Lessons from Sarah for the woman struggling with infertility

Mandy Blankenship

My husband and I tried for four years to get pregnant. That's 48 months of emotional ups and downs, reading significance into every headache, inkling of nausea, or abdominal flutter. A seemingly endless 1,461 days caught between hope and heartbreak.

One out of eight couples deals with infertility, so our story wasn't that unusual. But for those who have struggled to conceive or sustain a pregnancy, it is intensely specific. Every doctor's appointment, every ovulation or pregnancy test, every day that goes by is like a pointing finger declaring your inadequacy.

Mother's Day, in particular, can feel like a slap in the face. A reminder of all God hasn't yet or might never fulfill. 

Abraham’s wife, Sarah, couldn't get pregnant for almost 90 years. Sarah dealt with all the hope, fear, anger, and disbelief that accompanies trying and waiting to have children. I bet she learned so much on her journey. If Sarah were here today, I think she'd have some encouragement for those who are still waiting.

4 Things Sarah Would Say to the Woman Struggling with Infertility

1. Infertility is not the result of past sin.

Sarah lost faith and laughed at God when she heard the prophecy of her son's birth (Genesis 18:12-15), and yet she still got pregnant and had a child. God doesn't treat us as our sins deserve. In fact, because of Jesus, believers are cleansed and made heirs of all His blessings. Sarah's son Isaac's name actually means "laughter," perhaps a nod to his parents' disbelief transformed into joy.

2. Don’t let the desire to have children destroy your relationship with your spouse. 

Sarah's desperation to have a family led her to give her servant Hagar to Abraham, so Sarah could conceive through Hagar instead. But Hagar and Abraham’s relationship eventually caused a wedge between Sarah and her husband and the two families (Genesis 16:1-6). Is there anything you are doing out of desperation? Getting pregnant is not worth sacrificing the peace of your home and intimacy with your spouse. Sex in marriage isn't just about making babies; it's about becoming one with the other person. 

Sex in marriage isn't just about making babies; it's about becoming one with the other person.

3. Just because God’s timing isn’t what you want doesn’t make it wrong. 

Consider this: If Sarah hadn't given birth to Isaac when she did, he wouldn't have met Rebekah, his wife, and so on for the succeeding generations. Sarah didn't know it then, but the timing of Isaac's birth created Jesus' family tree. Your family will grow at just the right time because our God is the God of perfect timing (Romans 5:6).

4. God will ultimately fulfill His promises. 

God's Word says clearly in Isaiah that His thoughts are higher than ours; His ways different than ours; and He will always, without fail, accomplish what He has promised (Isaiah 55:8-11). Even Jesus told His brothers that His timing was different than theirs (John 7:6-8). Do not fear. Our God is powerful and always to be trusted. 

Exactly four years after my husband and I started trying to have a child, we got pregnant. Today our daughter, Etta, is 15 months old. Years before she was conceived the Lord told me about her — her name, her personality, and her character. All of it has come true and is still unfolding. Our God is a promise-keeper to the end.

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