Singleness and Infertility

The two hardest emotional struggles I have ever had centered around the issues of singleness and infertility. After breaking up with the man I thought I was going to marry, I moved to a new city to begin a new job. With no prospects on the horizon, I became quickly convinced that I would never get married, that I had lost my one chance at happiness, and now I was doomed to spend holidays in my twilight years as the spinster aunt at my sisters’ houses.

Those were the darkest months of my life. I slept a lot—because waking up and facing my bleak outlook on my future was more than I could bear. Finding a church was excruciating. Church is a family time. And my loneliness was never more painfully obvious that when I walked in, sat, and left by myself at some new church, just to go home and eat lunch by myself afterwards. I ended up choosing my church that year because I had a married friend who attended there. She and her husband would have me over for lunch on Sundays quite often. So that was my church. It had nothing to do with doctrine, and everything to do with escaping my loneliness.

Eventually, I began volunteering with the United Way, helping a family on welfare make the transition to independent living. I don’t know that I made much of a difference to that family. However, getting involved in helping them got my eyes off myself for a time, and things began to transform in my mind. I was distracted from myself. The depression over me began to lift. Soon, I met the man who would become my husband. Crisis over.

Fast forward 5 years. It’s time for us to have kids. I get pregnant and miscarry. But it takes a while to get pregnant again. My mind starts envisioning similar scenarios as it did years before—Andy dies and I’m left to have Christmas dinner at my nephews’ houses if they’ll have me. Who will there be to love? Who will love me? There is an empty feeling in the pit of my stomach as I contemplate my future.

I did get pregnant and now have 2 boys. I didn’t spend that long in either season—and yet it was long enough to learn some valuable lessons.
1) Waiting is hard. And yet, for some reason, it is one of God’s favorite ways of teaching us about Himself.

Isaiah 40:31 Yet those who wait for the LORD will gain new strength; they will mount up with wings like eagles, they will run and not get tired, they will walk and not become weary.

2) People who haven’t been through it are oblivious to the pain of the struggle. “Why aren’t you married yet?!” They mean well, but such comments seem insensitive and hurtful when you’re in the midst of the waiting. One friend asked me, “When are you guys going to have kids?” I had miscarried the week before. And I told her. I didn’t do it to hurt her, but I knew seeds of bitterness would take root and grow if I didn’t honestly, graciously deal with it right then. She wasn’t being mean–she was ignorant. So I tried to inform her graciously in hopes she would be more sensitive to the next lady she came across.
3) My understanding of and love for God wasn’t enough to sustain me. These struggles revealed that I wasn’t confident that He would care for me, provide for me, and guide me in a path that was meaningful and fruitful. He wasn’t enough. This was a painful but needed road to walk. I really didn’t believe God was good and trustworthy with MY LIFE. In light of this, you’ll see that I do a lot of meditating here on who God is—that He is trustworthy and good even when our circumstances don’t fit our vision of the good life.

On a final note, a friend of mine recently recommended to me Did I Kiss Marriage Goodbye by Carolyn McCulley. Carolyn is a godly single woman who has lots of wisdom to share about the issues of this season of life. I love the subtitle of this book—Trusting God with a Hope Defferred. The interesting thing about my friend’s recommendation of this book is that she isn’t single. She’s infertile. But she found many of the lessons in Carolyn’s book to be applicable to the struggle of infertility as well as singleness and was very encouraged in seeking God’s face through reading it.
I don’t mean to diminish the struggle of either the deferred hope of waiting on a husband or of waiting on children by linking them in this article. But I do hope to provoke thought on the similarities of the issues and point Christian sisters to those in other stages of life who may still well understand and accompany them through their hurts.

7 Responses to Singleness and Infertility

  1. Courtney September 26, 2008 at 4:30 pm #

    Thank you! I just found you blog and happened to pick this article. I am 27 and single and feel like I have been waiting for marriage for a long time. My best friend got married at 20 and they have been dropping like flies (so to speak) ever since. It was a great encouragement to hear you share honestly what the Lord has taught you. As I continue to wait I see how gracious our precious Lord is and how every day I am becoming more and more dependent on Him through this. What a sweet thing – God uses what we see as so difficult – and uses it to draw us to Him. He is greatly to be praised! Thank you again…

  2. Connie March 3, 2009 at 4:58 pm #

    Just found your blog and the “infertility” tag caught my attention.God used that to teach me MUCH about Him, and it has only increased me desire to know Him more!Looking forward to getting better acquainted with your blog(ging).

  3. marangelie caballero August 31, 2009 at 3:07 pm #

    i just came across your blog and am as we speak going through your book. they have both blessed me greatly. thank you so much for sharing your heart and the wisdom God has given you.

    – from a 22 year old college student who has been so blessed by your mentoring.

  4. Anonymous September 22, 2010 at 8:44 am #

    I am a Christian single 39 year old woman. Through the waiting I have still been trusting God and I love him. I find though that I have more faith to trust God for a husband than for a child. It's heart-breaking to not even know if it is even possible for me to physically have a child. I have been at peace with my circumstances for most of my 20s and 30s but over the past year and half I have been deeply grieved and seeking God with all my heart for peace and contentment. Thank you for the wisdom and scriptures and encouragement and compassion.

  5. Anonymous May 5, 2011 at 12:28 pm #

    I googled singleness due to infertility and your site came up. I sense in your writing that you desire to minister to women who are experiencing these, and that you've allowed Christ to transform that season of pain/depression to one being a blessing to other women. I agree wholeheartedly about getting focused on God and others. However, do you have any books or is there an actual blog for women who frankly never see either of these desires fulfilled? I am REALLY struggling at 43 how to serve Christ with joy and passion when it's just so hard to keep having these desires bubble up and not be met. And, it's also hard to live life solo when most people in our secular society & Christian church community are so go, go, go, busy… that they hardly have time for anything outside of their own family life. I would appreciate ANY wisdom, insight, and perhaps directing me to women who didn't just journey through singleness and infertility but those for whom it became a permanent reality. Feel free to respond to Thanks, so much. You sister in Christ.

  6. Wendy May 5, 2011 at 4:51 pm #

    I haven't read it myself, but Did I Kiss Marriage Goodbye has been recommended to me by friends, including those going through infertility. Carolyn McCulley is the author, and she is a great older single woman (my age) who both loves marriage yet lives abundantly in her singleness.

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