I have really tried not to keep count this time as we try for our third child, but it’s clear that it has been a while at this point…1.5 years marked from Quinton’s 1st birthday. I decided to write this post though after a discussion with my 4-year-old son, who was the joyful outcome of our first round of infertility, soon after I wrote a blog talking about the difficulty of waiting (here).
As we tucked him into bed and celebrated a new pregnancy of someone we loved, we discussed how exciting it is for a new baby to be on the way and how we hoped that we would be blessed with a child too. Carson is familiar with the discussion as having more siblings comes up from time to time. Unlike how their father answered when he was 5, when we ask C&Q about their interest in having a new baby in the family, they answer with smiles and said both a boy and a girl would be good :).
Last night, when we discussed our hope for another baby in our future, Carson said “It doesn’t seem like God is answering that prayer”. I wasn’t sure when we would start to discuss this topic and I didn’t expect it to land on this particular question, but in talking about that difficult idea with my son, I was able to reflect on the amazing ways God has blessed us, and specifically me, in dealing with that very question.
When we so sincerely wanted to start a family 7 years ago, I knew acutely the number of months as they stacked up. We were trying (with help methods for the last 1 year of it) for over 2 years and 3 months. I was having a miserable time with my health along the way and we wrestled with questions about Artificial Reproductive Methods (ARM) and our faith, which I may post about soon enough.
That time was hard. It was hard on our marriage that was still relatively new. It was hard on me because of my desperate desire to control the uncontrollable. It was hard on my body…which is its own story (here). And my story is nowhere near as long or difficult as many that I know. Most especially because I was given Carson on what was expected to be our last IUI try. I was so grateful to make this announcement…
I was shocked to find that our 2nd child took almost no time at all and happened completely naturally!! My boys are only 21 months apart because we started early thinking it would be a while. 🙂 I’ll take the blessing of children close together over infertility any day! The story of our second child is filled with so many surprises that I sing “In His [God’s] Time” as Q’s bedtime hymn. I wasn’t sure whether our infertility difficulties were done, but I had renewed hope in our ability to have more children.
I explained to Carson that we waited longer than this for him, but God blessed us by answering that prayer and he was definitely worth the wait! And I soothed my own heart as I reflected on the encouragement that we can find in understanding how great God is and the Christian perspective when we feel like our prayers aren’t being answered…on any topic.
These are some of the answers we talked about (with a bit more depth provided).
The Bible tells us very clearly that God hears our prayers (1 John 5:14) and wants us to come to Him in prayer because cares about us (1 Peter 5:7). He desires to hear our pain and help us even if the answer hasn’t come yet. In fact, especially then.
God can work all things together for our good if we are Christians! This doesn’t mean that only good things will happen, but it does mean that we can trust God to make the mess beautiful and to serve His purposes, even if the answer is no. Romans 8:28 and the story of Joseph Genesis 37-50.
God desires good things for us (Jeremiah 29:11) and doesn’t want us to worry but instead trust that He will provide for our needs (Matthew 6:25–34) but we sometimes need to remember what God calls “good” and “needs”…learning to be content in our current circumstances helps us to see what it is that we truly need.
God can and will direct our paths if we seek Him and his wisdom in this life. Proverbs 3:6
We are made stronger and more equipped in our Christian walk as we struggle: whether with patience, perseverance, or any other hard thing. 2 Peter 1:5-11 and Romans 5:3-5.
We should not be afraid or dismayed because our God will strengthen us, help us, and uphold us (Isaiah 41:10).
We can trust and believe that God will do the things that the Bible says He will because he is faithful and keeps His promises! The Bible is filled with sufficient proof to know without a shadow of a doubt that God will do as He wills. That may not mean that you will get the answer you want or even a clear answer, about babies or any other concern. But trusting Him and having faith means that we do it because we know his character and that we are in good hands (Isaiah 41:10). Even if none of our prayers are answered the way we desire (I’ve never met someone who can say this), we have the one thing we desperately needed and couldn’t accomplish on our own…salvation from sin. No matter the disappointment this world holds, God has granted us life free from that pain, with Him, forever if we follow Him.
As I spoke to Carson about the weight of his statement and the perspective we can have in spite of waiting for a prayer to be answered, my eyes watered. God has been with us through the whole journey and has worked it all together for good, with so many answered prayers. I am finally learning to entrust this and some of the other hardest things to let go of, to Him.
I decided to write down some of the ways that God has redeemed our first struggle with infertility and granted us so many blessings to help keep my perspective in light of God’s faithfulness.
- I have 2 sweet boys that God granted to us. Answered prayers I wasn’t sure would be answered the way I hoped. It is far easier to deal with infertility when you see answers to your prayers in front of you and you are busy raising them.
- I have wrestled with questions of faith through this experience that have helped me to grow tremendously–letting go of control and taking matters into my own hands (a never-ending task)
- God has shown me other couples that I can relate to in their struggles and support them as someone who understands. I wondered if this was the main reason we went through it after our infertility troubles seemed to disappear with our second child. I doubt that now, but it has still produced fruit in a way that only God can orchestrate.
- I have finally been digging in to my own health, independent of fertility, and am seeing God redeem our time by addressing longstanding health concerns that were ignored during our whole “unexplained infertility” time with numerous specialists and really from the start of my difficult cycles at 13. Each cycle that ends with the disappointing news of “not pregnant” is another chance to resolve my hormone balance issues that disappear when my body goes into baby-growing mode.
- Our marriage is so much stronger today and a huge support to me as I struggle with patience. Becoming a parent has transformed my husband in ways that only God knew and I’m so grateful for our growth as a couple because of both our infertility and our adjustment to parenting.
- My understanding of the Bible has grown and I have seen the bigness of God’s plan and purpose for us in ways that help me to stay patient.
So as I find myself back in the struggles of infertility, I remind myself of all the ways God has redeemed the time over the last 7 years. Though patience is a wonderful virtue and a fruit of the Spirit (Galatians 5:22), I don’t wish for the circumstances in which it often develops. I’ve heard it said, “Don’t ask for patience or God may give you a reason to develop it”. Nonetheless, God is glorified whether He answers this prayer or not, when I give it over to Him.