The box arrived with all of our medications, instructions, and instruments. We unpacked it with hopeful, nervous expectation. As we slowly pulled out each vial, needle, and alcohol swab, I began to cry.
We had done our prep work – attending the classes at our fertility clinic, walking through the process, preparing ourselves (or so we thought) for what came next in our journey to become parents. I considered myself a capable person, but the weight of that box on our kitchen counter was too much to bear in that moment. I wasn’t prepared. I was overwhelmed. I was sad. I was ever-so-aware that my friends didn’t have to start their families like this.
Over the years, I watched friend after friend welcome one baby, then another – juggling a toddler on their hip while their bellies began to blossom with their next blessing. Church became unbearable at times as my arms remained empty.
Taking Action, Not Control
After nearly a year of praying over our decision and considering all of the options, we were finally doing something. This step felt right for us, even knowing that God could easily close the door at any time. But that box, the shots, the calendars. My heart rose with hope, my nerves battled with fear, and my shoulders squared with determination for this next step.
We continued on with our lives, quietly pursuing our path to parenthood. It seemed too risky for us to share many details, even with those closest to us.
We went to work and we volunteered at church. We hung out with friends (mostly younger friends who weren’t having kids yet). But every night, the shots continued, along with frequent before-work visits to the clinic for scans to see if the shots were working.
Outwardly, we were doing fine. But inwardly, my heart was consumed by worry. I needed some way to settle it – not simply distraction, but a way to find true rest in the middle of the process with an unknown ending.
Surrendering My Thoughts Daily
Early in our infertility journey, I came across the July 16 entry in Oswald Chamber’s My Utmost for His Highest devotional, titled The Concept of Divine Control:
“Fill your mind with the thought that God is there… Jesus said there are times when God cannot lift the darkness from you, but you should trust Him. At times God will appear like an unkind friend, but He is not; He will appear like an unnatural father, but He is not; He will appear like an unjust judge, but He is not. Keep the thought that the mind of God is behind all things strong and growing. Not even the smallest detail of life happens unless God’s will is behind it. Therefore, you can rest in perfect confidence in Him.”
I typed up these thoughts, along with 22 Bible verses to redirect my mind when I began to worry about our next steps and wrestle with the “what ifs.”
Yes, it’s easy to keep beautiful verses on your phone, but there was something about those tangible pieces of paper that grounded me. Black ink, 10-point font. I carried those two 8 ½ x 11 pieces of tattered printer paper in my purse for three years, pulling them out when my heart would falter. And that was often.
A friend gives birth to three kids in five years?
“Because of the Lord’s great love we are not consumed, for his compassions never fail. They are new every morning; great is your faithfulness. I say to myself, “The Lord is my portion; therefore I will wait for him.” (Lamentations 3:22-24 NIV)
Someone announces their surprise pregnancy just months into their marriage?
“My flesh and my heart may fail, but God is the strength of my heart and my portion forever.” (Psalm 73:26 NIV)
Church aisles blocked by mamas coming back from the nursery and comparing notes?
“Now may the Lord of peace himself give you peace at all times in every way. The Lord be with all of you.” (2 Thessalonians 3:16 NIV)
I needed to be grounded in God’s truth and reminded of His goodness often. And He was waiting with compassion every time. My tears did not go unnoticed by our loving Father.
Waiting isn’t Wasted
As our infertility journey took several twists and turns, including a heartbreaking loss, these verses were held onto tighter and tighter. I did not handle every step perfectly, but I grew to trust and love the God who is in the waiting.
“Wait for the Lord; be strong and take heart and wait for the Lord.” (Psalm 27:14 NIV)
“The Lord is near to all who call on him, to all who call on him in truth. He fulfills the desires of those who fear him; he also hears their cry and saves them.” (Psalm 145:18-19 NIV)
Oh, friend, I don’t know what the end of your story looks like. But I know that the God of all comfort is there in every stage. Let Him be close to your broken heart. In the midst of your questions, disappointments, and longings, trust in His goodness. It’s there – seek it and find it.
And maybe type up a reminder to keep in your purse.
Erica Baldwin is a blogger living in Raleigh, North Carolina, with her husband of 15 years. Together, they are raising their active six-year-old son, whose birth was a miracle in itself. Erica lives with an incurable genetic condition, Vascular Ehlers-Danlos Syndrome (VEDS), a life-altering diagnosis that has resulted in near-death medical events and an uncertain future. Her testimony leaves many people exclaiming “Oh, my goodness!” Her journey has taught her that life is fragile and that each day is a gift from her good God. Erica encourages others to seek and find God’s goodness every day, even on the most difficult ones. Through her writing, she’s intent on leaving a legacy for her family and leading others to say with certainty, “Oh, HIS goodness!” You can find Erica at her blog Oh His Goodness as well as on Instagram and Twitter.