Infertility is something that can affect you at a core level; as women we were created specifically with the ability to produce life within our bodies.Â Not being able to create life can have very damaging effects for women because of this created order.
However, there is hope through Christ. The hope that Christ has to offer is for peace and healing in our lives. He may not heal our bodies and allow us to conceive. He may not bring us children through the blessing of adoption. However, He can heal our hurting souls and fill the holes that infertility has left in our hearts and He can give us comfort for walking in this world wounded. (pg. 32, How My Soul Yearns)
Infertility. Â It is a difficult concept to grasp.
It is even harder to experience.
Month after month, year after yearâ€¦
The hopeâ€¦the anticipationâ€¦the expectationâ€¦
The tears, the resolve, the dizzying cycle.
Seeing as how I am currently 18 weeks pregnant, it may seem a bit odd to you that I am reviewing a book on infertility.
But, what you may not know is that for 6 years, prior to discovering that I was pregnant with this little one, I struggled with what is known as â€œsecondary infertility.â€Â (In case you are unfamiliar with that term, secondary infertility is an inability to conceive, or carry a child to term, after one or more previous full-term pregnancies.Â The estimates vary widely, but it is thought that approximately 30% of infertility in women is secondary infertility.)
If you have not personally experienced infertility in some way, it can be difficult to explain.
And, if you have experienced it, well, no further explanation is needed.
You get it.
Ashley Wells gets it.Â She has been there.Â She has walked the painful, emotional, and often-lonely path of infertility.Â And, now, she is willing to walk that path with you.
In her new e-book How My Soul Yearns: How God Brought Me Through Infertility and Beyond, Ashley shares her experience with infertility, and how the Lord has helped her to overcome the heartbreak and hopelessnessâ€¦and how He used it in her life, for good.
Without a doubt, this is an emotionally charged topic.Â And, given the sensitive and personal nature, it could be very easy to ignore, excuse, or even justify the sinful attitudes and behavior that can often be a part of this struggle.Â But, Ashley shares her testimony of hope and Godâ€™s grace as she addresses some hard issues â€“ issues of bitterness, discontent, idolatry, and a lack of trust in God.
Ashley shares how she came to see these attitudes for what they truly are:
â€œI was allowing my God-given desire to become a mother (Genesis 1:28), to become full blown-out idolatry (Colossians 3:5). It was all I thought about;Â it consumed every part of my being. I wanted my dream fulfilled, but instead I found myself living in sin. I can sugarcoat it and make it sound better, but sin is what it is and that is what I am going to call it.â€ (pg. 26)
She goes on,
â€œBeing a mother is a good thing, a great thing even. However, it cannot replace the greatest thing.â€ (pg. 26)
But, even while clearly calling sin sin, Ashley offers her readers hope and encouragement.Â She reminds her readers of truth of 1 John 1:9, â€œIf we confess our sins, he is faithful and just to forgive usÂ our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness.â€Â She shares,
It felt so good to be released from the bondage of the sins that I had let take root in my heart and flesh out in my life. It was time to put my life back in God’s hands and allow Him to be in control. I needed to put Him back in place as my first priority. It was time to start walking on the pathway of joy and peace instead of misery and destruction. (pgs. 26-27)
And, she is not afraid to ask some hard questions (of herself, and of her readers):
Is Christ enough?(pg. 34)
If I am never able to get pregnant, is Christ enough?(pg. 34)
Can you truly say that you are satisfied in Christ alone, every day, every hour, every situation? (pg. 35)
In the midst of her struggles, Ashley turned to the pages of Scripture.Â And, I appreciate how, throughout this book, she constantly points her readers back to Godâ€™s Word as well.
But, perhaps most importantly, she will also consistently remind you that your hope, your joy, your comfort, your satisfaction â€“ your whole identity, as a Christian woman, is not in how many children you do or do not have.Â It is in Christ.
The beyond [the aftermath of infertility] is going to look different for each one of us. Some women will eventually be blessed with the gift of conception and give birth to a child (or children). Some women will move towards adoption. Some women willÂ impart life through a career working with children. Some women will lose their desire for children. I’m sure there are other living the beyond scenarios as well. The point is, each of our stories will have a different beyond but they will all have the same purpose, anÂ opportunity to give Him glory. (pg. 52)
Everyoneâ€™s experience with infertility is different.Â My own experience was different than Ashleyâ€™s.Â And our individual experiences may be vastly different from yours.
But, over the past several years, I experienced many of the same emotions and disappointments, and struggled with many of the same temptations and sins that Ashley describes.Â I wish that this resource had been available to me then.Â And, I am so thankful that it is available to women now.
If you have experienced infertility in the past, or if it is currently a part of your everyday life, may I recommend this book?Â It will not take the pain away.Â It will not change your circumstances.Â But, it will help you to refocus your perspective, off of yourself, your disappointment, your trial, and look upward â€“ to our only source of hope and satisfaction.
If you have not experienced infertility, I would recommend this book to you as well.Â Why?Â The chances are good that you may know someone who has, or is experiencing it.Â Maybe you have wondered what to say (or, what not to say).Â This book would be a wonderful resource for you, as you seek to minister to, counsel, and encourage your friend, and sister in Christ.
Ashley has graciously offered give away one copy of her e-book, How My Soul Yearns: How God Brought Me Through Infertility and Beyond!
If you would like to be entered simply leave a comment below. Â (One comment per person, please. Â Duplicate comments will be deleted.)
For extra entries, do one, or all, of the following (and leave a comment, for each, telling me you did):
Like my blog, A Quiet Heart, on Facebook
Follow me on Twitter
Like Ashleyâ€™s blog, Putting God First Place, on Facebook
Follow Ashley on Twitter
***This giveaway will end at 9:00 (Central Daylight Time) on Friday, September 9, 2011. The winner will be notified via e-mail, and announced on Saturday, September 10, 2011.***
September 9th Update:
The comments on this post have been closed. Â The winner will be announced tomorrow (September 10th).