Faith. Science. Fertility….
by lisha epperson
Faith. Science. Fertility. Three powerful words overflowing with shaded meanings – clouding your usually 20/20 vision when trying to conceive. Leaving you standing, alone – with a cartoon bubble full of question marks over your head. How do you define them or even put them together to bring that still and quiet knowing called peace to your ever-searching heart? I am tearful as I write this because these 3 words have perhaps brought me the most significant challenge of my life and I want to lay it out here in hopes of helping someone. I pray that it is useful.
I gave my heart to God at 23. The man I now call husband brought me to church as part of our courtship and my relationship with him developed as I got to know the greatest Him of all. Up until that point in life I can say that I had never been acquainted with loss. Having grown up surrounded by 2 parents, family and friends that supported and loved me, I was living the blessed life. Certainly I had cried the crocodile tears of first love and even felt my share of betrayal but had never known the soul crushing pain that I would experience as a newly married woman. A year and a half into our marriage I conceived and miscarried our first child. 14 weeks. no heartbeat. no life. gone. gone. Devastated does not begin to remotely explain my state of mind. Initially I martyred it off. Professing my wholeness after what was seemingly God’s plan, I took 2 weeks off and returned to my life. I didn’t know it at the time but the experience had changed me forever and slowly over a period of months and years I lost my faith and lived in unbelief. All of this closeted because I still attended, sang in and danced at church. I knew that God was love. I didn’t believe that He loved me. How could He and allow me to lose my baby? My faith was being tested and it didn’t matter to me because I didn’t know where it was and a part of me didn’t care.
This is where it gets tricky. I love science and have always had a whimsical curiosity about the wonders of the universe. I never doubted God as creator of it all. I respect the medical field and stand firm in my belief that God gives His wisdom to doctors to create treatment protocols and uses them as instruments of healing. Yes! I believe this. Then why was it that when it came to treatment for the disease of infertility I had somehow gotten the message that if I sought the advice of a doctor – I wasn’t exercising my faith. This is one of those misguided pieces of information that is subtly passed among the pews of too many churches with regard to barrenness, leaving a trail of confusion and guilt that God did not intend. I vacillated on this one for a long time, ultimately praying and believing I was led to see a doctor. I saw it as exercising my dust-mite sized faith with a corresponding action. My journey down the path of medicine did not lead to a baby. I travelled the road as long as it felt comfortable and got off just a few short exits from my starting point. I was ok with it. Emotionally and physically I was tired but I thank God I was able to get on and off the rollercoaster of treatment at my choosing and am so appreciative of the few doctors and nurses I met along the way that acknowledged the god factor in their efforts.
Time in and of itself is a healer and as the years went by I regained my faith. I reached that crossroad in my walk with God where it was either put up or shut up. I think everyone gets to this point, something happens that rocks your core and you have to either pick up your cross and keep it moving or walk away…empty handed and full of pride. Why can’t I, why won’t you? No. Crack addicts have babies! Why not me? These were conversations and questions I had with and for God. I was angry with Him. I did not like Him. Thought Him cruel and unkind. I am sure somewhere in the heavens a door slammed every time I ran off to my room crying. I was mad. But as I said, time healed me and I grew up in the things of God. I made my choice and decided that baby or no baby I was in this thing for good. I began to listen for, hear and obey His voice. He called me to the ministry of adoption and I answered yes. I became a mother and got a glimpse of the wonderfully delicious life He had planned and set aside just for me.
By the time I conceived my only biological child I was 44 years old. Every thing that the doctors said had been a problem before, plagued me still. But God said yes. I will say, that by the time he was conceived I had begun to want to believe for a miracle baby. Being under the teaching I was receiving, a fire was lit that made me want to have this thing that I had long since put on the shelf. I sowed for him, I prayed for him but I really don’t remember the stress of all that. I had found the peace I had searched for and whether or not I ever achieved a full-term pregnancy and healthy baby had already been dealt with. I had made peace with God. I know intimately the pain of infertility and to this day wear the scars it left proudly because I know I survived and I know my God is using my experience to His glory. However, I could never tell a fellow fertility warrior that she doesn’t have a baby because her faith isn’t strong enough. That is just not a call I am designated to make. Only God knows and sees the heart of His creation. I urge you to believe God. Regardless. He is a miracle-working God and He can work a miracle in your situation. For me, the miracles began with the adoption of my first spirit baby. At the time I thought I had reached the summit – reached the high note of my life…could go no higher and get no happier – but there was so much more. So believe Him. Not solely because you think there is a biological child at the end of the road but just because you believe Him – whatever the plan for your life may be – because that is what faith is.
Praise God for science and the changes and growth in reproductive medicine that have allowed hundreds of thousands of women to become mothers. There is no condemnation in Christ and there should be no faith-bashing of women who are seeking treatment of a disease from a medical doctor. He meets each of us where we are and there should be no judgement. Too many women have been fed this lie and are allowing the enemy to slowly kill their dream of parenthood. There’s also an addendum to that dreadful memo about fertility and it pertains to adoption. No one says it, but many believers feel that the adoption of a child would somehow nullify their faith walk. Let’s be clear – If God calls you to motherhood, has given you a passion and desire for it, then know that – it is yours. The details of how that will happen may not be clear but please know that seeing a doctor or adopting a child are not automatic faith busters. I don’t know anyone who sees a doctor without tucking a little prayer card in their back pocket and I can’t begin to tell you about the faith required to even consider the adoption process.
faith. science. fertility. faith, science, fertility. faith. science. fertility ……