The Empty Womb – Hope through the Unknowns

We chose to worship the Lord, giving Him our shattered hearts. He knew where we were at. Our hearts lay delicately in His hands.

God goes before us. His details are intricate and formed long before the foundations of the world. They are blurred to us; a mystery we can’t fathom. Yet, step by step, He begins to reveal His mysteries to us. As we get more intimate with Him, the tapestry begins to stitch a little more clearly. We see the weaving being crafted “beautifully in its’ own time” (Eph 3:11), like a fog being lifted.

Our lives are so much grander than we can imagine. They are filled with connections and relationships that are Kingdom driven; even the smallest connection can produce great impact in the overall picture.

Each life is a miracle. It’s a God given gift and invitation to understand and love the Creator. We have parents to disciple and guide us, friends to encourage and support, and others to humble and challenge us. But ultimately, our lives are about relationship with the One who breathes the breath of life into us each day, the One that wakes us up with purpose and desire for adventure.  

So, what do we do when we so desperately desire to create new life, and every direction, test, and scientific study says it isn’t possible?

March 14, 2018 wounded my husband’s and my hearts. I could feel our world and dreams caving in as we waited in the hospital room and heard the doctor say that the test results were negative; that we were indeed infertile. How were we to respond? Nothing we could do in that moment was going to change the outcome. It was out of our hands.

As the doctor and nurse left the room to give us a few minutes, we sank into the hospital chair. We began to weep and mourn the dream we had carried for years. Before our minds could go too far down all worthless thoughts, God recalled to us a sermon we had heard the Sunday before. It was talking about worshiping instead of worrying. We lay there, weeping, and poured our souls out to our Lord while singing, “It Is Well” by Kristene DiMarco. We chose to worship the Lord, giving Him our shattered hearts. He knew where we were at. Our hearts lay delicately in His hands.

Enjoying some time together the week after the news

Moments of grief washed over us throughout that first year; questions of whether God wanted us to have kids or not flooded our minds frequently. Thoughts of past mistakes haunted us; uncertainties of whether we would be good parents drove the pain deeper. We wondered if God wanted us to adopt, and if so, which way? But, every time we began to think of a certain adoption option, another idea came and changed the settled feeling we had previously felt.

My vision of celebrating life and understanding the miracle that each life truly is began to get tainted. I couldn’t help but sit in church or group settings and look around at all the parents with their little ones; each little life dependant on their parents to guide them and help them survive. Why didn’t we have that chance, when we have sought to “love the Lord [our] God with all our heart, soul, and mind” (Matthew 22:37)? Yet, throughout all of the pain and discouragement, God kept us anchored to Him. He kept our eyes on truth as we wrestled with all of the unknowns. Hope never failed.

Scripture would minister to us giving clarity and understanding. Verses like, “delayed hope makes the heart sick, but fulfilled desire is a tree of life” (Proverbs 13:12) touched the vulnerable places in our hearts.  God knew our grief and He was with us in it.

I began to pray that He would show us if He wanted us to have children. How could some couples be okay with walking away from the dream and pursuing other things that God had planned for them? How did others know to keep the search going and find which method the Lord wanted them to have kids? How did He make it clear to them? As I continued to pray, I became extremely emotional around families. I used to take the opportunity to love on others’ children like they were my own. I sought to bless newborn babies, to speak words of truth and life over them. But I became weak, unable to move past my own wants and grief, and eventually found it hard to be in a room full of families. I didn’t understand why. However, through continued prayer, and seeking the wisdom of many counselors, I realized that my answer was written in the pain. The fact that I couldn’t overcome the grief and the unsettled feeling meant that God wants us to have children.

My perspective slowly began to shift again. Even though it was difficult and peace hadn’t fully settled in yet, I began holding children again and blessing them. I chose to pray for our children and their futures. I allowed thoughts of what kind of parents we want to be to take up residence in my mind. I was “prophesying the promise” (Song by Bryan & Katie Torwalt) of what was yet to come.

As God had given Abraham and Sarah a promise, my husband wondered if God had given us a promise to hold onto as well. Two days after we had heard from the doctor that we were infertile, a couple of friends prayed over us. One stopped at the end of the prayer, gripped my husband’s hand, tears streaming from his eyes, and told my husband with all the passion he could muster that he would be a father someday. He had never had that experience or feeling before. Reading about this moment a year later in my husband’s journal, he had remembered that God did give him a promise in that memory and moment of time.

As we looked over our journey through years of trying to conceive, we could see the mysteries and tapestry being revealed bit by bit. We could hold onto hope and the promise that He was at work this entire time. He wants us to have the best, not just what is good. God is creating a story that we cannot even imagine, and it’s all for His glory, through His timing, and in His miraculous ways.

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  1. Janice Robins

    January 7, 2020 at 9:09 pm

    Letting others into the deepest part of you, your pain, and your journey is an amazingly transparent act of kindness, encouragement, and witness you are giving to so many others who will ready your blog, dear Rachel! Praying for you and Mike and sending lots of love!!

    1. Rachel

      January 8, 2020 at 8:16 am

      Thank you very much. I love you too. You were always a kind, joyful, loving, woman of God. I appreciate you and your family. Blessings to you all as you continue to faithfully serve the Lord.

  2. Shannon

    January 11, 2020 at 1:53 pm

    Oh Rachel, this post made me weep for you. Not only because of your infertility news, but also because somehow you’ve both found the strength to still hope and trust in God. You’re such an inspiration xoxo

    1. Rachel

      January 13, 2020 at 7:59 am

      Thank you Shannon. It’s a daily choice. He’s proved Himself faithful so many times. I’m grateful our story can be an encouragement. Thank you for your love

  3. Heather VanMeppelen-Scheppink

    January 11, 2020 at 3:08 pm

    I have no words, Rachel, but will pray for you and send a virtual Hug!! We love you guys!

    1. Rachel

      January 13, 2020 at 8:00 am

      Thank you Heather. Hugs are always welcome. We love you too!

  4. Karen Smith

    January 21, 2020 at 11:20 am

    We trust in God’s Word and know that He is true to His Word. We name Jesus and pray His blessing in your lives and desire to have a family.

    1. Rachel

      January 21, 2020 at 12:19 pm

      Thank you very much Karen!

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