At the beginning of my journey with infertility, I immediately felt alone. I looked around at our church and the women of God in my life, all with their children in tow, and I felt different. Sometimes, when you first enter into a hard season, you aren’t aware of what you’re walking into. At first you feel as if things are just a little off. But as time wears on, soon our hard seasons become just that…hard. We receive the diagnosis after years of testing, or we get the bad news we hoped we would never hear, or on the flip side we find that we might not ever receive answers for why things are the way they are and we feel all of the uncertainties of life come flooding over us.
I didn’t know I was going through infertility when our journey first started. I didn’t know what that meant. I knew things weren’t happening as quickly as I wanted them to. I knew that things were different for the other women in my church. But it wasn’t until over two years in that it was suggested that I was in fact experiencing infertility and it wasn’t until then that one of my doctor’s finally began to take it seriously.
But by then, the isolation had already set in. I felt alone not only in my circles of friends, but most heart breakingly within the walls of my church. It wasn’t anyone’s fault. It’s not as if I was singled out as infertile and was purposely left out. It was more so a natural reaction to being surrounded by so many women living out the purpose of motherhood which our pastor preached on almost weekly. Maybe I removed myself. I know my heart was growing more and more bitter, but it didn’t necessarily have anything to do with the direct actions of anyone around me. It had to do with how my heart was facing God.
I couldn’t understand why infertility wasn’t addressed in the church. I couldn’t understand why such a devastating situation didn’t have a form of community in the very place I thought all community should stem from. Instead there was awkwardness. There was silence. There was unspoken blame. There was silent judgment.
“Hannah was praying in her heart, and her lips were moving but her voice was not heard.” 1 Samuel 1:13
If I could have seen then what I know now, it’s that God’s church is bigger than the walls we meet between on Sunday mornings. God activates parts of His church that we otherwise don’t see when we are in the midst of our deepest trials. For years, I was upset about how the church handled issues of infertility, how it seemed to forget the women who experienced it. But now I know, that I was simply unaware that God was in fact moving within in His church. His movement was just happening in places I didn’t know to look.
About two years into our journey, we switched churches. Within the walls of our new church I was connected with a couple who had gone through infertility and who grew their family through the beautiful gift of adoption…and I realized for the the first time that I wasn’t alone. Soon after, I began to open up about our journey through this blog and also over on Instagram. What I found in response was an entire community of believers who were walking this road too. They felt just as I did. They knew the isolation, the bitterness, the brokenness…and they also knew the God of Heaven who continued to hold them in the palm of His hand. They were the living, breathing, walking, members of God’s church that moved outside the walls that I knew.
The relationships I have made with the women in the infertility community and in the adoption community are deeper than I ever could have imagined. God had not forgotten me or left me alone in His church. No. Instead, He made sure that none of us who “were going it alone” were ever really alone. He activated and moved a part of the church for me, for us, that I would have never known existed if I had never walked this journey of infertility.
I am 21 weeks pregnant with our miracle baby this week. After four years, God opened my womb and He chose to do it in the single year we stepped away from infertility treatments and dedicated our hearts to adoption. I can’t explain the way or the timing in which God moves. I only know that He does, and that He does so with purpose and with Grace. I look around now at my sisters in the infertility community and I realize that they are the church. They are who God is using to build each other up and to pull from the depths of isolation.
I will always believe that infertility is one of the strongest tools the devil uses against women. He wields it so skillfully that it threatens to crush us. But it’s an illusion. Because God desires to bring community, where the devil sees he can isolate. God desires to heal, what the devil says is incurable. God desires to bring beauty, where the devil lies and tells us only ashes can be found.
So in light of National Infertility Awareness Week, I just want to bring to light the powerhouses which are the women in the infertility community who spend their days lifting each other up, encouraging each other in the Lord, and speaking boldly into the dark with the Light of their words and of the God who loves them.
God’s church doesn’t always look the way we think it does. It turns out there are these underground movements of people we don’t normally see up front at the pulpit. Instead, we find these incredibly strong factions of God’s church when we are deep in our hurt. It’s then that we find God opening doors and relationships and communities that we would never see otherwise.
The women I have battled infertility alongside are some of the strongest and faith filled women I know. God is using this community for great and mighty things. It is true that what we might first see as weakness, God sees as strength. And that’s what He is doing in the infertility community. He is raising up faith filled prayer warriors, who have hurt and been healed. Who have cried but seek His joy. Who have wanted to give up in defeat, but instead God is daily bringing their victory.
To the women who are just entering into this incredibly difficult season of life, I just want you to know that God has not left you alone. You are loved and valued and seen and heard. I encourage you to fight back against the isolation that wants to destroy you, and to find a way to connect with the incredibly healing community of believers that God has prepared to surround you and cry with you and pray over you…and understand you. God is good. He has not left you. And neither has His church.
If you are feeling alone in your journey with infertility, I’ve included a list of communities below who can lift you up. Find your girls, and go with God. I can say with all honesty that it was the women inside the infertility community who were able to give me the strength to daily fight this battle. God is using this community. I pray you will find His healing and power and strength within this beautifully woven together part of God’s church as well. Please follow any of the links below or look up the Instagram accounts I’ve listed. They will rock and heal your world.
Websites, Blogs, Events
Click on the links above each photo to get to each site. For example, below click the small heading which reads Love Multiplies:
There are so many more sites and pages I could direct you to as well! These are just a handful of communities and pages that have really stood out for me.