Among the many dreams that young girls grow up with, two seem to be fairly common across the board—the dreams to one day be a wife and a mother. I am currently seeing this in my six-year-old daughter. She talks of getting married and having her own kids, longs for a younger sibling to take care of, pretends to marry her Daddy, and meticulously cares for her family of baby dolls. It is a part of who we are and it has been since the beginning of time.
From the story of creation, we see that God created man and woman to be together. No suitable helper had been found for Adam, so God created Eve using one of Adam’s ribs (Genesis 2). When Adam awoke, he said, “At last…This one is bone from my bone, and flesh from my flesh! She will be called ‘woman,’ because she was taken from ‘man’” (Genesis 2:23, NLT).
The first command we see recorded in scripture followed on the heels of God creating Adam and Eve.
So God created human beings in his own image, in the image of God he created them; male and female he created them. Then God blessed them and said to them, “Be fruitful and multiply…” (Genesis 1:27-28a, NIV, emphasis mine)
It’s in us. It’s what we were created to do.
But, what if we can’t do what we were created to do? What if we discover that something we have longed for isn’t possible because, for one reason or another, our bodies won’t allow it?
For me, I struggled. I struggled because I felt like I was missing out. I struggled because I would never feel the kick of an unborn child. I would never experience the miracle of carrying a life inside my body. I would never be pregnant. I struggled because I knew my husband wanted it as much as I did and there was nothing I could do. I struggled because I couldn’t fulfill the very first thing God asked of us in the way it was originally intended. I struggled because, in my heart, I believed I couldn’t do something I was created to do.
I have a structure-loving, rule-following personality and so I grappled with this. I wrestled in prayer. I longed to understand. My heart ached when I would hear of another close to me finding out she was pregnant. I couldn’t do what I was originally created to do and it hurt.
As I begged God for understanding I landed in the first few verses of John 9. It’s the story of Jesus and his disciples’ encounter with a man who had been blind since birth. The disciples wanted to know whose sin had caused this man’s blindness. Was it him? Was it his parents? Jesus’ answer stopped me in my tracks. My heart was suddenly washed over with the understanding and peace I had begged for.
“Neither this man nor his parents sinned,” said Jesus, “but this happened so that the works of God might be displayed in him” (John 9:3, NIV).
The Spirit whispered to my heart, “My daughter, you may not be able to fulfill that command in one way, but that doesn’t mean you can’t fulfill it in others. Let go of the “as it was originally intended” mentality. You are fulfilling it in the way I intend—so that my work is displayed in your life.”
Infertility is hard and unpredictable, but God is reliable. Feeling shame because your body won’t allow you to do what you were intended to do is painful, but God is faithful. To be fruitful and multiple is to give life. I may not be able to give life in the sense of physically carrying a child, but that doesn’t mean I can’t do it in other ways. God is a creative God so He is simply asking me to give life in ways that look different. The story He is writing in my family’s life is one I never could have imagined, but I wouldn’t trade it for the world. Through the gift of adoption, my husband and I have been blessed with two amazing kids that we otherwise would not have been given. My limitations provided an opportunity for the works of God to be displayed.
Sweet sister, if you find yourself in a season of life where you’re struggling, whether it is with infertility, marriage difficulties, stress in the workplace, or with life simply not turning out how you envisioned, please know that rest is possible. Allow yourself the freedom to feel encouraged because comfort is possible. Keep wrestling, keep praying, and don’t give up. When life seems unpredictable and unstable we can lean into the truth that we have an unshakeable, steadfast God who never changes, and desires to write our stories in a way that displays His works.