I have settled in my heart the issue of God’s sovereignty, by His grace. My husband and I have been through several trials and we know ﬁrsthand that God is in absolute control of our lives. Colossians 1:17 says, “He is before all things and by him all things consist.” Psalm 33:11 also tells us, “The counsel of the Lord standeth forever, the thoughts (plans, purposes) of His heart to all generations.” During our trials, we memorized and claimed these verses.
One trial God has allowed in my life is that of infertility. I have four children, three of whom are adopted. Praise the Lord for the process of adoption and for what He has done in my life regarding a family! From as early as I can remember, I wanted to be a mom. God knew that I wanted a large family, yet He knew it was best for me to be infertile. I cannot explain this from a human perspective. From a biblical perspective, Romans 8:28-29 tells me that God is working all things for good in my life to conform me to the image of His Son.
“I may never know why I went through some of the things I have gone through, but I know that I am not alone.”
My husband, Steve, and I were married in 1983. Early in our marriage I was diagnosed with a disease called endometriosis. Endometriosis usually affects women in their thirties. I was in my young twenties and did not ﬁt the pattern for it. Endometriosis can be painful, and dealing with the pain is best done with hormones, but the side effect for me was infertility.
While Steve was in medical school, a physician advised us that if we wanted a family, we should begin right away. Most people realize that medical school would not be the ideal time to start a family. Steve and I prayed. However, God knew that we were already infertile. After much prayer and many trips to specialists, we felt the Lord leading us toward adoption.
In 1987, we applied for adoption with an agency in south Florida. In spite of our application, we were still investigating all our possibilities. In His miraculous power and wisdom, God allowed me to give birth to a baby boy in September of 1989. From all the research we had done, we had great hopes that our infertility days were over.
Samuel was about three years old when we realized that infertility was in our lives to stay. We felt the Lord leading us to apply for adoption again, and the long wait began. In the realm of adoption, our match would be difﬁcult. Many birth moms do not like to place their child in a home with a natural born child. The stigma of playing favorites is a common fear. So we waited.
In November of 1993, we received a call about a little 4-month-old red-headed boy. We prayed over the prospective adoption of this little boy and knew that this was not God’s timing for us. In May of 1994, we adopted this same little red-headed boy. God’s timing is perfect. If we had agreed to this adoption when ﬁrst contacted, we would have had a very emotional wait for his birth mother to sign papers. God knew that this little one needed to remain in a foster home until his birth mother was ready. This little boy, literally, came walking and talking into our lives. We named him Jonathan, who was King David’s dearest friend and comfort.
The LORD is good unto them that wait for him, to the soul that seeketh him… But though he cause grief, yet will he have compassion according to the multitude of His mercies. Lamentations 3:25, 32
We had no idea that less than a month after our adoption of Jonathan, Steve and I would go through a severe trial. Jonathan was a great comfort to me during this time. There were many days of sorrow, many tears, and times of true despair during Jonathan’s ﬁrst few months with us. The Lord was so good to send a mushy, huggy baby for me to hold and rock during this time.
After our adoption of Jonathan, we continued to seek help for my infertility. Our hope continued to be that the Lord would bless us with another pregnancy. Time passed and we thought it would be best to apply for another adoption. On February 14, 1996, we adopted a little girl. She was four months old and needed lots of special care. We named her Hannah and she was a full time job. Every 6-8oz bottle would take her at least 1½ hours to drink. Hannah had some unusual physical needs.
About two weeks after adopting Hannah, I mentioned to Steve that I wasn’t feeling very well. Hannah’s adoption had been very stressful. Steve thought it had been too much for me. I later went back to him and said, “I really don’t feel well. Maybe we should do a pregnancy test.” I think he almost laughed. Long story short, he ﬁnally agreed to a pregnancy test. When he called me from the ofﬁce, he said, “Sit down, you are pregnant.” Life can feel as though it takes turns and twists. This time, I thought I was on a roller coaster. Picture this, I had a newly adopted baby girl with special needs and now I was pregnant.
Words cannot express how excited I was! I was amazed at what God was doing. This pregnancy gave me physical relief from my endometriosis, but now I could barely hold my head up from the “morning sickness.” It is just my opinion, but “morning sickness” should be called something else. Maybe “all day” sickness would be more appropriate.
Twelve weeks into the pregnancy, we began to tell friends and family. Many people were very excited for us. It is hard to describe the number of people that had faithfully prayed for years that I would become pregnant. This was a great time of rejoicing. The phone calls, cards and personal well wishes came daily. It felt good to be rejoicing after the trials God had allowed in our lives. Unfortunately, this time of rejoicing only lasted about two weeks. Celebration cards were still arriving in the mail when many people began to send sympathy cards.
“What do you do when God moves in your life and it is not at all the way you expect?”
At fourteen weeks, I went to a specialist’s ofﬁce because of my medical history. I had been to the doctor’s ofﬁce at twelve weeks and heard the baby’s heartbeat. The nurse told me we would do that again. She tried many times to locate the baby’s heartbeat, but could not ﬁnd it. When she left the room to set up for a sonogram, I started to cry. I knew that something must be wrong. I lay there with the reality that God in His sovereignty was going to do another work in my life. I had a strong feeling that this work would break my heart. The nurse came back in and took me to a room down the hall. When the doctor opened that door and came in, I knew it would not be good news. There on the screen was my baby, but there was no heartbeat. I was stunned and the reality of death hit me. There was nothing to say. There was no hope. Life was gone. The doctor was a personal friend of my husband, and he took me to his ofﬁce and let me stay there until I could get myself together. He did not realize that getting me together would take over a year. What do you do when God moves in your life and it is not at all the way you expect?
I knew God was sovereign and He was working. The fact of death would not change. It was His will. The part that I could not come to grips with was God’s love for me. Since God was all powerful, He had the power to make this child live. He had the power to keep me from this pregnancy. Yet He allowed death and suffering. I felt like I was sinking. The Lord that I loved had let me down. I kept thinking, “this is a cruel joke…it cannot be true.” No matter which way I turned, it was true. These statements were my deepest feelings at this time of distress for me. My emotions were everywhere. I looked pregnant and I was pregnant, but my baby was dead. I waited at home for labor to come. Knowing that I would go through labor was a horrible thought. I am thankful to God that by the end of the week the doctors and my husband decided not to let me continue in this stage. I was admitted into the hospital to undergo surgery. My heart was broken and I struggled to ﬁnd comfort.
My husband was very concerned for my well-being. I was not handling this trial well. I remember him trying to assure me of God’s love. He said, “Connie, God loves you very much. He knows what is best for you and our family.” I looked at him in complete seriousness and said, “If this is love, I do not want it.” What a desperate state I was in! I was allowing myself to follow my feelings. My heart was broken. Death seemed like a huge brick wall that I couldn’t go over, under or around. I had abandoned the thought that God loved me.
Now I see that God in His inﬁnite wisdom was conforming me to the image Christ. My thoughts about Him were sinful. I was considering my circumstances and emotions instead of God’s promises. None of us can depend on our emotions to get us safely through trials in our life. We must depend on God’s Word. Psalm 119:11 says, “Thy Word have I hid in my heart that I might not sin against Thee.” Times and trials will come in our life. We can depend on God’s promises, not our emotions. Scriptures we have memorized can help to keep our hearts and minds focused on the Lord.
Through godly counsel, studying God’s Word, and prayer, the Holy Spirit began to work in my confused and unbelieving heart. As I studied God’s love for me, the Holy Spirit convicted me of sin and gave me a desire to trust God. Lamentations 3:32 says God will allow grief, but with this grief He will send His compassion. I praise the Lord for His love and work in my heart.
I may never know why I went through some of the things I have gone through, but I know that I am not alone. I pray that my story will encourage you to know that God loves you too…no matter what trials He may bring. And yes, joy does come in the morning when you trust Him.
Written by Connie Schweinshaupt. This article was published in the Fall 2011 edition of The Beautiful Spirit magazine.