The wonder of Christmas is in the hope and the anticipation, and in its fulfillment. We celebrate the miraculous pregnancy and birth of the long-expected Jesus. We delight in the lights, join in the songs, and smile at the flood of family photos on the cards that wish “you and yours” a merry and bright season.
For a long time, those sweet photos and messages to “you and yours” were bittersweet reminders of what I still hoped and longed for. There was a gap in my family and in my heart.
After my husband and I started trying to get pregnant, it was over four years (and one miscarriage) until our daughter was born. We waited and hoped, tried and failed, and had all kinds of medical appointments and tests. At the same time, we celebrated with our friends as they announced pregnancies and the births of their babies. We waited so long that some of those friends got pregnant with their second babies, while we still longed for our first.
Infertility can be a long and painful journey, filled with questions, frustration, and waiting. Lots of waiting. You wait to see if you got pregnant. You’re not, so you wait to see when you can try again. You try, and wait to see if it happened. And every time the home pregnancy test comes up with one line instead of two, you sigh (or cry) and settle in for another wait.
In this time of waiting, a friend of mine got pregnant with her fifth baby. They hadn’t been trying, and she was frustrated and stressed because they didn’t plan for any more children. As you can imagine, it was pretty hard for me to be empathetic or compassionate, and I struggled with how to support and encourage my friend who was facing a challenge that would have been a blessing to me. But then God showed me something that changed my perspective.
Trusting God in how He builds our families is at the heart of it all. Whether you aren’t having kids when you want them, or you’re having more than you planned for, God is loving, His plan is good, and His timing is right. It’s two sides of the same coin. He sees our lives and the lives of our future children in the context of eternity. He knows exactly when (and how) they will come, who He created them to be, and how they will impact the world. What is happening in the here and now is a piece of eternity, and it will shape the future in ways we may not understand in the present.
So we don’t look at the troubles we can see now; rather, we fix our gaze on things that cannot be seen. For the things we see now will soon be gone, but the things we cannot see will last forever.
2 Corinthians 4:18 NLT
There are still reminders of the painful waiting. We remain a family of three, having experienced three more miscarriages and no more births. But we celebrate the goodness of God and all He has done. We choose to trust His heart and His hand at work in our lives. The deep level of trust I learned from my journey of trying to get pregnant is something that can’t be taken away. He was with me in the desert times of waiting. He is with me today. And He is with you, too.
If you’re in a time of painful waiting, we’d be honored to pray for you.