Grace in the Infertility Community: When God Activates His Church In Ways We Don’t Normally See

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:

Love Multiplies 

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Faith Like Hannah

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Its Positive

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The Adventures of Baby K

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Sarah’s Laughter

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Choose Joy Event

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HeartandHarvestCo

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Instagram Communities:

notpregnantbook

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its_positive

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faithlikehannah

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choosejoyevent

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flhmagazine

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growingjoyfully

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theadventuresofbabyk

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alexcongelliere

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ttc.weidmanbabies

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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.

 

 

 

 

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Grace in Forgiveness

In this week after Easter Sunday, after Holy Week, what has changed? For me the answer is in how I seek forgiveness and how I give it. Not everyone encounters the Father or the Son in the same way as we do. Some of us feel closest to Christ in our homes when we read scripture, or through worship, or through intimate prayer. Some of us encounter Christ deeper as we evangelize or reach out to our communities. God actually designed us that way, to be different in how we serve and to connect with Him in our own personal ways. Jesus showed us this as He died and as He rose. To Thomas who doubted, He gave physical proof. To the women who discovered the empty tomb, He spoke first through reassurance and second through His presence. To the thief on the cross, He gave the hope of a future with Him. To His mother as He died, He offered provision through His people. Sometimes it’s not about getting everything perfect, it’s about reaching people where they are. Infertility and at times broken community opened some wide wounds for me within the church as a whole, a place where I had hoped to find healing. There are many others who have felt wounded by church too. But this is what we learn from Easter, Jesus died for the hurting and for the hurtful, the peacemakers and the peace breakers just the same. In knowing this, how are we seeking unity and communion under the banner of Christ’s love for all of us? For me, it means asking for more forgiveness from the people I’ve hurt and been hurt by…and maybe not expecting it in return. Jesus died for those who were at that moment killing Him. He’s called us to love people who at the moment maybe don’t love us. He’s called us to ask for forgiveness from those who maybe won’t forgive or to freely forgive even those who don’t ask for it from us. Basically, Jesus just loved and forgave and covered over everyone, whether they deserved it or not. Whether we deserve it or not. That’s the entirety of Grace. That God became man to Love us no matter what we did, or will do. That He reaches for us, even when we aren’t ready to reach back. Christ laid it all out for us over Holy Week. We have our whole lives to lay it all out for Him.

Ordinary Grace

Just some ordinary views from an ordinary place that I call Home. I heard my baby’s strong heartbeat for the very first time yesterday and was told that at my next appointment I’ll already be halfway through this miracle pregnancy. And I can’t believe this is our life. I can’t believe what God has brought us through. Suddenly ordinary Thursday mornings seem like extraordinary moments and our house feels like the home where our sweet baby will grow up and everything seems wild and peaceful all at the same time. I know things won’t always be perfect. I know what it felt like when things were falling apart. But for right now, I’m feeling incredibly thankful for quiet contemplative moments when I can give myself permission to dream about the future again, a future only God could have provided for me. When I was younger I used to spend my time worrying about what I would become. I felt like I needed to be better at hopefully just one thing than the rest of the world and that would set me apart, or at least make those who loved me proud. But it’s not really about who we will become as much as it is about whose we will become. Being like Christ means that we live to give this life away through loving and giving and forgiving and simply being present. My life might not look like much to the world right now, but to my little slice of the world it means everything. I’m a wife, a soon to be mama, a daughter, a sister, a friend, a granddaughter, an aunt, a niece, a cousin. And I’m finding my purpose here incredibly fulfilling at the moment because it’s the purpose God has placed me in. Sometimes we live big when we revel in the small and the ordinary. Jesus never asked us to be the superhero. He only asked us to Love Him and Love His people and Love His Father in all the ways we possibly could. He only asked us to be present to Him. He only asked us to look past the shiny lights of this world and see the living light of His Grace for us. Jesus loved the ordinary versions of us. The broken parts and the glued together parts and the old parts and the new parts. He just wants you, just as you are, to be right where He is and be filled with life to the fullest.

Making Room for Grace

It’s the first day of spring and I have a pot roast baking in the oven and a long list of spring cleaning tasks that I probably won’t accomplish today. But I’m feeling warmer weather in my bones, even if some of us are still waking up to frost tipped mornings and snow sprinkled grey skies. My mama gave me this set of blue Currier & Ives dishes for Christmas a few years ago. She thrifted them from an antique shop because she knew I had my heart set on them. They are exactly the same as the ones she used to have in her kitchen while I was growing up, though she gave her set away before she could ever know that I might want them. It’s a beautiful thing the things we each find meaningful. Everyone seems to hold close something different than the person sitting next to them. Yet we all have this ache in our hearts to hold onto a few things that make our hearts happy and remind us of a time when life was good to us, or when we overcame something hard, or when we lost someone we loved so much. It’s the humanity in us to want to remember what was good, what was important. It’s what our Heavenly Father wants for us too, to hold on to what is Good and right and pure and honest and to remember. I hold onto these plates because they remind me of a time when my family was happy and good and at peace. To be honest my house doesn’t hold a lot of things. We’ve simplified and downsized and given away so much. But all of those things were things that didn’t matter or hold importance to us. I know there are things I need to let go of in my spiritual and emotional life too. So maybe my spring cleaning will be about holding onto what is important, and releasing the things which hold me back from extending or receiving grace. There are people I need to forgive and people I need to ask forgiveness from. There is judgement and hurt and bitterness I need to let go of. These nights I don’t sleep much because of the sweet baby growing inside of me, and I find my mind wandering to things and people I need to reconcile and extend grace too. Does your soul need space to grow too? Does it need reminding of what is important and good? Does it need room for grace? Mine certainly does.

How to Love: Grace When We Don’t Understand 


Dear Reader, 

We love butterflies specifically for their many colors, and yet when it comes to the many beautiful colors of people we find barriers. We see “difference” as something to fear, instead of to praise God for. We see it with many things. We see the harsh criticisms across denominational lines of what we as Christians “should” believe, but the truth there should be simple. As Christians we “should” believe in the Bible as sole truth. However, ask Christians from different denominations and they will explain that truth differently. We can’t agree, even on something as simple as what is truth. If we elevate this to the color of the people in this world, we find the same holds true. Everyone believes the answer is simple, to love. But it would appear that what love looks like is understood differently by many. My husband and I are hoping to adopt our first child, and friends, I have no idea what race our baby will be. But I want them to know they are loved by us fully. I fear for how they may perceive “love” in this world. The “truth” spoken “in love” by this world is often not truth at all, but hatred dressed up in sheep’s clothing. Every single person has great worth, great beauty, great potential to love one another. But we must seek out how to love. What does it mean to love someone who is different than us? It means to speak up when the world has lost its mind and its heart. It means to be humbled and admit when we’ve been wrong or when we’ve been unable to understand. In order to love deeply, we must begin to understand where we have gone wrong and how we can do better. How can we understand what we have done if we never speak to those we have hurt with our silence or with our wrong words? God’s love is so much deeper than the surface love we often offer other people. Saying there is no problem simply means we can’t see the problem. It’s like closing our eyes in the midst of a tragedy and saying the commotion is nothing serious. To love our neighbor takes humility not condescension. To love our neighbor takes real conversation and real concern. Wherever you stand, don’t stand for hatred. Love, and learn what love means. We’re all learning together. Apart we fail.

In Him, 

A Fellow Grace Wanderer 

40 Days of Prayer: Conversations With The King Day 21


Dear Reader, 

Don’t forget to pray around good food with good friends. Don’t forget that God loves community with us because He loves to bring us together over His holy communion. I’ve struggled for years with this. I’ve struggled knowing I loved God but finding it hard to really get to know and trust other people. Sometimes it’s true that certain relationships won’t work out. Some short meetings are meant to change us for the better, to teach us a lesson about loving people anyways. But some people are meant to stay rooted in our lives because God has set a place for them in the table of our hearts and He has set a desire in us to wash feet and serve and in so doing to know one another better. Not everyone will be in your circle of 12, like Jesus had. That’s something I didn’t understand for years. We are to love everyone and really care and really strive to take care of humanity as Jesus so did and as He so loved. But it’s true that there will be people that you must grow with, and lean on, and fully trust with big and small moments of your life. Friends are treasures. They are blessings in what they do and say and in who they are. Pray continually, on your own, but also in communion with people. If you have these special people in your life, I encourage you to keep growing deeper with them. If you don’t have these people yet, I encourage you not to lose hope. God will provide. Keep on praying for communion and close community. I know first hand God can and will answer those prayers. He is faithful and Good and Kind. So today friends, keep praying for and in communion with another and watch as the body of Christ’s church comes alive. 

In Him, 

A Fellow Grace Wanderer 

A Grace Note: 40 Days of Conversations with the King 


Dear Reader, 

Sometimes I feel as if my prayers have no direction. I throw my hands up and I spill out my heart, my frustrations, and my fears. I know God hears me. I have seen Him move my mountains. I have felt Him crumble my fears. What He wants with us is honest dialogue, an ongoing conversation with Him in which we give Him our all. This means all of our fears, all of our insecurities, all of our worries. He doesn’t require fancy or memorized prayers of length. He simply wants you, the way you are, to come before Him and talk with Him awhile. Over the next 40 days, in my personal life, I’m choosing one topic in my life to pray daily over, and by that I mean have honest conversations with God over. I plan on writing down my topic and pinning it up on the wall so I can see it each day and enter into the Grace of conversation with my Father God over it. I believe that private conversations with the King of Kings are life changing. I also believe and know that there is power when God’s people come together to lift each other’s burdens up to the throne room of Heaven. I just wanted to encourage you to join me if you feel like there has been something in your life you need to talk to your Father God about. Grace has a name, and it’s name is Jesus. Jesus came that we would once again enter into communion with our Father, and I believe we are able to do this with honest and open prayer. Jesus has turned His Father’s face towards us. He is listening, and He cares about you. 

In Him, 

A Fellow Grace Wanderer 

A Grace Note: What Will You Do With Your Freedom? 


Dear Reader, 

When I think of America, I think of this little cheese shop we visit every year in Wisconsin called Union Star. It sits next to the highway among fields and fields of corn. It’s quiet there. No crowds, or angry customers. Just a few passers by who stop in the heat of the day. But sometimes when I think of America, I become aware of how others see it. I am burdened by its brokenness and I am broken by its burdens. Not every leader seems to hear every voice. Every law and every bill seems to leave someone out. We fight every day for freedom, but we become more aware with the passing of time that freedom is never free, and it is never without cost. And then I think of Heaven, that place I think we are all homesick for in our hearts even if we don’t realize it. I think of how scripture tells us that we hold citizenship there. And I know that the kingdom of Heaven holds the most free people. I know that it is ruled by the love of our Father. If we are looking for perfect freedom, we won’t find it on this earth. Perfect freedom only exists in the arms of our Savior. It’s a freedom that breaks every chain and heals every heart and unites all people. I pray that as citizens of that perfect place, that we would always carry in our hearts what it means to be free from even the freedoms of this world. I pray that even in this free country we live in, we would choose to continue to carry the cross. I pray that our freedoms here wouldn’t separate us from the rest of the world, but that they would cause us to be brave in loving the people of the world more deeply. I pray that our freedoms wouldn’t isolate us, but instead would propel us into active service, mission, and love. With great freedom comes great opportunity….and responsibility. What will you do with your freedom? 

In Him, 

A Fellow Grace Wanderer 

A Grace Note: Always Free, Always Brave 


Dear Reader, 

There are many in the world today who don’t have freedom, but are incredibly brave. And there are people in the world who are incredibly free, but lack bravery. The beauty of Jesus is that it doesn’t matter if you are brave or free or both. “Where the Spirit of the Lord is there is freedom”. No matter what country you live in, in Jesus we get to experience both, because only He can make us both brave and free. He breaks every chain. He gives life where death once reigned. He wins every victory and gives us the strength to win every battle. His grace frees us from every evil thing that once held us in bondage. As Christians we will always be free in Him. May we also always be brave in Him. May we who call ourselves His people and who live in the nation of the free, always be willing to fight for the physical freedom of others in this world because we know the One who fought to the death for the Spiritual freedom of the whole world. In His freedom we find grace, and truth, and life, and the fire to continue the fight for the physical and spiritual freedom of the people on this earth. Jesus reigns. May that be our victory. He who sets the captives free has come that we may have life in His name and that we would proclaim it as loud as we can. So what say you, free people? Will you who are free continue to be brave in Him? Will you use your American freedom to honor the name of Jesus who broke your every chain? Being an American does not make you “more Christian”. But it does mean you have been given great responsibility, to be brave in Christ as well as Free in this physical life. May we always understand the magnitude of our physical freedom in this country and may we be propelled by the incredible depth of our spiritual freedom to preach and to teach and to feed the hungry and to free the oppressed and to advocate for those who have no voice, in Jesus name and to His Glory. You were born free for a reason. Give your physical freedom to Jesus and watch how our incredible God moves in this world. 

In Him, 

A Fellow Grace Wanderer 

The Coming and Going: When Grace Leaves Your Kitchen Table


Psalm 121:8 The Lord will watch over your coming and going both now and forevermore.

I was reading through Mark last night. As I was reading I couldn’t help but notice that under almost every heading were words about Jesus coming, going, entering, leaving, or going out. And later  Jesus begins saying, “Follow me”.

As I may have noted in previous posts, I am an introvert. Most days I would rather hide away in my house, spending time alone with Jesus at my kitchen table. I would rather welcome Him in than go out with Him. I would rather write about Him than speak about Him. I would rather pray to Him than do the social work for Him. But staying put is not what Jesus has called me to do, and it’s not what He has called you to do either.

Jesus wants to sit at your kitchen table. He wants to be invited in. He wants to show  you intimate and daily Grace and He wants to change you through His love for you. But then, He will ask you to follow Him. The book of Mark showed me last night that Jesus does not stand still. He rests at times, but only to pray and gain the strength to go back out again. And to us who are called to follow Him, this means that there must be movement in our own lives.

I have experienced Grace while standing at my sink and  have been changed daily by the faithful work of the One who loves me, Jesus. And I have spoken about Jesus’ desire to invite others to sit at my kitchen table with Him too. I have been compelled to ask Jesus into every ordinary part of my life, so that I may see His extraordinary goodness. But now I am seeing that the real work of Christ is that I come and go with Him. The real work of Christ is that I step out of my front door and bring Jesus with me to the front door of those He is calling to be saved, to those who have yet to experience and acknowledge His Grace.

Luke 9:23-24 Then he said to them all: “Whoever wants to be my disciple must deny themselves and take up their cross daily and follow me. For whoever wants to save their life will lose it, but whoever loses their life for me will save it.”

Maybe losing your life for Jesus means losing the desires that don’t include Him. Losing your life for Jesus might look more like losing your priorities and making His work for the Kingdom come first. To lose your life for Jesus is really to give your life to Him. He says we must take up our cross daily, and He gives us enough daily Grace to do this. Stepping out of my front door and into the work of God’s kingdom to which I am called requires me to lay down my previously laid plans and to instead put on my sandals and go where Christ goes. It requires me to let Jesus take the lead.

Micah 2:13 One who breaks open the way will go up before them; they will break through the gate and go out. Their king will pass through before them, the Lord at their head.

We know that when we follow Jesus we do not go alone. Jesus has assured us that He will be with us to the very end of the age. But not going alone means that there are other people sitting at the table with us. There are other children that God has called. We were never meant to walk this earthly life alone, and while Jesus came to save you personally, He also came to personally save the whole world. He loves you, and He changes you by His Grace. But to love Jesus back means that you also will love His people. They are connected. They are family. There is always more room at Jesus’ kitchen table, and because of this there must always be more room at our own.

Go where Jesus goes. Walk where Jesus walks. Speak with whom Jesus speaks. Taking up our cross daily is not easy, but it’s what binds us together as family. If we want to follow Jesus, we must allow His Grace to rise up and leave our kitchen tables. We must take Jesus’ hand, walk out our front doors, and follow Jesus into the world.

Deuteronomy 6:5-9 Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your strength. These commandments I give you today are to be upon your hearts. Impress them on your children. Talk about them when you sit at home and when you walk along the road, when you lie down and when you get up. Tie them as symbols on your hands and bind them on your foreheads. Write them on the door frames of your houses and on your gates.