Infertility: The Comfort & Guidance of Great Friends
The enemy loves to isolate couples going through infertility. The further away he can disconnect you from others, the better. It’ll give greater room for you to spiral into depression, doubts, despair, and possibly even divorce.
Lies like, “No one cares or understands our situation,” grow in your mind. Is that really true though? Statistics show that approximately one in every six couples struggle with infertility in Canada. One in every eight to ten couples in the United States. That’s a huge number!
Think about the people in your life. How many do you know who’ve adopted, done fertility treatments, or don’t have children? You most likely only know that because they’ve heard you’re going through infertility and have shared their story with you.
If another couple has children of their own and adopted children as well, it could be that they wanted to adopt as well, or because they suffered from secondary infertility, unable to bear another child on their own but still felt the Lord leading them to expand their family.
Other families you see with children might have been from In Vitro Fertilization, embryo adoption, sperm donation, egg donation, surrogacy, or another fertility option. The thing is, unless they told you or there are drastic differences in the look of the child from the parents, you may not know they had any issues to begin with.
As much as you may feel judged by others, how many people are you judging?
Therefore, you must be careful not to let the enemy get ground on this. One very important way to do this is to remain in fellowship with other believers in Jesus. Fellowship with friends in general is important, but one where the main connection is Christ is the best. Why? Because they can offer you prayer, wise counsel, worship, and accountability.
Prayer is an asset for you through this process. I know there were many times where my husband and I felt too weary to pray about our infertility. We didn’t know what to pray, so we relied on the prayers of others on our behalf. We knew we had some dedicated people lifting us up to the Lord. We were so grateful. People were interceding for us in order to get us to the point we could do it ourselves again.
The other powerful aspect of prayer in this is that it helps you shift your focus from being totally about the infertility and yourselves to lifting others up in need. It’s good to pray for others throughout your struggle because more often than not, when you focus on others, you end up feeling better yourself. Everyone has their burdens to bear. It strengthens you and gives you empathy for others going through suffering rather than allowing the enemy to tell you, your situation is far worse and more important than anyone else’s. You will experience your hard times differently than others will, but you will all have the same theme of understanding suffering. Therefore, you can share in bringing comfort to others through prayer as well.
Like I shared last month in the post, What’s Your Perspective with Your Infertilty, it can be easy to become self-absorbed in your infertility and miss hearing from the Lord because you’ve allowed your circumstance to become louder than God’s voice.
Remaining in fellowship with others offers outside perspectives you might not be able to see yourself. Be careful who you seek advice from. Doctors and social workers will give you secular opinions. Even some Christians might not give the best answers. Choose people who you respect and who highly revere the Lord to guide you because you can guarantee, by the fruit and evidence in their lives, that they’ll seek the Lord’s wisdom before giving you their answers. Because they’re human as well, be sure to pray about their advice afterwards with your spouse and ask the Lord to confirm if what they said is what He desires most.
Something powerful and hard to explain happens when you worship the Lord through your suffering. My husband and I felt deep peace and connection with the Lord in our grief when we sang to Him on the day we received our infertility confirmation. There were many other moments when I felt despair try to overwhelm me. I blared worship music throughout my house, fell on my knees, and sang as loud and as hard as I could until I could feel the despair give way to praise and peace. For more on this, read the book, Sustaining Hope.
Whether alone, with your spouse, or with friends, a connection is sure to take place with the Lord when you unite your hearts together to glorify Him above your suffering. You’re trusting your heart to Him knowing He’ll meet with you when you do.
“But he gives greater grace. Therefore he says:
God resists the proud
but gives grace to the humble.
Therefore, submit to God. Resist the devil, and he will flee from you. Draw near to God, and he will draw near to you.” James 4:6-8a
Find a friend or two you trust to speak openly and honestly to you when you need it, regardless of the emotional state you are in. You need friends who you know will speak with love and grace to you. You need people who you feel comfortable sharing your struggles; people who you won’t feel judged by or who won’t gossip about your situation.
I have a friend who stood by my side even though she couldn’t relate to what I was going through. She was a safe person to share with, to cry with, and who I knew would be dedicated to praying for me. She was always encouraging and supportive. I never felt judged. She chose her words carefully and sought God’s counsel.
This friend also rebuked me when I needed it as well. I always want to honour my husband, Michael, and speak highly of him. When the emotions were high during the trenches of our infertility process, there would be couple of times I spoke out of line about him or thoughts about myself. My friend lovingly but firmly rebuked/corrected what I said. She “put me in my place,” and spoke truth to me instead. Though it was hard to hear, I was so grateful for it! I knew she respected me enough to say it because she wants the best for me, and for Michael.
If there’s no other help you get through this process, a good friend is a valuable asset. He/she might not have the answers you’re looking for, but they’ll point you to the One who does. He/she will keep you focused on the other things in your life that matter instead of getting absorbed in the infertility and lose sight of your true value and purpose.
Do you have a friend like that? Thank him/her and show your appreciation.
If you don’t have a friend you can trust through this time, pray and ask the Lord to bring one. God always wants us to live in community so trust He’ll bring one to you.