What if God Says No?

I've been trying to wrap my mind around a lot of "big" thoughts lately. I think it is why I've been so restless in my prayer life, so prone to tears, and feeling so lost and hopeless. Despite my insistences when I was meeting with Fr. D that I was going in circles while he was trying to explain to me that we are moving forward and we are following Jesus, which is what led to him saying I was feeling hopeless which led to tears, lots of tears because I felt he was right, I think I am starting to see that it's a little bit of both - circles and moving forward.

Some of these thoughts include:

What if God says "no"? (title of post with permission from Donna for hijacking her blog name)
As we crossed year three of TTC (I do realize many of you have been at this much longer than me, for whatever reason this "anniversary" just seemed big. I don't really know how to explain it and I'm very aware you're probably thinking I need to get over myself, I promise, I am trying.), I found myself really feeling the weight of this question, really letting it sink in and allowing it to enter my conscience thoughts and emotions. Each month during the 2WW, the hopes and dreams have become clearer and stronger, and yet I've felt like God is saying "trust me" and "give them to me", literally asking me to lay down this dream at the foot of His cross. I will admit, I'm scared to death of doing this. Scared that if I lay the dreams down somehow I will forget about them and they will never be realized; that by letting go of my white knuckle grip on them, The Man and I will never be parents. I realize this points to a lack of trust in Him and I'm working on it. Those moments of being able to picture a good life without children were disappearing, and I found myself controlled by the emotional roller coaster of my physical cycle. Even writing about Hope and saying all the right words about how hope for earthly things must point to our ultimate Hope, I now realize I was still hyper-focused on the hope for an earthly thing, for a child. If I'm honest, I still am. Which leads me to...

Am I Turning a Child Into an Idol?
Am I taking the desire that is written on my heart, in my soul for God and turning it inward into a desire for a child? I do think the desire for motherhood also comes from Him, but what comes from Him and what is for Him are two different things.  Am I allowing the disappointments that come with not conceiving to affect my relationship with God? Absolutely. This is why I resist the quiet time with God, because in the quiet I must trust Him and I must give up my idols. I cannot wear my mask when it's "just us", no matter how hard I cling to it, He sees and He knows and He's asking me to take it off. When taking our medical "break", it was easier to remind myself to focus on God most days, there weren't constant temptations in the form of a medication or an appointment that drew my attention to my desire for a child rather than my desire for Him. As I start with ultrasounds and blood draws this week, I have already allowed myself to focus intently on the child I desire, comparing my chart to my calendar and seeing that the days that should be most "fertile" are all days I will be home. Good for getting ultrasounds done and getting answers, bad for leading to a calm 2WW that should end just in time for Christmas morning. I'm hearing Him ask me to give this all to Him, I'm just not saying "yes." Which leads me to...

God's Perfect Timing
Will I only open my heart to see His perfect timing if my prayers are answered in the way I want them to be? Will it be upon finally seeing a BFP or answering a phone call that I then say "it all makes sense now?" and "all of the waiting was worth it."? Well, of course it would make sense then; it would all have been worth it, but, again, what if God says no? What if my prayers are not answered in the way I want? Will I still see His perfect timing? Most of the posts and comments along these lines always come from someone who is now holding a smiling child - or two or more. Is it only in the "after" that I will be able to see God at work in my life? And what if there is no "after", if there is no child, will I, with as much joy and peace as I would with a child in my arms, be able to say "God is good and His timing is perfect?" Will I be able to say "God's timing was never and it was all worth it?" In the moments when I'm not idolizing motherhood, this is what I idolize, the moment of peace; the moment of peace; the moment of it all making sense. Which leads me to...

This small, yet huge, question has remained hidden deep within me for most of the past 3 years. In the past few weeks, I've been realizing that I was comfortable in my circular pattern of hope - disappointment - hope because when I was only focusing on it, I didn't have to really think about where Jesus was leading me; more importantly I didn't, don't have to think about why he is leading me there. I realize that asking the question "why?" in regards to good or bad things happening in our lives generally only leads to a bad place of either pride or despair. Yet, is it not the ultimate surrender to not ask why? Is it not the ultimate sign of trust to just follow without asking where or why or how or when? I thought I was trusting and surrendering, but really, I was shoving this question of "why" away. I was following, but leaving my trail of breadcrumbs behind me, not trusting, not surrendering. Which leads me to...

Well, I'm not entirely sure. This is where I am. I'm coming to realize that there probably aren't answers for these, at least not the kind I want. I see and am grateful that I have made progress from where I was this time last year, but I'm starting to understand that with progress in this spiritual journey requires the need to go ever deeper. That there isn't really a moment of "Ok, I got this", that there are plateaus and times to rest, but we won't ever fully get it until we are in heaven. Those words are so easy to say, and so hard to live.


  1. Wow! You are saying so much here. You are such a theological guru that I hesitate to say too much for fear so much is going over my head, but I really want to say that you trust more than you give yourself credit for. I'm looking forward to following your journey. You are wise and you are faithful! You ask questions that never even occur to me. I have a lot to learn from you!

  2. This is one of those posts where I weigh whether I comment or not...not because I don't love you and love to comment on your blog -- but I never know if I can write the thing you need or if it's more for me....so, I'll take a chance.

    I am sure you know this -- but these questions you ask -- while they all pertain to you and your journey with IF...they are questions I have asked myself as I have dealt with things in my life. I think that's what you meant when you said these are big questions -- I think you probably know that these are the kinds of questions that those of us trying so hard to walk the journey God calls us to walk grapple with throughout our struggles.

    I'll be honest....when we were trying to conceive after Gregory passed away...I wondered just why we were trying, you know? Did we think we were going to replace Gregory? Absolutely not. Were we trying to have a baby to try and erase the hurt we had from our loss? That was a question I had to think long and hard about. Was God calling us to have another child right then? or were we clouded in our judgment with the tears of our hearts? And then...why? Why was it that when we were so obviously open to another child, was He not giving us another child?

    So...I'm back to...is this comment going to be helpful? I hope it is...if only to let you know I'm praying for you and I have asked "why" and I have wondered if I am making children into an idol before (sometimes we women can idolize those women who make large families look so darn cool)......These are big questions and I think it's really good that you're thinking about them and what they mean for you and your relationship with God.

  3. Amen, the words are easy to say and so hard to live. And knowing that perhaps we won't really understand 'why' until we are home with God in Heaven.
    Why was I called to become a midwife if I am perhaps never meant to work as one??

  4. I feel like it's nearly impossible to not turn a child into an idol when having to TTC for more than just a few months. Maybe idol is the wrong word. But how can we not become so focused on that when TTC takes everything we have every day of every cycle? Periods become emotionally draining, then the fertile window has excitement, worry, focus, and finally the 2WW is nothing but stress. And then throw in doctors appointments and surgeries and medications to the mix. How do we not see the child as the prize? Gah! It's so difficult. But as you're saying, we really have to figure out a way to let go and trust, even amidst all the TTC chaos. Hard stuff. Really hard. Hugs!

  5. Thank you for sharing all of this, Rebecca. I read this as something like an examination of conscience, maybe applicable to everyone in some way, but especially for those of us going through IF. It's such a spiritual boot camp! And I agree with Stephanie: in some ways, going through all the ups and downs and the doubts is unavoidable. How we deal with all of that is another matter, I guess. I think your willingness to really dig deep and strive for holiness in the midst of such a painful experience is so commendable. And really inspiring to me! My husband loves this quote: "The only real suffering is not to be a saint." He put it on our fridge as a daily reminder, mainly for me =) So in short, I find your questions really challenging and inspiring because I too daily ask these questions and daily feel like I'm failing at being grateful, at accepting this cross, at trusting God. (IF is such a test of faith!!) And for what it's worth, I think you're perfectly justified in feeling upset over three years TTC! Re-reading some Creighton material that said "couples should expect to conceive after 6 months of fertility-focused intercourse" or something...ugh that hits you like a ton of bricks! All those sad emotions are so, so warranted. IF is not normal, not what is supposed to happen. And that's just plain hard. Anyway...way too rambling...THANK YOU for your honesty and for being YOU!

  6. More and more, I'm coming to realize how each person's IF journey is unique and individual; we can offer each other prayers and support and compassion, but the bumps, struggles, duration and ending of the journey are all different. It's as if we were all running races at the same time, none of us knowing how long it would be or where we are going, while still being on the sidelines of one another's races, offering cheers, drinks, and snacks. (Sorry for the somewhat strange analogy.) The point is that we can listen, and offer support, and share our similar experiences, but ultimately, where you go and how get there is solely between you, The Man, and God. In some ways that is daunting and intimidating, but I hope that you also find it freeing. I would hope that hearing so many voices, options, and pathways would help you know that there is no single way, that what is right for one is not necessarily right for another.

    "What if God's timing is never?" Then I hope and pray that He will lead to what else it is that He wants for you.

    All we can do is keep trying, and failing, and trying again to trust God and walk in his ways.


  7. Thank you so much for writing this. <3

  8. Yes, it's only been three years of TTC for you while it's been longer for others. Their journey is not yours and vice versa so don't apologize for feeling like this is a big anniversary.

  9. So true. You are so right. So many of us feel the exact same way. I have struggled with those same thoughts often. I second the others saying that everyone's journey is different and no matter the length of time you have been TTC it doesn't feel better or easier. I pray for you and the Man every day!

  10. Thank you for sharing and for putting your feelings and unrest into words. So often it echoes exactly how I am feeling, but not able to articulate. I hope someday we can both be ok if God says "No" or "Never" to our desire for children, knowing that we are in his plan for salvation and heaven. Sometimes it is just so hard to accept, in the midst of our life on earth.

  11. Praying for you, Rebecca. Many of these questions I have myself. You are not alone.

  12. Year 3 has been hard for me, too. It's much harder than the previous 'milestones' for some reason. I am not nearly as graceful or hopeful or faithful as you are, though. I have pretty much accepted that the answer for me is flat-out "no"...and I struggle with whether or not it's okay to have accepted defeat, as if by accepting it I am not trusting Him. Every journey is different. Hugs to you. Never feel you are alone.

  13. You (and your posts) constantly leave me in awe. Thank you for writing this, Rebecca!

    I struggle with all those questions (albeit in a slightly different way) myself. My anniversary is in the form of age 35, which is just around the corner. There are times where I feel myself slipping into true despair. I'm so afraid I will never have peace or be able to say "it was all worth it" in his answer is "No" (especially on everything--marriage AND children), which like the poster above, I have come to accept is probably going to be the case. True surrender (following without asking why, etc)...gosh that is a hard one.


  14. Year three was a tough one for me too, and I remember asking many of these same questions. You are in my prayers, friend!

  15. This was a tremendous post. Thanks for writing it.

    I’m sorry it’s taken me so long to write a comment to this post. Sometimes when I write “off the cuff” it seems like it comes out too brusque or dismissive. This is entirely too important of a post for that.

    You hardly stole “What if God says no” as it’s a question that belongs to every one of us in some shape or form. In our cases it is IF. For others, it’s marriage or employment or health issues. But, that being said, I think it hits those dealing with IF especially hard because, as women, it hits us at the core of our being.

    I think that even when/if you become more comfortable and/or accepting that the answer is “no”, there’s always this little voice in the back of your mind going ‘but that’s not what I wanted.’ And I’m not sure if we will figure out in this life the ‘why’ of it. Sometimes it’s just one of those things that just ‘is’.

    I pray it gets easier for you. I pray that you are okay no matter what ‘is’.

  16. I'm praying for you! And I'm praying God's answer isn't "no."