One Son

As a woman with secondary infertility it can be hard to see the blessing of many children given to other families. But I’m reminded of the couples in the Bible who were given only one child:

Abraham and Sarah- Isaac

Zechariah and Elizabeth- John (the Baptist)

In both cases, the couples were considered righteous even as they remained barren. Yet the Lord took away their disgrace (sadness and longing) by giving them the gift of a child. Scripture doesn’t gloss over human disappointment and struggles. Instead, we get to see how God works through these valleys.

The Father had only one Son as well. He did not spare Him, but gave Him up as an offering for our sin (Romans 8:32). Through God’s One and Only Son, all who trust in Christ as their Lord and Savior are given life forever. Jesus Christ is the greatest blessing you and I will ever have. Even if our life circumstances aren’t what we thought they would be, He is enough.

The Lord can lead us to a heart of gratitude when we grieve the dreams that aren’t and look forward with clear eyes and a full heart of what kind of story God IS writing with the life we do have.

God the Father demonstrated the greatest sacrifice by giving us Jesus. When I meditate on the unfathomable depth of His love for me, I settle back into resting in His Sovereign Goodness. And I thank Him for the blessings I do have. Practicing gratitude, like breathing.

I looked up the meaning of my son’s name the other day. It means “Gift”. What a sweet reminder of the blessing right in front of me. He truly is a gift to me and my husband. Remembering our gifts is important, but acknowledging where they come from is the purpose. The Gift-Giver became our greatest Gift. God incarnate.

Grace upon grace,


“For God so loved the world that He gave His one and only Son, that whoever believes in Him shall not perish but have eternal life. For God did not send His Son into the world to condemn the world, but to save the world through Him.” -John 3:16-17

You are not alone


Something I have been fairly open about on here is my trial with infertility. For me it is known as secondary infertility since my husband and I have one biological son. 1 in 8 couples experience difficulty in conceiving or sustaining a pregnancy according to a recent study from the National Survey of Family Growth*. It isn’t talked about so these couples grieve in silence. Something that caught my attention a few months ago was that this problem is not something dealt with just in the United States. I wrote a piece on secondary infertility and it was the most widely read post, reaching to places like the United Kingdom, New Zealand, and South Africa. The frustration and isolation is felt worldwide.

This is why we need each other. You and I are not alone in this. Our valley of infertility may not look the same, but the giants that threaten to slay us there sure seem similar: doubt, fear, anger, and self-pity. Sometimes it is hard to know who is going through this invisible pain. I catch myself wondering why the woman with a seven year old doesn’t have any more children. It is certainly none of my business, but could it be that instead of rushing to a conclusion (or judgment) I could have compassion instead? What if she would love nothing more than to have the pitter-patter of little feet all around her? What if she doesn’t? In any case, my response could make all the difference to her heart. In my own struggle with infertility I am trying to remember to give grace to other women with similar heartache.

That is why I am proud to partner with the Scarlet & Gold Shop in their ‘Give Grace’ campaign. It is a way for women struggling with infertility to come together and show grace to one another in the burdens they carry. Those battle scars can’t ever heal by keeping them buried. After awhile the Band-Aids become stale and just hang there serving no purpose but to hide a wound.

I think men and women process their infertile reality in different ways, but perhaps women feel it more deeply. In 1 Samuel, even Hannah’s husband, Elkanah, didn’t quite understand her sadness because she couldn’t have children. Wasn’t he enough, he asked? Yes and no. The desire for children is God given and there is no shame in that. Elkanah’s other wife, Peninnah, knew how much Hannah suffered because of infertility. Instead of deciding to be a friend and comfort her, Peninnah heaped onto Hannah’s heartache by provoking her barren womb.

One of the names of God that gives me great comfort is ‘Immanuel’, which means, “God with us”. As a Christian His very Presence is always with me. That means that I am not left to myself to fight the giants. He holds out His Hand to lead through all the twists and turns. As God becomes my strength He gives me eyes to see others around me in the valley. We begin to form a grace chain holding hands with each other as we hold onto Immanuel.


Giving grace to another might look like sharing your story first. Help someone to know they are not alone. If you are not part of this “Club” that no one wants to be in, maybe pray for us? Some may be more sensitive than others when it comes to your words, baby announcements, and baby showers, but it doesn’t mean we don’t need you to encourage us. And even when we have a hard time of it, we still love that you have children and that you are pregnant again, because we love you – and life is beautiful, always.

It is a funny thing learning to be content in the present circumstances while still longing for a baby. There can be streams of joy down in the valley when you realize that you aren’t alone. You do not have to walk this journey alone.

You keep him in perfect peace whose mind is stayed on you, because he trusts in you.” (Isaiah 26:3 ESV)

You and I have Immanuel, God with us, and we never have to fear what the future holds when He holds the future.

Grace upon grace,


* 2006-2010 National Survey of Family Growth CDC;

Questions & Boxing

480813165   Sometimes my desires don’t line up with God’s plans for me. Sometimes the unexpected life turns are welcome and other times I question Him. Facing the reality of secondary infertility I wonder, how can the desire for another child be so wrong? Why does everything have to be so difficult? Why does life have to be so hard?

Forgive my cheesy analogy, but life is like a boxing match. I get in the ring with my opponent, Life, and throw some punches. I can take most of the punches too. Then there is that one blow that knocks me off my feet, flat on the ground. Do I eventually get up again, start the circle dance with my gloves back up in a fighting stance? Or do I just need to lie there like a dead fish and wave the white flag?

I think the Sovereign Lord does give us more than we can handle sometimes, for one reason: to rely on Him. It is not in my strength that I keep persevering, keep hoping, keep believing, and keep loving. It is in His strength, through the power of the Holy Spirit who dwells in me. Paul talks about his hardships being unbearable in his letter to the church in Corinth. He writes:

“We do not want you to be uninformed, brothers, about the hardships we suffered in the province of Asia. We were under great pressure, far beyond our ability to endure, so that we despaired even of life. Indeed in our hearts we felt the sentence of death. But this happened that we might not rely on ourselves but on God, who raises the dead. He has delivered us from such a deadly peril, and He will deliver us. On Him we have set our hope that He will continue to deliver us,” (2 Corinthians 1:8-10 NIV).

I am not strong enough to go toe to toe with Life all by myself. Jehovah is strong and He is willing. All I have to do is loosen my grip on the “what I want” and instead embrace, “not my will, but Yours be done”. Just as He spoke directly into Paul’s pain saying, “My grace is sufficient for you, for My power is made perfect in weakness,” (2 Cor. 12:9 NIV), the Shepherd of my soul whispers these loving words into my heart.

The Father works through submissive servants. If my will does not align with His, there will be struggle and the Spirit’s power in me is stifled. God wants my obedience and trust more than He wants my ideas. He lovingly spells it out in Scripture because God knows we need to see His promises in black and white (sometimes red) right in front of our face. That is why He has given us His words as gentle reminders of Who is really in control. He also shows us that He isn’t a cruel dictator either, but uses the living Word to woo us to Himself.

When we realize that God Almighty is the absolute best thing for us, we can rest assured that His plans are too. We do not have to pace back and forth, wringing our hands wondering if the Lord’s way of doing things is right, because it always is. When I start to get upset because my life is not going exactly how I pictured it, I can find comfort in these words of love:

“You keep him in perfect peace him whose mind is stayed on You because he trusts in You” (Isaiah 26:3)

“Listen, listen to me, and eat what is good, and your soul will delight in the richest of fare. Give ear and come to Me; hear Me, that your soul may live” (Isaiah 55:2-3)

“ ‘For My thoughts are not your thoughts, neither are your ways My ways’, declares the Lord” (Isaiah 55:8)

“ ‘For I know the plans I have for you,’ declares the Lord, ‘plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future. Then you will call upon Me and come and pray to Me, and I will listen to you. You will seek Me and find Me when you seek Me with all your heart’” (Jeremiah 29:11-13).

sb10067337z-001           So yes, I would still love to have more kids but right now for whatever reason God has said ‘no’ at least to biological children. He asks us to walk by faith, not by sight. He calls us to continue to trust in what we already know of Him- God is Good, Sovereign, Holy, Loving, Pure, Just, True and Faithful. I fight in His strength and not my own, but I have to be an obedient vessel, pliable in the Hands of God. In the end, hopefully I can echo Paul’s words:

“I have fought the good fight, I have finished the race, I have kept the faith. Now there is in store for me the crown of righteousness, which the Lord, the righteous Judge, will award to me on that day- and not only to me, but also to all who have longed for His appearing” (2 Timothy 4:7-8 NIV).

When I don’t understand life circumstances, when I feel too weak to stand, when Life pelts me to the ground, I look up. His Hand reaches down to lift me up. He tells me to get behind Him as He acts as my Shield. I am not fighting alone, and I never have to.

But the Lord stood at my side and gave me strength, so that through me the message might be fully proclaimed and all the Gentiles might hear it. And I was delivered from the lion’s mouth.

The Lord will rescue me from every evil attack and will bring me safely to His heavenly kingdom. To Him be glory for ever and ever. Amen” (2 Timothy 4:17-18 NIV).

Grace upon grace,



So, what now?

cwvDm9asA_Lw9YsGTQNy8vW7ZoQSo what do you do when the dreams you had planned for your life are dashed? What do you do when the life you envisioned for yourself does not come to fruition? For me, part of my disappointment has been secondary infertility. This means that I have one child, conceived without any problem, but for some reason the second time around my body has not cooperated. It is like the factory shut down and my body stopped doing a very natural thing women were created to do- have children.

My husband and I wanted more children, siblings for our son who is now four. We wanted kids close in age, so when our son Jesse, was nine months old we hoped it would not be long before he had a brother or sister. I think the first year I was in denial that there was a problem. I mean the women in my family have never had any issues in being able to conceive. I come from hearty stock, I thought. Then as the months passed by, turning into years I began to wonder what was wrong with me? It was about this time when I became particularly hard on myself that I started receiving advice and comments in how to “solve” my problem. Gain some weight, don’t drink coffee (are they nuts?!), take more vitamins, sleep more, “it will happen eventually”.

Sometimes our bodies just do not work the way we want them to and it is insanely frustrating. So, two years into trying for baby #2 my husband and I went to a fertility specialist. Apparently I’m fine and he’s fine and there is no known reason as to why we should not be able to have more children. Don’t you just love when doctors tell you that? I think I might be able to take it better if I had a reason or something to answer my question, ‘why?’

To top it off I see friends and family expanding their tribe and I am hurt that the Lord has seemingly passed me by. I do not understand and I have so many questions. Just to clarify, I am thrilled to pieces God gave me my son. Sometimes I just look at his face and I am in awe that I get to be his mom. I want to be particularly sensitive to the precious couples that battle primary infertility. My heart goes out to the woman or man who is hurting or angry. I cannot completely understand your grief, but I do get it on some level. I can sympathize with you and cry with you.

Any couple experiencing infertility whether it is primary or secondary, usually journeys through it silently. Even though this issue consumes a lot of your time, money, thoughts, and emotions you do not talk about it. Maybe it is the subject of the trial- making babies, or maybe you feel like a failure (you shouldn’t). Perhaps your heart is so tender you feel you might cry at the mention of a baby. Sometimes you just want someone to “get it”, that your heart breaks into a million pieces every time you hear another pregnancy announcement or receive a baby shower invitation. It is not that you are not happy for those folks it is just hard to swallow sometimes. Let me state that because God creates life, all of life is beautiful and resentment should not have a permanent place in your heart.

I have no doubt whatsoever Who is in control over the womb. I have seen some women struggle with primary infertility and have fertility treatments work. Later on, those same women have “surprise” pregnancies, ‘miracle blessing babies’ I call them. Other times treatments fail to respond. How we respond to those disappointments is crucial to our faith.

I heard a sermon recently by a guest speaker who said, “Jesus is worthy of worship at all times by all peoples.” He was speaking on missions, but if Christians really believe that Jesus is worthy of our worship at all times, even in the hard moments, then this should be our response. I never really considered that Jesus has lovingly placed secondary infertility in my life for His purpose. I know Romans 8:28 and quote it for other things and to other people, but infertility? The hard answer is yes.

Fellow sufferers, God can make beautiful things from your sorrow. He can take your desire for a baby and lead you down a path for your life otherwise impossible without this “roadblock”. Jesus is infinitely better than my hopes and dreams that I had planned. His plans are generally different than mine anyway because He can see the whole picture. I only see what is right in front of me, another failed month with fertility treatment, and another negative pregnancy test. God will keep you too. He will hold your hand as you journey through this season. Trust in God’s goodness and sovereignty in those moments of sadness and frustration. He has not passed you by. The Lord may be using for you even greater things you cannot even fathom. That may include children someday. Truly, our loving and wise Father has purposed this for you to deepen your faith. Spiritual growth is richer and greater than getting what we want when we want it.

The compassionate Lord saw Hannah’s tears and heard her prayers. He set His purpose for a miraculous pregnancy through Sarah. He sought out Hagar when she was turned away from Abraham’s home, with Ishmael, in her most desperate hour. God used Esther to save a nation. He redeemed Ruth, a Moabitess. Almighty God permitted divine conception for both Elizabeth and Mary! He is a God who sees our tears and hurts. He hears our prayers. He knows our desires. He weaves His power throughout history for His glory and honor. There is purpose in your story.

So, what now? How will you respond to infertility? Friends, others are watching how you respond. They may not know the details of your situation, but hardship has a way of seeping into every aspect of our life, affecting daily living. Whether you realize it or not they are seeing if you live by faith. Maybe it is an unsaved co-worker or a new sister in Christ and they need to see you worship Jesus even when everything does not go your way. Proverbs 3:5-6 says, “Trust in the Lord with all your heart and lean not on your own understanding; in all your ways acknowledge Him, and He will make your paths straight” (NIV). So even though I may not always feel like it and it can be really hard to do so, I choose to trust the Lord with this day. I choose to bow down and worship my beautiful Savior in the face of infertility.

Grace upon grace,


For added support and encouragement for infertility, miscarriage, or child loss a site I have found helpful is