I fell head first into the trap that Satan so often sets for those of us who struggle with infertility. Cloaked in shame, I believed that something was inherently wrong with me that God would not allow me to carry the child I so badly longed for. I believed that somewhere along the line I had sinned so greatly that God was punishing me.
The idea that infertility is a disgrace stretches all the way back to Old Testament times. In Genesis we read about three generations of Abraham’s family that all struggled with infertility. In 1 Samuel 1, the story of Hannah and Samuel is relayed. In each of these women, the desperation they had to bear a child is readily apparent. Rachel resorted to superstitions in eating the mandrakes, hoping they would be the key to getting pregnant. Hannah bargained with God.
Sometimes I wonder if these women also scrutinized their lives as I have, searching for the sin that had caused them to fall out of God’s favor. I wonder if they thought once they found “that sin” and repented of it, then God would allow them the privilege of pregnancy.
In all of my searching for God’s blessing I never stopped to fully see the end of their stories. Sure, I knew that each of them went onto conceive. In my mind for whatever reason God finally answered their prayers. I failed to see why God finally blessed them.
In reading all of these stories there is no mention of sin; no repentance that led to their eventual pregnancy. Their barrenness was not a punishment from God. Rather, it was all part of God’s timing. Their wombs were not closed because of wrongdoing, but because God had a special plan for the children they would go onto bear. It was for God’s glory.
After meeting Turkey-Man John 9:1-3 flashed through my mind.
1As he went along, he saw a man blind from birth. 2 His disciples asked him, “Rabbi, who sinned, this man or his parents, that he was born blind?”
3 “Neither this man nor his parents sinned,” said Jesus, “but this happened so that the works of God might be displayed in him.
In seeing Turkey-Man for the first time I knew why I had never become pregnant. It was because he was the one God had planned for me and this was the timing God knew was right. Armed with the humility of God’s answer to my prayers, I could no longer hold onto the idea that my infertility was the result of sin. God knew exactly how my story was to play out.
Why then do we do this to ourselves? Why do so many of us who struggle with infertility hold onto the idea that it is a punishment from God? Although we see the disgrace that each of the Old Testament infertile women felt, we see no evidence of sin attached to their situation. We see each of their prayers answered perfectly in God’s timing.
Honestly for me and I believe many others I think part of why we hold onto this notion is for control. If we can just figure out which sin led to our infertility and repent of it, then God will grant us our prayers for a child. We break down child bearing into the equation “If ‘X’, then ‘Y’.” If we can just control “X”, then “Y” will happen.
We become so blinded by our desperation that we miss the common factor in all of the women that struggled with infertility. Each woman conceived in God’s timing.
I know when I was going through fertility treatments that was not the answer I was looking for. I wanted my timing. Looking back, I see how arrogant that thinking was. It was as if I was telling God I knew better than he. I demanded my timing instead of waiting on God’s.
If you are one of the millions struggling through infertility, I know how maddening it can be. I know how difficult the roller coaster is each month. I know how out of control it can feel. I know what it feels like each month to put hope in a specific concoction of medication and medical intervention only to have it fail time after time. (Please know that I am not against medical intervention.) I know the confusion when one person after another become pregnant, some of whom have not proven to be adequate parents, some of whom do not wish for the child they are carrying.
There is one other thing that I know and deeply wish I would have learned far earlier in the process. It will all only happen in God’s timing according to His plan. It will happen in perfect timing for the glory of God.
I know that is not an easy answer. Our desperation blinds us to the reality that we have no control. We long for a crystal ball that will show us what our future holds. I remember meeting Turkey-Man and thinking to myself that if God had only told me that he was the child waiting for me at the end of this journey, I would have endured twice as much to have him as my son.
But, if I had been given the crystal ball, there are so many lessons that I would have missed. One of the biggest is this lesson of God’s control over my life and the faith required to live in that peace. I will say it does get easier. As I began to see the perfection that God had in store for me, I more willingly turned over the details of my life to him.
Infertility was never a punishment for me although Satan tried to convince me of that. It was a lie that served only to separate me from God and blind me to the peace that comes with seeing God’s control. It kept me trapped in the belief that God had turned away from me because of something that I had done. The truth was that God had never turned away from me. He was using my infertility for his glory.
As I sit here today, I am content with the two children I have been given. Sometimes I get the feeling that although we say we are a complete family, there is more waiting for us. I don’t know the answers to what our future looks like. I do know that God is in control of my life, however that will look. He is good. He is in control. His timing is perfect. My faith in these things allows me to rest in peace. No matter the future, I know God’s plan is the perfect plan for my life!