Happy 4th of July! As you read this, chances are I’ll be with my friend Cathy Wood, watching the parade, or fireworks or laughing about how we both could have been great spies. There is so much I admire about Cathy. Her ability to forgive hard things. Her indomitable positive spirit. Her kindness, and listening ear. We’ve been in a couples small group for about 25 years and she’s also one of the “7” girls, so I’ve been privileged to walk through a lot of life with her! All of us either know someone or are someone who has wrestled with a dream to have kids, but an inability to make it happen. I always benefit from her wisdom, so I’m thankful she agreed to share today!
1. What has been your experience with infertility?
We struggled with infertility and trying to create a family over about a decade. Although this time is in the rearview mirror of my life, I can readily recall the cycle of doctor appointments, shots, temperature taking and miscarriages…periods of great hope and equally great despair. Thankfully, by the grace of God He brought us thru it all. He has graciously put our family together thru primary/secondary infertility, adoption and natural birth.
2. What was the hardest thing for you while you struggled with infertility?
I think for me the hardest thing was believing that God was trustworthy and that I could trust him with the outcome. I could pray “ah yes this is a light and momentary trouble” but my heart was breaking. My borders defining God needed to be blown wide open. What did it mean to follow him? My current view wasn’t holding up. I kept thinking that God wanted me to do that “one thing” and then I’d get pregnant. Not sure what that one thing was but I kept trying to guess.
I spent lots of time staring at what I thought was a road block with blinking lights, razor wire and a sign that said ”keep out”. I could see others beyond the gate with children but I couldn’t get there. A turn away from this road to another path was dark and unknown. I had no idea what it would mean or require. I DIDN’T WANT TO GO! The decision really became do I go alone or with God? Slowly and gently (as I am stubborn), God turned my heart towards Him and then the road He had for us.
3. You have had children now, but what would you say to women who maybe are never able to conceive? “I am so sorry” feels like the only one for me because no feeble attempt by me could make sense this side of heaven. God needs to handle that one. My sincere hope for them would be that they come to know and believe that God loves them and has not lost sight of them.
4. What advice would you give to those who are walking alongside women experiencing infertility? It is a privilege and holy ground to be let into a person’s life at any time but especially when it is a painful season. Being a safe place to share deep emotions and process is a gift to another. I think it’s a way God redeems our own experiences. Pray, trust God and show up. He’ll do the rest.
5. What did you learn about God and yourself during your season of infertility?
Ha! Well I would love to say I never doubted… that I have the gift of unshakeable faith but I don’t want to be struck by lightning! I tend to be a bit more of a rebel. What I learned was that God is gracious and merciful. When I began to seek Him, stumble after him and look for Him in the everyday, not just answering this big prayer, I discovered He was there and had been there all the time with small surprises of Himself, the love of friends, reminders of His grace and answered prayer in his time.
Additional Resources Cathy found helpful:
Disappointment With God by Phillip Yancey
If you liked this post, you might also like The Spiritual Discipline of Plan B.