Read an Excerpt
Moments for Couples Who Long for Children
By Ginger Garrett
NAVPRESSCopyright © 2003 Ginger Garrett
All right reserved.
The Lord himself goes before you and will be with you; he will never leave you nor forsake you. Do not be afraid; do not be discouraged. Deuteronomy 31:8
After we had been married for a bit, my husband and I decided to start our family. We bought a house and chose the room that would one day become the nursery. One morning, while alone in the house, I knelt to say a prayer of dedication in this room. We had felt so giddy with our plans and purchases that I felt we had almost left God out of the process. So there I knelt, saying a quick prayer of thanksgiving for the child that was sure to come, and asking God to bless my timeline.
God spoke to me very clearly and quite suddenly. I didn't hear an audible voice or see God in the room, but His words spoke unmistakably in my heart. "This is out of your control," they seemed to say.
The message both shocked and puzzled me. I had expected to be blessed, to have my plan stamped and approved-and God was telling me it was out of my control? I not only didn't understand the message, I didn't like it. But He revealed nothing more to me, and so my husband and I continued on our plan to start a family.
When we conceived just three months later, we felt overjoyed. Our lives seemed to be unfolding according to plan, and we had no fear of the future. If this is out of my control, I thought, it sure is turning out according to my plan! In my quiet time during the mornings, when I read my Bible and prayed, I felt repeatedly drawn to Deuteronomy 31:8. Yet this puzzled me-why should it have special meaning for me? After all, with my life unfolding so perfectly, what did I have to fear? And why would I be discouraged? I was getting everything I wanted, when I wanted it.
Days later I suffered a head-on car accident that totaled my car. As the ultrasound technician passed the sonogram wand over my belly, her face revealed the terrible truth. The baby was gone. At that moment I was initiated into a sorority I never wanted to join: the group of women who have lost children before their time. The weeks that followed brought more shocks-my body refused to heal after the loss and doctors discovered a birth defect in my reproductive system that meant I might never have another chance to conceive.
I clung to the verse from Deuteronomy. What a comfort that Jesus had known my future before I did and that He always stayed ahead of me, laying a foundation of comfort and encouragement. Yet at the same time He remained with me, holding my hand. One day I had been an expectant mother; the next, I became a barren woman. Jesus knew and had been preparing me to face the trial.
The same is true for you. There is no situation in your future that Jesus has not already seen. Even now He is preparing blessings of peace and comfort for each hour of trial you will face.
Lord, having a child is out of our control, yet You ask us to not be afraid nor discouraged-and this is so hard! We don't know what the future holds and we feel so helpless over the events yet to unfold. You've seen our future and You tell us we don't need to feel fear or discouragement. Please help make that a reality for us today! Give
Chapter TwoMoment Two
A Sisterhood of Infertility
Therefore, since we are surrounded by such a great cloud of witnesses, let us throw off everything that hinders and the sin that so easily entangles, and let us run with perseverance the race marked out for us. Hebrews 12:1
How many women in the Bible struggled with infertility?
* The mother of Samson, whose son performed amazing feats of strength and courage.
* Elizabeth, mother of John the Baptist, a prophet who prepared the people for Christ's arrival.
* Sarah, mother of Isaac, from whom the nation of Israel sprang.
* Rebekah, mother of Jacob and Esau.
* Hannah, mother of the godly prophet, Samuel.
* Rachel, mother of Joseph, who would save a nation from famine.
Each of these women, though barren for many years, changed history forever by waiting for God's answer. The Bible spotlights many stories of mothers who had no hope of conception-until God intervened. Although the Lord never reveals why they had to wait, it always amazes me to read about the child for whom they were waiting.
In the lives of these women, infertility amounted to an invitation for God to act. God used these women to accomplish great things. In fact, conception despite long infertility held such importance in God's eyes that He often sent an angel to make the birth announcement. A surprising number of the Bible's angelic proclamations announce the end of a woman's infertility and reveal a pending miracle in God's plan.
These women endured the agony of waiting and the heartache of feeling the dream of children slip through their fingers. Hannah grieved with such force that a priest who saw her praying mistakenly thought her drunk! Ultimately, God answered each of their prayers as a unique part of His plan for their lives and for the world.
God is not blind to barrenness. The Bible repeatedly proves that not only is He aware, but He is actively bringing about His plan for our lives-even when we lose all hope. When you feel the despair or hopelessness of fighting a battle that seems to have no end in sight, picture yourself surrounded by this "great cloud of witnesses." Picture them cheering you on as you handle your infertility with hope, faith, and love.
Thank you, Lord, that You surround us with stories of hope and faithful perseverance. Help me take comfort in knowing that You honored these women as they waited for Your answer. It gives me such hope to know that You chose barren women to give birth to such important
Chapter ThreeMoment Three
An Identity to Keep
Whoever finds his life will lose it, and whoever loses his life for my sake will find it. Matthew 10:39
I never thought of my identity as wrapped up in my ability to conceive a child-until the doctors told me I couldn't get pregnant. I remember going home that day and staring at my reflection in the mirror. In one afternoon the plans for the next half of my life derailed.
I stared at my image, at a loss for who I was to become and how I was going to fill my years. What now, I wondered, and more importantly, who will I become? If I won't become a mother, who will I be?
I tried to pray, but received no answers from heaven. My mind began to wander, and I tried to answer the questions myself.
First, I flirted with the idea of plastic surgery, a total overhaul. If my body wouldn't function right, it might as well look good. But as I began tallying all the procedures necessary to bring me even close to perfection, my inspiration quickly faded. Too much work to be done, and not enough money! Besides, the battle against infertility had sapped me of so much emotional energy that I wasn't sure I could even muster up the excitement to say goodbye to my thighs. More importantly, though, I had just gone through five months of diagnostic surgeries and procedures, and I didn't feel eager to spend any more time in a doctor's office.
Then I thought about quitting my career. I could devote myself to my garden, my animals, and volunteer work-but the idea of living alone all day in a house with an empty nursery seemed too depressing.
And so ideas from the mundane to the wildly irresponsible came and went throughout that afternoon and the following months. And still no clear answer came to my identity crisis. God didn't grant me a bold new vision of who I was to become. I could only allow time to pass and wait for God to reveal the next chapter in my story.
Romans 12:1 tells us to offer our bodies as sacrifices to God. The text lists no exclusions or limitations for this sacrifice, based on what our bodies can or cannot do. God asks each of us to present our bodies as an offering to Him. I wanted my body to perform so that I could fulfill my identity in becoming a mother. God wanted me to entrust my body, with all its flawed physical processes and weaknesses, to Him.
In addition, Matthew 10:39 instructs me to lose my life, or my idea of my life, for His sake. In return, God promised to reveal to me a true, unshakable identity.
God promises you, too, that if you will lay your body and your agenda at His feet as a daily, living sacrifice, He will make you vibrantly alive. And then your identity will be as certain, secure, and startlingly beautiful as you can imagine.
Lord, it's easy to grasp intellectually that we are more than our bodies; but when our bodies fail us, it profoundly affects us. It seems as if our bodies can dictate who we become. We want to trust in You, and yet we can't help but let our minds wander into the future and wonder who we will be. Help us to remember to present our bodies as sacrifices to You; we are not responsible for what they can or cannot do. Our only role is to lay them at Your feet and wait for You to give us new meaning.
Do not give dogs what is sacred; do not throw your pearls to pigs. If you do, they may trample them under their feet, and then turn and tear you to pieces. Matthew 7:6
Infertility draws upon all of your resources-especially discretion. Some people you can trust with the intimate details of your life; some you cannot. God wants to protect you, so He encourages you to carefully observe the behavior of friends before you trust them with your most private thoughts.
The Bible frankly refers to certain untrustworthy people as dogs, and others as pigs. There is a clear difference, I believe, between the two groups. That difference lies in their intention to hurt or help us when they break our confidence.
As a dog lover, I understand that while dogs are generally well-intentioned, they also are inherently unable to handle certain precious possessions. In this sense, a "dog" might be a well-meaning friend who cannot keep a secret. This can include even Christian friends who might share your private struggles in the guise of asking others to pray.
Pigs, on the other hand, act maliciously. Pigs befriend and listen to you, but at the right time, they turn and rip you to pieces. Do you know anyone who loves to lash out at others behind their backs and reveal their secrets? That person has a distinctive spiritual smell about them, unpleasantly reminiscent of the pigsty.
God will ultimately deal with both groups, judging them by their intentions as well as their actions. But regardless of that judgment, He warns us that nothing good can come from sharing precious things with either pigs or dogs.
Infertility is a lonely business, and often there are no easy answers. Our good judgment can get overruled at times by our need to receive comfort and companionship. It may feel more tempting to pour out our heart to a person present and in the flesh than to an invisible God. But God wants to protect us from unnecessary heartache as we wait for a child. Therefore, He instructs us to survey the people around us and wisely choose whom to trust with personal information.
Lord, it surprises us to hear You talk so frankly about people! But You're right-there are people I need to watch out for, especially when I am vulnerable and needy. Please keep my spiritual eyes open and help me to seek out and find the right people with whom I can share the intimate details of my life. Infertility can be lonely, and I may feel tempted to reveal too much simply because someone seems willing to listen. I will trust in You to deal with the pigs and dogs in my life as You see fit and in Your time. Until then, remind me when to keep my mouth shut. And please surround me with godly, trustworthy friends.
Excerpted from Moments for Couples Who Long for Children by Ginger Garrett Copyright © 2003 by Ginger Garrett
Excerpted by permission. All rights reserved. No part of this excerpt may be reproduced or reprinted without permission in writing from the publisher.
Excerpts are provided by Dial-A-Book Inc. solely for the personal use of visitors to this web site.