Rejoicing Barren

The following is a guest post from Emily, one of my readers, and I pray it touches your heart like it has mine.

When I first began to suspect that we might not be able to conceive, I was heartbroken. As each month passed with no success, I struggled daily to trust God with our situation. I knew in my head that the Lord’s plans are always best, but I didn’t know how to accept the fact that my biggest dream might never come true. Every day, I begged the Lord to allow me to get pregnant, and every month I hoped that this would be the month. And every month when I found out that I wasn’t pregnant – again – I was absolutely devastated.

I watched as so many of my friends started their families. I hurt as people callously asked why I wasn’t pregnant yet, and I worried that others might assume that I was too selfish or preoccupied with other things to care about having children. I couldn’t talk about it without crying, so I didn’t even tell my family about our struggles for almost a year. When I finally did tell them, they were sweet and supportive. They told me that they were sure that I would get pregnant in God’s time. So I kept waiting. And I kept expecting that this month it would finally happen. But it never did. And I kept praying that God would change my heart in some way, to help me somehow be okay with it all. But I still cried, and hurt, and waited only for my circumstances to change.

After a year and a half of trying, our suspicions were confirmed by a doctor. Aside from drastic medical procedures, or a miracle, we will not be able to have biological children. I thought it couldn’t get any harder, but it did. For about 3 months after that, I waited, and hurt, and struggled on a deeper level than before. And finally, God changed everything for me – not by finally allowing me to get pregnant, but my changing my thinking. It started on Sunday morning while I was sitting in the service, thinking about how I might be pregnant this time, and worrying that I might find out – again – that I wasn’t. My pastor was preaching about contentment. And I was harboring a nasty little attitude – thinking “That doesn’t apply to me because of my circumstances. How could God expect me to be happy and content while he withholds from me the one thing that I want? How am I supposed to just overlook that?” Then my pastor asked us to turn to Galatians, and I happened to look across the page and read the following:

“Rejoice, O childless woman,
you who have never given birth!
Break into a joyful shout,
you who have never been in labor!”

Wow. What could I say to that? Somehow God did still expect me not only to be content, but also to rejoice! And it wasn’t optional. It was a command. And not just a command in this passage, but all throughout the Bible. God repeatedly commands his people to rejoice: Phil 4:4-8, Ps 97, and Joel 2:21 (just to name a few). So I came away wondering how I could daily obey the command to rejoice. And then that afternoon I found out again that I wasn’t pregnant. And so all the pain and frustration and questioning came back. That night as I lay sobbing in bed beside my husband, he sweetly and sternly told me just what I needed to hear – and the Lord used my husband’s words right then to break through the pain and lies in my head, and to show me the truth and give me the freedom to rejoice. He told me that he believed the reason that I was struggling so much is that, while I was saying that I wanted God’s will and that God’s will is best, I was secretly refusing to believe that not getting pregnant could possibly be God’s best for me, and make me the happiest. I persisted in assuming that someday God, because he is good, would have to give me a child, instead of trusting Him with the decision about what was the best thing for me. My husband challenged me to stop expecting to get pregnant: to just give it up. To start planning my life around what it would seem (from our current, human perspective) is God’s plan for us: no pregnancy. No biological children. What then? Something better! Maybe adoption. Maybe a lifetime of ministry to and enjoyment of the family and friends that God has already blessed me with. Maybe something else that I’ve never even imagined. It’s God’s decision, not mine. And could I really decide better than the infinitely wise, loving, and powerful God? Of course not! So that settles it. I will leave the future in God’s hands, and embrace my present role – barren, and rejoicing.

We are currently pursuing natural methods to increase fertility. We are also planning on beginning the adoption process soon. Because of God’s grace at work in me, I am joyfully embracing God’s plan for my life as he unfolds it day by day.

I don’t know if God will give us children, biological or adoptive. He hasn’t promised me that. But look at what he has promised me: a perfect plan for my life. I have a relationship with the Creator and Redeemer of the universe. I have his grace, love, joy, peace, and comfort every day. I can be confident of God’s perfect plan and provision. I have a place of service to him that he created me for, and an eternal home in heaven. And look at what he’s already given me: a loving and godly husband, a place in my church family, parents and siblings that love and support me, a warm home, good food, a couple of fabulous cats, and the joys of working and playing and seeing beauty and hearing truth every day. These outweigh the other things by far. When I compare a childhood dream, false expectation, or a lie, to all of God’s real promises – His truth – I see that perhaps being barren and rejoicing is not really a paradox after all. It’s God’s perfect plan for me.

Thank you Emily for sharing what God placed in your heart.

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About Donielle

Donielle is an amateur herbalist and natural momma to two littles (with another babe in heaven) after dealing with being less than fertile. She has a passion for nourishing nutrition, natural living, and spreading the word on how food truly affects our health.

Comments

  1. Thank you so so much for posting this! We’re almost one year into trying to conceive, and I still haven’t lost hope yet, but I’m still trying to reconcile myself to the fact that there just might be some reason that God doesn’t want me to bare my own biological children. Easy? No…but I still want to GOD’s will to be MY will.

  2. Beautiful. I can relate to you SO WELL. I haven’t had any confirmation from a doctor yet, so I still harbour hope that I will someday get pregnant without drastic medical procedures, but otherwise I am right along with you on this journey. Thanks for the courage to share.

  3. Such a precious, beautiful post, sweet friend. You’ve encouraged my heart today. God is growing your faith and it’s incredible to see.

    ((hugs))

  4. What a great post! It’s a good reminder for all of us to be content, no matter our circumstances, and to accept what God has given us with gratitude.

  5. Thank you for this Donielle! We have been trying to conceive again for 5 years and it just isn’t happening. Many times I have thought that I would be eternally sad if I couldn’t have another child…but that I should be grateful for the one I do have. And then I go back to feeling depressed because we aren’t able to conceive.

    Like you, I am pretty certain I’ve been dealing with PCOS, although I’ve never been diagnosed with it. But I have had low thyroid and breast cysts, and sometimes I get that tell-tale pain in the middle of my cycle on occasion. So I’m pretty sure is indicative of ovarian cysts. I’ve tried everything natural possible to make these problems go away, and to no avail. I eat a very healthy diet and take cod liver oil, iodine, and eat plenty of healthy fats. My health is pretty good, but there’s still those cysts which tell me I’m still off-balance in some way. I know it can take time but I’ve been at this now for over 3 years, so it’s frustrating.

    Now I’m just trying to focus on getting healthy, and not worrying about conceiving. I can’t worry about both things or I’ll drive myself crazy. Plus, I just have this feeling that for some reason it is not in God’s plan for us to have another child. I may not understand the reason, but it is to be no matter whether I understand or not. I am trying to focus on all the good in our lives, and all our blessings, because we have so much. But from time to time I get sad and feel regret about not having been able to have another child by now. I just need these continual reminders that show me I am doing what I am supposed to be doing because it is God’s plan for me.

    Thanks again Donielle! :)

    Michelle Reply:

    @Raine Saunders, We will have been TTC our second child for 2 years the beginning of May. It is hard to come to terms with not having another one, as well. We did get pregnant in November, to later miscarry over Christmas. Since then, I have come to so much peace with having my only child. As my cycle comes to another end, I still secretly hope I’m pregnant. Yet, oddly, I’m okay if I’m not too. It feels so good to be losing weight, eating healthier every day, and knowing I am taking care of myself and my daughter (the precious gift God did give us). Hang in there. It is hard. These words are very touching.

  6. Thank you so very much for posting this. I’ve been trying very recently to accept some of the truths that your husband spoke to you. It is hard to accept that such a good, godly thing may not actually be part of God’s plan for us. Thank you for reminding me that I have not only been commanded to rejoice, but that I have every reason to.

  7. Thanks for posting this. It’s been 4 years of hoping and waiting for us, of bouncing between confidence that it will happen, (that we need to believe that God can and will) and trying to imagine a life where it never does (without somehow feeling as if we have failed our life’s purpose, or that we just didn’t pray hard enough). Thank you for the reminder that God has given us reason to rejoice in our lives as they are, with all of it’s mix of joy and pain, hopes dashed and dreams come true.

  8. Emily, your story touches my heart in a way I didn’t expect when I began to read it. Personally, I haven’t strugged getting pregnant, just staying that way. We have lost 2 and am currently 11 weeks pg with #3 which is the farthest I have ever been in a pregnancy. Your testimony made me reflect on how I would react if God were to take this third baby from me, especially having made it this far. I reeeeeeaaaaallllyy hope I don’t have to go through that valley, it puts dread in my heart just thinking about it, but your story made me realize God does things with a reason and He expects me to be joyful. Thank you! With your permission I would like to translate your testimony so I can share it with a friend of mine who is suffering right now.

    Brooke Reply:

    @Deanna, Your story touched my heart. I have a daughter named Cameron, and she is such a blessing. I want to pray for you for the next 40 days, and encourage you. Dear Dad, I pray that you would protect this lil one. Keep this baby safe in the womb. Help he/she to grow stronger each day. Fashion them with your hands. Create a life that will one day surrender to your love. Keep Deanna strong. Give her courage and wise doctors to take care of her. Let them be your hands. Wrap your comfort around her entire family and fill them will peace. Bless them and this baby. I ask in Jesus’ name. Amen

    Emily Reply:

    @Deanna, Of course you can translate it. I pray that my story will be a blessing to your friend! Thank you also for sharing your story – I will be keeping you in prayer as well. God is so good!

  9. I have been reading this blog for awhile and have never commmented. So here goes….=)
    My husband and I have been married for 10 years and I am 31 years old. We stopped birth control after 6 months. We tried for 2 and 1/2 years before we were able to get tested and they said we had more of a chance of winning the lottery then getting pregnant. Reading your post Emily has brought back so many emotions of that time! Especially when all of my friends were getting pregnant and we weren’t. I remember one month(before we “officially knew”) in particular where I was just in tears(rare for me) and asking God WHY, WHY US. We were the ones that wanted kids before any of my friends did and we can’t! I will never forget HIS VOICE when HE said “I have a better plan”. I still get chills when I think of that. I have never had an experience like that before. After we found out that we couldn’t , we started to save money for adoption but were sad/discouraged/arguing with God again at how much it cost and how long it would take to save up the money. To make a long story short. two years later we were able to adopt our daughter through a private adoption(we only found out four weeks before she was born and had to scramble to get a homestudy done, but God provided the financial and the emotional support!). We were able to adopt two more daughters three years after that through foster care. And 9 months after that we were able to adopt our son through foster care. We were able to adopt 4 kids in 4 years(our first daughter and our son share the same adoption day four years apart)!!!! 5 years ago we had no idea our life would look like it does now it wasn’t how we “planned” it. but God’s hand was in it all but it sometimes is hard to see it in the journey. (The funny thing now is I have more kids then all of my friends that were having them and we couldn’t)(I’m a firm believer that God has a great sense of humor!)

    Emily, I’m very impressed on how you are able to be thankful for the positive things that God has given and that you know His plan is perfect! It took me along time to come to that point. I pray that you will be blessed with little ones if that is His plan!

    donielle Reply:

    @Becky, Becky, thanks so much for coming out of “Lurker Land” and sharing your story! What amazing things God has done in your life! {and yes – I think he has quite the sense of humor too!}

  10. Thanks so much for sharing your story! It’s been such a blessing to me to hear all the wonderful stories of how God has worked in others who have gone through similar situations.

  11. Emily,

    Thank you for sharing this. I know how hard it can be to talk about this issue! I can relate to it in so many ways… all the months of hoping, wondering, only to have the hopes dashed. My husband and I have been married for two years this May and I have been pregnant 5 times, only to lose the baby, usually just a matter of days after discovering we’re pregnant. The longest I ever stayed pregnant was 9 weeks — some of the happiest weeks of my life. As time goes on, and my cycles continue to not improve in spite of a fantastic diet, supplements, and HRT, I wonder more and more often if God is saying, “Not now,” or if he’s saying, “Not at all.” I know that whichever it is, we’ll be okay. God’s plans are bigger and better than ours, and we are incredibly happy with each other, but my heart aches for a child like I didn’t know it could ache. All my friends and siblings are having their first, second, and third babies now and with each new announcement (seems like there’s a new one daily) I just have to pray to God for contentment, and continued trust.

    Thanks again for sharing, and helping all of us who struggle with this to maintain a Christian attitude through the struggle.

  12. This made me teary-eyed. As a woman who has had remarkable luck getting pregnant, I can’t imagine going through what you have been through. This mantra can apply to anyone though, not just the barren woman. We should rejoice in everything even if at the time we don’t understand why God would “do this to us.” I know, easier said than done, right!?

  13. Thank you for sharing this. I am blessed with one son. I have PCOS and am greatly struggling with my infertility. My husband and I have been TTC for 4 years since his birth. I have felt like I am being punished, like I’m broken because I have not been able to concieve again. I have been angry with God because I have not had more children. I always wanted a large family. I have alot to think about now……Thank You for your words.

  14. There is a doctor in Mexico who has had great results with infertility, among many other “incurable” problems. I know Mexico sounds quite drastic but hundreds of Americans have gone and found help. Just the environment alone is healing. It is actually quite simple. This doctor is in Tijuana and there is a Best Western across the border that shuttles you across the border and back. I have been there numerous times and have heard and seen incredibly inspiring stories. I, myself had a hard time getting pregnant with my second child. I had been to this doctor before with family but never for infertility reasons. However, after a year of trying I made plans to go down. Right before that I found out I was pregnant, with the help of fertility drugs. However, if ever faced with that again you can be sure I would face hell and highwater to get down there. He does speak English and is a wonderful man. I would be happy to share his information to whoever is interested. Carla

  15. Emily,

    A friend referred me to your posting and I was greatly encouraged to read how God has shown you contentment through your circumstances of infertility. My husband and I are in the midst of adopting domestically after being diagnosed that we probably wouldn’t have kids without lots of medical help.

    We are learning that despite the broken world that we live in, God uses broken people to have opportunities to share the hope of Christ (like you did in this blog!). Thanks for sharing your heart. And I’ll be praying God will strengthen you in whatever way he may choose to grow your family.

  16. I am so glad I came upon your blog today from Top Ten Tuesday. Emily’s testimony is almost identical to my own and God is using her words in my heart right now, as tears fall.

    I’m looking forward to trying the sugar detox as well as learning as much as I can from your wide list of helpful infertility topics. Thanks for being what I needed, Donielle. Blessings to you!

    Melanie