Infertility & The Gospel

MY STORY / / When The Olive Shoots Don’t Come

Psalm 128:3 “Your wife will be like a fruitful vine within your house; your children will be like olive shoots around your table.”

Today is Mother’s Day. It is a day of rejoicing in the love we have for our children and reflecting on the love and sacrifice our mother has shown us. If you are like me, it’s a love that I am just now fully able to understand the depth of since I have become a mother myself. This is the way it should be for all and yet due to the effects of The Fall, I know for many today is a day full of pain and sadness. The desire, longing, and love to be a mother is there, and yet the olive shoots have not come. My heart hurts for the woman who is experiencing this pain today. I understand and know her heart because I have experienced her pain as well.

Every month she excitedly waits to find out if this will finally be the month she sees that beautiful little + sign. She spends her time dreaming of diapers and of the sweet little blessing God is surely going to add to their family. Be fruitful and multiply, right? Her doctor is so certain that she’s going to be able to get pregnant that she is starting to believe it too. The thought of motherhood and babies is all too exciting, and her heart overflows with the dreams of what life will be like with children. As the months pass and are then swallowed up into years, her doctor’s optimism starts to fade and she is told that she will likely never conceive a baby without a miracle. She desperately tries to hang on to hope, believing she might be the exception, and more time passes. Eventually her enthusiasm and hopes fade too, and she is now met with the sorrow, shame, and the extreme loneliness of it all. Questions fill her head: Who do I talk to about my heartache? Can anyone truly understand what I’m going through unless they’ve experienced this themselves? Why doesn’t God want me to have a baby? Is there something wrong with me? What does faith look like in my situation?

This may not be your story, but it is part of mine. The pain and shame I felt over not being able to give my husband a biological child was heart wrenching at times. It is a quiet pain that is often very lonely. Infertility is a topic that people discuss very little, but I’ve read as many as 1 in 8 couples struggle with it. Infertility may not affect your family, but chances are you know and love someone it does.

In His timing God does, in fact, make everything beautiful. As God has worked in my heart, I can tell you He is writing my story, and it is one full of His kindness, grace, and mercy. God is good, and He can be trusted to write your story as well. If you are struggling through the pain of infertility, sweet sister, please let me encourage you with how God encouraged me…

We must counsel our hearts according to truth. What does God’s Word say about you? What does God’s Word say about Him? What is true and real? Your infertility does not define you, God’s Word does. The cross says YOU are loved. YOU are accepted.

You are not broken, and God is good ALL the time.

Don’t damage your friendships because you are in pain. You may be feeling hurt or jealous when you see others getting what you want, and in this case it’s a baby. Ask God to give you a heart that will rejoice with those who rejoice, and be sincerely happy for others, and for a friend who is able to weep with you as you weep (Romans 12:15). Keep in mind that a friend loves at all times (Proverbs 17:17) even if we are in pain; let us be people who give this unconditional love and who are able to receive it.

Reach out to a trusted friend. Sometimes we might be tempted to think that if I don’t talk about it, it’s like it’s not real. I kept my pain and struggle hidden for many years, and it wasn’t until I starting talking about my sadness and being honest about it that I was able to start to allow God to deal with it and find peace in Him. As I confessed all that was going on in my heart, God used the tongues of wise women and friends to bring healing to my heart (Proverbs 12:18).

Jesus is our treasure. As much as we would like to think that if God would just answer our prayer for a child, we would always be happy and our longing would be satisfied, it just isn’t true. Yes, children absolutely bring joy and happiness, but they can never be the absolute focus of it without becoming idols. Jesus is meant for that place in our hearts and our lives. He must be the ultimate treasure of our hearts. Sometimes in His kindness God allows us to continue without the thing we so desire because with it we might not see Him; but, in our pain and longing our hearts might be turned to Him. Tim Keller says, “You’ll never realize God is all you need until God is all you have.” Allow this time of longing for what God has not given to draw you nearer to Him. Our circumstances may not change, but we can allow God to change us and grow us in Him.

GUEST POST: Jana Howerton. Follow Jana on Instagram.