At a glance, Hoa Luu recognized the doctor’s office phone number. For a moment she paused, suppressing the familiar longing and excitement. But minutes into the call, she knew the truth. Her pregnancy results were negative once again. Hoa felt numb. How long could she endure the endless cycle procedures and tests? And what if she never had a baby?
Surrender In Sadness
Married in her early 20’s, Hoa and her husband, David, pursued careers, traveled frequently and grew steadily in their faith. But as they considered starting a family, nothing happened. After countless doctors’ appointments, specialists and treatments, the prognosis stayed the same. Through years of disappointed hopes, Hoa was exhausted.
“There was just extreme sadness. I was distraught over learning that I wasn’t pregnant. I could feel myself becoming bitter and angry, turning pregnancy into an idol,” Hoa shared. “What really helped me was talking to other women who were older, who didn’t have children. Knowing that I wasn’t alone was so helpful.”
In the midst of her struggle between longing for a baby and leaning on the Lord, Hoa joined the staff at BSF Headquarters. There, she found wisdom in a much-needed friend.
“When I wasn’t really looking for anyone, God dropped Gwen into my life,” she said.
Hoa and her husband, David
Like Hoa, Gwen Cruzan struggled through the highs and lows of infertility. Some years older than Hoa, Gwen provided hope that joy in the Lord runs deeper than the death of a dream.
“I often think about 1 Timothy 6:6, ‘Godliness with contentment is great gain,’” Gwen said. “Sometimes we can become so focused on the things we want, that we don’t see the things we have. The Lord is the only one who could have provided that contentment. But I had to find a place of total surrender to His perfect will for my life. That doesn’t mean it’s easy, but God’s will is perfect, with or without children.”
Together, Hoa and Gwen have laughed, cried, prayed and hoped. They’ve built a deep friendship fueled by the need to remain fixed on the Lord in joy and sorrow.
“Instead of focusing on anger or bitter regrets,” Hoa shared, “God opened my eyes to be content with what He has placed before me. I pray for excitement for whatever God has planned. And surely it’s better than what I could create on my own.”
Sometimes we can become so focused on the things we want, that we don’t see the things we have.
For both women, the grief of infertility and the struggle for contentment is ongoing. Holidays like Mother’s Day or well-meaning comments can open wounds that God is still healing.
“There are times when it’s more difficult than others. It is a little bit of a roller coaster when you see the nieces and nephews you helped to raise having children,” Gwen shared. “Asking God ‘Why?’ is natural. But we may never fully understand the intricacies of God’s plan, because it’s never about us. It is about Him and what He desires to do through us for His glory. I think if I had let my devastation keep me from being around children, I would have missed God’s blessing through relationships with young people in our church and children in the BSF school program. For me, contentment is something God has given over time.”
A Commitment to Contentment
Though we may not struggle with infertility, we can relate to the deep disappointment of living in a fallen world. Our hopes for the future are often sidetracked and our carefully laid plans can fall apart in an instant. When we experience the death of a dream, the loss often threatens to pull our eyes from Christ.
Too often, we’re tempted to make our own path. We set our goals without pausing to reflect on God’s purpose in our disappointment or in the future He sets before us. God will lead some to adopt or care for a foster child, while others will prayerfully pursue medical solutions to solve infertility issues. Some couples will enjoy a life apart from children, seeking ways to serve as a family. Wherever He leads, God faithfully walks with His children, drawing us into deeper relationship with Him.
“You have to look internally at what is happening in your heart,” Hoa said. “Where is your desire? If your desire is for God, He will provide the contentment and guide those next steps.”
In studying Genesis, Hoa’s compassion for Sarah was magnified as she read about a woman who struggled to believe God’s promise.
Gwen and her husband, Russell
In Genesis 21, we see the contrast of God’s blessing through Isaac’s birth and the destructive results of Sarah’s earlier interference. Though waiting on God’s promises and welcoming His plan can be painful, Gwen and Hoa both testify that He alone satisfies our unfulfilled longings.
“Reflecting on our lesson in Genesis with the story of Sarah, Abraham and Hagar, I am comforted in knowing that our God is a God who sees us. He is the God that hears us, and He is the God who truly loves us best and knows what’s best for us. He has His perfect timing in blessing us,” Gwen shared. “Look to the Lord to encourage your heart through His Word and His people. Continue to serve Him. It’s easier to sit in God’s waiting room when you’re busy with your hands. Through Psalm 27:13-14, I can say:
‘I remain confident of this: I will see the goodness of the Lord in the land of the living.
Wait for the Lord; be strong and take heart and wait for the Lord.’”