I began this blog when I was 23 years old and my husband, Jesse was only 21. That was in December of 2007 when we decided that we wanted to bring a baby into our family. We had no idea all that decision entailed. Back then I had a false assumption that I was super-fertile and would get pregnant even while on birth control. Well, I was off of birth control for over a year, went through all of the fertility testing, and then was diagnosed with "unexplained infertility".

This past year has been one of the most difficult I have ever been through. I ran the emotional gauntlet on this issue, ranging from intense sadness and heartache to anger towards God to total peace about what He is doing. God began to show me how He was using my infertility as a ministry. It is my hope to share my testimony with others so that they may either be encouraged as they face their own infertility or educated as they learn what infertility entails. More than that, though, I hope that the things I share point others to God regardless of what they are going through.

When I first began this blog, the entries were kept private. But I have decided to open everything up in order to let people see the raw truth of the struggle. I strive to find the fine line between sharing the truth and sharing too much information. However, it is my desire to share my heart, regardless. And I have learned that there is never "too much information" in the world of infertility.

After being diagnosed with unexplained infertility on November 17, 2008, I was put on a round of 50mg of Clomid to strengthen the quality and quantity of my eggs. I suppose it was how God chose to work because I became pregnant that very cycle.

In order to be sensitive to those who are still going through infertility, I have opened up a new blog about my pregnancy. I am maintaining this one, though, hoping that it serves as a testimony to anyone who may be going through infertility at the time they come across my site. If you want to follow my life's journey, check out my other blogs. And if you would like, please don't hesitate to email me:

Monday, September 29, 2008

Monday, Biblical Lessons

My biggest struggle in my journey through infertility has been understanding what God is doing up there. It’s the never-ending question of “Why?” I knew that if Jesse and I were doing everything on our end to get pregnant and that God was the One who knits the baby together in its mother’s womb, then it was because of God that we weren’t conceiving. And, yet, I knew that God’s sovereignty meant that He had a bigger purpose in not bringing us a child. But I couldn’t comprehend what that reason may be. So, my sadness and frustration over simply not being pregnant occasionally turned into an anger towards God, blaming him for my lack of conception. It was, after all, His fault, right?

I heard all of the reasons from people around me as to why God may not be allowing me to get pregnant yet. Perhaps Jesse and I weren’t ready yet. But in my mind, how could we be considered “not ready” when we were happily married, financially secure, and owned our own house consisting of 2 bedrooms, but that couple over there who wasn’t even married, or was broke, or lived in a small studio apartment was ready? Maybe we weren’t spiritually ready. But then what about those millions of couples who don’t even believe in God, and they conceive… they’re spiritually ready? So, maybe it just wasn’t God’s timing, right? But no answer would suffice as to why it wasn’t His timing. The closest answer to give me any consolation was that it may not have anything to do at all with myself or Jesse, but maybe it was something in our child’s life that required them to be born at a certain time. I thought of how it took my mom 4 years to get pregnant with me. Had I been born any earlier, I probably would’ve never married Jesse. I’m already 2 years older than he is, so any bigger age gap would’ve probably lended itself to being too much. But as much as that answer made sense, it wasn’t a strong enough response to mend the hurt. I yearned so deeply to have a child- to feel a life growing inside of me- to experience the love between Jesse and I manifested into a tangible, tiny little baby- to look at this kid and see my husband’s eyes or smile in his/her’s. And, so, in my own reasoning, I was left thinking that God was withholding the greatest gift of all from us.

In August, I decided that I wanted to dig deeper into what the Bible says about infertility. So, I simply typed that subject into Google and came across a series of support websites for Christians dealing with infertility. From there, I found examples of stories from the Bible, telling the tales of women throughout history who had experienced the same tears I had. So, I took the examples listed and opened my Bible to read more in depth to each account. Here’s what I found:

Sarai was the wife of Abram. When she was 90 and he was 99 years old, they still had not had a child yet. She was actually way too old- I’m assuming, having gone through menopause already. When God promised Abram that he would bear a son, he couldn’t fathom it. In fact, Abram laughed at the idea! Some time later, God appeared to Abram (now Abraham) again. He said that when he returned in a year, Sarai (now Sarah) would have a son. Sarah overheard this and laughed to herself. The next year, though, Sarah gave birth to Isaac.

Isaac grew up and married Rebekah when he was 40 years old. Genesis 25:21 says, “Isaac prayed to the LORD on behalf of his wife, because she was barren. The LORD answered his prayer, and his wife Rebekah became pregnant.” Rebekah became pregnant with twins, and you skip down to verse 26, which says, “Isaac was sixty years old when Rebekah gave birth to them.” That means this answer to prayer was roughly 20 years in the making.

Those two boys, the twins, were Jacob and Esau. Jacob grew up and fell in love with Rachel. So he went to her father and agreed to work for 7 years for her hand in marriage. The scripture says that those 7 years felt like but a few days to Jacob because he loved her so much. On their wedding night, however, Rachel’s father tricked Jacob into sleeping with Rachel’s older sister, Leah, instead. So, Jacob was forced into marrying Leah and manipulated into working another 7 years for Rachel. Genesis 29:31 says, “When the LORD saw that Leah was not loved, he opened her womb, but Rachel was barren.” Lead had a son and said, “Surely my husband will love me now.” She conceived again and gave birth to another son and said, “Because the Lord heard that I am not loved, he gave me this one too.” She then had a third son and said, “No at last my husband will become attached to me because I have given him 3 sons.” Then she had a 4th son and said, “This time I will praise the Lord,” and it says in verse 35, “Then she stopped having children. The story goes on, though. Rachel became jealous that she was not having any children, so she gave her maidservant over to Jacob so that she could bear children. She ended up having 2 sons with him. Then Leah realized she had stopped having children, so she gave her maidservant to Jacob to sleep with who also bore 2 more sons. Then one night Rachel and Leah make a deal allowing Leah to sleep with Jacob that night, causing Leah to get pregnant and give birth to her 5th son, and shortly later she conceived again and gave birth to a 6th son. Again she got pregnant and had a daughter this time. And, finally, in Genesis 30:22 it says, “Then God remembered Rachel; he listened to her and opened her womb. 23 She became pregnant and gave birth to a son.” Rachel had to witness her husband bear 11 other children with other women while she remained childless. She was able to go on and have 1 more son later, but died in childbirth.

From there, the next story is found in Judges 13. A man named Zorah had a wife (whose name was never told). She was sterile and remained childless. An angel appeared to her, though, and said that she was going to conceive and have a son who would be set apart for God. When she told her husband, he too wanted to meet this angel and ask him how to raise the boy. God answered this request and the angel appeared to Zorah as well, leaving him instructions about raising this child for God. The last verse says, “The woman gave birth to a boy and named him Samson. He grew and the LORD blessed him.”

Some time later in the Old Testament, the Bible recounts the story of Hannah, probably the most famous story told to infertile women. Hannah was married to a man, Elkanah, who also had another wife, Peninnah. Peninnah had children but Hannah did not. And 1 Samuel 1 describes it as saying “the Lord had closed her womb. So her barrenness was, without doubt, an act of God. Peninnah was a cruel woman, though, and would tease Hannah for being barren. One night, while visiting the temple, Hannah wept and prayed to God. When the priest saw this, he told her to go in peace, and may God grant her what she has asked of Him. Verse 19-20 says, “Early the next morning they arose and worshiped before the LORD and then went back to their home at Ramah. Elkanah lay with Hannah his wife, and the LORD remembered her. So in the course of time Hannah conceived and gave birth to a son. She named him Samuel, saying, "Because I asked the LORD for him.”

And, the final story is found in Luke 1. A priest named Zechariah and his wife, Elizabeth, were both upright in the sight of God, observing all of God’s commands blamelessly, but they had no children because Elizabeth was barren and they were both very old. One night, an angel appeared to Zechariah and told him that Elizabeth would give birth to a son. Because of his unbelief, the angel took Zechariah’s voice away until Elizabeth gave birth to John the Baptist and he was circumcised.

Each of these stories revealed a little bit to me about what kinds of things God may have been doing in the Heavenly realm- His thought processes behind each case of infertility. In the first and last cases of Sarah and Elizabeth, both women were too old to physically conceive, and aside from the implications each of their sons had in all of history, I believe that God simply wanted to show His power in their impossible situations. As for me, I figure if God can bring forth a child in a woman who is old and whose reproductive organs no longer even work, then He can bring for a child in me when I am at the prime of my reproductive years.

In the cases of Rebekah and of Hannah, I believe that it was the result of others’ prayers that brought about God’s answer. Remember the story of the walls of Jericho brought down by Joshua’s army. His army was instructed by God to walk around the city walls each day 1 time. They did this for 6 days. Then, on the 7th day, God said to walk around the city 7 times, and on the 7th time, to blow their trumpets and make noise. Without doing anything else, the walls fell down after the 7th time. You see, though, God didn’t need the army to do this in order to make the walls fall down. In fact, their marching and noise didn’t physically do anything to the walls. However, God chose to work in this way to bring about His miracle. Likewise, it’s not that God needs our prayers, whether mine or someone else’s on my behalf, to bring about a baby. However, this may be how He chooses to work.

I just hope it doesn’t take me 20-60 years to receive my answer… J

In the story of Samson’s mother and father, I believe that God simply was bringing Samson into a time in history where He wanted to use him. Which could go back to the reason I gave before about my child’s birth being more about their timing than mine.

And, finally, in the story of Rachel and Leah, I believe it is clear that Leah’s children were given to her in compensation for her loveless marriage, while Rachel remained childless, but had the utmost love and devotion from her husband. As I said before, Rachel had to witness the births of 11 other children while she remained childless. I understand what it feels like to watch so many women around me give birth while I don’t, but I am comforted a bit to know that at least these other women aren’t having children with my husband! Furthermore, I have watched many other people around me get pregnant and wondered why when their marriages seemed to be in shambles or they weren’t even married in the first place, while I am more than happily married to my husband. Yet, this story showed me that perhaps some people are given children by God to compensate for something else in their lives that is missing. And because I have a fantastic marriage, then I may not need a child like they do right now.

In all of these stories, God does answer their prayers and each woman is given a child. There is no story described in the Bible in which a couple remains childless. However, I have to remember that just because it happened in these ways in these stories does not mean that God always responds that way, and perhaps He may have a different reason or be doing something different in me. In short, though, I still find comfort in having a glimpse into what God could be doing in my situation.

Furthermore, in another book I was reading, the author stated that trusting in God for a specific outcome to a situation really isn’t trust at all. It’s really hoping or wishing. Instead, to trust God means to trust that He is sovereign and good in every situation, including my present one. He is good in my infertility and He is good if I remain infertile or if I don’t. It’s not easy to lay aside my wishes and expectations, but I believe this above idea is true. Therefore, when I find myself upset with where I am or wanting to get to a certain place, I must remind myself of this again.

In the end, I feel that I have come to a much better place in reconciling my faith with my situation. It doesn’t mean that my heart doesn’t ache at times and that I don’t get caught up in my own emotional confusion. But after 10 months of infertility, I finally have a peace in knowing that God IS doing something, even if I’m not sure what it is…

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