“At least 2 years!” Is what I begged of my husband. At least two years where we could have sanity. Build our relationship. Discover who we were as a couple. Then the little munchkins could come. When I was ready.
So…we did the infamous Pill. No dreaded “honeymoon baby” for us. That’s what happened to people who didn’t think. Who didn’t plan. And I was determined that would not be us.
Two years came…and I started to “feel ready.” Something just changed in me. I knew I wanted to be a mom. I didn’t want life to be all about me, or my husband. I wanted a baby to love too.
“Trust me, we won’t have any trouble!” I assured my husband with a wink, as I threw that final round disk of 28 pills like a frisbee into the trash can. My mom and older sister both got pregnant in their first year of marriage, and I was sure I would be of the “Fertile Myrtle,” just-look-my-way and I’ll be pregnant “type.”
But that first month “we tried,” I remember so vividly, so naively (looking back), taking that first pregnancy test. Waiting those two minutes. And the shock when it read: NEGATIVE.
If you have experienced this, at least once, you will know the strange sorrow that subtly fills your heart. I cried before I left for work, and my husband hugged me, and assured me everything was alright. It might just take a few months.
Months Waning On & Why God?
The next month came, and so did my period. And the next, and the next. It was just taking a little “longer than expected.”
I charted my periods, fluids, temperature, and anger. I went to the doctor. My husband went to the doctor. I read books, and blogs. And cried. A lot.
Most of my friends were on baby #2 or #3. But I was barren. And no one knew why. It seemed so easy for everyone else. (Especially those teenage girls pushing their strollers down the street.) But not for me, not for us. It felt as if we stood still; frozen, and the whole world kept rushing past us.
It was about two years of this. It doesn’t seem that long now..but it did then. The climax of every 28 days waiting to find out if “this month is different.” Only to be disappointed by the regular flow of blood, or a negative pregnancy test (that doesn’t magically turn to positive after it’s tossed in the trash can.) Trust me..I always checked. Just in case.
Some months I was full of faith. “In faith..” I’d declare, “I am NOT buying tampons..because I am trusting this month I won’t need them!” (Only later to go out and have to buy the overpriced ones at the gas station down the road.) Darn.
The Day I Stopped Being Barren
Then it happened. All this time God was trying to lasso my heart, and I remember the day He did. Sometimes that happens. You’re not even looking for it, like swimming with your eyes closed and smacking your forehead off the side of the swimming pool.
I was listening to an online episode of “Adventures in Odyssey” with my 5th grade students. While they finished coloring their homemade storybooks, I sat and listened to a story about a woman who had become blind by an accident. She said for years she “tolerated” what God had allowed in her life, but she never was thankful for it. But over the years, she learned how to actually thank God for what He allowed in her life. This is what He determined was for her greatest good. So she embraced it with both arms, and thanked Him.
For so long “tolerating,” but never “thanking” God for what He was doing. At last, so convicted. Cut to the heart. If God decided it was not time, who was I to say His plan was not good? I ducked behind my monitor and wiped away tears and bitterness. Who was I to quarrel with my Maker?
That was the day, this very small seed began to grow in me. Instead of fighting Him tooth and nail over his plan, I began to thank Him. Begrudgingly at first, but then genuinely. Praying things like: Thank You that You know my body better than I do, and maybe you’re protecting me from something my body cannot handle. Thank you I don’t have to go through morning sickness. Or weight gain. Or (the dreaded) labor. Thank You for no stretch marks. Or a flabby stomach. Or flabby arms. (Ok..maybe my list was slightly vain and trivial..but it was sincere.)
I began to realize maybe God had a different purpose for me, for my husband. Began to think of the extra time we would have together. What this might allow us to do. It was the working of a real miracle in me: I stopped envying all my friends who were moms. Stopped wanting other women’s lives. And I started thanking God that He had a unique calling on me. I kept my focus on the few things He had entrusted me with, (like loving my husband, and taking care of our home, and my job) and tried to do those well.
That seed was growing in me. Life was beginning to fill me. I stopped seeing all the EMPTY in my life. Started seeing how full it was. Overflowing. Joyful. Unique. And God became close, intimate, and sovereign over this. For the first time: I stopped demanding with clenched fists–and started worshiping with open hands.
As I was leaving my job one day, this song came into my mind. I remember jotting it down on pink post-it notes…and finishing it the moment I walked in the door and crashed down at my piano. It was like this cry coming out of me, that I had to get out on paper, had to sing:
Barren, barren for all to see
Barren, but He’s still beautiful to me
I prayed for a baby
For the start of new life
Though I barely know how to be a good wife
The doctor’s say
They don’t know what to do
I know in Your sovereign will You’ll choose
To give me life
And You say,
“There’s Someone living inside you,
Though not a child, tucked inside your womb,
But my Holy Spirit, who conquered Jesus’ tomb.
He’s alive, He’s alive, He’s alive,
Hear Him roar!
And you’re alive, you’re alive
More than ever before.
Do you trust me, Honey?
In My time, In My way
When your womb is barren,
And your hands are empty?”
Tears fell over the keys. And a new chord was struck that day, within me. One that had not been played before. I was waiting for a baby to fulfill what only God could. The Life I was longing for.
And I was no longer barren. My soul was full, brimming, overflowing with joy. Gratitude. I was thankful, fruitful. Surrendered. Connected to the Vine. No longer dying..but living. And for the first time…in a very long time: content.
The Baby Blessing
We had rented “The Shadowlands,” and I was scarfing down a bowl of Oreo Birthday Cake ice cream, when I realized I finally had to pee. I had picked up a pregnancy test like I had many other times, and this was nothing new. My period was late..but that didn’t mean anything. This had happened before..to no avail. “Do you want me to pause it?” My husband called as I darted up the stairs. “Noo!” I shouted down. I wasn’t going to let myself be excited. I was just going to be content to “not be pregnant.” No expectations. I peed on the stick and waited, refusing to look at it. Furiously praying as I always did, “Lord. Please let me be at peace with whatever the result is!” (I don’t think there’s ever been a girl in history whose heart hasn’t skipped a beat while waiting those FOREVER two minutes.) I took a deep breath.
Opened my eyes. And to my shock read, “Pregnant.” I shook my head as if to clear it. “Pregnant?” Pregnant. My mind started racing a million miles per hour. “Brandon!!!” I shouted for my husband to come upstairs. I had no words. I just shoved the pee soaked stick into his hands. And he read it. Speechless. Our eyes met. Locked. And we started laughing. “What?!” Hugging. Staring at it. “Do you think it’s right?!” We’re crying. Collapsing on the bed. Locking onto one another. Could this be real?
And suddenly, the realization, the rush of warmth—God. He did this. In His time, in His way.
Gede Prama says
Thank you so much for sharing these beautiful words and for such a wonderful response…:)
You are so welcome! Thank you so much for reading!
This brought me to tears and is exactly how I feel in this journey. Thank you for sharing such sweet truth.
You are welcome! Thanks for sharing! I know it can be so tough..and so long..(without any end in sight!) May God surround you today and always, and give you the assurance He does see you and hear you.
Your words changed me when I stumbled on them this morning. Thank you so much.
Wow…you nailed the emotion of it all. Thank you for sharing. I’m at the point in my journey where I am angry with God but know I need to start purposefully stating my blessings if I want to crawl out of this hole. Thank you for the encouragement.
I just stumbled upon your blog via a friend and all I can say is “Wow!”. I can relate completely to everything in your story, because it’s been exactly the same for me. The Lord has been working so much in my heart about being content with His timing, and not mine. For a while, during the time I was struggling the most with infertility (over a 2 year struggle thus far), I truly believed that my good was better than His good for me. How foolish! I struggled for a long time with anger, bitterness, discontentment at my situation and unfortunately it took some serious bashing over the head/humbling for me to realize how arrogant I was to think that My Maker couldn’t possibly trump what I had in mind for myself. Romans 8:28 then started popping up everywhere and that’s when it really hit home, that this whole struggle is MEANT for my good. That good though, didn’t meant me getting what I wanted when I wanted. This greater good was me being drawn closer to my Savior. This good was refining my heart, mind, and character. This good was us pursuing adoption and bringing in little lives who we could then introduce to Jesus. There were SO many more “Goods” that He had in store for me that were far greater than anything I could have envisioned for myself. So, even though we have not been blessed yet with our own child, and perhaps may never, it is well with my soul, as the wonderful hymn goes. If we adopt every one of our children, it will be such a joy.
I’m so glad that the Lord blessed you with your little one. Our Lord is an immensely loving, gracious, and incredible God. I loved your song and I loved reading your story. It has encouraged me so much to continue to walk on this path towards greater contentment in Him, because it is through Him that we find true joy and peace.
Thank you for your post!
Rebekah– you have no idea how thankful I am that the Lord led me to your blog. You are putting words to so much of my journey of the past year, and echoing much of what God has been stirring in my own heart about what barren really means. I’d love to write you a longer email when I have time. I can’t tell you how much I appreciate your willingness to share and how much it has meant in my own walk with the Lord.
These are the feelings I could not say or the thoughts that I thought were only mine. My husband and I have been struggling with this for two years now. doctors don’t know why we can’t get pregnant. I’ve had surgery, hormonal treatments and still nothing. The first year I was ok but now I’m angry and bitter and I’m disappointed in God as every single person around me in my church is on their 3rd and. 4th UNPLANNED pregnancy. It all seems so unfair and and I know I need to deal with this but I don’t know how. I thought I was all alone until I read your blog. I never thought about it as a heart problem before and content. That if I just had my own baby I would be complete. But now I realize that’s not true. Thank you for your words of wisdom and for sharing your story. God has indeed blessed you.
Ah this gave me goose bumps and tears!!!!!! Loved reading this so so very much. I was luckily on the other side with a ‘surprise’ pregnancy but this was so great and eye opening to read the other side of things. So beautiful that God opened your heart during that time and gave you such a peace and greater faith and then blessed you with the greatest gift of all!! Very much looking forward to reading more of your posts 🙂
I am so glad! I sincerely appreciate your comments. And yes, God has such a way of uniquely helping us to get our gaze on Him (and He works through so many different ways!) I love to hear how He is moving in the hearts of other women. Thank you for sharing and for your encouragement! 🙂
Thieu-Tiet Parsons says
This sweet story reminds me & confirms again the way of the Lord. He doesn’t always give what we want; but if He does, He only gives after we fully give our want away to Him.
Also, I still cry reading your acct of the heartache of waiting & am thrilled at the exhilarating moment. It’s still so vivid even though my daughter is 30 now and expecting their first baby.
Wow, I’m so glad this could resonate with you. You are absolutely right, God wants ALL of our hearts. It is so touch actually giving our desires over to Him, but there is a sweet exchange when we do. He gives us His very Self , and in His presence all the sorrow and sighing flees away. And we are satisfied in Him. Thank you for your words!
Lori Evans says
Dear friend, your beginning sounds like it came from my life. We are still trying, for almost four years now. I have had surgery for extreme endometriosis, forced menopause, and will learn the next step from my doctor in two weeks. Thank you for putting these thoughts to paper. (or to keyboard) So many around me have had accidental pregnancies, some even have had two while I feel like a failure to my husband and as a woman in general. I pray for peace, for the time when I won’t resent the lucky ones who have sweet babies to cuddle, or feed at 3:00 in the morning. I pray for peace until His time will be my time. Thank you for your courage to speak truth.
May God surround you with His very presence through this time. A very simple prayer that tremendously helped me to surrender during my barrenness was, “Whatever You want, however You want.” It was painful to utter at times…but it left the burden in God’s hands. He intimately knows you (and your husband) and has your best interest in mind. (I know it’s hard to feel that though sometimes.) You are not a failure. Not at all. I will pray for you. That the Lord will lead your steps, and open every single door He wants you to walk through. I know that feeling, like the world is rushing past you, but you are staying still, frozen. Perhaps God is preparing you. Don’t lose heart. And keep pouring out your heart to the Lord, because He hears your cries. Even in the night. And you are very precious to Him. He will give you what you need.
Thieu-Tiet Parsons says
Lori, I pray (& will continue to pray for you during my private prayer time) that your love for Him and your hope & trust in Him will get you to the point that you can fully & w/ peace to say to Him “not my will but Yours, even that means not having any baby to cuddle in my arms.” It is hard & painful, but I do pray that you will be able to release all to Him for the sake of total yielding.
The verse to help me thru difficult time: “Be of good courage, and He will strengthen your hearts, all you who hope in the Lord.” I believe Psa 31 or 33.
Lori Evans says
Dear friend, thank you for your beautiful and kind words. No one has ever quite been able to give me comfort even though they have tried. Your words have given me strength and conviction. Until it is His time, I will continue to pray for peace. I teach kindergarten, and my husband and I foster dogs through a local rescue group. I become so consumed in thoughts of my empty arms that I take my full heart for granted. I shall not overlook this again. Thank you again for speaking this out loud. I can’t tell you how much it means to hear this from someone who understands. God bless you and your family. You are truly a blessing!
Ashley Nelson says
I just stumbled onto your blog via your “am I enough” article through a friend. What a joy to discover. Like you, I told my husband, “let’s wait!” I made him wait 4 yrs though as I sowed my wild oats and we lived it up. Then, I decided I was ready….and no pregnancy. We tried for 6 months to no avail. Then, we did all the traditional treatments for a year, then we took a year off. We were both angry and frustrated with God and so, so, so bitterly disappointed. Then, we did a year of holistic Chinese herbal treatments and acupuncture. Then, God finally spoke to our hearts and this infertility dragged us back to Him, kicking and screaming. Now we are in our 6th year of infertility, our only treatment is “letting go and letting God.” I chant Rom8:28 like a mantra and trust in His promises in the OT. His spirit has reassured me several times that We will have children (though hardly anyone believes me). I’m just at a point where I know He has it planned and I’ve been trying so hard to wait with patient expectation…but I’m weary, and all of our friends children are growing up, we don’t have the same bonds with any of our friends because we’re in different places in our lives as they rush to meet the needs of their children. It is so isolating. Thank you for your encouraging word to remind me that no matter what He is enough, and despite how it feels at any time he is indeed GOOD
You are so welcome. May God fill you with His grace, and everything you need right now.
Lisa Sommario Dembosz says
I have nominated you for the “One Lovely Blog Award” 🙂
Traci Landrum says
I’m just now following your blog. This story was amazing and very inspiring! My husband and I have been trying for year in a half now. I just started taking pills and shot. I have good days and bad. You have family members and close friends who try and ask but still don’t understand exactly what your going through. It is so wonderful to talk to people that have been through the same thing. Thank you for the inspirational story. If you have any books or other inspirational stories please share:)
Thank you! I’m glad you could find hope here, and I hope you continue to find hope in the Lord. Another great blog I recommend is called http://www.waitingforbabybird.com . There is so much encouragement and hope for women struggling with infertility! But other than that, any of my posts in my “Trying to Conceive” category would be encouraging for you! Much love. And may God himself bring you the encouragement you need. <3, Rebekah
Beautiful words. My story is very similar. Year after we got married we started to try for baby. It took 7 long years for our baby boy to be with us and 7 years of those emotions. I truly believe that our son is Gift from God ( this is why his middle name is Matthew). I cry every time I’m thinking about this journey and how God is amazing in His promises. I just wish I could be more patient and trusted Him more for all those years.
Kelly Barnes says
Beautifully written and love the song. Will look it up. Funny my husband’s name is brandon also. Surviving infertility after 8 years. Kelly
I am on this same journey, 2 years now. I was on birth control first year of our marriage, due to medication. June 2014 was was when I could officially begin attempting. I thought it would be easy to get pregnant, everyone does it. Right?! But it did not work like that. And here I am, October 2016 and not pregnant. ? My parents keep asking, inlaws, people I know – it gets tire some.
However it is so refreshing and inspiring to read of similar stories! Thank you for your post!
Your words, your experiences making my day.. God is making mine.. it’s still on the way.. I started to believe that now..his plans.. such an encouraging words! Thank you!!, I’m sure u have made all the childless couples day! Hi from Singapore!
Sorry for my delay! I am so glad I could encourage you!
I have so enjoyed reading all your posts. I had a miscarriage last year and have been unable to conceive again. Faith and joy are two things I struggle to find some days. Thank you so much for sharing your blessed and beautiful stories!
Thank you Kaila. May God bring you the healing you need in your deepest places. My heart goes out to you. May He bring His comfort and peace. I wish I had the words. But keep going to Him, He is with you. <3 Hugs, Rebekah
I used to HATE stories like this- everyone had this miraculous story about how God BLESSED them with a baby after waiting for SO LONG. Everyone except me. God forgot about me, or just simply didn’t like me enough to bless ME.
Then I realized, after four years of trying, and a lifetime of preparing for a big family, I have a miraculous story too! I’m just in the middle of mine! Someday I will share my story, and it will sound like Big Daddy Weave’s song, ‘If I told you my story, you would hear hope that wouldn’t let go…love that never gave up…and life, but it wasn’t mine.”
For now I wait to finish my story but take joy in God’s grace through other women’s stories.
Thanks for sharing.
I’m in tears reading this post. First because I’m going through what you went through and second because the happy ending made me shed happy tears. i await for our day to fall in bed crying with the positive news.
Thank you for sharing your story and your strength.
Priyanka Pai says
Rebekah Greetings from India… Iam going through the same as you had been a few years ago.. I felt like you hav written my own story…. I couldn’t control my tears reading some of the actual points you ve put up… I mean I’ve lot to say but m spell bound presently … you ve opened my eyes regarding gods wish for us dea.. yes he is always with us watching our pain.. He is the maker so he knows what’s the best for us.. Thank you so much for boosting women like me.. Good bless you too… much love
Thank you so much for putting your story/testimony out there for us! I too have been on the journey of waiting for my baby blessing. My husband and I have been married (and”trying”) for almost 11 years. Its been a journey that was more like a crazy life rollercoaster. In recent months God has sent me a message through 2 different people that now is the time to believe and be prepared. Since that time I have had to practice great patience (sometimes failing) but I’m learning how to love God more! One day I will be able to tell my story of barrenness to beautiful!
Megan R says
Thank you for sharing this! My husband and I are almost 9 months into our journey to conceive, and the emotional/spiritual toll has been so hard on me. Like you, everything for us looks good on paper, but we have not been able to get pregnant. This is the first month that I’ve finally been more at peace with the situation and, as you described it, not demanding with fisted hands. However, through this I’ve been learning that I really struggle with anxiety, control, and stress, and that I’ve been angry with God for the last few years due to other crises and disappointments in my life. As difficult as this journey has been so far, I’m beginning to see the great blessings in it. The few people we have shared our struggle with have been so loving and supportive. Our relationship is stronger. My relationship with God is healing, and I’m focusing better on my physical and mental health. Thank you for sharing your story of find contentment in barrenness, and the later story of your daughter’s insight of why God took so long. I needed to hear that today!