Many times I look at my two daughters, ages eight and five, and marvel at the miracle of life. As most mothers, I feel extremely blessed to be in the “mommy club”. However, sometimes I even weep with thankfulness, and my heart tenders at the thought of women struggling through infertility. I will always remember the four long years in my life when I faced the same struggle.

At our first attempts at conceiving, even after the first year, we were hopeful that it was just “normal” for most couples to take a little longer. As the second and third year crept by with no results, our hopes seemed to diminish with each negative pregnancy stick.

During our fourth year, we decided to seek medical help and proceeded to begin a roller coaster ride of fertility treatments like many shots, a laparoscopy, several exams and other things I’d rather have my knee drained than go through again.

The most frustrating thing was, after all that, there was no real “physical” reason we couldn’t have a child. He was fine, I was fine – so what was the problem?

Oh, we prayed – obviously for a child. But we also prayed for God’s will – even though it was a half-hearted prayer. What if God’s will was for us not to have children? We tried to keep a stiff upper lip when all our friends were easily popping out kids left and right. It was a little harder, though, when during conversations, those friends complained incessantly about their children and seemed not to care that just two seconds ago I just shared our latest “not pregnant yet” news.

But with those sad times, there were also many, many women who came into my life who, miraculously, were going through the same thing. My dear friend who adopted two little girls from China was always there with encouraging words and helpful insight as to the medical aspect of infertility. And another friend who was experiencing infertility at the exact same time as me always had a shoulder wet with my tears – and mine with hers. And of course, my sister, though 5 ½ hours away, was a constant encouragement to me. I’m sure her ear was warm for hours after many of my rantings over the phone lines!

In November 1999, after our fifth in utero insemination, we decided we had gone as far as we could. I think at that point we finally gave it to God and just said “whatever You have for us, we’re open to it”. Maybe there was a little girl in China who needed us. Maybe we needed to be free from parental responsibilities to pursue missions full time. We didn’t have a clue, but accepted that kids might not be in our future.

On January 2, 2000, God finally gave us an answer. His answer was “It’s MY timing, not yours”, His answer was “Trust in Me”. Imagine that, I was pregnant without the drugs, without the shots, and without the procedures.

Through that experience, I learned many things. One of the most important things I learned is reflect in 2 Corinthians 1:3-5

“Praise be to the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of compassion and the God of all comfort, who comforts us in all our troubles, so that we can comfort those in any trouble with the comfort we ourselves have received from God. For just as the sufferings of Christ flow over into our lives, so also through Christ our comfort overflows.”

God never wastes a hurt. If we let Him, He can use it so we can minister to others. Just as He sent people to minister to me through my struggle with infertility, I try to do the same for others. It reminds me of that “pay it forward” concept. When someone helps us in a time of need, shouldn’t we pass that blessing on to someone else? When we’ve experienced a trial firsthand, and were carried through on the prayers of saints, we should be those praying, hand-holding saints for others.

I’m amazed at how many times I’ve come across a woman going through the exact struggle I experienced. I try to always remember how it felt, so I can be effective in my encouragement and prayer.

We may not always understand why “bad things happen to good people” – especially when those “people” are us. However, when we allow God in to help us work through those times, our heartbreaks today can be blessings for others tomorrow.