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Cultivating A Grateful Heart In The Midst of Infertility

Updated: Jan 18, 2021

A Challenging Journey

Our journey to expanding our family with another child had been a longer and more challenging one than I had expected. After another recent round of failed fertility treatments, I sat in my car, talking to my sister. I talked honestly about the disappointment I was feeling, but that God was leading me to shift my focus a bit. “I guess I just need to take my focus off of achieving another pregnancy, and just focus on my days with Dylan.”

I mentally stopped myself in my tracks. “Days With Dylan” is the blog I had created three years prior when our son was born. I happily updated it regularly, keeping family and friends in touch with the daily goings-on in our life. But honestly, as these past months have gotten harder, I had been adding fewer and fewer posts. I realized how consumed and distracted I’d been, with the “goal” of pregnancy, not to mention some other big factors going on in our life – like trying to buy a home and securing a different job for my husband. I felt myself withdrawing as my wishes continued to go unmet.

Stop Waiting

While talking about these topics recently, my husband Marc recalled a sermon he heard preached by John Ortberg at Willow Creek, on “waiting.” He remembers Ortberg shouting, “Stop waiting! Single ladies, stop waiting for a husband. Married couples, stop waiting for a child. If you’re jobless, stop waiting for a job!” His voice got louder and louder as he admonished that we are to live our lives right now. Stop waiting, and start living.

Surely this is to be understood in the right context, for the Bible actually has an awful lot to say on the topic of “waiting,” and makes it very clear that God can accomplish a lot during such seasons. But I think that what Ortberg meant was to stop “holding out until ___________ happens.” Instead, start living right now, with what you’ve been given.

Advent – Awaiting The Birth of Christ

It’s kind of like Christmas. As I write this article, it is Advent – the time of awaiting the birth of Christ, as celebrated on Christmas Day. Now, Christmas Day is amaaaazing, right? I just love it, for everything it represents spiritually, and, honestly, for all the presents. And there’s usually a savory meal involved, some the most delicious Christmas cookies, and fantastic family time.

But the days leading up to the 25th are so great too. I am one of those people who just loves Christmas music, Christmas shopping, Christmas parties, you name it. I love meditating on the mind-boggling truth of what God did in sending His son Jesus in the form of a babe in a manger.

Just as Christmas Day is absolutely wonderful, and yet the days leading up to it are meaningful too, I realized the same can – and should – be true in my life. While I continue to hope for the blessing of another child, I am refusing to put life “on hold” in the meantime. He has given me an amazing, humble husband who loves me so well. He has gifted me with a precious son who is truly the apple of my eye, and a joy to my heart. And most significantly, He has given me everything in Christ!

Colossians 2:9-10 says, “For in Christ all the fullness of the Deity lives in bodily form, and you have been given fullness in Christ, who is the head over every power and authority.” I need to remember this and live this truth! Christ lives within me, and fills my heart and my days.

With Thanksgiving, Present Your Requests…

Philippians 4:6 finally makes sense to me. “Do not be anxious about anything, but in every situation, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God,” it says. I used to be confused by how we’re commanded to present the burdens of our hearts to God, while giving thanks. That seemed like an oxymoron to me. I now understand it – pray your heart, pray your desires, pray your hopes and your dreams, according to His will. And yet….be thankful for what you already have. We have been given everything in Christ. Everything else is the icing on the cake.

This isn’t to say I’ve suddenly mastered contentment 24/7. But God has generated a more thankful heart for, and a more attentive mind to my Days With Dylan.


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