If my experience was to be trusted, I would tell you that sex does not in fact lead to pregnancy. I would tell you that all those people out there who are getting pregnant and telling you it happened because of sex are lying. Why they are lying, I don't know but I bet there is going to be a whole Dateline episode devoted to it when the investigators finally figure it out.
Sex does not lead to pregnancy. Trust me. I've tried. A lot.
You know what else my infertility experience is teaching me? That God doesn't hear my prayers. Or that if he does, he doesn't care to answer them. I've been praying for pregnancy for a combined total of more than two years now. I've prayed humbly. I've prayed passionately. I've prayed with faith and without. I've prayed angrily. I've prayed joyfully. I've even prayed that God would just take my desire to be pregnant away, if he wasn't going to fulfill it.
Yet here I am with two years of trying, blood work, consults, invasive tests, pills, ultrasounds, injections, two IUIs, thousands of prayers written into my story.... and nothing to show for it but a breaking heart.
God does not hear my prayers. Trust me. I've prayed. A lot.
If my experience was to be trusted, this is exactly what I'd tell you.
Here's the truth though: my experience can't be trusted. There are billions of people who've walked the earth because their parents had sex and conceived. I'm one of them. I've never actually experienced the reality of sex leading to pregnancy, but there's enough evidence out there to make me believe that it does, even if my experience proves otherwise.
There's not the same kind of factual evidence to prove that God hears my prayers, but there is a spiritual history stretching back to the ancients and the very creation of the world that encourages and enlightens my faith. And it is faith- not proof- that I profess, after all. Faith that the same God who made Adam and Eve, who saved Noah, who called Abraham, who gave wisdom to Joseph, who empowered Moses to save the Israelites from captivity, who emboldened Joshua, who brought Ruth to Boaz, who anointed David, who both loved and grieved his people through their endless cycles of faith, disobedience, war, and peace, who spoke through John, who lived, died, and rose again in Jesus, who inspired Paul, and who is coming again to make all things new once and for all.... I profess faith that this same God does indeed hear my prayer.
It's jut that he's answering them according to his purposes, which- apparently- are not always the same as my own.
I was inspired to write this post after remembering the "by faith" passage in Hebrews 11. The passage describes faith (faith is confidence in what we hope for and assurance about what we do not see) and then gives a brilliant list of biblical characters and instances of their faith which shine brightly in the biblical narrative. After the author of Hebrews writes so powerfully about these character and their faith, there's this:
These were all commended for their faith, yet none of them received what had been promised, since God had planned something better for us so that only together with us would they be made perfect.
They died without seeing the same thing I'm waiting for: the Revelation 21 new heaven and new earth... that moment in time when the redemption Christ bought for us is made fully known. The day we long for when God will wipe every tear from our eyes, when there will be no more sickness or death or mourning, and when the old broken way of things will be no more.
They died, the passage says, only seeing that full redemption and welcoming it from a distance because God had planned something better.
So it is with me. Having faith doesn't mean I'll get the thing I'm praying for, does it? It doesn't mean I'll have a completely fulfilled life before I die. I doesn't mean I get pregnant.
It does mean that I see and welcome the redemption of my suffering from a distance. It means I'm confidant that God's plan is better than mine. It means I'm blessedly assured that he's going to redeem all of this for his glory.
That's Hebrews 11. You know how very next chapter starts?
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, fixing our eyes on Jesus, the pioneer and perfecter of faith. For the joy set before him he endured the cross,scorning its shame, and sat down at the right hand of the throne of God. Consider him who endured such opposition from sinners, so that you will not grow weary and lose heart.
Last week my friend Dominic told me that the word race in this passage comes from the Greek word for agony.
"Therefore... let us run with perseverance the agony marked out for us."
Maybe the idea of your Christian life being agony is not so encouraging. It's comforting to me, though, because for me the idea of living my whole life never being pregnant and never giving birth to a baby is just that: agonizing. I feel empty, sad, and a little desperate when I picture it.
It's only by faith that I'll be able to run with perseverance that agony. With my eyes set on Jesus, in his footsteps, I will scorn the shame of infertility as he scorned the shame of the cross. For the joy set before me, I will endure. I will consider him as I continue to run tired, breathless, and painfully, my agony.
By faith, I keep believing beyond my experience. By faith I will keep running, keep praying, keep my eyes fixed on Jesus. By faith, even in my agony, I will not loose heart.
PS: Dominic shared his discovery about that word race/agony after preaching a sermon about faith and suffering. You can watch it here.
Jill I admire your honesty amd passion. Prayers for peace amd understanding.ReplyDelete
Thank you stephanie and thank you for your prayers!Delete
I am praying for you Jill! Your experience is very close to my heart, as I have lived it. God has a plan for you, and you are influencing others with your tremendous faith. I am in the middle of the study "Believing God" by Beth Moore, and it has really altered my perception of what God wants for us. He wants such good things for us because He loves us so much! I am boldly asking God to bess you with a pregnancy next month. Thank you for posting updates. I pray that you and your family have a blessed Thanksgiving!ReplyDelete
I LOVE that bold prayer and I am honored and beyond thankful to have you praying it for me!Delete
I share your pain of paying for pregnancy and giving birth to our biological child. The ache and desire is unlike any other.ReplyDelete
It truly is. I'm sorry you are on this journey too. ((hugs))Delete
Jillian, in the ache of a yet unfulfilled longing, may God hold you close and build your faith in His goodness even within the brokenness. You have shared with such honesty and eloquence once again. Thank you for your call for all of us - no matter what our deepest desire may be - to trust in a Plan higher and wiser than our own...even when it breaks our heart to do so. Wishing you continued strength to walk forward on this road.ReplyDelete
Thank you so much for your good wishes and kind words Jacquie. I heard a long time ago a talk about a father who was a long time Christian who found it in his heart to forgive a man who killed his daughter on a shooting rampage at their church. I will never forget the father saying, "I decided to forgive this man a long time ago when I became a Christian." I take that same sentiment and apply it to my situation and learning to trust God. When I said yes to the Christian faith, I said yes to whatever God has for me and I am learning to trust that plan, hard as it may be!Delete
I really needed to read this today. Thank you so much. I will keep you in my prayers.ReplyDelete
So thankful you are encouraged by my story. Thank you for commenting and truly thank you for your prayers. They mean so much.Delete
I legit just read Hebrews 11 last night. And the same thoughts are going through my heart. Thank you for your words. Thank you thank you.ReplyDelete
Don't you love when life works out like that? :-) Thank you for commenting!Delete
Oh, Jill. Infertility is just so, so painful. It feels unfair when God answers your prayers with a resounding, "No". Especially, when it is something so good and beautiful. It seems like nothing about it makes sense at all. I'm still wrestling with it every day. I battle between the promises of God and His perfect goodness and plan and the acceptance of His no. It's all so hard. Praying for you and your hurting heart.ReplyDelete
"I battle between the promises of God and His perfect goodness and plan and the acceptance of His no." I totally hear that. Thank you for sharing and for your prayers; they mean so much to me.Delete
Dear sister;”I KNOW “.yes I know your pain and sorrow; i know your prayers and desires. How I know it; I fell the same way. It is not easy to manage. My pain is so much and gets bigger and bigger each month after my period appear. I have prayers so much than I don’t even remember with feeling but I think all of them. It is so difficult to have a baby? WHERE IS MY OWN? Every day I saw pregnant women around me. All the girl of generation has their own. When; I go visit one of them at the hospital. I am happy and sad. GOD;I beg you have mercy on me .I Try to be strong. when sisters ask me what I waiting I say:”it is not the moment for me(lie ;I am ready since many year).when the family in law ask me to rapped my husband and carry his baby with his approved or not; I told them: “we discuss and want to take our time(lie: we try since so much time).when my nephew ask me where I don’t want a baby; I told them that they have to grow more so that they will take care of my own(lie: I pray for it every time).everyone around me call me “MOTHER “at the beginning I was thinking it is a sign but now for me it is a shame(mother without baby).baby shower don’t escist in my country but I made IT for every pregnant women around me just to have that feeling. My last friends who give birth don’t allow me to touch her womb during her pregnancy. And when I visit her happily show me her baby (this girl was my opposite; she was taking beer; go to party; live a bad life but when both of us search for a baby. GOD give to her).I will not ask you to lose faith. But sometime it can happen you have to understand it and go above it. BE STRONG ; I KEEP PRAYING FOR YOU.JOYCE 88ReplyDelete
I feel like I am gathering so much strength from you and your encouragement Joyce! You are such an EMPOWERING woman! Thank you!Delete
I am experiencing my own agony different than yours but I appreciate your words. Thank you for your beautiful words and your beautiful spirit.ReplyDelete
Thank you for your comment- truly. It always amazes me how we can be wounded in so many different ways, yet be united in our pain and our journey to healing. I pray you are soon relieved from your agony.Delete
Faith & Hope. Hard concepts, but so fulfilling and rewarding when we grab hold. I am so grateful for your faith and hope in our Lord. Despite your hardships you are still glorifying God! Thank you for that!!ReplyDelete
My husband always says, "Nothing can ever rob God of his glory!" That truth gives me peace and freedom to write about my struggles because I know even in them and even in my weakness, God can be glorified. Thank you for commenting!Delete
I appreciate how real you are on your blog Jillian. I'm sure you know there are tons of prayer warriors praying you through this journey, as confusing and frustrating as it is. I have no idea why God is allowing you to go through this journey of infertility but I know His plan is perfect and divine and holy and He knows what He's doing! He is weaving the tapestry of your life. Where you are now, you are too close up to see it, but from His perspective, He can see the whole thing in its beautiful entirety. With faith, you can rest assured that there IS a plan and that you should never lose hope!ReplyDelete
I have my own set of unfulfilled desires that I have prayed for for years. I have always wanted to be a mom, but I am 36 years old and I am not yet married. I haven't found "Mr. Right" (as cliche as that is, but you know what I mean)... and I'm not getting any younger, so giving birth to my own children will likely never happen. I do hope and pray that I will get married soon and that my husband will be open to adoption, because I would love to adopt... even perhaps a child (or children) with special needs! If that is God's plan, I welcome it. :) Until then, I find joy in being an aunt to my 5 nieces and nephews! They bring a joy to my life that is indescribable and they fill a large part of that void of not being a mother myself.
With that said, I will continue to pray that God will grant you the biggest desire of your heart and that you will conceive and carry a child of your own! It is a privilege that I fear many women take for granted. Pregnancy is beautiful and miraculous! I do stand in awe, however, how God knew before the beginning of time, that you & John would be Arie's mom & dad. You were ordained to be his parents, even though he was born on the other side of the world! That is just amazing! :) God bless!
Janna I have thought many times that the pain women experience when they are unmarried and passing their child-bearing years must be a pain so similar to infertility, compounded by not having a partner to share in the journey. I am inspired by your faith and your joy in spite of your unfulfilled desires! Keep on moving forward with that courageous faith!Delete
I think "fertility challenged" women are the strongest and bravest around. It was brave to write what you wrote. It's brave to stay on the journey. It's a long, hard and painfully lonely one sometimes... I too am on it. Unfortunately.ReplyDelete
Thank you so much! I agree about "fertility challenged" women being braved. I look at women who have undergone IVF especially with so much respect. What a journey of grief and hope... I often wonder if I would have the strength. I may soon find out. I'm so sorry you are on this journey too. I pray you are pregnant very, very soon!Delete
I just love this blogging community. I don't know you but I found your blog through a friend. I found out when I was a teenager that I didn't have a uterus. I struggled for a long time, even to the point of suicidal thoughts, and clung to God like I never had before. That was 10 years ago and when I think back to that time, I am amazed at what God has done. No, he didn't take away my infertility, but he restored my joy, joy I thought I'd never feel again. I married a man who loved me in spite of my condition (also a John! Johns are the best!), we have a beautiful daughter through the miracle of adoption and are currently in the process of adopting #2. Infertility SUCKS and my heart breaks everytime I hear of someone else going through it, but God is good and His plan is far better then anything we can ask or imagine. Not always easy, but always good. I will be praying so so hard for a pregnancy for you. I'm so glad that you have God to walk with you on this journey. I can't wait to see what He's going to do!ReplyDelete
Mandi, I truly cannot even imagine what it would be like to deal with all this grief as a teenager. My heart breaks to think of it. I am not at all surprised to hear you say that you even had suicidal thoughts; it must have been devastating. I thank God that he has restored your joy! Reading your story gives me hope that he will one day do the same for me in this area. It is hard to imagine in the middle of it that I will ever come to peace with my infertility, but I have faith that God will bring me there like he has done for you. Thank you for sharing your story!Delete
Amen sister! Thank you for the reminder. I'm right there with ya!ReplyDelete
I know you are! And then some. Praying for you!Delete
Although my experience, my agony, is different to yours I completely identify with what you wrote & have gone through all these thoughts and feelings over the years. I have been praying for healing from a chronic illness that has stolen my twenties and has continued into my thirties. I absolutely believe that God can heal me in an instant and I keep on praying & asking that He will do that. But I also know that His ways are so much higher than mine (Isaiah 55v8-9), we see only a tiny piece of the puzzle from our perspective. So I choose to trust God despite circumstance, despite 8 years of illness, grief & loss. Its not easy at times to keep trusting but its so worth it! I hope & pray that by the time you read this a little baby is already growing inside you but I am so glad that you are clinging to God despite the outcome. He does care for you.ReplyDelete
"God is too good to be unkind and he is too wise to be mistaken. And when we cannot trace his hand, we must trust his heart." Charles Spurgeon