A Note from Chris Adams: This is a subject we’ve addressed before, and as many of you know, one I experienced myself. In fact, this is what God used to draw me closer than I’d ever been to Him as He asked me to surrender my infertility to Him. But it wasn’t easy getting there. So many women are facing this tough issue, and we need to know how best to help them navigate the journey. Read this article today by a guest writer who has also experienced infertility, April Rodgers, to discover ways to minister to women who’s hurt is the inability to conceive.
Let’s be real…life can be messy. Am I right? Some days we are just clicking through life and everything seems to be going our way, while other days we feel like it would have been better if we had never crawled out of our warm beds that morning.
I’ve had a few of those dismal mornings in my life when my heart ached to be a mother, but year after year my arms were left empty. It didn’t help that seemingly every single person around me was either pregnant or happily strolling their newborn down the street.
Didn’t God see me? Didn’t He know how badly I wanted a baby of my own? Didn’t He know that I had the timing all planned out and now I was three years behind schedule?
With every negative pregnancy test my spirit sank deeper and deeper into despair.
It was around that time that I was asked to attend a Bible study and my passion for God’s Word was ignited. I realized that I did not have control over my fertility, and bit by bit I began to release that to God and I let Him teach me what it meant to “Delight myself in the Lord” and not in my circumstances (see Psalm 37:4).
God eventually did answer my prayers and gave me the desires of my heart in the form of two beautiful daughters, but not without it being messy and painful at times.
Infertility affects over 1 million married women and another 7.5 million women suffer from the inability to get pregnant or carry a baby to term.1 That means that 1 out of every 8 women you know are dealing with this particular messiness in their lives. Many of them feel ashamed or too embarrassed to ask for prayer or help. However, we as leaders have a wonderful opportunity to minister to women in the midst of infertility and point them to a God who truly does love them, especially when life is messy.
What we should say/do to minister to those who are dealing with infertility:
- Ask “How can I pray for you this week?” (And then follow up with a text or phone call to let her know that you did!)
- Be a good listener with a shoulder to cry on. Often women don’t necessarily want you to “fix it” as much as they just want to be heard.
- Invite her to attend Bible study and allow God to work out the details!
What we shouldn’t say/do when ministering to those dealing with infertility:
- Try not to trivialize her emotions. No matter where she is in the process of infertility, most likely her hormones are running high, and she may become emotional over the slightest thing.
- Resist the urge share with her the story about how your cousin Susie got pregnant after taking this amazing multivitamin/trying a new exercise routine/putting her name on the adoption list. Many women are spending their life savings to have a viable pregnancy and these stories can frustrate or confuse them.
- Don’t ask her if she started her menstrual cycle and/or if she is pregnant. Allow her to open up to you if she feels comfortable.
Every woman has her own story. Some may get pregnant naturally, while others require the help of medical professionals. Some may choose the blessing of adoption, while still others may remain childless yet completely fulfilled in their calling. No matter the situation, the beautiful fact remains that we serve a faithful God who sees each and every woman in the midst of our messiness.
For more help and resources on ministering in the messy, check out Women Reaching Women in Crisis and Steps: Gospel-Centered Recovery or refer to the other articles in the Hurting Women or Ministering in the Messy categories.
April Rodgers is a Christian author and speaker with a passion for encouraging women in their daily walk with Christ. She is happily married to Adams, and the Lord has blessed them with two daughters, Adelene, age 9, and Ellanora, age 7. April loves coffee, group texts, Wednesday Bible Studies, and Sunday afternoon naps. You can follow April and her blog Reflecting Light in Everyday Life at AprilRodgers.com.