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Welcome, Jenn, to the blog. Jenn is a good friend and she was our babysitter before we moved. Jenn is a delight to be around and she has a passion for kids. My kids loved being with her and hands down has been the best babysitter ever in their minds.
Proverbs 3:5-6 “Trust in the Lord with ALL of your heart and DO NOT lean on your OWN understanding.
In all of your ways ACKNOWLEDGE him, and He WILL make straight your paths.”
Breathtaking and inspiring music, gorgeous lights, excitement and warm smiles. But for a woman struggling with infertility, holidays can be an especially difficult time. There are reminders everywhere of what is missing: babies’ laughter as friends and family fill up a room, moms- to- be announced publicly their pregnancy as a “holiday surprise”, Christmas cards arrive displaying pictures that only include the precious children and yet another New Year’s Eve comes with no baby.
There is hope: because of Christ, the woman with a barren womb, like me:
1) Can know her value, purpose on this earth, and love from God is NOT based on motherhood.
2) The story of her life is FAR from over.
3) Her time of loss can bring her closer to Him, strengthen her and develop her into exactly the woman God wants her to be.
4) Her loss does not diminish God or make His attributes any less powerful or any less trustworthy.
However, the journey can take some time and here’s a bit of mine.
I married my smart, funny, Godly love in ’09 when I was already 35 (so obviously the biological clock had been ticking). The following summer we miscarried very early on and for the next 12 months, I had constant bleeding and waited for my body to normalize so we could “try” again. Those years were some of the most difficult, as friends and family had babies and I discovered I would never conceive. Mother’s Day came and went, every month I experienced disappointing cycles, and Facebook became my worst enemy.
I’ve known the Lord for a long time and I also love being real. Christian clichés and pat answers to tough issues drive me crazy.
If you are a woman struggling with infertility, do any of the following statements sound familiar?:
- Just because the doctors say you can’t have a baby doesn’t mean it’s true.
- Wonderful people like you are meant to have a baby.
- I bet if you relax and stop really trying you’ll become pregnant.
False hope given and all the while with each passing month, I felt less than a woman, especially compared to all the seemingly very fertile women around me.
During any holiday I just wanted to be home with my husband and shut the world off. But as a Christ-follower,
I knew that God wanted to hear me even my words of pain and honest raw anger.
Just as the Psalmist David expressed in
Ps 18:6 “In my distress I called to the Lord, I cried to my God for help… He heard my voice, my cry came before him, into His ears. “and the words in Psalm 40 I clung to: “I waited patiently for the Lord, he inclined to me and heard my cry, He brought me out of the pit, He set my feet on a rock, making my footsteps firm…. Since I am afflicted and needy, you are my help and my deliverer.”
So I cried out often with no audible words, as infertile anxious Hannah did in 1 Samuel, wondering what the future held, and sharing things with God that no one else knew.
Instead of pushing Him away and blaming, I allowed God’s comfort to wash over me.
As I dove into His word, I read of multiple stories of women who had this same pain and longing. Whether they eventually had a baby or not, I still related to their honesty, “I’m sad and feel so alone. God, be my comfort now!!” My eyes were open to these ladies around me who were also struggling with infertility; He surrounded me with loving friends and family, and I finally allowed their love and prayers and His hope to soak in.
He reminded me time and time again of my worth beyond motherhood
There was a greater plan beyond myself and my loss. There is a greater plan for all of us, beyond our pain, beyond our dreams, He is our advocate. Romans 8:28 says, God works for the good of those who love Him, who have been called.
We knew fertility treatments were not for us, nor did we have even a fraction of the 25 grand in order to adopt. In faith we applied for a grant, set up a fundraiser, and even asked for gifts (the generosity was overwhelming!).
We desired a newborn, but in January ’14 we were asked if we would be interested in a 7-month-old baby girl. It took us 5 seconds to say “YES!!”
In June, we brought our beautiful, indescribable 14-month-old daughter home!! All we’ve known is the love that a parent can have for a non-biological child, but honestly, we cannot fathom a deeper love…there are no words!
Today our Eliana is one of the brightest, talented, and breath-taking 3.5 yr olds we’ve known. We still wonder the long-term effect on Eliana with all the potential complications that come with being adopted. That brings me to the place of trust once again…trusting in Him with all of my heart, not leaning on my own understanding, and not trying to figure out my life story or Eliana’s.
I can plan my way, but He lovingly and powerfully establishes my steps. (Proverbs 16:9) He reminds me once again that I am not alone in this and He can take anything-even a child with a broken heart and a mommy who often doesn’t know what she is doing- and make miracles happen.
His plans are greater
Perhaps at this time of year, you find yourself longing for a child or another great void in your life to be filled. I encourage you this holiday to believe that your purpose, your joy, your reason for hope is far beyond what your plans are, or what everyone else seems to have. He, the God who never changes, does hear your cry, He brings you out of the pit, He sets your feet on a rock, makes your footsteps firm, and He is your help and your deliverer. He’s still writing your incredible story!
Jennifer Ohlinger lives in the small town of Oregon, WI, with her husband and best friend Pete, their spunky, very imaginative 3 yr old daughter Eliana, 3 cats, one turtle, one fish, and gentle pup Tulley-coco. For the last 18 years, her career has been caring for kiddos of all ages in and outside of her home. She adores coffee, anything coconut, doing a bit of drama and hanging out with those she loves.
A future dream that God has laid on Pete and Jenn’s hearts is to become foster parents, and one day perhaps has the honor of offering themselves as a forever family to a child once again.
To read other posts in the Heartbreak Holiday series:
Dysfunctional Disaster Holiday
I Feel So Sad And Lonely This Holiday Season