Great is Thy Faithfulness
Forward by Jordan Villanueva
Article by Jamie Villanueva
Jamie and I recently announced the news that we will be having a baby boy at the end of February. We could not be more thrilled. February cannot come soon enough. And yet, while we celebrate this miracle today, we are also sensitive to the reality that many couples experience in our churches, “Infertility”. Jamie and I walked through 5 long years of trying to start our own family. It was a difficult season for us both. Now, that we have something to celebrate after 5 years of “trying”, we are trying to be sensitive to the reality that there are still people around us who are still waiting. Infertility is a painful burden to bear. Below are my wife’s thoughts as we walked through this difficult chapter. I pray that it would be an encouragement for those walking through infertility. I also hope that it would be a challenge to the Church to be sensitive to the possibility that there might be some in their congregation wrestling with this issue. Blessings
Great is Thy Faithfulness
June 8, 2020
Infertility. This word is much easier to write than to go through what it actually means. “Inability to conceive children or young.” This is the definition. I am only 29 years old and have been “infertile” for 3 years, but is it fair to say I understand this definition in a real way? To some 3 years may seem like a short time and others may be shocked because for them conceiving happens quickly. Can I give you another number? 36. 36 months of getting my hopes up real high just to be disappointed or better yet devastated.. Why does this not get easier?
I feel as though I need to tell you another part of my story. I am a Christian. This part of my story makes it hard to talk about my journey because it is ingrained in me that Christians should have faith and believe God will provide. I am ashamed to say I have spent the better part of 3 years doubting God’s faithfulness and goodness. Asking myself why God does not want me to be a mother? Going through every moment of my life where I felt I disappointed God and wondering if that is the reason he doesn’t want me to be a mother.
I have prayer journals full of bitterness and describing my journey as wandering in the desert like the Israelites. Can you believe I would compare myself to the Israelites? Reading through Exodus and Numbers I would find myself relating to them because they would so easily forget all that God had already done for them and complain about any little thing. They blamed God for their unhappiness. I have been there. I have forgotten God’s faithfulness and blamed him for my situation. “Worship the Lord your God, and his blessing will be on your food and water. I will take away sickness from among you and none will miscarry or be barren in your land.” Exodus 23:26 I would read scriptures like this and feel as though God does not make promises like that anymore. Almost like if you do this, I will do this. I wanted a promise like that so bad. I wanted just some kind of sign that a baby was promised to me. Was that too much to ask?
Another verse I did not understand was Psalm 127:3, “Children are a heritage from the Lord, offspring a reward from him.” Does this mean I am not being blessed or rewarded from God? Why? Reading verses like these can be tough for a woman trying to conceive. It ensued all kinds of doubt in my mind and also wondering what is wrong with me? I felt like maybe I had to learn something before I could conceive.
You also hear the saying “God’s timing is perfect”. I found myself saying, “I don’t care if the timing is perfect!” I am definitely not proud of my behavior and attitude these past few years, but I can also say it has been very confusing being a Christian and being infertile. God wants us to be fruitful and multiply so why can’t I fulfill this command?
I have been down many dark roads this season of my life and it has been the hardest season I have ever experienced. I have wrestled with God and been bitter and cold. Trying to put on a happy face that I am just trusting in God’s timing when really I did not trust God at all.
I wish so badly that I could end this on a happy note and say that God did provide a baby and I am pregnant, but unfortunately that is not the case. I decided to write this because I once again was wrestling with God just this morning asking him why I cannot conceive when I asked the question, “What are you trying to teach me through this?” I was just thinking that when this journey was over, I wanted to have something that God taught me. I did not want to walk away from this experience and all I could share was how bitter and angry I was. God who is so gracious and compassionate revealed a lesson for me to learn today.
When I asked the question I had a phrase come to my mind, “Good things come to those who wait.” Now growing up in the church, you hear a lot of encouraging phrases, but not all of them are from the Bible. I had to look up this phrase because honestly I did not know if it was from the Bible or just something nice people would say. This is actually a verse in Lamentations. “The Lord is good to those whose hope is in him, to the one who seeks him.” Lamentations 3:25. So it may be worded a little different, but honestly I don’t think this is the verse God wanted me to land on. I think he was trying to find a saying that I knew and used it to take me to that actual verse he wanted me to read which was a few verses up, “Because of the Lord’s great love we are not consumed for his compassions never fail. They are new every morning; great is your faithfulness. I say to myself, ‘The Lord is my portion; therefore I will wait for him.’” Lamentations 3:22-24. I read these verses and cried. Cried for how poorly I have been acting and cried for gratefulness of the reminder of God’s faithfulness and love.
I walked down the aisle to marry my husband to the hymn, “Great is Thy Faithfulness” and here God was bringing this to me again when I needed it. I did not know this hymn I loved so much came from these verses. I began reading the whole chapter and found verses 1-20 were about Jeremiah, the prophet, telling of all the horrible things that have happened to the Israelites and then blaming God for their afflictions. He sounded bitter and angry. I could relate to the bitterness I felt against God, but then verse 21 is where Jeremiah remembered the hope he had. He goes on to speak of God’s unfailing love and compassion. The attitude of the chapter changes. This convicted me. A 29 year old woman who blames God for her infertility. I am in the wrong. I have forgotten about God’s love for me. His mercies are new every morning. He cares for me. Though I go through trials and hardships this does not mean God has forsaken me or wants me to suffer. It is the opposite. God wants to bless me. His heart breaks when my heart breaks. Why have I been so horrible? Why have I been so cruel to the one who loves me so much? I cannot change my past or how I have handled my infertility, but I can change my current attitude and how I respond in the future. I can stop being bitter and remind myself God’s compassion does not fail. He is there for me.
All of that to say, I cannot guarantee I will not face doubts and bitterness again. I may still have many years ahead on this journey, but I do know I have hope and I know now what to put that hope in. Not in a baby, not in a pregnancy, but in God. I have hope and love from a God that knows everything about me and I can trust that his plan is better than mine.
Great is Thy faithfulness
Great is Thy faithfulness
Morning by morning new mercies I see
All I have needed Thy hand hath provided
Great is Thy faithfulness, Lord, unto me
*The views expressed are those solely of the author and do not necessarily reflect those of the Pastor’s Common