My husband and I have been married for over 10 years. Despite actively trying for a baby for seven years, we could not conceive.
After a few years of unsuccessful attempts, we sought medical help. I underwent about a year of fertility treatments after discovering that I was not ovulating. I then developed a large, painful cyst on my right ovary and went through a laparoscopy to have it removed.
After the surgery, I was diagnosed with severe endometriosis because scarring and adhesions were found. The doctor said it was one of the worst cases that she had personally seen as the adhesions were like “thorns” of endometrial tissue embedding and growing where they weren’t supposed to, then shedding and bleeding each month.
Her description troubled me. However, God comforted me with an excerpt from the Christmas song, Joy To The World, where it says, “no more let sins and sorrows grow, nor thorns infest the ground; He comes to make His blessings flow. Far as the curse is found.” I would remind myself that those “thorns” could grow deep but God’s grace will go as far to remove them.
The doctor did her best to remove a large amount of the tissue but she couldn’t get rid of it all. She told me to try to get pregnant in the next two months as the tissue would grow back quickly. When that didn’t produce results and I had much more bleeding each month than before, she wanted to use drugs to put me in a menopausal-like state for a year or more and then have me try again.
I read up on the medications that she recommended and became concerned that this was not necessarily the best thing for me. In many cases, no better pregnancy success rate was reported after this treatment, and while I have nothing against medical treatment, I felt in my heart that it would only bring more disappointment. In addition, I had already spent a good deal of money as my health insurance didn’t cover infertility treatment. Furthermore, it meant waiting another year or more before I could safely even try to conceive.
My husband and I would confess Psalm 113:9—“He makes the barren woman to keep house, and to be a joyful mother of children.” That particular verse was one I would quote back to God and say, “This is Your promise, You are faithful and You will keep it.”
I decided that I needed to believe that God could keep His word on blessing me with children. If I couldn’t trust His faithfulness on this issue, I knew I would struggle with other challenges throughout the rest of my life.
The years of waiting felt like eternity and I was disappointed every month. In addition, I had extremely large blood clots that accompanied menstruation, which seemed to present evidence contrary to my faith that Jesus had healed me by His stripes. As I attended baby showers of close friends and family members, I fought the bitterness that I started to feel as I remained fruitless.
One day, I was perusing your website after following your sermons on television and listening to CDs my dad had purchased for us. I saw your CDs on hope. My husband and I had decided at that time to cut down on spending as we were saving for a few things but after praying about it, I felt compelled to purchase that CD set.
Once I’d listened to the message, I realized how I had focused so much on trying to have faith for a baby, but was really afraid to hope for a baby in the “positive expectation of good” way you described. I’d thought that daring to hope would bring me more disappointment because I’d never heard that hope was a sure thing for those in Christ. This was the missing link for me in understanding faith as the substance of things hoped for, not a work or level of belief I needed to maintain.
Nevertheless, the months continued to pass without a child. Close family members upheld me regularly by encouraging me through verses and messages. However, some other relatives and friends didn’t understand what I was hoping for and I’d to deal with their painful comments. Some even suggested that I should adopt but I held on to the hope for a child of my own.
I listened to your messages on hope over and over as they encouraged me to focus on Christ and God’s promises instead of my symptoms. There is one part where you’d said, “God is faithful,” several times in a row. Each time you said it, I felt the hope rise up in my spirit.
My head was saying, “It’s been so many years. Give up and spare yourself this torture of waiting for something that will never happen.” But when I heard you say “God is faithful” repeatedly with such authority, those voices in my head would pale in the light of that hope. I believe the Holy Spirit guided you to say that in just the right amount of times in a row for me to get it deep down in my spirit!
At the same time, I also felt condemned over things in my past and about not being fruitful. But I was comforted by the hymn, Just As I am, Without One Plea, as well as your description of condemnation being the deepest root in your book, Destined To Reign.
With the confidence brought about by the knowledge of my righteousness in Christ, I would tell God that I wanted not just a baby, but a champion of a baby. I confessed this daily, mostly to redirect my heart to set on this hope and not fall into despair by looking at the natural circumstance.
About three years went by and one day, I noticed that my period was late. I waited almost two weeks to take a pregnancy test as I didn’t want to be disappointed yet again or risk an inaccurate result by taking the test too early. I shared these concerns with my husband, who immediately encouraged me by saying, “You shouldn’t be afraid to get your hopes up.”
So the next morning on September 28, 2012, right before I finally took the test, I went into the bathroom and heard the praise song, “Come, now is the time to worship…” running through my mind. Sure enough, the test turned out positive! I cried and announced it to my husband in a special way. I placed the baby blankets he’d purchased for the children we were believing for next to him in bed while he was still sleeping so he would awaken to see them and discover the good news.
After a perfect pregnancy, we now have a beautiful baby boy, Noah. He was born a healthy 8lbs 13oz on May 30, 2013. The doctor was amazed at how well and quickly the delivery went given my son’s large size and my small frame.
As you well know, his name, Noah, means rest. Three years before I conceived, I had more than one vision of a son and knew it was God telling me that I would have a little boy. My father also reported seeing a little boy when he had prayed about my situation. Later, the name, Noah, came to me when my husband and I were going for breakfast one morning.
I didn’t know the meaning of the name at the time, so I looked it up when I got home. I was amazed as my dad had been telling me that I needed to rest. My husband agreed with me that we would have a son and that we would name him Noah. To later hear you mention this in some of your sermons would also remind me of how special that name was and how important it is to rest.
That year, we bought a Christmas ornament with his name in it. I don’t know why another three years passed before he came to be but I can say that the blessing is no less sweet having waited. I imagine it’s because God had His own timing and wanted the best for me. Noah is, by the way, every bit the baby Jesus deserves. He is exceptionally alert and active for his age and everyone tells us so!
I was told that people with the level of endometriosis I was diagnosed with only have a one to two percent chance of conceiving without treatment and that even with in vitro fertilization, chances are low. But thank God our God is not a God of statistical probability. He is a sure hope, and with Him, all things are possible. I had two different doctors during my pregnancy. Both of whom asked with amazement how I’d conceived after reviewing my history and failed attempts with fertility treatments. I just replied, “By the grace of God!”
I share this testimony with all who will listen because I think many Christians are willing to hope for a little while, but after waiting for what seems like too long, lose heart and decide to accept condemnation rather than hold God to His promise. I did this for a time, thinking I was somehow doing God a favor, protecting His reputation as faithful even though His promise didn’t seem to be working for me. The problem was me, I’d thought, since it couldn’t be God—maybe He wasn’t intentionally withholding blessings from me but perhaps I wasn’t believing enough for them to ever come true in my life. Nothing could’ve been further from the truth!
God is just in delivering on every promise because Jesus has made me 100 percent eligible, and He doesn’t ask us to make excuses for Him! Rather, He asks us to hold Him to His promise as Abraham did, believing that “what He had promised, He was able also to perform.” We must know that every good promise in God’s Word was written for us.
I thank you again for your encouragement, and the authority with which you preach God’s grace. For those who need to hear it, God is faithful to His promises!
Alissa NieliHirt | Pennsylvania, United States