ThoughtS On National Infertility Awareness Week


It was my third fertility doctor appointment in so many days.

“How are you doing today?” the nurse asked in a friendly, but routine manner.

“Fine.” I replied, smiling meekly. Truth be told, I don’t like the word, “fine.” But I was neither awesome nor awful so “fine” seemed like the most appropriate response.

Reading my ambivalence, the nurse said, “I know…we have to stop meeting like this, right?!”

I laughed. For better or for worse we have gotten to know one another quite well and we have a relationship that can hold the humor, even under these circumstances.

As the routine appointment continued in the usual sequence of steps, I closed my eyes and got quiet.

The irony of her statement, “we have to stop meeting this way” lingered.

Because while I would love nothing more than to stop meeting the nurse under these circumstances, these circumstances allowed me to meet God in a way that I had not known Him before.

Many of you know our struggle with pregnancy loss and infertility. Jimmy and I feel so grateful for the gift of James. And while I am not grateful for infertility or pregnancy loss itself, I am thankful for the many ways in which I have been introduced to Jesus in ways I did not know Him before.

I think this is what Paul was talking about in 2 Corinthians 12, where he shares about the thorn in his flesh. He begged for God to take it three times and received an answer that was simultaneously disappointing and wildly fulfilling: “My grace is sufficient for you. For my power is made perfect in your weakness.” 

The Bible is not clear on what the thorn was for Paul, but my guess is that many of you can think of a season or a struggle that feels like your thorn – the area of your life where you confront your human limitations and encounter your need for Jesus over and over again. 

I hate that infertility is one of our thorns. It’s not the story I would have written for us. And on my difficult days, I feel a lot of fear that my family won’t be the family that I imagined. Yet, this pain keeps me in constant awareness of my need for God. It’s the struggle that keeps me tethered to the hope of Christ. It’s the journey that reminds me daily that no matter what I desire, when I have Jesus, I always have the better thing.

As Charles Spurgeon wisely wrote, “I have learned to kiss the waves that throw me up against the Rock of ages.” The imperfections and pain of life are not pretty. But there is profound beauty in any journey that places our heart in the hands of Jesus. 

Last week was National Infertility Awareness Week. Many fellow brothers and sisters are touched by this particular brand of heartache and many are not. But not one of us knows a life without a struggle – events, circumstances, or relationships that pry our fingers off our own plans and desires and leaves our hands free to cling to Jesus in new ways. Christ dependence leads to transformation, and this transformation leads to the peace and joy we’ve all been looking for.


Tim Schraeder