By Adrienne Gagnon
My husband and I struggled for a year with infertility. It was a year full of uncertainty, heartbreak, and discouragement. Before I share my story, I want to shine a light onto couples that have also traveled through the infertility journey. I know it takes much longer for some couples. I understand there are couples who try to conceive for years but never able to have or carry their own biological children. I know you are there and I see you. I am fully aware that we only got a taste of that heartbreak. It may have been “only a year”, but it was an incredibly difficult time for me. The experience has forever changed my awareness of others who have gone through anything even remotely similar. I can only share what my story is. What I experienced; and how God used that time and the verses of 1 Thessalonians 5:16-18 to mold, shape, and strengthen my walk with Him.
I wish I remembered when I first heard the verses “Rejoice always, pray continually, give thanks in all circumstances; for this is God’s will for you in Christ Jesus.” – 1 Thessalonians 5:16-18 (NIV) Did our pastor share it in a sermon? Was I reading a book with them in it somewhere? Although I cannot remember when I first read them, I do know I clung to those verses during one of the most trying times in my life. During this time of trying to conceive, we bought our first house. We looked around and picked a home with the assumption that any day we would be expecting our first child. After all, our doctor made it seem like it would be so easy. After months of touring houses, we decided on a three-bedroom cape. There were two extra rooms we used as “storage” at the time with the hope that one day they would be our children’s rooms. Oh, how I desired to make one of those rooms into a nursery! Every time I passed by, my heart would ache. Questions like “why not us?” would creep up. The endless crying. Every time I needed to go into one of those rooms, it was a painful reminder of what we didn’t have.
It was during this time that God spoke to me through these verses. I looked at the verses piece by piece and decided to live them out. It took effort and it took practice. I pondered how I could apply them to my life. I prayed and asked for guidance and the Holy Spirit changed my focus. My husband and I had just bought our first home together. I was so wrapped up with not being able to turn one of the rooms into a nursery, I wasn’t even letting myself enjoy our new house. Therefore, I began to focus my time, energy, and attention on what I could work on in our home. To me, doing this was both rejoicing and giving thanks. Sure, my life wasn’t exactly how I wanted it to be at that moment. But I was CHOOSING to rejoice and be thankful with what I did have, and I poured my energy into it.
One way I did this was by making one of the spare rooms into a guest room. In my mind, I wasn’t giving up that I wanted children. I wasn’t saying that having children wasn’t in God’s plan for us. It just hadn’t happened at that moment. I reminded myself that I could always change it into a nursery later on. Converting it into a guest room was hard at first. Picking out the paint for the room. Brown instead of pink or blue. Setting a queen size bed in instead of a crib. This was emotionally draining. But I pushed on. And all the time, I continued to pray.
I took EVERY single thought I had about it and turned it into a prayer. When the thoughts of longing would creep up, I immediately prayed about it and put it out of mind. When I saw a movie or television show with anything about babies, and the pain stabbed my heart, I prayed about it. When that pregnancy test was negative AGAIN, I prayed. I truly prayed without ceasing. I didn’t know how the situation was going to play out, but I did know that God knew our desire, and I. just. kept. praying.
After a year of medical tests, our doctor met with us in her office and told us that the next step would be referring us to a fertility specialist. This was disappointing for us to hear and we told her we wanted to pray about it before taking that step. We prayed and asked God to show us which direction He wanted us to take. We continued to pray and waited for God to show us what he wanted us to do. A few weeks later, I took a pregnancy test just like I did every month. It was positive.
I urge you to please take God’s Word seriously. Read it and meditate on the verses. We all have circumstances in our lives that at one time or another give us anxiety about the future. But you know what? We can combat that worry with applying scripture to our lives and praying. There is power in His Word. There is power in prayer. My prayer for anyone reading this is that during times of uncertainty, you strive to “Rejoice always, pray continually, give thanks in all circumstances; because you know that it is God’s will for you in Christ Jesus.” – 1 Thessalonians 5:16-18 (NIV)