Maybe it’s your sister who’d give anything to see a positive pregnancy test or your best friend who is enduring the pain of another miscarriage. Maybe your coworker is staring down the barrel of another fertility treatment or perhaps it’s you trying to figure out why your first baby came so easily but somehow #2 seems beyond your reach. Chances are, all of us have felt the stinging disappointment and the ache of an empty womb.
People’s fertile Facebook posts seem to fill your newsfeed, baby bumps are everywhere you turn and heaven help us all if it doesn’t make you want to whip your car into that “expectant mother’s” parking spot at Target just to spite them all. It’s such a lonely reoccurring struggle already, and then it is compounded by the fact that no one knows the right thing to say to soothe your chafing soul.
For my Joel and I there have been years filled with painful questions from well-meaning people. “Don’t ya’ll want to have children?” “Want to hold my baby? Maybe it’ll rub off on you!” And the ever-popular, well-meaning attempt at encouragement: “Well, now that you’ve adopted I just KNOW ya’ll will get pregnant.” Whomp, whomp.
During these years we’ve grieved in very different ways. Me, sometimes feeling like he wasn’t heartbroken enough and he, (bless him), not knowing how to deal with an extremely hormonal woman. We’ve emotionally run the full gamut of anger, apathy, numbness, hope and despair. But it’s this path of barrenness (I hate that word) that God has used to draw our hearts closer to each other and more deeply into relationship with Himself.
Your most profound and intimate experiences of worship will likely be in your darkest days – when your heart is broken, when you feel abandoned, when you’re out of options, when the pain is great – and you turn to God alone. ~Rick Warren
God’s character has had to become the North star for our journey through the darkness of infertility. His goodness and His sovereignty have hemmed us in behind and before. It’s all we’ve had to cling to when we can’t seem to make sense of our circumstances. He is good and He is in control, and somehow suffering IS God’s love for us. THIS, even this, is a gift from the loving hand of our trustworthy Father.
When we are frustrated with the waiting and the discomfort, it’s God’s unchanging nature that we can lean on knowing that there is NOTHING WASTED in His Kingdom. He is a God who uses everything. There is nothing wasted. No time, no waiting, no experience, no pain, no tears, no joy. Nothing is wasted. Nothing. He has a specific purpose for each day, week and month of this process.
Not only has His character become a great comfort to us, but you know when someone can totally relate to what you’re going through because you share the common bond of “me too” ? Well, because Jesus came to earth and can sympathize with our every weakness, we share in a Divine “me too”. Sure, He wasn’t a female with a monthly cycle but ya’ll. He totally gets it. God has children He longs to have as His own. He can sympathize with us even in this and can relate to each and every emotion we experience! Praise the Lord. The Great I am is sufficient for our greatest need.
We are continually choosing to live in the tension of walking by faith (knowing God’s character of being all-powerful, sovereign, all-knowing, loving and good) believing that He is capable of creating the universe thus plenty capable of forming a little life. Meanwhile, knowing that in His good and perfect plan (right now and maybe forever) having a baby is not His best for us.
We are still asking God to show us the bigger picture of who He is and what He’s doing. We are asking Him for peace, contentment and joy. And He really is delivering on His promise to fulfill our longings. Because HE is better than anything I could ask for here on earth. He has given His best to me, His own beautiful, beloved Child. Will He withhold any good thing from me? No, never. Is Jesus enough to make up for this aching void in my soul? I don’t always feel that it is so. But it is. Jesus loves me—this I know. His plan for our family is a custom fit and I can rest and relax in His sovereign grace.
Do you know someone walking through the pain of infertility? I’d love to pray for them and share with them my favorite book. It’s the one that has kept me sane through all this (it’s also the one that has a whole chapter on what to say to people struggling in this area!). Comment below. Or let’s chat over on Instagram. To read more of our story visit any of these posts.