Mrs. Carol Madden is a friend of my mother who has an awesome ministry in which she sends out Christian devotionals (targeting married couples) by email every Wednesday. Although we have never met, she contacted me after reading my novel, His Last Hope and asked me to write a single devotional entry focusing on fertility and infertility issues. It was "published" via her email today.
Please feel free to share this with your friends, especially those who may be going through infertility/delayed fertility issues. If you would like to be included in Mrs. Madden's emails, please send me a message (firstname.lastname@example.org or via my contact page here) and I will forward your contact details to her.
May God continue to bless and keep you!
Coping with Infertility or Delayed Fertility
Though the fig tree may not blossom, Nor fruit be on the vines;
Though the labor of the olive may fail, And the fields yield no food;
Though the flock may be cut off from the fold, And there be no herd in the stalls—
Yet I will rejoice in the Lord, I will joy in the God of my salvation.
The Lord God is my strength; He will make my feet like deer’s feet,
And He will make me walk on my high hills.
—Hab. 3:17-19a, NKJV
For countless Christian couples, there is the expectation that when they do things God's way, theirs will be the childhood dream memorialized in the old rhyme:
First comes love,
Then comes marriage,
Then comes the bride with a baby carriage.
Those who have challenges starting a family — as against those who don't want to do so — are faced with questions that sometimes leave them doubting their own faith. Many suffer from a tremendous amount of guilt and insecurity when the desires of their hearts remain unfulfilled.
Despite having a “head knowledge” that once they have repented of their sins and turned from them, the Lord Himself will remember them no more, many infertile couples struggle with the feeling that their inability to conceive can be traced to some wrong they have committed in their past — some sin they may have overlooked that remains unforgiven. There are those who suffer miscarriages and stillbirth who afterwards find themselves wondering whether they are being punished for something they may have said, done or even thought before or during the pregnancy. Others even try to convince themselves that they deserve the loss, perhaps because of the way they reacted to the news of the pregnancy in the first place.
Christian brother or sister, know this: regardless of what you may have done in your life, once you have repented of your sin, have accepted Christ as Lord of your life, believe that He was crucified for your sins and later raised from the dead, and have confessed these with your mouth, then your sins have been cast into the sea of forgetfulness (Ps. 103:12, Mic. 7:19). Rehearsing them to yourself will only result in self-doubt and pain, and for all you know, the God who has forgiven and forgotten them may even be wondering what you're talking about!
As a child of God, you can rest assured that He is for you. He has a good plan for your life. Whether or not that plan includes children remains to be seen, but here are a few things you can do in the interim until that becomes clear to you:
Remind yourself that you are a child of the Most High God. That means you are blessed beyond measure. (Deut. 28)
Develop a true attitude of gratitude. You may not have achieved all your dreams, but there is still so much to be grateful for. Take up the habit of recording and reciting the things you are grateful for on a daily basis. (1 Thess. 5:18)
Prayerfully seek the Lord's will and His wisdom as it relates to your family's future. Ask for what you want, but mean it when you say, "Thy will be done." (Luke 22:42)
Offer your life and body as a living sacrifice. Make them available for His use and for His glory. (Rom. 12:1)
Accept that the Lord in His sovereignty answers all requests in one of three ways: Yes, No, Not yet. Regardless of His answer, know that His plan for your life is good. (Jer. 29:11)
Understand that the Lord blesses and challenges us in different ways. What comes effortlessly for one couple may require much more from another. Everyone's journey is unique, but He has promised to accompany us every step of the way. (Ps. 139:7-10)
Forgive those who may — in their ignorance or eagerness — say things that draw attention to your childlessness and make you feel inadequate. (Luke 23:34)
Remind yourself whenever you are upset that God is always at work on your behalf, orchestrating all the things that are happening to you so that they will work out for your good. (Rom. 8:28)
Know that God has not forgotten you. (Job 39:1)
Praise Him through all things. Regardless of your circumstances, He is always, already worthy to be praised. (Hab. 3:17-18)
These steps will help you to deal with whatever comes your way, but they do not offer a guarantee that you will experience the joy parenthood brings. God in His wisdom has not destined every couple to bear children in the traditional way, but He is ready to equip you to deal with whatever comes your way. After all, His Word assures us that all things serve Him (Ps. 119:91). Commit to learning every lesson you can as you take the unique journey He has set out for you. Find the blessing in each obstacle, and when you have — by His grace, in His time and within His will — overcome the hurdles (even if this happens in an unexpected way) please help someone who is going through the same issue.
Lord, I thank You for the gift of Your Son, Jesus Christ. I thank You for grace, mercy and complete forgiveness. I thank You that Your will for my life is sovereign and fits into Your overall design. Lord, Your Word says in Psalm 37:4 that if I seek You, You will grant me the desires of my heart. I have committed to seeking You. You know that I desire to have children whom I can raise to know, love and serve You. I pray that You will remove any obstacles — physical or otherwise — that are preventing this desire from being fulfilled. If it is not Your will for me to become a parent, or for it to happen in the traditional way, then please prepare my heart for the path that You have chosen for me. Open my eyes and my heart to Your sovereign design and give me the grace to accept Your decision — whatever it may be. Today, I surrender my will, my body and my desires to You and ask that You will have Your way in all areas of my life. It is in Jesus' name that I pray as I continue to give You thanks. Amen.
(c) October 2015 by M. A. Malcolm
Jamaican M. A. Malcolm is author of the contemporary Christian romance novel, His Last Hope, which reminds its readers that God works all things together for good for His children, even as it offers some insight into dealing with pregnancy loss. The book is available in Jamaica at C-Mart: The Readers’ Bookshop in Liguanea Plaza, Kingston 6 and Royale Pharmacy HQ in Savanna-la-mar. Paperbacks and ebooks are available online from Amazon and Barnes and Noble. A survivor of multiple pregnancy losses herself, Mrs. Malcolm is grateful to R.R. and S.C. for their invaluable contribution to this devotional. She may be reached at email@example.com.