Though I don’t write about it often, our efforts to grow our family have been a prominent part of my life for the better part of a year. I wish that I could relegate secondary infertility to just a small corner of my life, but the unfortunate truth is that this “thorn in the flesh” manages to weasel its way into nearly every corner of my present reality—from finances and time, to emotional and physical well-being, and of course my faith walk.
I think it goes without saying that this is not a trial I would have chosen for myself or my family. It is frustrating and confusing, painful and expensive, and it paves the way for all manner of doubts, fears, and insecurities to creep into my psyche and make themselves at home. Month after month, my hopes are built up, only to have them come crashing down around me with the first crimson signs that my body has once again failed to make space for a new life.
Each new cycle brings me back to my knees, pleading with God to grant me the desires of my heart. And each month, He has answered “No.”
The most painful aspect of infertility is that the outcome remains to be seen. Our efforts could prove fruitful, or they may not. Five years from now, we may look back and see that God was simply telling us “Wait.” Or we may find ourselves the recipients of a definitive “No.”
As I reside in this perpetual waiting room, Wait Time: Unknown, it’s easy for me to fall into despair. To protect my own heart, I sometimes grow quiet in my prayers, refusing to give voice to the request that God already knows is on my lips. But I’m not sure this is the right approach. In fact, I know that it isn’t. God wants to hear from me—whether it’s my complaints, my fears, my praises. . . or my requests.
Notice that I said requests, not demands. There is a difference between demanding that God answer my prayers, and respectfully bringing my requests before the Lord, fully acknowledging His authority to answer as He sees fit. Making demands of God is disrespectful and detrimental to my relationship with Him; it fractures my faith and sets me up for heartbreak and disillusionment when my demands remain unfulfilled. In contrast, when I share my heart with God from a posture of humility and obedience, I am engaging in a powerful act of communion. My faith grows as I learn to articulate my desires without the expectation that they will be met.
I have not lost hope that God will eventually answer “Yes!” to my request for a baby, and that we will get to experience the joy of another child. But this “hope” is not of the Biblical variety. The Bible defines hope as “the confident expectation of what God has promised,” and God has not guaranteed that there will be a baby in my future. My ultimate Hope, then, cannot be dependent on an unknown future, but rather on a Known God.
I Hope in a Heavenly Father whose love is persistent and unfailing, who sees the Big Picture of my life and has my best interest in mind. I Hope in a God who uses my trials and tears to woo me to Him, who comforts me in my grief and holds my hand while I wait. I Hope in the Lord, who may answer “not yet” or even “no” to my requests, but whose answer to “Do you love me?” is always a resounding, unequivocal, wholehearted “YES!”