My husband, Garrett, recently preached on Philippians 4:10-13. In his sermon he shared a personal testimony of a struggle that we have faced for just over two years now – infertility. We have shared this struggle with many of our friends and family and have been well cared for and have not been left alone in our suffering. We are so thankful for our church and how they have cared for us through this trial.
We wanted to “go public” with our infertility because while we have walked this path, we have found that infertility is rather a taboo subject, rarely talked about. Understandably this is a very private struggle that people face and they often choose to do it alone. While searching for resources we have come up shorthanded.
We both believe that we don’t want our time suffering with infertility to be wasted. We want to help others who are walking through infertility even if it is just a reminder to them that they are not alone. We want to share how the Lord is meeting us in our suffering, how he is changing our hearts, and making us more like him.
Below is the journal entry that I wrote almost a year ago that Garrett shared in his sermon. I want to share this because I want to point others toward Christ through their trials. When you read this I want you to see how the Lord is working amidst our suffering.
Today we found out that another round of treatment didn’t work. We went to the doctor hopeful, all to find out that again my body was not ready to carry a baby. What a mystery conception is. How straight forward everything seems but how complicated it is to try to get it to work. But the truth is, childbearing is painful. It’s hard. It’s emotionally exhausting. All of this is wrapped up in his promise to us that he gives the woman in Genesis 3:16—our pain will be multiplied. In pain we shall bring forth children. Forever I only read that as physical pain. It makes sense—childbearing and birth is one of the most physically grueling experiences a woman can go through and is physically painful. But oh how much pain is found when multiplied. How much sorrow when trying for a year and still no baby. How many tears come when “treatments” fail and your life revolves month to month being on a physical, emotional, and hormonal roller coaster. It is all pain. It is all painful. Though physically we are not in pain the sad reality of a barren womb makes physical pain pale in comparison to the pain and sorrow of a barren womb—or so I think. Pain might be physical, it might be emotional, but we are sure of this, pain is promised.
What hope I find in this. Funny I know, hope in pain. But I find hope not in the pain but in the promise. I can have hope when my ultrasound shows no baby. I can have hope when on day 28 my pregnancy test is negative. I can have hope when the only option is a specialist. I can have hope, in if the Lord wills, 5, 10, 20 years I don’t have biological children. I can have this hope only because God does not promise to leave me in my pain. Though pain is promised, so much more is hope promised. Before God promises Eve pain he promises an everlasting hope, Genesis 3:15 says, “I will put enmity between your offspring and her offspring; he shall bruise your head, and you shall bruise his heel.” This might sound like it is not full of hope oh, but it is. This is God saying that the final victory is his in Christ. But with this victory is promised pain. In the very next verse after this hope, pain is promised to the woman who will bear the victorious offspring. Where pain is promised, hope is promised all the more.
The bible is a story of promised pain and promised hope. Because of the fall we live in a broken, painful world. Our bodies don’t work right. My body doesn’t work right. “So we do not loose heart. Though our outer-self is wasting away, our inner-self is being renewed day by day.” (2 Cor 4:16) my body is wasting away, my outer-self will never be new again—but my inner self can be. Read on in vs 17-18 “For this light momentary affliction is preparing for us an eternal weight of glory beyond all comparison, as we look not to the things that are seen (a baby) but to the things that are unseen (joy in Christ, and contentment). For the things that are seen are transient, but the things that are unseen are eternal.”
My desire to have a child is not bad. God loves children. He loves me. He wants me to have children. But right now he wants me to have something else. He doesn’t want me to have the things that I see, he wants me to have eternal things, things I don’t see, things in my heart. My struggle with infertility is for my good. That is so hard for me to write. How is not having a baby a good thing? Who am I to say I know what gift I should receive? “And we know that for those who love God all things work together for good, for those who are called according to his purpose. For those whom he foreknew he also predestined to be conformed to the image of his son…” (Rom 8:28-29). What does “being conformed” entail? I think of a mold or a cookie cutter making specific shapes. Being molded into something that you are not is painful! I am not a perfect image of Jesus, but this struggle is a very specific struggle designed to conform me into the image of Christ. And with that comes pain. But this is a good pain.
Pain void of hope is frightening and leads to despair, but pain in promised hope is stretching, sanctifying, pruning, and purifying. My pain has hope. My trial will produce a fruitful outcome. The fruit might not be a physical baby but the fruit will be something of eternal worth and value. I would say I have come to the most difficult part of my journey—how to struggle and suffer well.
Talking about real life struggles and being vulnerable in front of the whole world is a risk. But it is a risk worth taking to encourage one person that is struggling. Thank you for supporting us through taking time to read our story.