TRIALS WILL COME
In 2008, my husband and I decided to move to South Carolina and try to start a family. God had other plans in store. In 2012, after some infertility treatments we finally became pregnant and quickly shared the good news with family and a few close friends. But that joy was short lived. Not even a month later we discovered it was ectopic and the baby would not survive and due to a risk to my health and life, I had to have surgery. Because it all happened so quickly, I didn’t have time to process or even begin to mourn our loss until months later. After many more months of failed infertility treatments we felt we were being led to grow our family through adoption instead. And finally, peace began to creep back into our lives.
“Dear friends, do not be surprised at the painful trial you are suffering, as though something strange were happening to you” – 1 Peter 4:12
It’s not a matter of “if”, it’s a question of “when”….the trials will come. Will you be ready?
Many people can quote Jeremiah 29:11, “For I know the plans I have for you, declares the Lord, plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you a hope and a future.” But how many people have ever paid attention to the sentence just before, in verse 10? It says, “when seventy years are completed…” And if you read from the beginning, you can see that God’s people are going through 70 years of hard times! 70 years!!!
Have you felt stuck in the middle of a difficult time you thought would never end? That’s what infertility feels like. It’s easy to allow doubt to slip in during times of trials, especially long ones. When we can see no end, we can sink into depression…that is when we need to trust Him even more. Because that is when the enemy will begin to whisper louder and louder, until his voice is all that we can hear. And when that happens, we forget we are truly loved, and truly His.
“It is by the continuance of it that patience is put to the test. It is not under the sharpest, but the longest trials, that we are most in danger of fainting. In the first case, the soul collects all its strength, and feels in earnest to call in help from above; but in the last, the mind relaxes, and sinks into despondency.” – Andrew Fuller
GUARD YOUR HEART
Have you heard of “guarding your heart”? Well, as I was going through this trial of infertility God was teaching me a lot about guarding my heart. Sometimes I was much better at it than others. But I felt like I needed to share what I learned, and I’m praying it might help someone else make it through some difficult times. It might be infertility, or it might be a different kind of trial, the principles are still the same.
You must guard your heart, especially during these hard times. “If you don’t guard your heart, unresolved anger towards God can undermine your faith.” (Mark Batterson) That is never more true than in the middle of a difficult time. When I wasn’t on guard against thoughts from the enemy I would easily slip into frustration and anger towards God for allowing us to go through this difficult time of infertility. But when I was aware, and guarding my heart, I could easily see those thoughts as what they truly were, artillery from the enemy.
Jeremiah 29:11 is true, He does have good plans for us, but that doesn’t mean our whole life will be nothing but good. God uses those hard times to grow us, to strengthen us, to remind us to depend on Him more and seek after Him first, to prepare us for something even better. Just look at the verses following 11, (12-14), “In those days (of trial) when you pray, I will listen. If you look for me wholeheartedly, you will find me. I will be found by you.”
He wants us to keep seeking after Him…keep praying and looking for Him. And by doing so, we are guarding our hearts.