Tell me about it.
Twelve years have gone by after my marriage and still waiting.
No, this is not how I imagined life would be when I tied the knot and neither did I realize that something was amiss in the first three years of marriage. Given that both me and my husband were residing in two different states of the country pursuing higher education at the time and that we met only once in three or four months, it didn’t raise any alarms.
Obviously, you have to be living together to conceive, right? So, I thought.
But after 6 months of living together in our fourth year of marriage and trying purposefully every single month, it dawned on us that we could be having fertility issues.
As a medical practitioner, I got my scans and my husband’s counts done right away. No issue there. I took some basic advice from my gynecologist friend but still, nothing. At this point we decided to meet the experts and thus began the ugly journey down the infertility road…
Now I cannot even begin to tell you what it feels like. Those who’ve been there know exactly what I am talking about.
The medications—mostly hormonal—take a huge toll on your psyche.
Then there are the long waits in front of the doctor’s office, the tedious procedures, the mounting expectations, the expenses, the interfering relatives both close and distant, the incessant questions, the fact that both of us craved for kids so dearly and the huge letdowns that resulted in a literal crampy, bloody end, only to repeat itself all over again every month, every year…
The Unkindest Cut of All
What hurt the most was that I had become a believer in Christ with an authentic born-again experience right before this ordeal began, and to think that God was giving me the silent treatment was unbearable.
“Ask and you shall receive.” Well, I have been asking Him ever since I discovered the problem.
In fact, I cried, prayed, fasted, believed for my miracle, confessed even unknown and generational sins—anything to get His attention.
But every month the answer was the same. Infertility is generally looked upon as a curse in the Bible, though there are some favored couples who did experience barrenness for a season like Abraham and Sarah, Isaac and Rebecca, Elkanah and Hannah, Zechariah and Elizabeth.
But these examples hardly gave me any comfort. I kept asking, “Why God?? Why me?? Why won’t you answer my prayer? Isn’t the very purpose of a Godly marriage to bring forth Godly children??”
I have heard of couples who prefer to be child-free but we were the opposite. Why would God unite us to such a malady? Furthermore, in the physical realm, after all the testing, no proper medical cause was identified for our inability to conceive. The doctors explained that in some cases there was no explanation, which gave me all the more reason to believe this was a spiritual attack more than anything else.
So again, that put God in the driver’s seat.
But, yet again, the deafening silence…
The Chiseling Begins
An often-used metaphor for the sanctification of a believer in Christ includes the picture of a sculptor chiseling a stone to make his masterpiece.
If the stone could do anything about it, it would most definitely resist the chiseling, the pain, oblivious to the fact that every cut is necessary to shape the features of the exquisite handiwork that it is being made to.
It took years of pain for me to realize that I am His masterpiece being fashioned to fulfill His purpose, not mine. That a ‘believer’ is expected to receive Jesus as his Saviour and Lord. Most of us prefer the Saviour part, but is He our Lord?
Have we surrendered our will, hopes, dreams and life entirely to Him; because if we have, we can be at perfect peace knowing that every circumstance in our life is orchestrated by Him.
Rest assured, He is more than capable of making every one of those circumstances work for our good. Not what we, with our limited knowledge, perceive as good but the actual ‘good’. That is His promise.
And to be part of this Perfect World of His, we have to die to self and be born anew. This is what “born again” truly means. And unless one is born-again, he shall not enter the kingdom of God.
The biblical promise, “Ask and you will receive,” has often been quoted out of context and is misunderstood, just like I misunderstood it myself. Jesus talks about asking for the Holy Spirit, for everyone who asks for the Holy Spirit (sincerely, that is) receives.
The Bible was never about living our best life here on earth. It was never about having all our desires fulfilled on this planet. If, my friend, you believe in Jesus for a smooth sail through this life, I hate to break it to you:
You are up for major disappointment.
But if you have realized this life is but a test to see if you will make it to His Perfect World and the choice you make is the only thing that matters, you will begin to see the present in a very different light.
Nothing seems to have changed in my predicament of being barren and I am not getting any younger.
Ordinarily this circumstance should have left me a desperate and depressed mess of a person.
But instead, now with a renewed perspective, I can see Him at work. I can notice a stillness in my spirit, a calm assurance. “Relax. He knows what He is doing.”
I have stopped the testing, the consulting, the medications—the whole package. We enjoy our days as when we were just married.
I am not going to lie that I don’t feel the sting anymore. When I see other couples with their precious bundles of joy, there is the familiar tug at the heart.
But at the same time, I realize the peace and purpose I have in Christ now far outweighs the pain.
I feel like the person in the parable who finds a hidden treasure in a field and sells everything he owns to buy this field. No earthly pleasure is worth missing that treasure.
I now see infertility no longer as a stumbling block, but rather like the pupa stage of a metamorphosing butterfly.
And I am waiting for the day when I fly!
Zephana Estefan, a doctor by profession, has come to the Lord in her late 20s. Ever since, she has had it in her heart to reach out to others struggling with their faith. She has always found writing as her forte and has been writing sermons for local Christian Youth Groups on and off. With the mission statement of 2 Corinthians 1:4, “We can comfort others when they are troubled with the same comfort God has given us,” she hopes to take His message to the one that needs to hear.