our timetable, giving God room only to optimize what we will for ourselves.  That path will never lead us to His best.  Or, we can let go of “when?” and “how?” and choose to trust Him completely and unconditionally.  That path leads to nothing less than His very best.

How do I know?  From personal experience, and from my front row seat watching the stories of countless infertile couples unfold.  Every single couple who comes to a place of being able to pray unreservedly, “Thy will be done,” finds joy.  Every.  Single.  One.

May it be so for you, too.


For more inspiration and cause for hope, read Pregnant With Hope: Good News for Infertile Couples


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Is There a Prayer God Always Answers?

A few days ago, I wrote about narcissistic fertility – the tendency of some “fertiles” to take pregnancy for granted, and to think of a baby primarily as an extension of themselves.  It’s easy to criticize that kind of self-absorption.  And, it’s tempting to think “I would never….”

The problem is:  we would, and we do.

Don’t misunderstand.  After the struggle and heartache of the infertility journey, I don’t believe any of us would take a baby for granted.  But, I do believe that many – maybe all of us – set off on this journey believing we deserve to be parents.  We want it, and we unconsciously believe we have a right to expect it.

We see the people around us conceiving effortlessly and assume, that’ll be me – pregnant and living  happily-ever-after.  We might never say so, but at some level, we feel entitled to that story.

Here’s the problem:  that entitlement attitude puts Self at the center.  It presumes that what we want is what’s best for us — because we want it.  In hindsight, that seems both arrogant and a little ridiculous.  The truth is, it’s simply human nature.

We tend to think of ourselves as able to make perfect plans and control our destinies… until we discover we can’t and we don’t.  That’s when we start to feel confused, frustrated, and even angry.

Now, we see a clear need for God in our story – but He seems to be withholding our heart’s desire.  Or worse, punishing us for something.  Why can’t we conceive?  And why does He insist on thwarting our plans?

Because our plan is not His plan.  It’s not His best for us.

So, now what?  How do we get past our emotional response to God’s “no,” and onto a path that leads to parenthood?  That’s the question I was thinking about recently as I read Ten Prayers God Always Says Yes To.

I wondered: Is there a prayer God always says “yes” to when infertile couples pray?  If so, what is it?  What makes it work?  And does it always?

The good news is that there is one prayer God always answers for infertile couples.  And I’m convinced the purpose of the infertility journey is to prepare us to pray it with complete sincerity of heart, mind and spirit.

In my next post, I’ll walk you through the steps of the infertility journey that prepare you to pray it.  And, I’ll share the prayer itself with you.  For now, I encourage you to search your heart:  Have you felt entitled to a baby?  Have you resented God’s apparent refusal?  Have you expressed your feelings  candidly to Him?  Do you believe He heard you and cared, or that He rejected your words and turned away?

I encourage you to spend the next few days wrestling with these questions and answering them as honestly as you can.  They’ll pave the way to the “yes” you long for when you pray the prayer God always answers.


Longing for inspiration and wisdom on the infertility journey?  Read Pregnant With Hope: Good News for Infertile Couples and learn how God transforms a heartbreaking quest into life-changing good news.

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The Unbearable Moment

There are moments – split seconds even – that can seem to last forever.  When the nurse calls with the news you dread.  When the tech stares silently at the ultrasound image, refusing to speak what you already fear.  When the doctor delivers the baby at 18 weeks, and you know the truth before he says a word.

So many of the couples I’ve worked with have described the feeling of an unbearable moment that goes on and on….  It’s as if time stops.  The past falls away.  The future is unimaginable.  There is only the moment and the realization that everything you’ve hoped for is gone.

Grief begins to form a tidal wave in the distance.  But in the moment, there is nothing.  No feeling.  No understanding.  No faith.  No hope.  No way to wrap your mind around this awful reality.

Where is God in this moment?

The Bible says He is with us.

What is this moment like for Him?  2 Peter says, “With the Lord, a day is like a thousand years, and a thousand years are like a day.”  I believe that means that God understands the agony of a moment that seems to go on forever.  But it also means that time expands and collapses, stretches and compresses, with Him.  In other words, time does not limit God in any way, nor what He can accomplish in a given moment.

We may be psychologically paralyzed, frozen in a split second that’s too unbearable for us to experience.  But not God.  He is fully present with us, providing comfort and strength for as long as this “moment” lasts.  It may seem as if He has failed us.  As if He has broken His promise to give us hope and a future.  As if He has been so slow in keeping the promise that He is somehow too late.  Or worse, as if He has abandoned us in our moment of need.

But that’s not true.

God is never defeated by our circumstances.  He is never too late  — to comfort us, to strengthen us, or to deliver joy into our lives.  The problem is that we are unable to see past this moment.  We cannot imagine that this season of suffering will ever end, and so we conclude… it won’t.

The Bible says, “The Lord is not slow in keeping His promise, as some understand slowness.”  We don’t understand why we have to wait so long, or why God seems to be moving so slowly to fulfill His promise.  We don’t understand His timing, His reasons or His plan.  He has shared none of this with us.

So, we have to trust Him.  And wait.

Thankfully, 2 Peter says, “He is patient….”  with us, with our response to failure and loss, with our self-absorption in grief, with our confusion and our anger, with our depression and our fear, with our temporary loss of faith in His goodness and purposefulness.  He is patient with all of it.  And with all of us.

In the end, the suffering that seems to be lasting forever, will be over “like a day.”  And the joy that comes with the child He has always planned for us — the soul He has already chosen to entrust to us — “will be like a thousand years.”  We will see this journey from His perspective, and the moment of heartache will be a blink… just before life with our child began.

Hang in there.


For more compassionate understanding and cause for hope, read Pregnant With Hope: Good News for Infertile Couples.

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Reaching the Finish Line

In three weeks, my husband is running his first ultramarathon – a 50 mile/81K race.  He’s trained all summer long, heading out at 4:30 a.m. on Saturday mornings for 6-7 hour runs, hoping to avoid temperatures that have frequently hovered near 100 degrees.

What makes someone want to do something so punishing?  Something that requires such discipline, determination and sacrifice?  How can it possibly be worth the effort and the cost?

I think the same questions could be asked of infertile couples.  What makes you push so hard to reach a goal that seems real, and yet so far away?  Why do you choose to suffer physical pain?  To endure fatigue, anxiety, doubt, isolation… so many forms of suffering?  Is it really worth it?  Isn’t there some other way to meet whatever need is driving you forward?

Here’s the thing….

When God puts a dream in your heart, He intends for you to fulfill it.  “…He works in you to will and to act according to His good purpose” [Philippians 2:13].  He has a plan, and you have an important part in it.  Your sense of being called to something and simultaneously propelled toward it is no accident.  He has a purpose for creating this desire in you, and for urging you to act on it.

Of course, reaching the goal requires your best effort.  In some cases, it pushes you well beyond what you had imagined possible – or considered endurable – and yet, somehow you find the strength to keep going.

Why doesn’t God make it easier?  Why does He call you to what looks and feels almost impossible, instead of dropping success miraculously into your lap?  I’m convinced it’s because He intends to bless you in and through the process of struggling toward that goal before reaching the finish line.

Here’s what I mean….

My husband’s ability to run forever without stopping may not be important to God, but his health is.  His ability to listen to his body and care for it certainly is.  And, the huge stretches of time that he and God now spend together – away from the stresses of work, and the buzz of activity at home – most definitely are.

The official ultramarathon hasn’t even started, but in ways that matter more to God than any runner’s medal, my husband is already victorious.

The same is true for couples struggling through infertility.  Your ability to endure countless trips to the doctor may not be important to God, but your perseverance and trust are.  Your ability to be at peace in the midst of uncertainty is.  And, your increased desire to sense God’s presence and believe in His purposefulness – despite the test results, the miscarriages, and the grief – most definitely are.

Remember, the Bible says, “Do not throw away your confidence; it will be richly rewarded.  You need to persevere so that when you have done the will of God, you will receive what He has promised.”

Claim this verse and run your race.  God is with you every step of the way.


For more inspiration and cause for hope, go to  PregnantWithHope.com

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Infertility and the Easter Blahs

Is Easter meaningful for infertile couples?  That can be a surprisingly tricky question.

For most people, it signals the arrival of a joyful spiritual season, a candy-filled celebration of spring, or both.  The commercial imagery associated with the holiday is innocuous enough:  bunnies, flowers, eggs… all signs of fertile, new life.  But, for those struggling through infertility, that focus can be a reminder of what we don’t have and can’t seem to achieve.

The resurrection message echoes that reminder – of the lack of life we feel (spiritually), or seem able to create and sustain (biologically).  Where is God in this struggle?  Why does this journey seem so barren and lifeless?  These  thoughts add a sorrowful undercurrent to the symbols of the season.

Expressing grief during this exuberantly fertile, hope-filled season can seem, and feel, selfish and self-indulgent.  Everyone around us is dressed in bright colors, enjoying the sunshine, celebrating the end of winter’s darkness.  Why don’t we join in?  Because it hurts.  So, we pull back from the celebration – feeling fragile, heartbroken and very much alone.

Should couples struggling through infertility be glad, then, only after Easter’s passed?

Not so fast.

A few years ago, on Easter Sunday, I walked past a tiny church that couldn’t hold more than twenty people at a time.  Services were over.  The parking lot was empty.  The doors were closed.  But, the sign out front proclaimed, “God still rolls away stones.”  That got me thinking….

In the Bible, the rolled-away stone at Jesus’ tomb revealed good news (despite foreshadowing, not at all what his followers had anticipated). They found, not death as they’d expected, but life.  Not cause for grief as they’d been feeling, but for joy.  Not defeat as they’d believed they were suffering, but victory!

In an instant, everything the disciples thought they knew and understood about what had happened turned upside-down.  This wasn’t the end; it was the beginning.

How does that moment speak to the infertility experience?  Just as in scripture, a stone is rolled into place when we conclude it’s over, and hope is dead.

In the midst of infertility, our fear and doubt frequently steer us toward this conclusion.  When we agree with these feelings, dwell on negative thoughts, and accept them as “truth,” we allow satan to roll a stone over the hope God has placed in our hearts.  Or worse, we put the stone there ourselves. The longer that stone is in place, the deader our hope seems… until hopelessness becomes the new normal.

But God has another plan.

He rolls away the stone and creates a new hope.  It is a rule-breaking, expectation-shattering, despair-defeating hope.  A God-sized Hope!  Hope that is not limited by human understanding.  Hope that leaps out of the darkness of our fear-filled hearts and into the light, alive again!

How does He do it?

With a word of encouragement or a scrap of good news.  A new protocol.  An inspiring book.  A “hang in there” phone call.  A hopeful test result.  A stranger’s blog post.  A helpful suggestion.  A coincidental conversation.  A timely discovery.  Whatever it takes to breathe life into the hope He purposefully planted in our hearts.

When we sense and claim this hope, when we trust with all our hearts and do not rely on our ability to understand [Proverbs 3:5], we feel a surge in our spirit:  “Lord, I don’t understand, but if You say so, I do believe it’s possible.”

When we say “Yes” to hope, and “No” to fear, we affirm our faith in the God of miracles who every Easter reminds us:  I can do anything.  Let Him roll away your stone.





Find more resources and cause for hope at PregnantWithHope.com

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