There I was – a single, never-married woman – yet my career was all about marriage. It was my job to promote and defend this sacred institution, through research, writing and even speaking with reporters on the topic. This particular irony of my singleness wasn't lost on me, but it was sometimes daunting to potential suitors.
I wasn't getting any younger, so, as I sat at my desk each day, I often pondered questions related to my field:
Would I ever marry?
If I did get married someday, would I be able to have children of my own?
In the meantime, as a single woman, should I consider fostering parenting, or maybe adoption?
My first question was finally answered when my husband and I met and married in our late 30s. Now we would face these questions together.
Given our ages, the diagnosis of age-related infertility wasn't a big surprise. Still, it felt like a cruel joke. And I had a few more questions for God: Hadn't we already done our share of waiting? Why were my husband and I struggling to have children after we had waited so long to find each other?
Like Job in the Bible, I pled my case to the Lord. In my mind, the lessons of waiting had already served their purpose in my life. All those years of singleness had certainly tested my faith; hadn't I passed the test?
There was no question that God used my single years to lead me into a deeper relationship with Christ. Couldn't we please scratch "patience" off of my list of trials?
Apparently not. As I confronted the pain of infertility, feelings of selfish entitlement rose to the surface: Why was I here – again – in this place called "waiting"?
Burdened with these questions, I walked the same path I had traveled during my single years, carrying with me my very heavy heart. I once again learned to take my hopes and griefs to the easer of my burdens (Matthew 11:28-30) and the lifter of my head (Psalm 3:3).
And once again, Christ was faithful. He didn't leave me alone with the questions and pain; He met me on the well-worn path. He assured me through His Word that He grieved with me, and He comforted me – often using faithful friends and my thoughtful husband, who struggled and hoped alongside me.
God also began nudging me toward a different perspective. Examining the causes of infertility typically prompts couples to focus on themselves, to look inward. Instead, God led me to consider others – in particular, children who need parents.
If I couldn't give birth to my own biological kids, was I willing to parent the children that God would give us through whatever means He chose? Was I willing to give up my own desires for parenthood and put my trust in Him?