Infertility, with all of its intrusive procedures, bitter disappointments, and tirades aimed at God, was not how I had envisioned my path to motherhood. Growing up, I had always dreamed of having a big family. I wanted six kids, but I was willing to settle for four. I imagined volleyball in the backyard, basketball in the driveway, and family road trips with clown-car antics in the race to the bathroom at each stop. And being the good church-going, rule-following, Jesus-loving girl that I was, God was supposed to give me the desires of my heart.
Except that he didn’t. At least, not in the way I intended. When we were ready to try for a baby, it just didn’t happen. And then it didn’t happen again. And again. After several months of trying, we sought expert advice and learned that pregnancy was not likely to occur on our own. And so began the arduous, and sometimes awkward, fertility process. What was supposed to happen naturally now involved needles, mood-altering medications, invasion of personal boundaries, additional expense, and recurring disappointment.
Meanwhile, my Facebook feed was packed with joyful announcements from college friends starting their own families. Newly married couples were blessed with unexpected pregnancies just months into their marriages. A couple in our Sunday school class even shared their disappointment and frustration at being pregnant much earlier than they had planned. Everyone was pregnant—everyone, it seemed, but me.
How had this happened? I had followed the rules. I had followed Jesus. I was supposed to be blessed for my faithfulness, but instead I was left hurt and confused.
How many times did the psalmist cry out to God in anguish, desperately longing to be heard, remembered, delivered? And so, like the psalmist, I cried out to God but was met with silence. And yet, each time the psalmist unburdened himself before the Lord, he closed his prayer with praise and confidence in God’s faithfulness. In contrast, my prayers were laced with anger, despair, and bitterness—and certainly never praise.
In Psalm 73, the writer confesses, “When my heart was grieved, and my spirit embittered, I was senseless and ignorant; I was a brute beast before you” (vv. 21-22). I lived this truth. I wallowed. I was short-tempered. I withheld joy when others received what I had not. It was isolating, destructive, and exhausting.
My struggle with infertility brought to the surface a truth I longed to keep hidden—at my core, this self-proclaimed Jesus-loving girl wasn’t really so loving, after all. I claimed to know Christ. I claimed to know the freedom that comes from abiding in Him. Yet, I’d managed to reserve a small space in my heart for seeds of bitterness, envy, and despair to take root. Left untended, roots burrow deeper and deeper, ensuring that the plant will thrive. Deep roots are what make seemingly harmless weeds such nasty little beasts, and in my despair, I hadn’t bothered to keep up with the weeding.
But thankfully, our God is a master gardener. One by one, he cleared out the weeds. He started by using my husband to call me out on my behavior. Andrew boldly named my sins and spoke truth I didn’t appreciate but desperately needed to hear. Then God provided an opportunity to look beyond my own pain as I raised support for another couple’s infertility journey. And when we took a trip that led us to skip a round of treatment, I was finally at a place where I could calmly and peacefully put aside my disappointment and be fully present with my husband. Over time, God, in his great grace, had painstakingly removed the weeds, creating space for healthy growth, so that when we did conceive, I could no longer deny that his timing, as always, was perfect.
In true psalmist form, the confession in Psalm 73 is immediately followed by the undeniable truth that God remains faithful, even in the midst of our bitterness: “Yet I am always with you; you hold me by my right hand. You guide me with your counsel, and afterward you will take me into glory” (vv. 23-24). Even now, with two fun, crazy boys, my journey with infertility continues as I struggle to accept that my family will never look quite as I had planned. Throughout this journey, there have been times when I have stumbled, crawled, run ahead of God, and just sat down kicking and screaming. I am not proud of those moments, but each time I have come away with a greater awareness of God’s faithful presence. And each time I am thankful for the hand that pulls me up, tends to the weeds, and refuses to let me walk alone.
Bio: Brandi Kejr is married to Andrew and is the mother of twin boys Joseph and Jacob. She serves as newsletter editor for Jennifer Degler Ministries and office manager for the Midwest Conference of the Evangelical Covenant Church. Brandi enjoys reading, hidden object games, racquetball, time with her family and celebrating obscure holidays.