Saturday, December 28, 2013

Better, not Bitter!

Click here to read this great article by Jessica Hiltz entitled "Better, no Bitter!" "It wasn't the road I had planned on taking," Jessica writes. "Nevertheless, it was the road that God had chosen, and I had two options: I could become bitter or better."

She encourages those traversing the road of infertility to become better by:

1. Searching for encouragement in God's Word
2. Singing hymns and spiritual songs
3. Surrounding yourself with Godly friends who lift you up

Click the link above to read the article in its entirety!

Saturday, December 21, 2013

As Time Goes By ...

This past week I have encountered friend after friend after friend who are sitting in a place where I have sat.

Two friends are newly pregnant and very ill.

Two other friends are dealing with infertility issues.

Another is struggling in her marriage after a difficult season in their life.

A lost job.

A lost loved one.

A lost dream.

I sit there. I listen. And I think, "I get it. I understand. I feel what you are feeling. I'm right with you."

And the only way I can feel that way is to have felt that way.

I recently read an article in Bethany Christian Service's newsletter for individuals dealing with infertility: Stepping Stones. Entitled "As Time Goes By" by Jessica Hiltz, she writes: "Seven months later I was sitting in an ice rink chatting with a friend while our husbands play hockey. We were discussing her medical situation, which was very similar to mine. She went on to explain the procedure she might have to have done. It was the same procedure that I had undergone seven months earlier. At that time, she was unaware of my situation."

"As I listened to her speak, her description brought to my mind all that I had been through. I never thought that I would be able to share my story, but I found myself talking with her about my situation. I was able to comfort and encourage her because I had a shared experience. Again, the Lord continued to heal my heart."

Blessed be God, even the Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of mercies, and the God of all comfort; Who comforteth us all in our tribulation, that we may be able to comfort them which are in any trouble, by the comfort wherewith we ourselves are comforted of God. I Corinthians 1:3-4

"We know that God is the God of all comfort, and He often uses us and our experiences to bring comfort to someone who is going through a similar situation," Jessica writes. "He understands what we are feeling more than any human friend could. But often as we struggle, He sends someone to help bear that burden."

God uses the difficult roads we travel to help someone else. He has done it with me time and time and time again. I am not happy I went through five years of intense infertility. I hate that I spent the last year of my life so sick both mentally and physically.

But now, on the other side, He is using it. It is my ministry. I will let it be my ministry.

Will you let it be your's?

Wednesday, December 18, 2013

The Path to Embryo Adoption

I just got my bi-monthly Stepping Stones in the mail. Stepping Stones is a ministry of Bethany Christians Services which offers Christian support for couples facing infertility or pregnancy loss. They had a fantastic article that I wanted to share: Q & A guide to Embryo Adoption (Pages 3-4). I am really working on compiling good resources for various aspects of infertility and this is definitely one I wanted to share.

Sunday, November 3, 2013

How to announce a pregnancy

I have received so many questions like this, I have lost count.

How do I tell my ___ , who has been dealing with infertility for years, that I am pregnant?

Fill in the blank with who that is. Sister. Best friend. Aunt. Niece. Whatever.

My answer is very simple.
  1. Firstly, it is helpful if you can talk to the person prior to finding out if you are pregnant. If it ever comes up in conversation prior to you knowing you are pregnant, ask them how they would want to be told.
  2. If you have not done this, the general rule is do not tell the person in person. A very nice card or email allows them to digest this news privately. 
  3. If you are concerned that this may not be the right way for your loved one, consider sending the husband an email and asking him his opinion. Generally, while husbands are effected by infertility, the pregnancy announcements do not impact them the same way. The husband can either tell you how to tell his wife, or he can tell her himself.
  4. Remember that these announcements are a reminder. The woman feels as if she is being passed or even lapped. She wants to be a mom so bad, and she is jealous. These feelings often make her feel guilty for feeling that way, but she cannot control the emotions. She knows she should be happy for you, but her own pain trumps that emotion. Telling her via email or card allows her to react and prepare properly.
  5. If you wanted to make a public announcement, at a party or family function for example, and it would be inappropriate to leave this woman out of this group, send an email or card first and mention what you plan to do and that you want her to be prepared.
  6. If this woman is very close to you (like a sister) consider changing the way you would tell your family out of respect for her. 
  7. Once the woman knows, if you need guidance, ask her. Ask her if she'd like to be left out of Facebook posts about your pregnancy. Invite her to your baby shower but send a note or tell her that you completely understand if she doesn't await to go.
  8. Remember that you don't have to completely understand why your loved one is impacted by this so much (those not dealing with infertility just cannot relate completely) to be kind.
Question? Comments? Please email me at or leave a comment on this post.

Tuesday, October 15, 2013

Sermon on Infertility

Yesterday I wrote of how I randomly happened upon an incredible Mother's Day sermon by Pastor Bob Coy.

Here it is. What I love about this talk is that he covers motherhood, adoption, abortion, infertility, and prodigals all in one talk.

Here is that talk, in His words.

2 Kings 4:8

One day Elisha went to the town, the town of Shunem. A wealthy woman lived there, and she invited him to eat some food. From then on, whenever he passed that way, he'd stop by.

She said to her husband, "I am sure this man who stops in from time to time is a holy man of God. Let's make a little room for him on the roof and furnish it with a bed, a table, a chair, and a lamp. Then he will have a place to stay whenever he comes by."

Later Elisha asked Gehazi, "What do you think we can do for her?"

And he suggested, "She doesn't have a son, and her husband is an old man."

When the woman returned, Elisha said to her as she stood in the doorway, "Next year about this time you'll be holding a son in your arms!"

"No, my lord!" she protested. "Don't lie to me like that oh man of God."

Now pause right there before we go to verse 17. What is this? Don't lie to me oh man of God? Why does that seem like an apparent contradiction: Don't lie to me man of God.

Here's what she's saying: she's saying: "Don't mess with me! Bearing children is a very sensitive subject if you can't!"

I have to, because some of you know our story, pause long enough to say, it is a very sensitive subject.

Proverbs 30:15-16: "There are three things that are never satisfied. Four that say never enough."

Number 1: the grave. The Proverbs writer says the grave is never satisfied; the grave will always want and take another body.

The second thing on the list?

A barren womb.

This woman has had that hope in her heart for how many years? But the Bible says hope deferred makes the heart sick.

When Elisha the man of God says, "Next year you'll have a baby," she says, "Don't mess with me! That's a serious subject, don't play a game with me. If I'm gonna have a baby, I've got to be certain!"


Because if you've ever had to go on the rollercoaster ride of infertility, you know that the ups and down can be very, very traumatic.

And we did that roller coaster for 10 years.

And the last couple of years while we were still barren, Mother's Day was not a Sunday that Diane liked to come to church.


Just too heavy.

There are always some women who still want to be moms.

Let me also say that in a church like ours, the church today, there's another sensitive side to that same subject because the Supreme Court in 1973 said we could say goodbye to the life that our womb is created for. And in this room today there's a handful of women who don't want to hear about Mom. Why do they feel that way? Because now the longing desire they had hoped with their heart, has been dashed by a decision they live to regret.

Now, my responsibility, my position as pastor is one to say, if you did make that decision there is healing found in Jesus Christ.

But let me also say, that if you're a wanna-be mom, there's also healing in the lives of some of the girls who have determined that its best for them to gift their baby for an adoptive purpose.

Because of those girls, you might find there is still life in store for you, and I am the man of God that might be in Elisha's place today and say, "Next year at this time you'll have a baby in your arms."

You say: "Bob I can't believe you'd say that, you have no idea how much that hope lies in my heart."

Oh I know that hope well! Because I remember many years being ago on my living room floor crying out to God, saying, "God I just want to be a dad. Why is this so hard? You know my heart; I want to be a daddy!"

You see these girls who decide to gift their child, what is that? That's the ministry of Mary, the mother of Jesus Christ.

The ministry of Mary?


Mary knew that Jesus wasn't hers; Mary knew that Jesus belonged to someone else, and when a young girl finds herself with an unexpected pregnancy and determines that her child is for someone else, there is great healing in the house of God.


Because God navigates these paths in such a way. You could be someone here, from an adoptive family and your mother is every bit as a mother as anybody's mother who biologically brought them into the world.

My point it's a sensitive subject and if we are to be sensible, sensitive Christians, we will have the same sensitivity as we watch the reaction of the woman who says, "Hey man of God don't' mess with me!"

Well you know the story. Verse 17: "But sure enough, the woman soon became pregnant. And at that time the following year she had a son, just as Elisha had said. One day when her child was older, he went out to help his father, who was working with the harvesters."

And suddenly the son complained, "My head hurts! My head hurts!"

His father said to one of the servants what most fathers say, "Take him to mom."

So the servant took him home and mother held him on her lap. But around noontime he died. She carried him up and laid him on the bed of the man of God, shut the door, and left him there.

She sent a message to her husband: "Send one of the servants and a donkey so that I can hurry to the man of God and come back."

Now Dad is somewhat clueless, so he says, "Why are you going to the man of God today? Is it a new moon? Is it festival or church service?"

She said, "No, it's all right."

Now why does she say it's all right?

Scholars and commentators scatter on this point. Either:
  1. She's saying everything is okay because she realizes her husband really can't do what needs to be done.
  2. She's saying it's okay because she's trying to be a good wife and leave him alone because he's got a busy business day ahead. 
In verse 24, she saddled the donkey and said to the servant, "Hurry! Don't slow down on my account unless I tell you to."

She approached the man of God at Mount Carmel, and Elisha saw her in the distance. He said to Gehazi, "Look, the woman from Shunem is coming. Run out and meet her and ask her if everything's okay: how's your husband, how's your child?'"

"Yes," the woman told Gehazi, "Everything is fine."

When she came to the man of God at the mountain, she fell to the ground, and she caught hold of his feet. Gehazi began to push her away, but the man of God said, "Leave her alone. Something's troubling her deeply, and the Lord's not told me what it is."

And she said, "It was you," and I can hear the disdain and the disgust in her voice, "My lord who said I would have a son? And didn't I say not to raise my hopes?"

Elisha said to Gehazi, "Get ready, travel, take my staff and go! Don't talk to anyone along the way. Go quickly and lay the staff on the child's face."

But the boy's mother said, "As surely as the Lord lives and you live yourself, I won't go home unless you go with me."

In another words, "Don't send your staff! This is a job for you Elisha, not another pastor."

There are times I say my staff should go and times God says, "No, this is not a job for your staff; this is a job for you."

My point is there are times that God's gonna call you! You will be the one helps the hurting woman who finds that she's beside herself because her son is dead.

Her son is dead!

Spiritually speaking there are a lot of women in this church today who's sons are dead, dead spiritually! They're disconnected from God and some women believe that if they can make their way to Elisha then he will solve the problem ... it may be you that God is choosing to employ to make difference in the life of woman who's son is spiritually dead.

What happens next? Well again, so many of you know the story: "When Elisha arrived, the child was indeed dead, lying there on the prophet's bed. He went in alone and shut the door behind him and prayed to the Lord. And then he lay down on the child's body, placing his mouth on the child's mouth, eyes on the child's eyes, hands on the child's hands. And the child's body began to grow warm again! Elisha got up, walked back and forth in the room a few times, and he stretched himself out again on the child. This time the boy sneezed seven times and opened his eyes! Then Elisha summoned Gehazi. 'Call the child's mother!' And when she came in, Elisha said, 'Take here your son!'"

Labor with unbelievable perseverance. Mom's are your boys dead? Are your daughters dead? Have you come here with a prayer: God please bring spiritual life to my son.

Well I'm glad you have. I don't' know anyone else on the planet that's gonna pray for your boys and girls like you will! I don't know anyone else on the planet that's gonna care for your kids like you will! You can't outsource mom's prayers. There's no prayers like moms prayers because mom is mom and nobody else will pray the way a mom will!

And that's why to this day I still hear my mom's voice. She's been gone for more than 10 years but I still hear my mom speaking,

Don't give up. Just because it appears that your kids are not listening -- they're listening. You're still putting it in, and because your still putting it in, there will be a day that it's gonna come back. And it may be after you're gone.

Again, how many years has my mom been gone with the Lord and I still hear her voice? Trust me, they will still hear your voice, but don't abandon the responsibility because they pay no attention. God will chose to employ your words with the spirit's strength and they will hear your voice mom and dad, just don't give up. Don't give up.

Lastly I want to encourage you surrender with forever faith.

Exodus 2:2. "So the woman conceived and bore a son and when she saw that he was beautiful, she hid him for three months."

Most of you know the story. Moses' mom hid him for three months because, of course, there was a life-threatening leader. "When she could no longer hide him, she took a basket of bulrushes for him, daubed it with asphalt and pitch, put the child in it, and laid it in the reeds by the river's bank."

What did she do?

She released her child with a trust in a greater good. And again I'll say, she released her child with a trust in a greater good.

Moms? It's a powerful position you're in. You can release with a greater good -- it's what Moses mom did, and again it's what Jesus mom did. She released her child for greater good.

Dad's have a way of easily cutting the cord, letting go.

Mom's tie a knot in it.

A lot of people can say they love me. A lot of people can say the say words, Bobby I love you but no one can say, Bobby I love you like my mommy.

Yes many times for the greater good, there's nobody like you mom; nobody like you.

Father God we come to you in Jesus' name. And we're so thankful for this woman that you have placed in our path that has meant so much to the next generation. Lord we pray that today you strengthen their resolve, Lord that they see just how important, how necessary, how imperative, their role and responsibility. Lord if too often we have given them the impression that this thing called mom is, is something that we can outsource, something we can negotiate, Father forgive us. Today we esteem, today we honor, and today we declare our thanks to mom. God bless them, in Jesus name we pray Amen.

You know Jesus said it this way in Mathew 23:11: "If you want to be the greatest you must be the servant of all."

And I think there's a lot of great moms because they chose to be the servants of all. So here's what I say, I've said this before; I declare it today, no dishes for mom today. Guys listen to me, no dishes for mom today! Everyone agree? All right!

Just put them in the sink. She'll do them on Monday.

Wednesday, October 2, 2013

How to help your friend through infertility

I often get emails from blog readers asking me questions. The question I get the most, a prevailing question if you will, is how can they help a friend who is struggling with infertility.

One of my more popular posts is this one: What not to say to your infertile friend. It details what types of things are helpful or hurtful as you help your friend navigate this difficult journey.

Another popular post I wrote was a letter to a grieving friend. I titled it: To My Grieving Friend.

There is always a person (or more) that I am "currently" supporting in infertility. As a friend has their journey end (either because of a successful treatment or because they decided to stop treatments), another one "pops up" that I start corresponding with -- either in person or via technology.

I will tell you that standing alongside these women, even for me, someone who knows the journey firsthand, is never easy. It is painful for me. It hurts me to see them hurting. It stresses me out to wait for results with them. It angers me when results are negative. (But it really excites me when the results are awesome!)

It also helps me see how wonderful and strong people who stood alongside me were. Wow! It takes a lot of courage to support someone who is in deep pain.

I recently read an article detailing how a couple can survive the pain of repeat miscarriages. While written for couples and miscarriage, I really thought the suggestions were incredibly applicable to anyone standing alongside someone in grief. Some of the tips included:
  • Hug. A lot. A full embrace with the your favorite person in the world can help heal in incredible ways. Don’t avoid intimacy, pursue it. Sit close. Sleep closer. Don’t be away from each other for extended periods of time.
  • Talk. We talk about our pain, our anger, and our frustrations. We invite our close friends into our conversations and they patiently listen without unloading their suggestions. We also talk about the weather, the Red Sox, and what’s for dinner. Be sure to continue life in increments you can handle.
  • Cry. Together. Missy has an amazing way of comforting me by crying with me. She’s silent and she’s present. Our moments of weakness are often perfectly matched in strength by the other, enabling us to carry each other through.
  • Pray. It can be silent. It can be quiet. It can be screamed at the top of your lungs. Talk with the God who understands the loss of a child. Ask that He grant you the peace that surpasses all understanding.
The author of this article said something else that was incredibly powerful. He wrote: "I know it’s impossible for a marriage which has suffered loss to pass through unchanged. And I’ve been told the couple has a choice: they can let the trial of fire either define them or refine them."
I so agree. Both for a person and a couple, one must decide how this experience will define their life.
In 2007, during the early days of our intended adoption from China, I wrote a post entitled: Not bitter ... Not broken. I wrote:
The subject of "bitterness" has come up in recent weeks in numerous conversations I have had regarding infertility and grief. Even today, bitterness is my constant enemy. I am very careful not to allow myself to make calloused comments or hateful statements. Phrases like, "I'll never get pregnant. What am I doing wrong? Why can't it be my turn? That's so unfair etc. etc." These phrases just have to be eliminated from my vocabulary. John helps me in this. Early on in my infertility journey I had an image of myself at my own funeral. I realized that the eulogy could go two ways. Either everyone would say, "You know, from the moment she found out she was barren, that woman became the most bitter, biting old hag I ever met ..." Or, people could say, "You know, even though she fought that infertility crud, she never let it get the best of her." I wanted the latter! I wanted to be happy.
As a supportive friend, you are going to see your friend reach a crossroads. They must decide, at some point, that they will either (a) let this experience break them and bitter them OR (b) let this experience make them stronger and better both as a person and a couple.
I chose BETTER over BROKEN. I chose BIGGER over BITTER.
Encourage your friend to use this experience for good. Explain to them how you, watching from the outside, have been changed by their pain, and how it is helping you in your own life. The truth is: you can't make this better for them.  Love them. Let them grieve. And grieve with them.

Sunday, September 15, 2013

Aisha Tyler shares infertility journey

I don't watch The Talk and I don't know much about Aisha Tyler. But huge applause for her sharing her infertility story with the whole world. I continue to think that if we allow women to talk about this and share it, then we won't feel so alone. You definitely want to watch the video of her sharing her story.

Thursday, August 22, 2013

Jimmy Fallon

Comedian and talk-show host Jimmy Fallon recently opened up about his new baby born via surrogate and the five year battle they faced against infertility. Incredibly open and insightful! Click here to watch the interview for yourself.