Joyfully Infertile… I’m sure there are some that will read that and think I’m completely crazy. How on earth can anyone who has experienced infertility or pregnancy and infant loss say that they are joyful. I come to tell you I can do it easily.
Before I do that though I should probably clarify just what joy means. Joy is very different from being happy or having happiness. Merriam-Webster defines joy as the expression or exhibition of such emotion. Another definition explains it as the inner attitude of rejoicing in one’s salvation regardless of outward circumstances. Happiness is caused by worldly experiences or material objects. Joy comes from first and foremost God our Father. It stems from spiritual experiences, caring for others, gratitude, and thankfulness. Happiness is temporary, joy is everlasting. Happiness can be stolen from you, joy can not unless you allow it.
The Greek word for joy is chairein (or chaironton) which are both from the Greek word chairo which means to rejoice, be glad, full of joy. Notice it says “full” of joy? Not a little bit, or kind of joyful, but FULL of joy. It’s all-consuming and penetrates all parts of our life. The Hebrew word simcha means happiness in the most full sense. Are you noticing the trend here of fullness?
So now that we have a clearer picture of what joy means let me explain how I can say, “joyfully infertile”. Am I happy that I have had to travel along this treacherous road? Absolutely not! Have there been days when my heart has been broken and the ache from my empty womb and empty arms felt as if it was going to crush me? Most certainly. But then I did a Beth Moore study called James Mercy Triumphs. Completely by the sovereign hand of God might I add did I come upon this study at the very moment I needed it.
James was Jesus’ half brother and although it took Jesus’ death and resurrection before he believed, James was still able to pen a letter with such clarity and a firm grasp of the truth. He opens his letter to the first century Jewish Christians with “Consider it pure joy whenever you face trials of many kinds.” Now here was a group of people who understood trials. They were being persecuted, imprisoned, and driven from their homes and James was telling them to consider it pure Joy!
Peter also speaks of joy in the midst of trials in 1 Peter 1:6-7. He says, “In this you greatly rejoice, though now for a little while you may have had to suffer grief in all kinds of trials. These have come so that your faith – of greater worth than gold – may be proved genuine and may result in praise, glory and honor when Jesus Christ is revealed.”
In both cases (James and Peter) we see that joy in our trials is a choice we must make. Why? Because as James goes on to explain in James 1:3-4, “Because you know that the testing of your faith develops perseverance. Perseverance must finish its work so that you may be complete and lacking nothing.” I love that. I don’t know about you but I want to be made complete and lack for nothing! Now that is a powerful motivator don’t you think? Peter also explains that it’s because our faith (which is worth more than gold) will be proved genuine and result in glory to God.
Dear sisters we aren’t being persecuted, imprisoned, or driven from our homes but we can all agree that it’s a great trial and testing of our faith. But can I tell you something? We serve a God who NEVER let’s our pain go to waste. We can be joyful first and foremost in our salvation through Christ Jesus. We can also be joyful because He is allowing us to travel down this road for a reason. Jeremiah 29:11 says, “For I know the plans I have for you”, DECLARES the Lord, “plans to prosper you and not to harm you, to give you HOPE and a future” (emphasis added to declares and hope are mine). God knows what He is doing. Nothing is a mistake. He didn’t look away for a minute while creating us and then say, “Ooppss… well let’s just go with that.” No God is working out something amazing through our infertility. I can’t claim to know what that is for you but I can tell you what that has been for me. My joy in infertility comes from learning that God is using this to draw me closer to Him. TO teach me to trust, to be still and know that He alone is God, and to allow His grace and timing to be sufficient in my life. I challenge you dear sisters to prayerfully ponder what God is showing you through your infertility journey and “consider that pure joy”!
*For further reading check out: Isaiah 65:18; Psalm 104:31; Luke 2:10; Luke 24:52; John 15:11, 17:33; and 1 Thes. 5:16
**Image from lovethispic.com