Tag Archives: isolation

Your Body, God’s Temple

“Within your temple, O God, we meditate on your unfailing love.” – Psalm 48:9

When my husband and I were struggling with infertility, I was also grieving my father’s death and my mother’s new role as a widow. My job was stressful and demanding, as was my boss, and I had very little time — or emotional energy — to spend meditating… particularly on God’s unfailing love. The truth was, it felt like God was failing me pretty spectacularly. My stress expressed itself through my body as frequent headaches, sleeplessness, exhaustion, and bouts of tears that were provoked by things as random as sad commercials or turning my ankle on an uneven sidewalk. I was barely keeping it together.

I’d go to church on Sundays and wonder why God seemed so far away. Wasn’t this where I was supposed to encounter Him? But, I didn’t hear His voice or sense His presence. None of His followers ever asked how I was doing, what burdens I was bearing, or whether I could use their help. They all seemed to be absorbed in their own lives, their own prayers, and their own conversations with the God who appeared to have forgotten all about me.

Little did I know, He was with me, even so.

That church that seemed so devoid of God’s presence was not where I should have been looking for Him. True, in the Old Testament, there was a physical place in which worshipers could encounter the living God — “within your temple, we meditate….” God didn’t move; they came to Him. And plenty of modern-day churches still seem to follow that “temple model.” But God doesn’t.

Jesus/Immanuel, “God with us,” changed that forever. We no longer need to go to a physical place to encounter God. Jesus promised, “I am with you always,” and that promise is delivered — in part — by the indwelling presence of the Holy Spirit. In other words, your body is now the temple in which to encounter God.

What would I have thought if someone had shared that with me back when we were struggling with infertility? When my body seemed to ignore every instruction I willed it to obey:  Ovulate! Conceive! Nourish! Grow! Sustain!

What if I had thought of infertility as an invitation to seek the help of the Holy Spirit within His dwelling place/my body? What if I had sought to engage the Holy Spirit there — to pour my heart out to Him, to share my thoughts and fears, to praise and thank God for His promises, and to restore peace to my spirit? What might that have changed?

In hindsight, I believe it would have changed almost everything about my experience. It would have freed me from a sense of profound loneliness and isolation. It would have given me a safe place to grieve, be confused, ask questions, and even express my anger. It would have let me stop worrying about how the world might judge my infertility, and start focusing on how God intended to use it to bless me.

“Within your temple, O God, we meditate on your unfailing love.” Even when I was sure that God was failing me, the Holy Spirit was with me — in me — patiently waiting for me to acknowledge His presence and engage in meaningful dialogue.

I wish I’d known then what I know now:  the Lord is always with me, and His love never fails.

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Need more encouragement? Read Pregnant with Hope: Good News for Infertile Couples

 

 

 

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Filed under Bystanders, Peace, Perspective

Turns Out, You Are Not Alone

You’re not alone.

I discovered that truth in a whole new way when I went to Sitemeter yesterday.  Sitemeter tells me where blog readers come from.  Not who they are (don’t worry, your privacy’s completely protected), but where in the world they are.  And guess what?

There are infertile couples all around you.

Yesterday, readers came to this site from all over the U.S.  They also came from Canada, Australia, Germany, Singapore, India, England, and countries throughout South America.

Why does that matter?  Because infertility can be so profoundly isolating, it’s easy to believe you’ve been singled-out for suffering and no else has.  Or, that there are a small number of couples going to your particular clinic for help, but few others anywhere else.

That’s a lie.  It’s one of many that will fill your mind with doubt about God’s goodness as you struggle to maintain some equilibrium during infertility.

What can you do in response?

Raise Your Hand – Speak up.  Self-identify.  You won’t face the judgment you fear.  You may face some  ignorance, or insensitivity – but you’re also much more likely to find comfort, support, and company.  Of course, you should choose wisely when deciding whom to tell.  But trust me, it’s definitely a risk worth taking.

Find Community – Once you’ve shared your secret, find some community.  Not because misery loves company, but because “where two or more are gathered, I will be in the midst of them.”  Experiencing the presence of God is the first step toward experiencing the peace that comes with knowing and trusting Him.  Find (or create) a community of people who know what you’re facing, and you will have found a powerful source of strength.

Claim God’s Promises – The Bible is full of words of hope and inspiration.  They’re not outdated or theoretical, but powerful and real.  They can and will speak to your experience, if you ask God to bring His word alive in your story.  Set doubts aside long enough to discover God’s promises, invite Him to make them central to your journey, and watch how that changes everything.

Find Hope – Not sure where or how to find God’s promises in scripture?  Not sure whether to find a group or protect your privacy?  Whatever you decide, make it your goal to find hope for the journey.   Pregnant With Hope: Good News for Infertile Couples can help you discover hope in ways that are meaningful and relevant to you and your partner as you make your way.

There are millions of couples around the world making the same journey you are.  Some of them are crossing (virtual) paths with you when you come to this site; like you, they come seeking words of inspiration and hope.  Millions more have already made the journey; some of them – like me – want to share the good news that the journey won’t last forever, and God is good.

So, remember:  No matter how it feels, you are not alone.

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Find more words of encouragement and hope at PregnantWithHope.com

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Filed under Hope, Perspective, Speaking Up

Infertile? You Are Not Alone

You’re not alone.

I discovered that truth in a whole new way when I went to Sitemeter yesterday.  Sitemeter tells me where blog readers come from.  Not who they are (don’t worry, your privacy’s protected), but where in the world they are. And guess what?

There are infertile couples all around you.

Yesterday, readers came to this site from all over the U.S.  They also came from Canada, Australia, Germany, Singapore, India, England, and countries throughout South America.

Why does that matter?  Because infertility can be so profoundly isolating, it’s easy to believe you’ve been singled-out for suffering and no else has.  Or, that there are a small number of couples going to your particular clinic for help, but few others anywhere else.

That’s a lie.  It’s one of many that will fill your mind with doubt about God’s goodness as you struggle to maintain some equilibrium during infertility.

What can you do in response?

Raise Your Hand – Speak up.  Self-identify.  You won’t face the judgment you fear.  You may face some  ignorance, or insensitivity – but you’re also much more likely to find comfort, support, and company.  Of course, you should choose wisely when deciding whom to tell.  But trust me, it’s definitely a risk worth taking.

Find Community – Once you’ve shared your secret, find some community.  Not because misery loves company, but because “where two or more are gathered, I will be in the midst of them.”  Experiencing the presence of God is the first step toward experiencing the peace that comes with knowing and trusting Him.  Find (or create) a community of people who know what you’re facing, and you will have found a powerful source of strength.

Claim God’s Promises – The Bible is full of words of hope and inspiration.  They’re not outdated or theoretical, but powerful and real.  They can and will speak to your experience, if you ask God to bring His word alive in your story.  Set doubts aside long enough to discover God’s promises, invite Him to make them central to your journey, and watch how that changes everything.

Find Hope – Not sure where or how to find God’s promises in scripture?  Not sure whether to find a group or protect your privacy?  Whatever you decide, make it your goal to find hope for the journey.   Pregnant With Hope: Good News for Infertile Couples can help you discover hope in ways that are meaningful and relevant to you and your partner as you make your way.

There are millions of couples around the world making the same journey you are.  Some of them are crossing (virtual) paths with you when you come to this site; like you, they come seeking words of inspiration and hope.  Millions more have already made the journey; some of them – like me – want to share the good news that the journey won’t last forever, and God is good.

So, remember:  No matter how it feels, you are not alone.

========================================================

Find more words of encouragement and hope in Pregnant With Hope: Good News for Infertile Couples and at PregnantWithHope.com

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Filed under Hope, Perspective, Speaking Up

Infertility and the Price of Pride

A few days ago, I heard a woman in a radio commercial say:

“I can’t afford pride.  I’ve got bills to pay and obligations to meet….”

I started thinking, what price do we pay for pride?  And why do we do it?  As we’re going through infertility, what does it cost us – and is it worth it?

Every year, advertisers spend billions trying to convince us that if we don’t buy what they’re selling, we risk becoming social outcasts – judged by the world, and found lacking.  It’s easy enough to see through the strategy, but there are times when it’s difficult to resist the underlying message.  Essentially, that message is:  “you are the star in the only story that matters.  The one everyone is watching.  If you don’t meet or exceed expectations, instead of feeling proud of all the attention, you are going to feel shame.”

That’s a very toxic message, and one we receive hundreds of times a day.  Without realizing it, with enough exposure, we start to believe it’s the truth.  Our egos only serve to confirm it:  yes, I’m important.  It’s all about me.

So, to avoid public humiliation, we focus our attention on protecting the secret that, for some reason, we can’t have a baby.  This choice adds tremendous pressure to the already-stressful infertility experience.  It enables us to avoid the imaginary spotlight – but at the cost of separation, isolation, and the loss of support and encouragement we so desperately need.

It doesn’t have to be that way.

God says the opposite of pride isn’t shame; it’s humility.  It’s acknowledging that we aren’t the center of the universe, and life isn’t all about us.  Although that realization may be a slight bruise to the ego, it’s also a great relief.  It means we don’t have to be perfect; God already knows we’re flawed.  We don’t have to earn our blessings; God already intends to give them to us.  We don’t have to explain our childlessness; God has a plan and a purpose for this journey.  All we need to do is trust Him.

“To you, O Lord, I life up my soul; in you I trust, O my God.  No one whose hope is in you will ever be put to shame….” [Psalm 25:1-3].

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Find more resources and cause for hope at PregnantWithHope.com

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Filed under Control, Humility