Tag Archives: infertility struggle

“Even Though…” Faith

In a world that celebrates success and immediate gratification, it’s not easy to feel gratitude for their absence. So, I aligned myself with Job after several years of failed attempts to bring a healthy baby into the world.

He experienced incredible suffering, which was compounded by his friends’ speculation on why God allowed it to happen. I had lost my father (age 55) and was struggling to conceive while caring for my newly-widowed mother as she battled leukemia. I, too, had friends who shivered at the tragedy of it all — and speculated on what God might be up to.

As with Job, my situation got worse before it got better. I’ve written several posts about the awfulness of that time, and about how much people’s insensitive remarks compounded my suffering.

But now, I want to write about the blessing-in-disguise — the seeds of “Even though…” faith that were planted during those painful, heartbreaking years.

“Though He slay me, yet will I trust Him.”  – Job 13:15

When I first bonded with Job, it was as a fellow sufferer — and as someone who understood how painful it is to be on the receiving end of people’s thoughtless judgments and baseless speculation. I shared his confusion at God’s apparent disinterest in my agony. Like him, I cried out for God to bless me rather than ignore me or curse me. And I cried, and cried, and cried over the unfairness of it all.

Now, many years later, I would experience all that suffering again — over and over, if necessary — in order to have the children I do and the “even though…” faith that’s resulted.

Here’s what I mean…

Even though God doesn’t always bless me on my timetable, I now believe He is always for me (Jeremiah 29:11). Even though I don’t know His plans, I now trust that they will work together with my mistakes — and even my bad choices — for good (Romans 8:28). Even though I sometimes feel alone or forgotten, I now know He will never leave me or forsake me (Deuteronomy 31:6). And, even though I would not have chosen the path our infertility journey took, I now know God led us — and accompanied us — every step of the way (Isaiah 41:10).

I’ve come to a place in my spiritual life where I can paraphrase Job: “Even though He does what I don’t want more often that I would ever choose, I trust Him.”

That’s “even though…” faith.

It’s easy to trust God when all is well; it doesn’t take much spiritual strength. Infertility exposes our spiritual weakness and threatens to undermine our trust in the God who seems to be failing us. What’s really failing is our feeble faith. Will we trust a God we cannot always understand?

“My thoughts are not your thoughts, neither are your ways My ways.”  – Isaiah 55:8-9

It’s hard to trust a plan we don’t know in advance. It’s hard to trust a God we don’t hear in the midst of the clamoring voices of friends, doctors and other “experts.” Most of all, it’s hard to let go of our illusion of control.

The seeds of “even though…” faith are planted in our hearts during these seasons of suffering and uncertainty. They grow in response to God’s grace and the tender mercies that enable us to struggle on as we cling to the hope that He will be faithful — and discover that He actually is.

“Even though…” faith learns through experience to rise above the struggles and challenges of the moment to seek the God who is above it all, in control of it all, and using it all — to bless us, to teach us, to strengthen and equip us.

It’s true, “even though…” faith becomes stronger only by being tested; and of course, we don’t welcome the tests. We do everything possible to bring them to an end! But our loving Father has a better plan. Our willingness to trust that plan — even though it takes us down a path we would never choose — prepares us to be amazing parents with incredible “even though…” faith.

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Need more encouragement on your infertility journey? Read Pregnant with Hope: Good News for Infertile Couples.

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“He Lifted Me….”

Several years ago, when I was leading a group of infertile couples through the Pregnant With Hope bible study, a minister’s wife shared her story. She and her husband had tried to conceive for years, but she’d never been able to carry a baby to term. Meanwhile, her husband was climbing into the pulpit every Sunday morning to preach the goodness of God. It felt like living a lie, and it became an impossibly difficult situation.

As a dark cloud of despair and resentment began to settle on both of them, he took a leave of absence from the church, and they sought comfort away from their inquisitive congregation.

Like all of us who have struggled with infertility, they wrestled with self-pity. It is, as Jesus Calling affirms:

“…a slimy, bottomless pit. Once you fall in, you tend to go deeper and deeper into the mire. As you slide down those slippery walls, you are well on your way to depression, and the darkness is profound.”

When they arrived at our group’s first meeting, they were hoping for little more than commiserating community. But over the course of ten weeks, they opened their minds and hearts to the messages of the lessons. They came to see that they had fallen into a “pit” of self-pity by ceasing to trust a God who wasn’t responding on their timetable, who didn’t seem to share their vision, and who failed to explain His reasoning — in other words, a God they could not control.

They came to a fork in the spiritual road: They could choose to trust God’s plan rather than their own, or they could reject Him and continue to struggle on without Him.

Jesus Calling says:

“Your only hope is to look up and see the Light of My presence shining down on you. Though the Light looks dim from your perspective deep in the pit, those rays of hope can reach you at any depth. While you focus on Me in trust, you rise ever so slowly out of the abyss of despair. Finally, you can reach up and grasp My hand. I will pull you out into the Light again.”

They came to the realization that God was their only hope. With or without children, He was the source of every good thing in their lives. They would trust Him, even if they did not understand why He would not enable them to conceive.

They surprised themselves by deciding to try adoption. The bible study had led them to the realization that God creates families in many ways, and they saw their decision as an exercise in obedience. Despite being told that they were unlikely to match — “Birth mothers may be put off by the fact that you’re in ministry, and they may not like that you’re older than most new parents” — they believed they were honoring God with this unexpected leap of faith.

A few weeks after submitting their profile, they got a phone call. Would they consider adopting newborn twins?

I still get chills when I tell this story because — as she told me when she called with the news — “no one but God knew we’d always been praying for twins.”

“He lifted me out of the slimy pit, out of the mud and mire; he set my feet on a rock and gave me a firm place to stand. He put a new song in my mouth, a hymn of praise to our God.”  – Psalm 40:2-3

He lifted….

They trusted, and He lifted.

They stopped resenting and started releasing. They let go and let God. And He did what He’d always planned to do. He blessed them — in His way, on His timetable, according to His plan.

Are you tired of trying to force God’s hand? Of begging and pleading for your dream to come true? Before you slide any further down into the pit of self-pity, lift your eyes up off your circumstances and focus on the only One with the power to change your story.

“The Lord delights in those who fear him, who put their hope in His unfailing love.”  – Psalm 147:11

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Want to hear more stories of couples whose despair turned to hope? Read Pregnant With Hope: Good News for Infertile Couples and visit PregnantWithHope.info

 

 

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The Unending Race

Last summer, my husband ran his first 50-mile ultramarathon.  He’d trained all summer long, heading out at 4:30 a.m. on Saturday mornings for 6-7 hour runs, hoping to avoid temperatures that frequently hovered near 100 degrees.  His race went so well, he decided to run a 100-mile ultra.  Here’s a post I wrote about that amazing season….

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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.

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

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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.

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

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Filed under Battles, Trust