Infertility Help for the Holidays

This post about navigating the holidays was originally shared a few years ago. Its message is timeless, so I’m sharing it again (with a few tweaks). Hopefully, you’ll find it uplifting! 


Holidays can be difficult to navigate when you’ve been declared infertile. I remember how easy it was to get caught up in all that was going wrong (infertility). It would have been easy to paint myself into a corner and have a pity party.  I could have chosen to neglect enjoying what’s meant to be a festive and fun time.  With the disappointment that comes month after month, it can become difficult to maneuver through the emotional drain of infertility, the possible health scares, the financial toll, and the marital problems that tend to stealthily creep in.

But during the holiday season, I encourage you to make a DECISION to look for the things in life you can be thankful for. A thankful heart looks beyond its present negative circumstances to the positive possibilities that lie ahead.

You may be asking yourself, “What do I have to be thankful for when all I want is to get pregnant and it isn’t happening?”

Holidays - Be Thankful

 

Here are 5 ways you can choose to be thankful during the holidays:


 Be thankful that God is with you. 

If you’ve asked Jesus into your heart, He has promised to never leave you and to always bless you with his unfailing grace. Be thankful that you can rest in knowing that God is for you and not against you (Romans 8:31).


 

Be thankful that there is nothing too hard for God, not even infertility!

Some people believe that we’re to thank God for putting us in tough situations because that’s how He teaches us something. I believe God is a better teacher than that. He can get his point across to us without putting us in tough situations. I believe that tough situations are brought to our lives by the devil but God can and will bring us out of them. Trust in God’s ability and willingness to make good come out of bad (Genesis 18:14; Genesis 50:20).


 

Be thankful for role models.

Be thankful that He has given so many examples of women who overcame infertility and that He has made promises in the Bible that relate to your fertility. Thank Him that you can count on Him to make good on those promises (Luke 1:7, 24).


 

Be thankful that God hears you as you pray His promises.

“So is my Word that goes out from my mouth: It will not return to me [through your confession of it] without producing results. As you believe and speak it, My Word will accomplish what I desire and achieve the purpose for which I sent it.” ~Isaiah 55:11 [paraphrased]

When you’re in the throes of difficult circumstances, life can become overwhelmingly sad and anxiety-laden. But remember, the One who has the power to change your circumstances is always right there with you in the midst of them, ready to display His power. Trust His love and His promises. God the Father wants to bring you out of the grip of tough times into His gentle caress of peace and rest. That’s what He planned for your destiny.

Giving thanks to God is the means of focusing on the solution rather than the problems we have. When we give thanks in the midst of our problems, we keep victory’s door open. When we’re dealing with infertility, or any other trying circumstance, being thankful to God is the best way to express that we expect Him to show Himself strong on our behalf. Thankfulness reinforces our belief that He will make good things happen.


 

Be thankful that He loves you unconditionally.

God the Father loves you just as much as He loves Jesus (John 17:23)! To have someone who always loves you is wonderful! No matter how much you doubt God’s ability, willingness, and timing, He still loves you. That’s something to be thankful for!


 

You can choose to make the best of the holiday season, in spite of your experience with infertility. One powerful way to do so is to express gratitude for what you have. Consider how you’ve been blessed in your health, relationships, career, finances, etc.

What will you choose to thank God for during the holidays?

 

Sometimes You Feel Empty in the Season of Infertility

Empty.

It’s hard to get through the day feeling empty. Especially when every day seems to be filled with emptiness.

Empty womb.

Empty arms.

Empty heart.

Feeling empty

Emptiness is HEAVY. But how can emptiness have weight–isn’t that an oxymoron? I’m not sure how it happens but I know the emotions of emptiness and hopelessness are so heavy and burdensome and yet we readily tote them around as if we have no alternative. What do you do when those feelings of emptiness tempt you to carry them with you throughout your day? What if there was someone who wanted to carry that weight for you? Would you give it to them?

Well, the someone who has made that very offer is Jesus. He wants you to see Him as your burden lifter and carrier; the One who stands at the ready to pick up and carry all the weight of barrenness so that you can be yoked with Him, filled with His Spirit, and experience the fullness of His rest, peace and joy.

Will you let Him?

“Then Jesus said, “Come to me, all of you who are weary and carry heavy burdens, and I will give you rest.” ~Matthew 11:28

Bring Back Your Hope

If you’ve lost hope for something in your life, bring your hope back to life by finding a promise of God that relates to your situation. Believe that the promise is true for you. If you find it hard to believe, ask God to help you believe it (Mark 9:24).

empty - unbelief

Then speak that promise and expect it to manifest in your life. You’ll have to be persistent in speaking that promise…your enemy, the devil, will do all he can to distract you from believing and speaking it with confidence. Despite that, continue to thank God that His promise for you is sure and worthy of your trust. Rest assured, your hope will be renewed and your confidence increased as you fill the emptiness and renew your hope by taking a stand on the promises of God.

When emptiness, hopelessness, and other negative emotions overtake you and make you feel like something is missing from the very core of your being, Jesus’ love and grace are available everyday to comfort and guide you through the struggle.

Illustration Sources: https://www.betterhelp.com (empty) and http://www.joshuanhook.com (unbelief)

 

The Power of Gratitude

Expressing gratitude is a powerful way to start your day every morning. Today I decided to share excerpts from posts as far back as 2012 that I hope will encourage you to always be on the lookout for something good and be thankful for it.

If you’re struggling with infertility, it’s so easy to get caught up in all that’s going wrong, the disappointment that comes month after month, the emotional drain of it all, the possible health scares, the financial toll, and the marital problems that tend to stealthily creep in. But today, make a DECISION to look for the things in life you’ll be thankful for.

Start by remembering that God is with you. If you’ve asked Jesus into your heart, He has promised to never leave you and to always bless you with his unfailing grace. Continue to rest in knowing that God is for you and not against you (Romans 8:31). Be thankful that He has given so many examples of women who overcame infertility along with promises in the Bible that relate to your fertility. Thank Him that you can count on Him to make good on those promises (Isaiah 55:11).  Even during the moments when you doubt His ability, willingness, and timing, stand firm in being thankful that He still loves you. Believe that He loves you no-matter-what, just as much as He loves Jesus (John 17:23).

Be thankful that there is nothing too hard for God, not even infertility (Genesis 18:14)!


WHY should I be grateful?

  • What I have, I don’t deserve because of my goodness, rather, it’s all because of Jesus’ goodness.
  • Gratitude and Peace are interconnected; the more gratitude I express to God, the more of His peace I experience.
  • It’s a way to express my indebtedness to others and to God, thereby helping me to become a better servant-leader.
  • Gratitude is a choice; I can just as easily choose to complain about life instead of being grateful.

I choose to celebrate that God loves me and blesses me, even when circumstances around me are teeming with reasons to not be grateful!


KEEP AN ATTITUDE OF GRATITUDE!

Choose to be grateful. Expect an abundance of good things to come your way that will reinforce and grow this attitude so you can constantly be grateful, even in the midst of difficult circumstances.

 

What thing(s) do you do to remind yourself that, in spite of your circumstances, you have much to be grateful for?

Gratitude by Ziglar

Elisha Kearns’ Thoughts About “A Seed of Hope” Fertility Devotional

A Seed of Hope - Elisha KearnsElisha Kearns has been a God-send to me. During her struggle with infertility, she has encouraged me many times about how my book, A Seed of Hope: God’s Promises of Fertility, has helped her.  Elisha is a blogger and speaker who shares from her heart. It’s as if she were sitting right across from you, giving you loving encouragement in the midst of your struggle. You can find her at www.WaitingForBabyBird.com.

Earlier this year, I thought it was time to do a few updates to A Seed of Hope;it has recently been revised. Also, it now includes questions at the end of each of the 60 daily devotions. These questions are great for individual reflection or for fertility support groups to study. I’m pleased to let you know that Elisha graciously agreed to write the Foreword for the revised edition of A Seed of Hope.

A Seed of Hope Foreword

Here is what she shares in the book:

I am not sure if you are new to infertility or if you have been traveling this journey for months or even years, but I think we can all agree no matter the time spent on this unexpected path to parenthood that it is tough.  Really tough.  When I began walking this bumpy road filled with sharp turns and potholes, I wasn’t prepared. Were you?

I thought infertility was simply the inability to conceive after one year of actively trying. And rightfully so, because isn’t that the definition? But ask me now, nearly six years after leaving my doctor’s office numb and confused, then going through several failed treatment cycles and a miscarriage, and I will quickly tell you that the definition Google search gave me years ago is not even close to being accurate, and maybe you feel the same. Infertility, when you break it down, is somuch more than just the inability to conceive.

I have learned it is also a series of losses that you are forced to grieve month after month. It’s almost like a grave that keeps following you around as it grabs your hope and buries more and more of your dreams with each failed cycle. It’s a fierce battle between your faith and your circumstances. A battle you must fight to win every day. And a battle that is exhausting. But sweet friend, while I have learned so much about infertility through my experiences, I have also learned what it is not. And it is not going to win.

In 2012 after my last failed treatment cycle using In Vitro-Fertilization (IVF), I found myself falling further into a sea of despair thinking God had forgotten me. I couldn’t figure out what I had done to deserve this form of punishment and this type of shame. Every day, I felt as though I was trying to scoop the water out of my sinking ship with a small Dixie cup, only to keep watching the water come pouring back in.

My Search for Relief

It wasn’t until during one of my late night internet searches in which I was looking for something, anything that could give me relief from the intense pain my heart and soul was experiencing that I found her; I found Evangeline and her book, A Seed of Hope: God’s Promises for Fertility. And friend, once it was in my hands just a few short days later, I couldn’t put it down. Each entry was a breath of spiritual fresh air as her words brought life to the parts of me that were dry and wounded.

I found her personal struggle and unwavering faith in God to be the powerful inspiration I needed in my time of weakness. Her daily dose of encouragement helped me shake off the lies of the enemy so that I could stand firm and live my day faithfully with a hope-filled focus. A focus that has continued to enable me to believe in the Truth that victory over childlessness, no matter the diagnosis or cause, can be mine— and even yours.

It is my prayer and strong belief that as you dedicate each day to reading this 60-day devotional, as well as put to practice the undeniable tool of speaking God’s word over your situation as Evangeline teaches you to do, that you will begin to feel your hope supernaturally rise to a new level. You will begin to see yourself with the victory, rather than without. I also believe that you will begin to feel stronger in your faith, as well as empowered to know that while infertility is what it is— heartbreaking…dream shattering…soul crushing and faith breaking…you will also begin to know deep down within your spirit what it is not. You will know that because of the power of Jesus, it is not going to win.

Use This Tool

So grab a pen, a cute journal and marinate yourself with the Spirit-filled words of this book. Let it be a tool that helps you no longer see your situation through your eyes, but rather through His. You are a victor through Him, and victory over sickness and disease can be yours.

Thank you, Evangeline, for pouring out your heart and spreading God’s Truth to a community of men and women struggling to conceive. Your dedication to the Lord years ago saved me from turning away from my faith. My hope and prayer today is that through your revised edition, it will continue to help save others who are like I once was— trying to scoop water out of their boat with a small Dixie cup.

May God bless each of you reading these words with the deepest desires of your heart.

Elisha Kearns

Author of the faith-based nationally known blog, Waiting for Baby Bird

You Are a Victor!

If you’re struggling with infertility and you desire Scripture-based encouragement, get your copy of the revised edition of A Seed of Hope at www.BooksByEvangeline.com. It will help you see more clearly that you are indeed already a victor in Christ– even over infertility!

Are You Willing to Let Go and Let God Do the Work?

wait with confidence - let go and let God

 

Have you ever been able to really “let go and let God” do the work that only He can do in your life? Psalm 138 provides motivation to let God do the work– to allow Him to bring to fruition all the good that He planned for you. Here is that Scripture in its entirety:

1 I will praise You with my whole heart; Before the gods I will sing praises to You.

2 I will worship toward Your holy temple, And praise Your name For Your lovingkindness and Your truth; For You have magnified Your word above all Your name.

3 In the day when I cried out, You answered me, [And] made me bold [with] strength in my soul.

4 All the kings of the earth shall praise You, O LORD, When they hear the words of Your mouth.

5 Yes, they shall sing of the ways of the LORD, For great [is] the glory of the LORD.

6 Though the LORD [is] on high, Yet He regards the lowly; But the proud He knows from afar.

7 Though I walk in the midst of trouble, You will revive me; You will stretch out Your hand Against the wrath of my enemies, And Your right hand will save me.

8 The LORD will perfect [that which] concerns me; Your mercy, O LORD, [endures] forever; Do not forsake the works of Your hands.

 

Verse 8 is the particular verse I want to call your attention to. As you probably know by now, I enjoy reading various versions/translations of Scripture. Here are some other ways of stating verse 8:

The Lord will work out his plans for my life. (TLB)

Will you trust Him to do so, in His way and His timing?

Finish what you started in me, God. Your love is eternal—don’t quit on me now. (MSG)

Will you decide to not give up on His love for you?

Adonai will fulfill his purpose for me. Your grace, Adonai, continues forever. (CJB)

Will you choose to live enjoying His abundant grace every day?

You will do everything You have promised. (GNT)

Do you believe He’ll keep His promises for you?

Which version resonated with you? It’s clear that God wants to work on your behalf and to bring His promises to fruition in your life, no matter what the obstacles may currently be.

Believe His love. Allow Him to do what He does best.

Have You Forgotten Your Position of Authority?

We are in a position of authority as believers in Jesus. How do you effectively put that to use?

Today, in our Facebook group, I posted the following:

Remember whose you are. The devil wants you to be so focused on your condition that you forget your position! Ephesians 2:6  #DaughterOfTheKing  #SeatedWithHim

 

The deception of the enemy is to get you focused on anything but Jesus, and most especially on anything that would make you doubt God’s love for you. So often we get distracted by our current circumstances and forget the inherent supernatural power and authority we have.

Proof of Your Position and Power

“He raised us up with Him and seated us in the heavenly realms with our beloved Jesus the Anointed, the Liberating King.”
 Ephesians 2:6 VOICE

“Listen carefully: I have given you authority [that you now possess] to tread on serpents and scorpions, and [the ability to exercise authority] over all the power of the enemy (Satan); and nothing will [in any way] harm you.”
Luke 10:19 AMP

“He lets us rule as kings and serve God his Father as priests. To him be glory and power forever and ever! Amen.”
Revelation 1:6 CEV

It’s clear that with Jesus as our Savior, we are positioned to maintain a seat of authority. He wants us to use the throne rights that He has freely given to us.

Use Your Authority

Take Authority over DistractionAs soon as you notice that your focus is off of how God loves you and wants you to live boldly, do a mental and spiritual reset. Follow the direction given in 1 Peter 5:9 AMP:

“Be quick to cast out the devil at his onset.”

Be quick to reset and re-focus quickly. Say (aloud) what God has said about your situation. You have the authority to do so. Do not give in to fear. Fear gives the devil a place to work. Instead, believe the Word. Be active in the realm of authority you have in Christ.

What can you do today to speak and act from your position of power in Jesus?

Where in the World is Evangeline?

It’s been a while since I’ve posted here. Have you missed hearing from me? I hope you’ve wondered, “Where in the world is Evangeline?” 🙂

Remember the TV show, “Where in the World is Carmen Sandiego?” My kids grew up watching it in the 90’s. Did you? That fun acapella theme song is still stuck in my head. Take a listen…

Well, just like Carmen went to places around the world, I’ve been traveling to places I’ve never been before and having a blast with my husband. He had to take a business trip to France and of course I said, “There’s no way you’re going there without ME!” It was the first trip to Europe for both of us. We made stops at Paris, Nantes, Carquefou, Marseille, and Aix-en-Provence. Each city had its own special beauty to share with us.

While Freeman was at work, I had a chance to start writing a new book (more about that later), get out and see the “touristy” sites, and enjoy seeing how the locals live. It was truly a blessing to take this trip with Freeman!

Photo Journal

I made sure to keep a record of people, places and things we saw in France. I took over 250 photos! Here are a few pictures from our travels:

Beautiful day at the Eiffel Tower!

 

Where in the world
Walking on air…How does he do that?!  Nantes, France

 

Where in the world
Spa day for me in Aix. 🙂

 

Where in the world
In the Marseille airport– on our way back home

 

What’s been going on your world while I was gone? Let me know below!

Now that I’m back, you’ll be hearing more from me in this space. 

 

Maintaining a Strong Marriage During Infertility

This blog post on maintaining a strong marriage first appeared here a couple of years ago. This past weekend a friend reminded me that the keys to a good marriage are good to keep top-of-mind during this season, so I thought I’d share this again.


A Strong Marriage Takes Work

Maintaining a successful marriage takes work under “normal” circumstances. It is especially important to work at maintaining a strong, hope-filled, and love-based marriage during the stressful circumstances added by a season of infertility.

Here are some important keys about love as God intended a husband and wife to experience it. Focus on how love REALLY is and not as it’s portrayed on television, in romance novels, and online. Focus on God’s love for you and how He wants you to love your spouse. Get more tips and encouragement in my e-book, Infertility Sucks! How to Maintain Hope in Your Marriage During Infertility.

I know the struggle is real. Which of these keys are you using “on purpose” in your marriage to keep it strong?

 

Strong Marriage

 

Why Feeling Hopeless is NOT Where You Want to Stay – INFOGRAPHIC

Feeling hopeless

3 Powerful Actions if You’re Tempted to Abandon Hope

When life fails to be all that we had anticipated, we find it easier to abandon hope. Sometimes, we tend to think, “What’s the use? It hasn’t happened yet… and it probably never will.” If this is a description of your current life and mindset, I have 3 tips I’d like to share to help you strengthen and retain hope.

Tip 1

Make a Gratitude List. Pause to give thanks on a daily basis. When you focus more on what you’re thankful for, it begins to shift your attitude. Ultimately, you begin to move beyond discouragement. Acknowledging blessings that you’re currently experiencing will give you a better outlook about your circumstances.

Areas for counting your blessings don’t have to all be “big” or “important” in someone else’s eyes. Here are a few to consider:

  • Jesus’ finished work on the cross
  • The Father’s love
  • Good/improved health
  • Steady income
  • Fun relationships
  • Provision of a home
  • Clean running water
  • Transportation
  • Power over the enemy
  • Opportunities to serve others

What would you add to this list?

Tip 2

Ask for wisdom. God is always willing, even eager, to give you wisdom. What He gives, He does not take away. His wisdom about your circumstances will help you to not abandon hope.

If you need wisdom, ask our generous God, and he will give it to you. He will not rebuke you for asking.
~ James 1:5 NLT

Wisdom is the exercise of sound judgment either in avoiding evils or attempting good (Webster’s Dictionary). It points you in the right direction and helps you make good decisions. Wisdom also helps you to be content until circumstances change because you know that God’s hand of favor continually rests on you.

Tip 3

Do one thing. Choose to take one simple step that serves to increase your trust in God. Focus on a promise that He has made that relates to your situation and then take one easy action step based on that promise. You can rely on God keeping His promise.

God is not a man, so he does not lie. He is not human, so he does not change his mind. Has he ever spoken and failed to act? Has he ever promised and not carried it through? ~ Numbers 23:19 NLT

Commit to doing that one thing by writing it down and placing it someplace where you’ll be reminded of it and then.. do it!


Hope is one of the three things that 1 Corinthians 13:13 tells us will always remain as a resource that allows us to tap into God’s grace. We are to always have hope—the joyful and confident expectation of God coming through for us!

Please share… What you do to maintain/strengthen your hope in seasons of discouragement?