When we first began to seriously suspect that we might have fertility issues, I was working at a pregnancy clinic. Every day, I would see women come through our doors who were facing unplanned pregnancies. Here we were, meeting at a place in life that neither of us wanted to be, wishing that for a season (say about 9 months), we could trade afflictions – that I could carry her pregnancy and she could have my infertility. What I saw as a blessing, they saw as a curse.
It was hard to see these women getting what I wanted when they didn’t want it at all. It was even more difficult to see 40% of them throw away what I longed for. I knew God had me working there for a reason and I loved my work. I loved helping women throughout pregnancy and as they entered Motherhood. It was such a joy and privilege. Yet, with every woman I helped, I longed for a baby of my own. While I was generally at peace with God building our family in His perfect time, there were days when I, in my flesh, would get angry with Him. How could He allow them to get pregnant when they wouldn’t appreciate it or were facing parenthood alone with fear and trembling? How come He wasn’t allowing me get pregnant, when He knew I would cherish a baby? Again and again, He reminded me that His plans were better than mine, but I didn’t always believe Him.
One day, in the midst of our first adoption (which fell through) and while still working at the pregnancy clinic, I was reading a book called “Hannah’s Hope: Seeking God’s Heart in the Midst of Infertility, Miscarriage, and Adoption Loss” by Jennifer Saake. There was a section entitled “When God’s Plans Don’t Seem to Make Sense.” It was as if the author was speaking directly to me:
If God doesn’t condone sexual relations outside of marriage, why does He often create new life from these unions? When a godly family is eagerly waiting for a baby, why does He sometimes withhold? In our it’s-all-about-me society, it can be easy to lose sight of the fact that God’s choice to place a baby in a womb may have as much to do with His plans for that child as for the mother herself.
God perfectly orchestrates the necessary timing for each new life to fulfill the plans He ordains. Had God given Hannah (from the Bible) a child when she first desired motherhood, would she have dedicated Samuel to His service? This child was called to an office of great leadership for the good of an entire nation, but in order to prepare both Hannah’s heart and the circumstances that would lead Samuel to anoint kings, heartache had to come first.
A friend once described her emotions when her unmarried, drug-addicted sister announced her third unwise pregnancy. In the midst of her grief, I was encouraged to hear victory through Christ. She focused on the way our amazing God can use the same circumstances differently in two lives, depending on the lessons He is striving to teach each. While childlessness is a trial for infertile couples and we consider parenthood a great blessing, for others pregnancy might indeed be the trial that God uses to change their hearts.
Two Bible stories come to mind here. An angel said to unloved Hagar, “You are now with child . . . for the Lord has heard of your misery” (Genesis 16:11). And of Jacob’s wife, the Scriptures say, “When the Lord saw that Leah was not loved, he opened her womb” (29:31). While it can be anguish for us to watch, I think sometimes God allows those “unloved” women in our lives the gift/trial of pregnancy to demonstrate His love to them . . .
“For my thoughts are not your thoughts, neither are your ways my ways,” declares the Lord. “As the heavens are higher than the earth, so are my ways higher than your ways and my thoughts than your thoughts.” ~ Isaiah 55:8-9
At the time, this was so convicting and comforting! It was a reminder that God’s plans were better than mine. It still hurt at times, but it helped so much to know that God was using my infertility and their unplanned pregnancies to teach us the lessons He had for us and to bring about His perfect will!
Looking back now, I thank God for our infertility. If we had been incredibly fertile, we wouldn’t have adopted when we did. I am confidant we would have adopted at some point, but at that point in our lives, we likely would have had one or two little ones under foot and an expensive adoption would not be at the forefront of our minds. I am thankful we faced infertility, because it brought us our beautiful daughter and her amazing birth family. God was writing a story that only He could write and I am so glad His plans prevail!
Disclaimer: I know facing an unplanned pregnancy is incredibly, incredibly difficult! I do not intend for this to be a political post, but rather just a real look at what facing infertility looks like.