Guest Post: Is Infertility My Fault?
Colby and I are vacationing and while we are gone it’s an honor to have such a woman of God on my blog today, Elizabeth Laing Thompson. She recently wrote a book and although I haven’t finished it yet, it’s on a topic that is near and dear to me, waiting! If I was able to find more time, it would be finished by now because it’s just that good. I have been nodding my head up and down as I have been reading because her words have hit so close to home. She has used various people in the bible who guess what, also had to wait! I love the biblical truth that she has shared throughout the book!
I know her post will bless you today and whether your wait is infertility or something completely different, you are in for a treat. She has given you a sneak peek of her book by sharing an excerpt below. You can buy her book here, but she’s also so generously offered to give away two copies of her book, so please make sure to enter the giveaway below.
The summer after our third anniversary, I turned to my husband and said, “And now, let there be babies!” Kevin looked at me with vague panic haunting his eyes, but said, “Okay! That sounds fun. I think?” We expected to just get off birth control, light some candles, and four weeks later, do a happy dance around the bathroom, positive pregnancy test in hand—that’s how the get-pregnant thing seemed to be happening for all our friends. Only it didn’t happen that way for us. Let’s drop in on some “highlights” from our baby wait:
Mother’s Day, Year One… it’s difficult, but bearable. I grit my teeth and muscle my way through the church service, hands fisted at my sides, eyes trained on my Bible. I studiously avoid looking at all the happy mommies with their corsages and toddler-made bead necklaces. I’m not listening to the sermon; I’m reading Psalm 119:82 (HCSB):
My eyes grow weary
looking for what You have promised;
I ask, “When will You comfort me?”
Mother’s Day, Year Two…it’s a battlefield, with carnage. My preacher husband has insisted I go to the service in spite of my protests (not one of our best marital moments, I can tell you!). I’m there, but I’m angry. If looks could kill, all the glowing mommies in the room—my friends!—would be lasered to death by my envious glares. I’m not usually a jealous, malicious waiter, but today every ugly tendency I have ever faced roars to the surface. I am tempted by evil thoughts—nasty, spiteful, Are you sure you’re a Christian? type thoughts. I wear a dress that flatters my nonpregnant figure, and take secret comfort in the only “positive” thought I can find—that I’m not yet fighting post-baby muffin-top like everyone else my age. Yes, I’m thinking these things during church. No, I don’t get struck by lightning. (Miracles happen. Grace abounds.)
Waiting like this, for so long, does something to our hope, our heart. The longer we wait, the more time God—and Satan—has to work on us. The name Satan means “Accuser.” One of his favorite roles is as prosecuting attorney, hurling our own sins and weaknesses in our faces. When we endure a season of infertility, our confidence may take a dive and our faith may falter. How the enemy loves to exploit our vulnerability, punching poisonous arrows—vicious lies—through cracks in our spiritual armor:
God is punishing you.
You can’t get pregnant because you have done something wrong.
God must think you don’t deserve to be a mother.
If you had more faith, you would be pregnant by now.
Infertility is your fault.
Satan’s deceptions target us where it hurts the most: insecurities in our relationship with God and insecurities about ourselves. The more we believe him, the more confident he becomes, his whispers turning to shouts that haunt us even in our dreams.
If Satan has whispered these lies to you, please listen to me and try to hear—really hear—and believe: When life gets hard, it doesn’t mean God is punishing you. Infertility is not your fault. Suffering is not a punishment from God; it is a part of life. Everyone suffers, including the most righteous of people. Even Jesus Himself lived a difficult life, filled with suffering.
In Luke, God goes out of His way to point out a barren couple’s blamelessness in their heartbreaking situation. He introduces Zechariah and Elizabeth like this: “Both of them were righteous in the sight of God, observing all the Lord’s commands and decrees blamelessly. But they were childless because Elizabeth was not able to conceive” (1:6–7). God calls them righteous! Blameless! Similarly, the Bible does not criticize, blame, or shame other women who experienced long barren stretches—women like Sarah, Hannah, Rebekah, and Rachel. They are not described as perfect people, but neither are they blamed for their situations.
Our Father is slow to anger and has more love than He knows what to do with (see Psalm 103). Like a good parent, God knows our weaknesses and gives us grace to spare.
Let’s talk about one more lie Satan loves to whisper: If you don’t wait perfectly, God will never give you a baby. If you doubt, or feel sorry for yourself, or give in to envy or discouragement—well, forget it. God will disapprove and decide you’re not ready.
This kind of thinking puts tremendous pressure on our performance. It views infertility as a test from God. He is up there with His celestial red pen, marking papers, and we suspect He is secretly itching to put a big fat F at the top of our page. Every time we stumble or doubt, we panic: “Did I just blow my chance and fail the test?”
But God is not out to get us. Think about Abraham’s wife Sarah, who struggled with infertility for decades: She felt sorry for herself, she laughed at God, she even made a huge mistake with lasting consequences. And yet God didn’t unmake his promise to her. In spite of Sarah’s weaknesses and failures, she still received the blessing God had promised. She ended her life happy, sharing a laugh with her God. (See Sarah’s story in Genesis 12–23.)
God doesn’t expect us to wait perfectly. Of course He is happy and proud when we remain faithful, righteous, and close to Him, but our patient Father understands that we all struggle, and even fall flat, during our waiting times. His biggest concern is that we don’t quit on our faith. That we make it to the end (2 Timothy 4:7).
Have you noticed an underlying theme threading through Satan’s lies? His lies aim to make God seem like the enemy instead of Satan. To make us insecure with God. Distant from Him. Maybe even bitter. At a time when we most need our Father—we ache to curl up close and cry in His loving arms, to lie down and find rest in the protective shadow of His wings—we hesitate. We take a step back. Suspicion, guilt, and fear darken our view of God, damaging our trust. If the enemy’s lies go unchecked long enough, we pull away. When that happens, Satan wins.
Let’s fight back. Let’s see through the lies. Your Father wants to walk your TTC days hand in hand, comforting you, lending you courage, carrying you when your strength gives out. Listen now to God’s words, not Satan’s:
Fear not, for I have redeemed you;
I have summoned you by name; you are mine. . . .
When you walk through the fire,
you will not be burned;
the flames will not set you ablaze. . . .
Since you are precious and honored in my sight,
and because I love you,
I will give men in exchange for you.
Isaiah 43:1, 2, 4
God sees. God hears. God cares. And that’s the truth.
This article is adapted from Elizabeth’s new book, When God Says “Wait”: Navigating Life’s Detours and Delays Without Losing Your Faith, Your Friends, or Your Mind. (Published with permission.) Elizabeth writes at LizzyLife.com about finding humor in holiness and hope in heartache. She lives in North Carolina with her preacher husband and four spunky kids, and they were totally worth the wait. You can find her on Instagram and Facebook.
PPS. Have you picked up a copy of my book? Buy In Due Time, a 60-day devotional for hope + encouragement in the waiting.
PPPS. I created a group on facebook as an extension of my book + blog to discuss anything + everything. Women only! Come join us!