During a sermon at church a few months ago, my pastor told the audience that he had met someone during the week who is really close to “giving up on God”. When he asked her why, she said, “infertility.” She then went on to say that she questions why God would allow infertility in her life.
When he said the word “Infertility”, I felt a chill of sorts run through me. I stiffened up a bit, and wondered if any eyes were looking at me. The more I listened to him, the more I was reminded that not only is infertility an emotional and physical battle, it is also a spiritual battle.
What is it about that word that makes me still feel so uncomfortable? I suspect that it feels like a label of sorts. My efforts in earlier life to understand what all barrenness encompasses was dreadfully challenging. People who have been diagnosed as infertile understand that it is more than just a diagnosis. It is an uninvited guest in their lives. It is consuming, and holds power. It sweeps the rug from under their feet. It becomes their new normal. And, it is painful; woefully painful.
I recall feeling that God must surely have thought I would make a horrible mother. I also remember questioning, with sorrowful confusion, about why I was left out of the incredible gift of pregnancy and birthing a child. I used to think, “I only have one life here on Earth, and I am missing out on one of the most beautiful endeavors that a woman experiences. Why would God allow this?”
Growing up in the midst of barrenness taught me so many lessons about life. It also tried to form a wedge (and succeeded for a while) between me and the loving Father that I had come to store my faith in as a child. I truly feel infertility is one of the most misunderstood, all-consuming, complex, and spiritually challenging experiences that one faces in life.
As I sit here on the other side of life without kids, I now know that barrenness is just a technical part of who I am. It is just a blip on the radar of what my life really is.
Medically speaking, I am barren, but spiritually speaking, I am now far from it.
The adoption of my children and the path that led me to them drew me closer to the Lord, not away from Him. It took many years to get me here, though.
If you know someone who is experiencing infertility, pray for them.
- Pray for clarity in their situation.
- Pray for fortitude as they face so many unknowns.
- Pray for them to see, feel, and hear God in the midst of their distress.
- Pray for their sweet spirits; may they not be dampened by their despair.
- Pray for a miracle – I still believe in them.
If you are experiencing infertility, my hope and prayer is that one day it will all make sense, and that you will look upon it like a distant memory of your life. I do not know if adoption is the right choice you should make, but I do know that is it your choice and your right to decide if and when you are going to jump into adoption.
Adoption of my children definitely fulfilled my life-long quest for an answer and happy ending to barrenness. I no longer grieve. Instead, I find delight in the story that was written for me, and for the incredible, emotional journey that carried me to my children, and to a deeper understanding of our Savior.
Friends, I wish the same for you.
So do not fear, for I am with you;
do not be dismayed, for I am your God.
I will strengthen you and help you;
I will uphold you with my righteous right hand.