But I'm not writing this post to tell you how painful infertility can be. You already know that. Instead, I want to share some ways to cope and ways God used this suffering in my life to shape and mold me into the woman He wants me to be.
Find someone to talk to.
As you see babies, babies, and more babies around you, it's hard to imagine anyone can even relate to what you're going through. Yes, your spouse can. And you should talk with him about it. But I found many times my husband needed a break from all the "why can't we have a baby" talk. Plus, I think another woman better understands how your identity as a woman can feel so tied to the ability to bear children.
But before you seek someone out, I would strongly encourage you to first ask God who it should be. Ask Him to show you someone who is sensitive enough to really listen and mature enough in their faith to help you see Him through your pain and slowly move beyond it.
Eventually, I found some mature Christian friends whom I could talk to amidst my struggle—some of whom had experienced similar things and others who had several children. Something that was extremely helpful was a Bible study/support group I formed with another woman from my church. Getting together with other women in similar situations, sharing our struggles, and studying God's Word with the purpose of spiritual growth was a tremendous time of healing.
Don't neglect time in God's Word.
As you long for a child, it's easy to start to blame God. He's the Creator of life, after all, so why doesn't He create a life within me?
Even if you feel this way, don't stop spending time with Him through reading His Word and prayer. Tell Him how you're feeling. He can take it, and best of all, He understands. Search the Bible for words of comfort (the Psalms is the place where I often went), for wisdom, for understanding, for faith to trust Him.
Different women need to learn different things through their infertility journey. Maybe it's understanding the character of God—that He never changes, that He's good no matter what. Maybe, like me, you need to understand that God's gift of children is not about whether you deserve it or not. That God gives different blessings to different people, and that I wasn't able to enjoy the blessings He had given me because I was too consumed with looking at the blessing of children in other people's lives and thinking, Now why didn't He give me that?
I think Jesus outlines that principle for us in the parable of the workers in Matthew 20:1–16. God does with His favor what He pleases. It's not about who we think deserves it or what we think is fair. As my pastor has said, "The distribution of God's favor depends completely on His sovereign grace and does not conform to human expectations or norms."
Get your focus off yourself.
One pitfall of infertility (and any form of suffering for that matter) that I fell into was focusing on myself and my own pain. All I could think about was my struggle, my hurt, my problem. But God led me out of that narrow viewpoint to remind me every single person here on earth has some sort of pain or suffering they've gone through, are going through, or will go through in the future. In fact, my infertility now seems like a small thing compared to the illnesses, injuries, emotional pain, etc., that others I know have experienced.
By taking my focus off myself, I was also able to see the ways God had blessed me and to be grateful to Him. Eventually, I was also able to "give thanks in all circumstances" (1 Thess. 5:18), even the circumstance of infertility. I wasn't necessarily thankful for my infertility, but I was thankful God was walking beside me through all the ups and downs and for how He changed me in the process. And as I've shared my story with others, I've been thankful for some strengthened family relationships and opportunities to encourage other women who are going through the same struggles.
Surrender your desires to God.
Probably the most important thing you can do in the midst of infertility is to surrender your hopes, your desires, and your future to God. That's easier said than done, I know. I clenched my fingers around wanting to have a child for a very long time. Then one day, I heard a sermon that I knew God meant just for me (at least it seemed that way). The pastor examined the story of Abraham in Genesis 22, when God asked him to sacrifice that long-awaited gift of a son. As the pastor delved into the Scripture, he challenged the congregation to examine our own hearts and identify "our Isaac." What was it that we loved more than anything else? Were we willing to put that on the altar and say, "God, if you want it, you can have it?"
I left that morning in tears, knowing my desire for children was number one in my life—not my relationship with God. I knew that surrendering this desire didn't mean God would automatically cause me to get pregnant (which He didn't) or that the struggle would completely go away (it didn't either). But what I did find was peace—the peace of knowing God was in control of my life no matter what He did or did not bless me with. In fact, I was able to echo the words of David in Psalm 16: "LORD, you have assigned me my portion and my cup; you have made my lot secure. The boundary lines have fallen for me in pleasant places; surely I have a delightful inheritance (vv. 5–6).
Maybe my cup wasn't filled with what I wanted or the boundary lines hadn't fallen exactly as I planned, but they were assigned to me by the Creator of the universe, the most powerful God, the One who loves me and gave His life for me.
Maybe you're struggling with this issue today or maybe you're not. No matter what you're going through, ask yourself: What's your Isaac? What is God asking you to surrender to Him today?
Topics: Relationship with God