I got a little hyperlink-happy in my last post, so this time, I’ll restrain myself and only include one: the Facebook page for GracefulWait, the infertility and infant loss support group Colin and I are helping launch at our church.
God began leading us in this direction earlier this year when we attended an adoption informational seminar offered by Bethany Christian Services. A couple shared their story about how God blessed them with a daughter and son through adoption and explained how they formed and infertility support group at their church while waiting to be selected by the birthmothers. The group started out small and over time grew into a large community-wide ministry, far bigger than they had initially expected. Leading this group not only helped them pass the time waiting for their children, it also gave them the opportunity to comfort and enjoy fellowship with those who were experiencing the same struggles.
Hearing this couple describe how God used their heartache to console others while also blessing them in the process gave me the greatest moment of hope I’ve experienced thus far during the past two and a half years of not being able to get pregnant. It was an epiphany of reassurance, a spark of light promising a reason for the pain and tears and irrepressible feelings of loss. Realizing that I could do something with my grief, instead of wallowing in it and getting frustrated with my inability to fulfill my desire to be a mom, gave me purpose and a sense of relief that my life wasn’t meaningless. (I know this sounds awfully melodramatic, about as angsty as something you’d read in Twilight, but that’s how I felt at the time.)
So Colin and I introduced ourselves to this couple, Don and Pam, at the Bethany meeting and asked them for advice on starting a support group. Since then, Pam has called and shared tips, mailed us some great materials they used at their meetings, and emailed encouraging notes. We are so thankful to have another couple who has walked the same road we’re on support us in getting this group off the ground.
To further aid our efforts, I ordered a booklet from Stepping Stones (Bethany’s ministry for infertility/infant loss) full of helpful suggestions on starting and promoting a support group. The authors emphasized the importance of choosing a suitable name for the group to make people feel welcomed and comforted. This turned out to be a challenging undertaking, as I couldn’t for the life of me come up with anything but inappropriate, borderline-crude names, such as:
- Fertile in Spirit
- Unplanned Non-Parenthood
- We’re Not Drunk; We’re Infertile (see 1 Samuel chapter 1)
- WTFF (Waiting To Form a Family)
- Families Under Construction … I’ll leave out the abbreviation
Fortunately, the task of naming the group wasn’t mine to fulfill. Coincidentally*, while we had been talking with one of our pastors about starting a couples infertility/infant loss support group, another woman at the church had been working with the care ministry to form a women’s infertility/infant loss support group. Also coincidentally*, she had previously been involved in a Bible study with one of the women from our small group. (*coincidentally = God was obviously orchestrating this)
Kelly and I met for lunch and discussed our ideas, sharing our stories and explaining what had brought us both to this point of wanting to create a ministry for this group of people we identify with. That was a few months ago, and at this point, we’ve had two women’s meetings and will be holding a couples meeting in two weeks. Already, it is clear that people are being blessed through this ministry, and I pray that it will continue to bring together women and couples so that we can carry each others’ burdens and share the love and comfort of Christ.
Our group is called GracefulWait. Kelly, who has been a huge Godsend to me personally, came up with the name and created the Facebook page as a resource for those who want to get involved. It’s a much better name than anything I could come up with, and it poignantly captures the purpose of the group: to help one another as we wait for the Lord to build our families. The problem for me is only He knows how long that wait will be, and I’m not a particularly patient person.
Interestingly, one of the topics at our college Bible study leaders meeting Thursday morning was about having an eternal perspective and believing in God’s promises of a future life with Him. Then in our college small group we’re leading, we covered the chapter in A.W. Tozer’s Knowledge of the Holy about God’s eternity and how He exists outside of time. So He’s certainly not beating around the bush with this lesson about the importance of recognizing our trials are temporary and the need to trust Him during our sometimes seemingly endless wait.