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.

The Grace of Our Dying Savior

But He was pierced for our transgressions; He was crushed for our iniquities; upon Him was the chastisement that brought us peace, and by His wounds we are healed – Isaiah 53:5

His wounds should have been ours. It was our voices who last Sunday cried out “Hosanna” and who today shouted “crucify”. It is our voices still today which we raise both in praise and in doubt, knowing Him yet denying Him and who He is to us. Everything that happened that day leading right up to Calvary, it was all a reflection of us, of how lost we are without Him, of how lost we are without a Savior and a Friend. Yet even as He was lifted high on a cross to die, He was still making heartfelt eye contact with the people of this world. He saw the hurt of His mother and addressed it even in the midst of carrying the pain of every sin and dying death itself. He looked out and saw those whose souls were still in deep darkness even as they raised their hammers high and pierced His flesh and blood…and He cried out “Father, forgive them. They know not what they do.” He turned to the thief on the cross of wood next to Him, and He calmed a guilty man’s terrified and dying heart with the comfort of Heaven…with the promise that Jesus would be with Him. Our Savior did all of this while He himself was dying. He died to self in every way…to save us. To save every last one of us. Even those who deny Him. Even those who hide what He means to us. Even those who shout crucify. Even those who don’t yet know Him. He died to make a way for each and everyone of us…and in dying to make that way, He became the way. He is the only way. He is the only one who could or would ever save us. And so today we remember the darkness of Calvary, because it’s the day the light of Christ’s love shown the brightest for us. Even as He was dying, He loved you. Even as we were and are still sinning, He loves you. Even as He hung on a cross. No matter what you have done, Jesus saves. You haven’t gone too far. You aren’t beyond His saving hands. Turn to Him and remember. Remember that even as He died, He remembered you and fought for you and loved you. He still does.

Lenten Grace

For I am convinced that neither death nor life, nor angels nor rulers, nor things present nor things to come, nor powers, nor height nor depth, nor anything in all creation will be able to separate us from the love of Christ. – Romans 8:38-39

Maundy Thursday, Good Friday, and Easter all come down to this. Christ loved us. As He washed the feet of His disciples, as He broke the bread and gave the wine, as He wept in the garden, as He carried the cross, as He gave up His life, as He rose from the grave…He had your name written in His heart. These moments of lent are incredibly personal. Together we know Him, individually we feel His presence in our lives. He died for those He loved and for those who didn’t love Him. He died for those who had not yet breathed the breath of life. That we might know Him and come Home. Blessed are those who have not seen and yet believe in those scar marked hands and feet, in a love they’ve felt deeper in their souls than anything else, in a Savior who made sure that even death wouldn’t separate us from Him.

Timeless Grace

We have this old piano that was left behind when the previous owners of our house moved out and didn’t want to bother attempting to move it from the basement. It has broken keys and damaged wood and plays out of key and is over a hundred years old. And it’s my favorite thing in our whole house. I grew up playing on a hundred year old, well worn and and well loved, free piano. And this one we have now reminds me so much of that one. I have a love for old hymns, spanning multiple hymnals, and this well worn and played piano played its way right into my heart. I still think there is a place for the old and traditional things, both inside our homes and inside our churches. Even if that means not exactly holding onto everything from the past, but instead carrying what was wise and grace filled from our histories into our bold and powerful contemporary ways. That’s the beautiful thing about Grace, you see. It’s old. As old as time. Yet it’s new every morning. It carries with it a history of eternal love from our Heavenly Father and pairs that right upside fresh budding new testimonies of today. It’s a well worn, broken in, kind of Grace that transforms what we were into what we become and holds us together with the history of our Loving God. How amazing that Grace really is. So if you need me today, I’ll just be over here, playing through all the old hymns and reveling in the beautiful new things God is bringing to light today. God is surely doing new and wonderful things, but they’re all based on the Grace and Love He’s had for us since ages past. Jesus, grace, faith, hope, Love, peace, healing, the power of the Holy Spirit…they’re all the old things God uses to bring in the beautiful new life He has for us.

40 Days of Prayer: Conversations With The King Day 40


Dear Reader, 

40 days have gone by in the blink of an eye. Half way through, I wasn’t sure I could finish. The enemy surely hit me full force in his efforts to keep me from focusing on really speaking to my Heavenly Father through out the entirety of this series. But here is what I have learned, and I hope you’ve learned too: I can never be as faithful to my Father as He is to me. Prayer is surrender, laying every thought and every plan and every desire into the palms of His hands. Stepping back is what God asks of me once I ask Him to step in. He is the joy giver, the truth bringer, the hope maker, the Grace gifter. Maybe you witnessed a miracle over the course of these 40 days, or maybe your miracle was that God changed something in you. Every plan I had for this series was broken and yet molded by God into something new and better. If I can say anything about what all this time in real and focused and intentional conversation with my Father in the throne room of Heaven has done for me, it’s that it has caused me to know Him better and to trust Him all the more. He has seen my brokenness and yet He hears my voice. Every plan I lay will break, but every moment He weaves will serve a purpose forever. Friends, thank you for praying alongside me and for letting me know how God has been working in you. He gets all the glory, and all my days He will get all my prayers. May His face shine upon you, friends. May you know Him better with every passing hour. 

In Him, 

A Fellow Grace Wanderer 

40 Days of Prayer: Conversations With The King Days 34 & 35 


Dear Reader, 

Lately when I pray God has been speaking to me about trust. What does it mean to let go and let God? I often think I’ve surrendered to His will, but then God keeps working on my heart and peeling away at more and more layers that I didn’t even realize existed, and with each layer He pulls away I find that my grip is still fixed tight on things I thought I had let go of. God knows me better than I know myself. That’s a new realization for me, but I used to think I always knew that. God not only knows what’s best, but He knows me best. How beautiful is it that our Father God cares and loves us so much that He has made it His business to know us better than we know ourselves. How beautiful is it that throughout time He continues to grow us and continues to reveal more to us not only about His heart but also our own? He makes beautiful things. Can we trust Him with that tonight? Maybe as we walk through these last five days of continuous prayer, continuous real conversation with the king of Heaven, we can learn to trust Him more and to trust more about what He has revealed about us through our time with Him. We can let Him mold us, even if it’s hard and it hurts because we can trust His intentions for us and we can trust that He is wholly Good. His Goodness is directed at us. We’re the ones He came to save. We’re the ones who can walk this life Brave because of what He has done and what He will always and forever create for us and in us. God is beautiful, and so is everything He so lovingly molds by His hand and breathes to Life with His breath. 

In Him, 

A Fellow Grace Wanderer 

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 

The Language of Thanksgiving: Day 10

 

“For out of the overflow of his heart his mouth speaks.” Luke 6:45

Over the last 10 days I wrote about the The Language of Thanksgiving with the hope that the way we speak about God and to God could change our lives. I had hoped to unearth the depths of my soul that had been in hiding…the ugliness of pride, forgotten identity, a lack of peace, an absence of thanksgiving. And it all comes down to these words from Luke: “Out of the overflow of the heart the mouth speaks”.

 If our language toward God in prayer exhibits impatience…perhaps it’s impatience that is filling our hearts. If it exhibits worry, stress, chaos, confusion, or guilt…maybe those are the things we are letting rule us. Our language is only a symptom of deeper things. What we speak and how we speak it is the fruition of what we hold inside. 

Scripture tells us to give thanks in all things…this is to be our language towards God and to the world. But to be authentically and deeply thankful, especially when our circumstances are heavy, our hearts must be rooted in something so much deeper. A language focused around giving thanks to God doesn’t mean we must always exhibit happiness. It simply means that we are rooted in Truth…the truth that we are loved, that we are saved, and that even in brokenness we have the hope that God will bring new Life. 

God can speak into our heart’s deepest chambers. He can illuminate the darkness that hides there. He can resuscitate our Joy. He can heal and mend and reform. So what is your language showing today? What is it revealing about your heart? Who rules it? Is it God and His peace or is it something else? 

The Language of God, His Word, is what brings life to our bones. And our language toward Him, our word, is meant to bring Him praise…and this praise heals us in return. Because the heart of God is wholly Good. From His mouth comes only truth, only love, only justice. Our hearts, once given to Christ, become like His. So the words which flow from our lips can begin to take the form of the language which flowed from Christ’s lips. 

We are redeemed. We are restored. We are changed from the inside out. God gave us new hearts that a new language would also follow. May our words reflect who we really are: restored and redeemed.

Imperishable Beauty Contributor 

Dear Reader, 

I have recently embarked on a new journey as a contributing writer for a Christian Women’s organization called Imperishable Beauty! My first article was published on their website today and I thought you might be interested in checking it out. If you are facing a seemingly unmovable mountain in your life then I’m praying today’s devotional speaks to you. Just head on over by clicking this link: Imperishable Beauty: How to Move Mountains and be sure to check in often as the site will be featuring the writing and stories of so many strong and inspirational women. God is moving mountains, my friends. I am so humbled to be able to witness that firsthand! 

In Him, 

A Fellow Grace Wanderer