But If Not

With the passing of another Mother’s Day, I was reminded of people for whom this day is difficult – not only women who desperately want to be mothers, but also mothers who have lost babies or older children who were supposed to outlive them, as well as others whose mothers have passed away.  Most of all, I couldn’t stop thinking about a friend who has experienced infertility herself but encouraged me during my trial of infertility.  You see, she never did get pregnant.  I don’t know all of her circumstances and decisions that were made, but for whatever reason, she and her husband either weren’t called to adopt or perhaps those plans fell through also.  I don’t understand why God didn’t open her womb.

I wondered how could my blog help someone like her?  Maybe it’s not supposed to be able to help everyone.  But if you are in her shoes and you have stumbled upon this blog, I hope my words don’t ring hollow because God did open my womb, but He hasn’t done that for you.  You might say I can praise Him because He did give me the desire of my heart – a baby.  I can only say the thoughts I am sharing came before I knew what He would actually do in my own life.  I do praise Him for my outcome.  But if not, I would hope I could still trust Him, praise Him and keep serving Him.

In the Book of Daniel, the Bible teaches the familiar story of Shadrach, Meshach, and Abed-nego.  King Nebuchadnezzar was enraged they would not serve his gods and worship the golden image he had made.  They were about to be thrown into the fiery furnace for not bowing down.  I remember their words of trust and faith in their God (who is my God!).  In Daniel 3:17-18 they said, “If it be so, our God whom we serve is able to deliver us from the burning fiery furnace, and he will deliver us out of thine hand, O king.  But if not, be it known unto thee, O king, that we will not serve thy gods, nor worship the golden image which thou has set up.”

We need to recognize these three men did not look to God for physical deliverance during their moment of trial.  Instead, they placed their faith in the God who is able, not necessarily the God who will, though we might hope for it.  Their public faith didn’t force God’s hand, but instead their faith that God is still God stood strong, whatever the outcome.  I borrowed these words for my own fiery trial and remember praying, “I know you are able to deliver me from my barrenness, oh God, but if not, by God’s grace, I will still trust, serve and praise you.”

Our son was 1 ½ when we decided to attempt IVF again.  We wanted another baby!  Another friend of mine had one miracle son, and since it was taking much longer the second time around, she also went to see a fertility specialist.  My news wasn’t what we had hoped; the doctor actually cancelled my cycle because I didn’t produce enough follicles to proceed, and that was using the protocol with the highest dosage.  I was only 38.  My friend also didn’t have good news – the doctor told her it was a miracle she got pregnant the first time and didn’t even recommend IVF for her.  She was even younger than I.  We both found out about the other’s results the same day at church, and I’ll never forget that day when we hugged and I said, in thankfulness and in tears, “At least God gave us both one son!”  Then she told me to stop before I made her cry.  I remember my nurse saying it wasn’t impossible for either of us to get pregnant, but it wasn’t worth paying that much for IVF for a 2% chance.  A little over a year later, my friend called to tell me she was pregnant – 7 weeks along!  I was thrilled for her, and her news also gave me hope that God could do the same for me.  It just seemed destined to turn out that way.  Her baby is now almost 6 months old, and no, I haven’t gotten pregnant.  Most say I would be hoping against hope.  True.  Against hope, I am still believing in hope.  (Romans 4:18-25)  God is able.  But if not, I will be ok.  By God’s grace, I will still trust, praise, and serve Him.  God is still good.

If you are childless, perhaps not by your choice, then you can even identify with the sufferings of Christ greater than my own experience.  I wonder if there is anyone who would give a word of encouragement by sharing how you have coped with this.  How have you viewed God in the difficult times or when He didn’t deliver what you wanted?  It may never get easy – the barren womb is never satisfied (Proverbs 30:15-16) – but if you can say God is still good, I would love to hear from you.

*Excerpts from AIA Devotional on Daniel 3


5 Comments (+add yours?)

  1. cat
    May 18, 2010 @ 18:07:59

    Hi there. I should warn you that I’m not a christian with a capital “C”, but I do belive in God and I liked the questioning nature of your post and I can answer your last question – though only from my own tiny perspective, of course.

    I found your post moving and I’m so glad to find that it doesn’t assume that God will deliver just because and individual believes. I was reminded of a coversation I had with a friend a coupe of years ago. She has one child and fell pregnant naturally, though with some help from herbal remedies. I had been trying for 5 years unsuccessfully, and finished 3 attempts at IVF. (A similar situation to the one you mentioned, actually. I didnt’ respond to the stimulants, even at the highest dose, and only ever had one egg per cycle to retrieve, which never made it to a blastocyst). Anway…we were standing around watching her daughter play and she, with a lot of compassion, said “Kind of makes it hard to believe in God, doesn’t it?”. I started a little, for we do not normally talk about God, but then replied. “No, quite the opposite, actually”.

    You see, what it has done for me is deepen my own personal experience of God. I do not believe that God is not there to provide for my personal whims and wishes and though I pray, I think that the plan is bigger than my prayers. Mostly now I pray for the wisdom and grace to cope with whatever comes – I’m not sure that prayer has been answered either – but I am trying. I am sure that God is not micro-managing my life. My experience of God is of something bigger and inexpressible and unknowable. For me the concept of God is expansive and I feel the presence of God when I realise how small I am, and how insignificant my wants are. My experience of God is also simplified and I am reminded that “God is love”. When I feel the love I have with my husband and know that we have grown together throughout this ordeal, then I know that God exists in love.

    I understand that this may run contrary to some of the teachings about God and Jesus. It’s just what I’ve experienced…and…well..you asked 😉


    • joyinmyjourney
      May 20, 2010 @ 16:30:40

      Well said. Thank you for taking the time to share your perspective, Cat. It is great to hear you and your husband have grown closer to God because of this trial and that you were able to share this as a testimony to your friend. God bless you.


  2. cat
    May 22, 2010 @ 23:54:42

    Geez, my grammer was positively shocking in my response…3rd paragraph, line 2 – should have read ” I do not believe that God is there to provide for my personal whims and wishes”… Apologies…Sometimes I have trouble reading on the screen – but that mistake interferred with meaing, i think, so I thought I’d better make a correction. Thanks.


  3. journeywriter
    May 28, 2010 @ 18:48:26

    thank you for this encouraging post. it’s Christlike for us to help others in their journey as we also pass through our own.



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