How can I sum up the last four years of grief and infertility in one post, in one verse, and in one single story? It’s hard to do, but if I culminated all my emotions, feelings, and lessons learned into one verse it would be Romans 12:12, “Be joyful in hope, patient in affliction, and faithful in prayer.”
If I used my own words to describe the last four years it would be, “Grief is terrible, God is good, and his hope is eternal!” These truths are hard to remember and are not at all easy to understand when going through difficult circumstances, but they are the only way to get through life with joy and peace.
Our case of infertility is what they refer to as “unexplained.”
No matter what we investigated, what types of doctors we went to, what kinds of procedures, surgeries, medications, and hormones, no amount of yoga or acupuncture, vacations or relaxation we tried… nothing was working. We just, plain and simply, could not conceive.
I was frustrated with God. I wanted answers. I wanted to know the plan, and I wanted to know that he heard our prayers. I felt alone. It felt to me like everyone around me was getting pregnant or adopting, and I cried out to God, sometimes with words but mostly with tears, “You have taught me to ‘Be still and know you are my refuge and my strength,’ but I have been patient, God, and I am tired of waiting!”
I was broken, I did not feel loved, and I was barely holding on to hope.
About two years into our journey I had enough courage to join an infertility support group. I had not gone in the years prior because I felt it would make things harder instead of providing encouragement. But I went anyway and it turned out to be the best part of my entire journey!
At this point, my friends were getting pregnant with their second children, and we had no end in sight to our infertility. I desperately needed support. I needed a community of people going through something similar to me, and most of all, I needed guidance from the Holy Spirit in the next steps to take.
And I found it. All of those things.
Those women I met knew exactly how I felt when I said things like, “I am created to have babies and I can’t… what is my purpose?” Or, “my lifelong heart’s desire is to be a mother and my heart is not fulfilled.” Or sometimes, “how can I possibly live with joy and/or be content without being a mother and without having kids right now?”
“Joyful in Hope”
God spoke into my heart during the next few months while I was a part of the group and helped me get to a place where I knew that no matter how long I would wait, whether I would be a mother on this side of heaven or not, I can live with hope and not be hopeless. I can be patient and trust in his plan, and I can be full of joy and faithful no matter the circumstance. I realized that my calling was not to be a mother, even though my heart so desired it.
I learned that my true calling is to have eyes to serve and learn to become more like Christ. Life became easier when I learned to wait with hope and to live each day with an eternal mindset, which in turn filled me with a hope that only God could provide.
“Patient in Affliction”
When you are battling something so hard, it is easy to forget that God is good and he is always victorious! We sometimes confuse earthly “promises” with eternal ones. He never promised that our lives would be easy, in fact, he says the opposite. The promise we must hold onto is that Jesus overcame the world! (John 16:33) Many of those struggling with infertility do not get their “worth the wait” baby announcement and a happy ending to their story, just like with so many other stories of cancer, or marriage, or divorce. This is what God has been putting on my heart lately.
It is not about us having victory in our lives, it is about God’s ultimate victory in Jesus Christ! This simple truth has helped me be patient in affliction.
“Faithful in prayer”
Many times during my journey I had a difficult time praying. I did not know what to pray and I had a hard time listening to God.
After joining the infertility small group, I was encouraged by scripture and the women around me. I became thankful for what God would do and what he had already done. I had a renewed strength to pray and always be thankful (1 Thessalonians 5:16-18).
After many months of prayer and holding on to the one true hope, we felt peace about taking the next steps in infertility treatment. As we prayed over every little decision and every part of the process, we started to open doors that God could use for his glory, and he gave us peace. Through the Holy Spirit and prayer, he led us in the direction he wanted us to take.
We could not be more thankful that God chose to use us, and our story, to share his love and glory to others. What a privilege and responsibility! Little did I know the depth of his joy and hope until my struggle with infertility and joining a group. Despite our situation, I never lost sight of God’s ultimate victory. He has overcome the world!
This experience led me to launch a Waiting in Hope group at Munger Place Church. My hope is that God will use this group to pour out his strength, hope, and security to others going through this difficult season of life (Isaiah 57:10).