Before having our daughter Ellyana, Rob and I had a two-year struggle with infertility. (You can read more about that in the blog post “Finding God in the Waiting”). While I was thankful for how God used that period of time to change me and reveal Himself to me, it was still an extremely challenging season.
As Rob and I began to consider adding another baby to our family, I prayed this time would be different—that we could get pregnant right away. After a visit with my doctor, she explained my successful pregnancy with Elly likely regulated my hormone levels and was a promising sign of leaving infertility behind us. However, to my disappointment, the struggle returned.
After a year passed without getting pregnant, I went to two different doctors who both recommended either medication or in vitro fertilization (IVF). It was at that point we tried one round of oral fertility medications. But while taking the medicine, I felt uncomfortable and restless. After just a few days, I didn’t feel a true sense a peace about this course of action. Due to my ongoing uneasiness, we talked with our doctor and decided to discontinue the medicine.
All of the Glory
A few weeks later, I took my usual jog on the lakefront path in Chicago (see picture below). As I ran and prayed about what to do next, I sensed God speaking to my heart. He said that if I were to get pregnant, He wanted all the glory.
I knew exactly what that meant. I had to cancel my future appointments with the fertility doctors and fully rely on God for a baby rather than on modern medicine. While fertility treatments are a road down which God leads many couples, I knew it wasn’t the path for us.
When I got home, I talked to Rob. Even though I had clearly sensed God’s leading, I still struggled with cancelling the doctor’s appointments. I had grown weary of the waiting season and longed for the next. But I knew my obedience was more important than getting what I wanted in my timing.
I knew from experience that surrendering to God was better than trying to control things on my own. Because God’s plans are sometimes unconventional, this meant I had to have faith that He was leading us down the best path for our family even when it didn’t make logical or statistical sense. While giving up control was a challenge for me, a “type-A” planner and Enneagram 1, I chose to trust His way over mine.
Over the next few months, Rob and I prayed, cried out to God, and pleaded with Him to make the impossible possible again, just as He had done when He created our Elly. I also decided that I had to start doing things that would take my mind off infertility, as the thoughts of getting pregnant seemed to consume my heart. So, I signed up for a half-marathon, started planning a romantic getaway with my husband, and began to consider that we might only have one biological child. And with Elly at preschool, I had more free time. So, I enrolled in graduate classes at Moody Theological Seminary, as I had a desire to grow deeper in my faith and had a passion for in-depth Bible study.
My classes at Moody began in the fall of 2014. From day one, I loved everything about the program. My fellow students were encouraging, my professors were so wise, and the material was interesting for this Bible nerd. During this time, I also attended a Revive Our Hearts women’s conference in Indianapolis. It was at the opening of this conference that I filled out a prayer card to ask the Revive team to pray for God to bless Rob and I with another child.
Just one month after the conference and two months into the program at Moody, while doing research on adoption for an Introduction to Theology class, I found out I was pregnant! We were astonished. What a gift! While the doctors told me I was an “anomaly” and that it was surprising I got pregnant without medical intervention, I reminded them God is still a God of miracles and that what is impossible with man is possible with God (Jer. 32:27; Luke 18:27).
For the second time, I got pregnant in God’s perfect timing. I never would have enrolled at Moody had I not been through another infertility season, as in my mind, I would have been too busy to pursue more education. Even though I was only two months into my studies at this point, I knew God wanted me to complete what I had started since I was loving every minute of it. Another event we didn’t anticipate, (but God did) was Rob’s almost year-long job search. Just before I got pregnant, Rob got a new job, which allowed for us to have health insurance for my entire pregnancy.
On June 10, 2015, I gave birth to our Serena Kate Furno. We praised God for our gift from above and rejoiced that God had done great things for us (Ps. 126:3; James 1:17). Even though having a newborn, a four-year-old, and attending classes was challenging, God helped me every step of the way. I praise God that the delay we encountered due to our second struggle with infertility opened wide the door for me to attend Moody, because it was there that He changed the trajectory of my life. I had always planned on returning to the Emergency Department as a Physician’s Assistant, but through my classes, God made it clear that He wanted me to commit to encouraging women in their faith through my writing and speaking. I’m so thankful now for what I thought was a frustrating delay, which turned out to be God’s perfect timing. It changed the direction of my career, strengthened my faith, and reminded me that God answers prayers in miraculous ways.
While Serena is anything but serene or tranquil, our extroverted ball of energy is a constant reminder of God’s love, power, and that He hears and answers prayer. She also reminds me that God is sovereign. While I don’t always understand what God is doing in my life, I’ve learned I can trust the One who was and is and is to come with my past, present, and future (Rev. 1:8). I praise God for my daughters, because “everything comes from him and exists by his power and is intended for his glory. All glory to him forever! Amen”(Rom. 11:36 NLT).
And yes, for the lives of both of my daughters, God gets all of the glory.
My Encouragement to You
Maybe you’re tired of your job, your ongoing health struggle, your lack of finances, or of relational conflict. Maybe you’re tired of waiting on God to bring your spouse or to change your spouse. Or maybe you’re just tired of feeling tired. It’s time to throw off these weights and give them over to Jesus. With your eyes fixed on Him, give Him your burdens and you will be freed to run the race He has planned for you (Heb. 12:1–2; Matt. 11:28–29). At just the right time, you will reap a harvest of blessing if you do not give up (Gal. 6:9).
If you’re frustrated that God has you in a holding pattern or it seems He’s not answering your prayers, I encourage you today to trust God’s heart, even when you can’t understand what He’s up to. The Message version of Proverbs 3:5–6 reminds us:
Trust GOD from the bottom of your heart; don’t try to figure out everything on your own. Listen for GOD’s voice in everything you do, everywhere you go; he’s the one who will keep you on track.
Just as God did with me when I longed for a second child, maybe He is telling you today to stop trying to figure out everything on your own and to just trust Him, even when it doesn’t make sense from a human standpoint. God’s ways, means, thoughts, and plans are so much better and higher than anything our finite minds could come up with (Isa. 55:9; Rom. 11:32; 1 Cor. 2:11). Let’s stand firmly today on the promise that He is sovereign and that for each of us, He is working all things, including repeated seasons of waiting, together for our good and His glory (Rom. 8:28).
If you were blessed or encouraged by this post, I would love for you to share it with friends and family! Click on link here!
Never miss a post! Subscribe by filling out the tabs in the “Stay Up to Date” box on the right.