As many of you know, my husband and I have been trying to get pregnant for over two years. After about 1.5 years of trying, we decided to book an appointment with the OB/GYN to start looking to see if something may be wrong medically. You can read more about that journey here. I remember the first time I heard the word infertile. I didn’t know how I felt about it. Up until that point, I just thought, “Well, it’s not God’s timing yet, I guess!” But then, when I heard, “So, you want to schedule an appointment to discuss infertility?” I was a little shocked and scared. The title seemed to carry a stigma with it. Maybe stigma isn’t the right word…more like shame… and it just felt so final and absolute, like INFERTILE typed across my forehead!

Through this whole rollercoaster of a journey, I have found one source of hope and comfort, and that’s God’s word.  When I feel scared or anxious, I dig my roots deep into his word to see what it has to say. God’s word has been such a comfort and strong assurance during this time. Today, I want to share with you the story of Rachel. She, in particular helped me to re-examine and cope with the idea of being “infertile.”

Rachel

Now, Rachel. She had it tough! Rachel and Leah were sisters, both married to Jacob. But Jacob loved Rachel over Leah. Actually, not just “loved over,” but the Bible says Leah was hated.

“When the Lord saw that Leah was hated, he opened her womb, but Rachel was barren. And Leah conceived and bore a son…” (Genesis 29:31-32)

There are three important things to note from these scriptures.

“When the Lord saw that Leah was hated, he opened her womb, but Rachel was barren. And Leah conceived and bore a son…” (Genesis 29:31-32)

  1. God opened Leah’s womb.
  2. Rachel was barren.
  3. Leah conceived and bore a son (because God opened her womb).
How Did Leah Get Pregnant? (I should probably do what she’s Doing!)

During this season of infertility, there can be a lot of pressure to make a baby! You think…

“Is it something I’m doing wrong? Maybe it’s my diet? I’m not healthy? I don’t exercise enough?! Is it because my husband drinks too much coffee and alcohol? Am I not ovulating regularly, or maybe I’m not timing it right?”

So what did Leah do? Because if you continue reading on, she had a LOT of babies! She must have been doing something right! Actually, the Bible says, GOD opened Leah’s womb. She was able to have babies at that point in time because God opened her womb. That’s it! and then….Leah conceived and bore a son, because God opened her womb!

Infertile. Barren.

When you read this passage, it says, “Rachel was barren.” This key verse helped me understand when the nurse told me I was “infertile.” At first, I thought…that can’t be right. Who’s to say I can’t have babies?! You’re not God! God can make anything happen!

But then I read this passage about Rachel and it specifically says, she WAS BARREN. That was her condition. There was no baby in there! She wasn’t going to have a baby because she was, in fact, barren! And for the record, God said so, because he went through the trouble of writing it in his book! So, if God says she was barren, she was barren!

God Opens the Womb

But that makes sense because it is God who opens the womb! God is the one who allows for conception to take place! Yes, it is impossible for a barren woman to have a baby….or really for ANY woman to have a baby! Because God is the one who opens the womb.

And BECAUSE God is the one who opens the womb, there is a lot less pressure for me to do all the right things. Not to say I should throw it all out the window! I’m just saying that in the end, the pressure is on God to make a baby, not me! So I should and will continue to go through the process of checking my ovulation schedule and tracking my period…but I know God will open my womb when the time is right.

What Happened to Rachel?

If you continue reading Genesis 29-31, you will see that Rachel and Leah have a full blown feud over bearing children! When Rachel can’t conceive, she has Jacob sleep with her servant. Then, to keep up, Leah does the same! So Jacob has children with Leah, Rachel’s servant, AND Leah’s servant. Everyone seems to be having babies except for Rachel! BUT…

“Then God remembered Rachel, and God listened to her and opened her womb. She conceived and bore a son…” (Genesis 30: 22-23)

Note! God remembered her. God listened to her. God opened her womb, and she conceived. Rachel WAS barren, but God opened her womb, and she conceived.

Friend, I want you to know that God remembers you. He hears your cries and prayers. You may be like me, infertile…but if God could take a barren woman like Rachel, open her womb, and allow her to conceive, then he can surely do the same for you and for me! So, don’t lose heart. Trust God’s perfect timing.

Reflection
  1. Read Genesis 29:32-30:22, pay special attention to God’s role in these chapters.
  2. What is Jacob’s response in Genesis 30:1-2? What does this say about who is in control of childbearing?
  3. If you are struggling through a season of infertility, pray and present your requests to God, knowing that he listens to you and cares for you.

You can read more about what the Bible says about infertility through the life of Sarah.

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