Dwell in Me

Seeking God in the Every Day


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Because of Infertility

Years after the car accident–the one she was in as a six-year-old that took her sister’s life–Shelly still suffered from survivor’s guilt. It came and went over the years, but the idea that she should have at least suffered physically, instead of walking away from the wreck, haunted her.

At one point, when she’d thought she had finally gotten past the lingering effects of the accident, Shelly began to have terrible dreams. Night after night she would awaken after seeing herself maimed and injured, but never killed, in her dreams.

As she was walking across her college campus one day after a particularly vivid dream, she felt God speak clearly to her. He first reminded her that she was physically fine. None of these things in her imagination or thoughts from her subconscious had happened. But what he followed with is why I’m telling this story:

Think, he said, If you were maimed or severely injured, think of the people you would be able to reach for me and for my glory that you cannot connect with currently. Think of the great work I would have for you that you would be able to accomplish because of–not in spite of–such a physical challenge.*

She thought about it and laughed. Of course God was right. Of course he would be able to use anything that happened in her life for good and for his glory. At the realization, as this sunk in, she says she felt her spirits lift. A burden of worry and a weight of fear were lifted.

And the dreams stopped. To this day–and she has grown children now–she has not had nightmares or feelings of survivor’s guilt.

Sitting above the Clouds, Inca Trail, Peru

I think the lesson translates as easily to infertility as to any other struggles that we, through our human eyes, see as hindering our ability to be successful or happy. I know there are things I do because of infertility that I wouldn’t be able to do if I’d gotten pregnant right away. God can use me in a way I never would have expected because I haven’t been able to have children. Especially if I’m willing to surrender and listen to him.

God will use us in the shape we’re in. And he will use the imperfections, the challenges, the pain, the heartaches in our lives to use us in different and better ways. He will truly work all things to the good of those who love him, who are called according to his purposes.

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*There are no direct quotations from God in this post. I’m paraphrasing from a second-hand source. But I did my best to recreate what I heard and stay true to the point of the message.

Shelly told this story to a group of women in a Bible study through my church. She told it, and many other stories from her life and other’s lives, because faith stories build faith, as she said. And she graciously gave me permission to share this story here.

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Thoughts on Mark 15:31-32

I am reading through the Bible this year and seeing things through the eyes of a woman dealing with infertility. And in that way, the scriptures are made so fresh and new. Occasionally, a thought strikes me and I’ll make a note of it. This one seemed worth sharing.

The verses (while Jesus is on the cross):

“The leading priests and teachers of religious law also mocked Jesus. ‘He saved others,’ they scoffed, ‘but he can’t save himself! Let this Messiah, this King of Israel, come down from the cross so we can see it and believe him!’ Even the men who were crucified with Jesus ridiculed him.” Mark 15:31-32

The people taunted and mocked Jesus on the cross. And they entreated him to come down from the cross to prove his power to them so they would believe. They were telling him what miracle to perform.

How often have I asked God to perform a specific miracle through which we could give him great glory? If we become pregnant before the medicines have possibly had time to work–or if we become pregnant before this or that treatment–what great glory we can give the name of the Lord! And I do believe it would glorify his name if we could tell of a miracle pregnancy, a miracle baby.

But what if Jesus had come down? Perhaps the mockers witnessing that act would have been muted. Perhaps they would have looked upon Jesus and known that he was beloved by God after all, that he did possess some extraordinary power. But if Jesus had come down from that cross, the penalty for our sins would not have been paid. We would not have been saved.

If he had come down from that cross, Jesus may have obtained glory for himself, but it would have been at the expense of God’s great plan for his children.

As a believer, I have to look at this story and be thankful that God does not seek to glorify himself by doing only what people think would give him glory. Instead, he knows the full story and he knows the best way to glory.

So I hope to glorify God in whatever comes through our infertility and through my life. What I think would glorify his name may not be what he knows will be for the greatest glory. But I should not lose heart. And I must continue to trust him. Because Jesus doesn’t come off the cross when the mockers tell him to. Instead, he lays down his life and the curtain separating man from God is torn in two. And what glory when Christ walks from the grave on the third day, showing us that he has conquered death and freed his children from the bondage of sin! Praise God.