By Cortni Marrazzo, Crosswalk.com
About 10 years ago, I found myself struggling as my husband and I went through a season where we were waiting on God to conceive our first child.
During this time, I studied the Scriptures and encouraged myself with God’s Word in my journal, which then turned into an article that was focused on encouraging others who were also struggling with the same thing.
Since that article was published in 2009, I have received many emails from men and women who were encouraged by God’s promises in that article. Now that I’m many years past this season with 2 biological children of my own, I thought I’d revisit this subject from my current point of view on the other side.
Here are a few of the powerful lessons I’ve learned over the last 10 years that came from the seeds of growth that started during this difficult season so many years ago.
1. The Immense Value of Surrender
But seek first his kingdom and his righteousness, and all these things will be given to you as well. Matthew 6:33
The season of infertility in my life was marked by my strong desire to have a child, and the negative effect that the delayed answer had on my emotional and spiritual life.
I became discouraged and depressed, and my relationship with God became a bit strained because, at some level, I was mad at God for holding out on me.
There have been many other times in my life where I have desperately wanted something, but God wasn’t bringing it in the timing that I wanted, and there was nothing I could do to force His hand.
Eventually, in my season of infertility, as well as in other seasons similar to it, the frustration and sadness got to me and I finally came to a point where I was willing to surrender my plan (and timing) to God’s perfect plan. I had to get to a point where I was ok with not getting what I thought I wanted when I wanted it, which admittedly was extremely difficult and humbling to do.
In most situations, your strong desire could be a desire that God has actually placed in your heart, but He wants to ensure that the thing you desire doesn’t take the place of Him as the first place in your life.
How you respond to times of delayed response from God is a good barometer of your faith and trust in God, and your willingness to surrender to Him.
God doesn’t look down on you if your trust waivers, because you are a human and that is part of your humanity, but it does give you an indication of where God may be wanting to grow you during this waiting season.
2. The Immense Value of Having an Open Heart
Many are the plans in a person's heart, but it is the Lord ’s purpose that prevails. Proverbs 19:21
It’s normal to have a picture of what you think your life will look like, but things don’t always turn out how we expect them to.
When something happens in my life that is directly opposite of what I had planned and hoped for, it can be really easy to get discouraged.
When we were trying to conceive, I thought I would get pregnant right away, but it actually ended up taking a lot longer than I expected.
When I finally got pregnant, I really wanted it to be a girl, but it ended up being a boy. When I decided to have a second child, it again took longer than I hoped for, and I had yet another boy. And a few years ago, we realized that my older son has some special needs.
My life today looks a lot different than I had planned, but over the years I’ve seen how the things that God planned for my life, albeit different than mine, were exactly what I needed.
For example, the timing of my first pregnancy coincided with the pregnancy of a friend of mine, and through our shared experiences of having our first baby boys at the same time, we grew closer as friends and now she is one of my dearest friends (and our boys are also good friends).
And of course, I wouldn’t trade my 2 boys for anything in the world.
Your life may end up looking different than you thought it would. It’s possible that instead of giving you biological children, God may call you to adopt, or to foster children.
He may use fertility treatments to bring you a baby. You may only have one child, or you may end up with 10!
Whatever it ends up looking like, it will be exactly God’s perfect plan for you and it will be exactly what you never know you needed.
Photo Credit: ©GettyImages/fizkes
3. The Immense Value of Introspection
I have considered my ways and have turned my steps to your statutes. Psalm 119:59
When you find yourself experiencing an all-consuming desire that that results in depression, frustration, and/or anger, it might be a good idea to take some time to explore what it is that makes this desire so overwhelming.
A desire for a child is a God-given and healthy desire, but when it starts to consume you, the frustration and intensity that results from it may come from deeper-rooted issues that God wants to address and heal.
If you take some time to pray and sincerely ask God why this unmet desire has such a strong hold on you, and then open your heart to hear His response, He will give you the insight you seek.
Are you aching for love? Are you grasping for the perfect family image? Are you wanting to restore the childhood you never had?
When you are able to pinpoint what your soul is trying to fight so hard for, it then becomes easier to move back into a healthy desire that still allows you to walk in peace, rather than one that constantly brings you down.
4. The Immense Value of Biblical Examples
And by faith even Sarah, who was past childbearing age, was enabled to bear children because she considered him faithful who had made the promise. Hebrews 11:11
When you feel like you are alone in your struggle of infertility, you need only to open your Bible to read about many women who suffered the same struggle and heartbreak you are currently going through.
Even more encouraging than the fact that these women experienced this same struggle, is the fact that many of them were eventually blessed with children that God ended up using in mighty ways!
Sarah (Genesis 15-21)
God promised Abraham that his descendants would be plentiful, but he and his wife Sarah had no children at the time, and were both very old. After years of infertility, God promised that Sarah would have a son in her old age.
Sarah eventually received the promise and gave birth to a son that they named Isaac, who became part of the lineage of the promised Messiah, Jesus.
Rebekah (Genesis 25)
Isaac, the promised son of Sarah and Abraham, eventually married Rebekah, and when she faced the same infertility that her mother-in-law faced, Isaac prayed for his wife to get pregnant and God answered his prayer with twins, Jacob and Esau.
God eventually changed Jacob’s name to Israel and he became the patriarch of God’s chosen nation, to which Jesus was born to.
Rachel (Genesis 29-30)
Jacob eventually married two women who were sisters: Leah & Rachel. While Leah had multiple children, Rachel simply couldn’t get pregnant (seemed to be a common theme in the family).
After having to watch her sister go through pregnancy after pregnancy, Rachel finally got pregnant herself and gave birth to a son named Joseph, and he ended up saving the entire nation from starvation later down the road.
Hannah (1st Samuel 1)
Like Rachel, Hannah also shared her husband with another woman who kept getting pregnant, while Hannah struggled with infertility. In deep anguish, Hannah prayed to God for a baby and promised that if He would bless her with one, she would dedicate that child back to Him.
God blessed Hannah and her husband with a son whom they named Samuel and she kept her promise to dedicate him to the Lord. Eventually Samuel became one of the most influential prophets in the history of Israel.
Elizabeth (Luke 1)
Elizabeth and her husband Zachariah were righteous people who obeyed God, but they weren’t able to conceive a child and when we meet them in the Bible, they were very old.
One day an angel appeared to Zechariah and told him that God had answered their prayers for a child, and not long after, Elizabeth became pregnant with a son, who was filled with the Holy Spirit before he was even born
This child was John the Baptist and he eventually became the man that God used to prepare the way for Jesus to start his ministry.
With the amount of emails I have received from people encouraged by my original article, and the likely hundreds, if not thousands of people who were encouraged that I don’t even know about, it continues to remind me that this difficult short season of my life (short in hindsight, but didn’t feel short at the time) was worth going through if only for the sole purpose of encouraging others to keep believing in God for a child.
Even if you can’t fathom how, God will always find a way to use what you are going through for good. When you hold on to this promise in the midst of heartache, God will help you keep going when you feel like you don’t have the strength.
Cortni Marrazzo lives in Spokane, WA with her husband Jason and their two elementary-age sons, one of which has special needs. She has a Degree in Biblical Discipleship and has a passion for the local church and encouraging and inspiring people toward God’s Word. You can contact her at [email protected] or follow her Facebook page.
Photo Credit: ©GettyImages/Prostock-Studio
Cortni Marrazzo lives in Spokane, WA with her husband Jason and their two elementary-age sons, one of which has special needs. She has a Degree in Biblical Discipleship and has a passion for encouraging and inspiring people toward God’s Word through writing and speaking. You can find more of her writing and contact her at www.Cortni.Marrazzo.com, on Instagram, or on Facebook.