Tag Archives: infertility

Woman of Valor: She Fights for Her Dream

A woman of valor who can find? For her price is far above rubies (Proverbs 31:10 JPS Tanakh).

 A woman of valor is a warrior at heart. She fights for her faith, her family and her community. But sometimes, her toughest battles are for her God-given dreams. I wonder if some wars are harder than others because the enemy knows the stakes are so high?

I think back to our long years of infertility and my fierce fight to have a baby.  I couldn’t have known it at the time, but I was waging a battle not just for our firstborn daughter, but also for our next baby, a son.  Then another son.  And now, four grandchildren and counting.

Our daughter recently said something to me which made me pause: “Mama, you didn’t know when you were going through all those years of infertility that you were also fighting for all these little people to be born,” pointing to our grandchildren.

Perhaps my fight was so fierce because the enemy wanted what I had—the promise of children and grandchildren who would glorify God.  And ultimately, generations beyond those.

But I had something else the enemy wanted. And so do you. He wanted to steal my testimony. He wanted to make it impossible for me to tell the miraculous story of God’s healing that enabled me to have those babies. He wanted to rob me of the chance to encourage others who are waiting for answers to their own prayers.

Quite simply, the devil wants to steal the story God is weaving through your dream.  Or through this trial you’re enduring so bravely.  He wants to steal your testimony.  In the end, he wants to steal God’s glory.

Dear friend, don’t give up. God is faithful. One day you will have a story to tell. A story that will cause others yearn to know this wonderful God Who is the Giver of Dreams.

Adapted from: Marilynn Chadwick, Woman of Valor: Discovering the Courage and Strength God Gave You (Eugene: Harvest House, 2017).

30 Days of Hopeful: Day 1

“How do I hold onto my hopes and dreams when God seems silent?” The question came from a good friend and  a sincere follower of Christ.  Her question hit a chord. How do we handle those times when we have prayed and prayed, but the answer is so slow in coming?

Perhaps we sense that a particular dream is God’s plan for us.  But the days, weeks, months, and even years go by.  How can we keep this dream alive?  Over the next few weeks, we’ll explore some ways to stay full of hope–30 Days of Hopeful.

I think back to what I refer to as my season of “wait training.” In our early years of marriage, David and I looked forward to the day we would have children.  But our hopes for a baby stretched into six months, a year, two years, and eventually four years.  Forty-eight straight months of drugs, surgeries, tests, tests and more tests.  And still no baby.  In time, we eventually had our three children.

But the years of waiting proved to be a good time to seek God.  Strength came as I rested in the Lord, studied His Word, and held fast to His promises…day after day. I learned what Jesus meant when He encouraged us to “abide” in Him (John 15:5).

 I drew special strength from Psalm 37:5:  “Delight yourself in the Lord, and He will give you the desires of your heart.”  I began to believe that God would either fulfill my heart’s desires or change my desires to reflect His will for me.

I also found comfort when I stepped out of my own pain to serve others. I explored ways to serve the least and lost in my own community.  Opportunities opened to travel to Africa on my first of what would be many missions trips.  I discovered that when I poured my life out for those hurting worse that I was, an unexplainable joy began to spring forth.

Seeking God and serving others while waiting for my own dream gave birth to a larger purpose.  And “not getting what I wanted when I wanted it” turned out to be  one of the best tools to sharpen my hearing of God’s voice.  I discovered what it means to “delight in the Lord.”

Friends, our seasons of waiting can open the door to deeper intimacy with Jesus. What’s more–those times we thought were barren–can  become our seasons of great fruitfulness.  Let’s decide today to take joy in the journey.

30 Days of Thankful: Day 8

We’re on day eight of 30 Days of Thankful.  I believe my friend Bethany Kortekaas will inspire you to remain thankful–even when you are still waiting for your dream to come true.

GUEST POST: By Bethany Kortekaas

“I’m sorry to give you bad news, but you’re not pregnant.” As I hung up after talking to the nurse, I was shocked. Adam and I had people all over the world praying for these snowflake babies that we had adopted and implanted in me. I was ready for my “happily ever after.”

What broke my heart even more was that if God had allowed these babies to be born, it would have strengthened the faith of so many friends and family who struggle to see God in their daily life. I even had an agonistic neighbor who admitted he had prayed for us. Everything about this birth would have been a perfect combination of drawing people’s attention to the great need in embryo adoption and to the beauty of God’s timing. It made no sense for God not to answer this prayer, which would have brought Him so much glory! Confused and so disappointed, I felt I had gotten people’s hopes up and not delivered…literally.

This is America, where everything works out right in the end. We love the Cinderella stories, the underdogs that win, and seeing the impossible happen. So wrapped up in having our hearts warmed, we forget that this is not the only way that God works. Even as Christians we expect that God will participate with our rules—if we trust and obey, then everything will be ok. We foster this feeling that the only way to see God’s glory is when hope is fulfilled tangibly. We only tell the story of the single person walking in purity once they find a spouse. The prodigal child that came home. Cancer that was cured. These stories are ones we tout as showing God’s faithfulness; as being worthy of praise and thankfulness. Until we see tangible results, what is the point in telling the story? Of thanking Him during the pain? Why praise over prayers unanswered?

Because our story is not over yet and God sees how His story is better. Do I trust Him? Can I thank Him knowing He knows more than me? Can I praise Him for the end of the story even if I never get to see it? I have spent countless hours encouraging 6th through 12th grade students that God’s way is the best way. But just like them, I am addicted to instant gratification. So what happens when God does not answer our prayers? What happens when we have trusted and been patient for nothing? Can we be thankful? How do we rejoice?

Sometimes we are left without answers. But Jesus was the master of answering questions with more questions. He wants us to wrestle and struggle with the hard things because that develops a depth of character and relationship that cannot be gifted to us. Psalm 42:5 asks, “Why am I discouraged? Why is my heart so sad? I will put my hope in God!” Taking the action of putting my hope in God even when it hurts, takes work. This constant practice of turning to Him with praise and a thankful heart in the pain becomes a habit that gives us an eternal perspective and hope in God rather than in what today looks like.

Today looks like pain. But God sees my sorrow. In fact, in Psalm 56:8, it says He has collected my tears in a bottle. So I choose to trust the God who turns water to wine. I choose to see the beauty of my current story. I choose to be thankful.

Brain Tumor a Blessing?

He has made all things beautiful in His time (Ecclesiastes 3:11).

Sometimes, when the answers to our prayers are slow in coming, we wonder if we can truly trust God.  Could there be an unseen purpose behind His delay?  My friend Bethany learned that God may have reasons which we don’t understand until later.  She also came to realize that His timing is for our good and His glory.  Above all, He can be trusted.

GUEST BLOG: By Bethany Kortekas

“A brain tumor? I have a brain tumor? Lord, we have been going through tests and doctor appointments for the last two years for unexplained infertility, and now a brain tumor?”

Adam and I have been married for five years and were excited about having a family. When we were not able to have our own, we started exploring our options: adoption, foster care, kidnapping, or even not having children. We talked to several families about their journey and discovered embryo adoption. When a couple has gone through In Vitro Fertilization, the doctor uses the couple’s eggs and sperm to create babies for them to carry. Sometimes a couple is not able to carry all of the children created by the doctor in this process. Currently there are 600,000 embryos in medical storage waiting to be implanted or donated to science.

When we realized that we could adopt embryos and still experience childbirth ourselves, we were excited to start the process. We put our profile on Miracleswaiting.org and told friends on Facebook to pray with us. A friend out of state contacted us and suggested she talk to her co-worker. This lady had four embryos left and had recently been asked by her medical storage to donate them to science. She had agreed and had all the paperwork notarized, ready to mail that day, when she got the call from our friend that we wanted her embryos. It felt like a sign that God had saved those babies for us!

However the normal legal work and medical approvals dragged from weeks to months. The implant we had hoped for in December pushed to January to April and then finally in June, I went to the doctor about something unrelated and they discovered something. The doctor found that I had a tumor on my pituitary gland, which is right between my eyes. The doctor explained that this tumor grows off of the hormones that increase during pregnancy. If we had become pregnant on our own or if we had been able to implant our embryos when we had hoped to, the tumor could have grown to impair my vision and I could have gone blind!

Now, I am not sure how you view prayer, but it can be easy to assume that if you have a good enough request, God will give you whatever you want when you want it. Sadly as Christians, we can become so self focused that we forget about the sovereignty of God. Our God has the whole picture.  All  of the past, every angle of the present and all of the future. Isaiah 55:8 says, “For my thoughts are not your thoughts, neither are your ways my ways,” declares the Lord.

Did God know that I had tumor that could have blinded me if I had conceived a child? Absolutely! Was any of this a surprise to Him?  Did it mess up His plans for us to adopt four embryos? No! If He says wait to my prayers, I can trust that He knows best.  He is orchestrating things for our benefit or for the benefit of others. As I look over my life, there is no doubt that I would rather have God’s best for me than whatever I originally picked out. My vision is too small and my choices are too self-serving.

Currently my tumor is under control with medication.  We’ll find out the results of our implant in May, and I have to be honest. I am hoping for twins! However, we know that whether these first two embryos will finally rest in our arms or in the arms of Jesus, that prayer is a power tool to remind us that God is in control. We do not have to worry about the future because God is using His timing for our benefit that ultimately gives Him the glory. What an incredible security that gives us as we pray!

Trained by our Trials

Trials are the food of faith. –George Mueller

I’ve been thinking a lot about how hard it is to wait for answers to my prayers. God’s delays can be frustrating. For an impatient person like me, waiting can be one of life’s more difficult trials. When God seems silent, I can fall into the trap of thinking that if I just pray harder, memorize more Scripture, or pound harder on the gates of heaven, I can move God’s hands.  And I have to admit. I do love those times when God gives an immediate “yes” to my prayer. But more often, I find the answers are painfully slow in coming.

I’m not always a good sport when God says “Go slow,” or “grow,” or even “no” in response to my prayer request.  Sorry to say it, but I can sound a bit like my friend’s three-year-old daughter who, in the middle of a tantrum, howled, “But Mommy, all I want is what I want when I want it!” Isn’t that how we all feel at times? What’s so wrong with wanting what we want when we want it…especially when what we are praying for is a good thing?

I’ve come to learn that even though my prayer may be within God’s will for my life,  I may still have to endure lots of waiting before the answer comes.  I look at our three grown children and remember how fervently I prayed for them. The long years of infertility sometimes left me wondering if we would ever have babies. I persevered in prayer for a total of about 108 months. And though God did heal me and I finally got my “answers,” the journey required much endurance and many tears on my part.

So why didn’t God just give me those babies when I wanted them? I probably won’t know all the reasons for His timing until our first conversation in heaven. But I will tell you this. I don’t think a drop of the waiting was wasted. From a purely practical standpoint, He knew just which children He wanted to give us and the precise moment each of them needed to be born. But beyond that, I truly believe He used those long months to prepare me to be a mother.  That season of my faith journey also drew me much closer to Him.

I believe that “wait training ultimately prepares us for our dream.  God knows exactly how to use the times of waiting for our good and for His glory.  Someone once said, “We grow great by our dreams.” That may be true, but we are trained by our trials.  So stand firm, dear friend.  Let’s draw encouragement from God’s Word as we wait for the answer to our prayer.

Consider it sheer joy, my brothers, when you encounter various kinds of trials, because you know that the testing of your faith produces endurance. And let endurance carry out its intended purpose, so that you may be mature and complete, lacking in nothing (James 1:2-4 MOUNCE).