23 October 2011

Q & A: What To Do When You Don't Get Pregnant


(From Danny....)

There was a wonderful comment to yesterday's post on "The Little Trials" that posed a question worth answering on a Sunday in a larger post.  The question gets to the root of the attitudes we need to develop when facing something difficult.  If you have additional insights, please feel free comment.

Q:  One thing I'm still trying to figure out...and maybe you can shed light on this for me...is how do you have hope and trust at the same time? I have a hard time putting all my faith and hope in the dream I have of one day having kiddies of my own...but at the same time surrendering my will to God and just simply trusting that if for some reason I'm not granted that desire in this life, I can still have a happy and fulfilling life now. But when I start thinking about the possibility of it not happening, then I feel my trust is strengthened, but my faith and hope is somehow made weaker because I'm starting to imagine life without those hopes and dreams.

A:  Mara and I have talked about this a little bit ourselves, and I think I know exactly what you're saying.  I'll rephrase it using the way that I speak about it to make sure we're on the same page...and then I'll try to address your question.  I view this as the difference between hope and faith (what you called trust).  First I'll offer my definitions:
  • Hope:  Hope is working towards good goals and righteous desires with a belief that they will be fulfilled somehow (even if by God's hand), no matter how bleak the circumstances. 
  •  Faith:  Faith is more than belief... it is trusting in God that even if some of those goals and desires are not realized, that everything will still be okay...in fact better than okay.  It is trusting that even if you are not temporally delivered, you will be spiritually delivered and made whole through His peace, His joy, and His love.
Used in an example other than infertility:  in the case of a parent with a wayward child - hope is all the good and righteous things you desire for them and the belief that God will help them turn their life around.  Faith is trusting in God that even if the child doesn't change, God will still bring peace and comfort to your life. Going one step further, faith is also the process of experiencing that peace and comfort right now, even while the trial is raging.

Back to your question, Mara and I have certainly found that the greater our trust and faith in God (the feeling of knowing that everything will be okay even if a baby never comes, and actually feeling the present peace of that knowledge), the less desperate are our prayers that He make a baby come now!

It's strange because sometimes people equate faith (I believe erroneously) with how desperately we want something and how willing we are to plead with God for it night and day, for weeks and months and years, and even cry our eyes out in prayer to Him because we want it so bad.  We think faith is that we never give up and we just need to ask harder next time and then it will happen.

But the more I learn about faith and a true relationship with God, the more wisdom I see in the Christ's words in the garden: "If it be possible, let this cup pass from me: nevertheless not as I will, but as thou wilt."  I also love the story in Daniel 3 of Shadrach, Meshach and Abed-nego when they tell the king "Our God whom we serve is able to deliver us from the burning fiery furnace, and he will deliver us out of thine hand, O King.  But if not, be it known to thee that we will not serve thy Gods nor worship thy golden image."  I love the words "but if not"...they know God can deliver them, but their faith (trust) isn't dependent on him doing so.  They've been delivered spiritually before there was even an opportunity to deliver them physically.

Mara and I have tried to adopt this kind of faith, and as a result we've come to realize that the desperation itself actually distances us from the here/now experience of His all-comforting love.  And when I feel that all-comforting love, that stillness and knowledge that all really is well...like you described, it's actually harder to then turn to Him and plead that He deliver us from this trial and send us a child.

That doesn't mean that we don't still ask for a miracle and God's intervention...we do!  But when we pray for that child, we follow the petition with words like these: "but if it cannot happen now (but if not), we will be fine, we will continue in faith, and will continue to rely on and trust in you, and seek spiritual deliverance (peace, comfort, joy) at your hand."

I guess this is a long way of saying that I don't think there's anything wrong with the place you find yourself in...where trust in God surpasses hope for an unfulfilled dream.  To me, that is when the most holy relationship between God and man begins.

-Danny

10 comments:

  1. Going through some of my trials I didn't realize that basically I was feeling that having the knowledge that God was there for me, watching over me and had a plan for me wasn't enough at times. I just wanted to know that MY plan would be THE plan. Once I realized this was what I had been feeling, I could see how ridiculous it was to believe that MY plan was better than Gods plan (when has that EVER proven to be true?). Just realizing my thinking was ridiculous didn't mean that I stopped feeling that way, but it did make me aware of my unbelief. So I began to pray that Heavenly Father would bless my unbelief, help to me actually feel comfort in the knowledge that he has a plan for me...and it's a good one...it's a great one...it's a plan of happiness! As I am working on this I have never felt so much freedom from my circumstances and a peace that feels so much more secure, because it is not contingent on my circumstances...just on my faith.

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  2. Hello Mara and Danny! I love to read your blog. :) I have a question.. I am twenty and my boyfriend and I have been dating for three years. He has made some mistakes and seriously hurt my trust, although I fully know he loves me! He trusts me with everything and I trust him with all my secrets, feelings and everything, but sometimes I find myself saying, "No you don't," or turning away sometimes when he says "I love you." I know he does, but I think I continue to brace myself for the next time he strays away. He has broken up with me twice, the first time for about a week and a half, the second time for only a night. We want to spend the rest of our lives together. How can I stop this feeling of an anticipated loss of him? He keeps saying it will never happen again, and I beleive him deep down, but can't help feeling cautious. I want to fall deep in love, but I feel this is keeping me from doing that!

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  3. Hi Colleen, thanks for your support. That's a good question. It's difficult to give advice without knowing all the circumstances. Here's what I can do...I've listened to Dr. Laura for years and really admire her advice. She wrote the book "10 Stupid Things Women Do To Mess Up Their Lives". I'll bet the book will help you see if your approaching this correctly, and whether your fears/concerns are valid or not. If Mara and I ever have girls...I would definitely want them to read that before getting in a long term relationship. If there's boys...they'll read the "10 Stupid Things" for men.

    Now onto the part that I can answer :).
    1) you have to decide if he truly is trustworthy or not. I don't know what "stray away" means...but if there are REAL reasons to fear infidelity, don't dismiss them because you're "in love". See our "MAJOR Dating Tips" post.
    2) realize your happiness does not hinge on this relationship. The sooner you learn to be happy with who YOU are, separate from anyone else, the better the rest of your life will be, and the better partner you will be for a truly good man...be it the one you're with now, or someone down the road. The happiest people in the world are those who've learned that true happiness is independent of circumstance.
    3) Realize you can't control him...you can only control how YOU respond. And it IS in YOUR control!!! Instead of fear...choose faith. Instead of self doubt...choose hope. And it's not necessarily hope and faith in him...it's hope and faith in YOU and your ability to come out of any situation having learned something and experienced meaningful personal growth.

    Like I said in the original post...HOPE that you will meet and marry a great man (even if it's someone other than who you're with now)...and don't let that hope die out ever. Then, have FAITH that even if this one doesn't work out, you will be just fine in the here/now.

    That's all I have time for now...but we'll post some other dating tips in the future. Now go buy that book! :)

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  4. Well said Jill and Dane. Always happy to know others have learned the same thing that we have experienced.

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  5. Hi Danny,

    Thanks so much for the post on my question! Wow, I didn't expect such a well thought out and written answer...that really means a lot. Thank you.

    And what you said totally makes sense. I guess as I sort of float between that hope for my righteous desires to be realized and faith in the Lord, I find myself worrying that when I feel at peace with how things are (faith), that maybe it's because I've just given up. And yet, I like how you said it, "...trust in God surpasses hope for an unfulfilled dream. To me, that is when the most holy relationship between God and man begins." That's perfectly said. It just assures me that I will continue to work on developing that faith/trust knowing that it does not mean that I've given up, I've just really turned it over to the Lord, and the peace I feel when I do that is magnificent, it's far better than the anxiety I feel when I try to take over and desperately get what I want...and NOW.

    So trust and faith in the Lord...this is what I will strive for always. It seems this is the lesson I am always working on. Funny how that works. :)

    Thanks again Danny and Mara.

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  6. Hi Danny & Mara

    I have been following your blog for the last two weeks. I don't usually participate but due to being bed ridden for the last to weeks I have time to do things I don't usually have time for. I have recently under gone a IVF treatment and this is what has me bed ridden. I guess this has given me that chance to surf the web and read your blog.
    Anyway I just wanted to comment on this post. Having failed at getting pregnant many times over the last 8-ish years I have found one thing to be true. I for many years looked to god for comfort to get through this crappy fertility stuff but found none. I found that when I had faith not in gods plan or in god for that matter but faith in me and my relationship I am most happy. My story is long and I won't go into details but when I am happiest with me everything else just falls into place. Having a child can't and won't make or break my happiness nor should that be that case for anyone. Remember god didn't solely put us on this earth to multiply but to learn and progress. Having a child is not a reward or those that should not have children wouldn't. It is just some thing that is.
    Just a quick background on me so that you don't think I'm full of it. I have been happily married to the same awesome guy for 11 years. We have no kids and have in no way had an easy life. It's is only currently that we have had the opportunity to do IVF and possibly adoption, and we thank Steve Jobs everyday for that (side note: Apple Inc. has crazy good benefits).
    Last I just wanted to say having dealt with infertility for many years and the crazy/winy people that tend to come with it THANK YOU for being sane and not winy. I look forward to your further post.

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  7. Serina, thinking of you ! Hope the recent treatments work. And thx for writing in...

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  8. Faith is hard to develop inside of yourself. But I'm getting convinced more and more that living without it is much harder. Just if something doesn't suite our commom conception of reality and 'normal' it doesn't mean that everything goes wrong.

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  9. So. Even though I might not be temporally delivered from my not-so-happy marriage (because I have prayed about it and in my case God wants me to stay and love) ... I can be spiritually delivered from the unhappiness of it and be made whole. And then I won't need my circumstances to change or be ideal. Then I will be free to love and serve within my circumstances because I won't be spending all my energy trying to change or "fix" them.

    *click*
    I think I just got it.
    Thanks.

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    1. I love it when things *click* like that. The best part about entering the stage you identified in the last sentence (loving and serving WITHIN the circumstance instead of seeking to change it) is that if there was ever going to be a reason that something will change, it is more likely to happen when you're able to release the person or the circumstance from the pressure of changing. You let it be what it will be, and then you start responding in better and healthier ways, which increases the likelihood that the other parties involved can respond in similar ways. They very well may not respond in similar ways, that part is up to them. But it sure is easier to let down the defensive guard when someone else shows them there is nothing to defend against anymore, because no attacks will be coming.

      Good luck, and keep coming back to that epiphany over and over in the coming days and weeks, it will change your life forever!

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