Whether you have struggled with infertility or not, I would hope that the previous posts have encouraged you to see how large the struggle actually is and that you would not want folks in your church suffering on their own. The question then becomes, “How do I minister to them?” Here are three great ways to start.
#1. Do not offer up “what worked for you” advice unless asked.
In our quest to be genuninely helpful, sometimes we say things are only make it more difficult. People are not the same and the “solutions” for a pregnancy are not identical. I remember that my wife and I had tried to have a child for about a year. The longer we were unsuccessful the more advice we received. Everything from what we should eat and drink, to what type of clothing we should wear, to when and how often we should have sexual relations and on and on the advice went. Our personal favorite was the dear folks who told us not to be stressed about it. Not be stressed! Really? There were even occasions that we received advice we did not ask for. In due time, we did have a child, three in fact, but to this day we cannot identify a “magic trick.” It seemed to us that we would try to have a child and then the Lord would give the increase in His time. Honestly, that is the way the Lord has worked in many couples’ lives.
So, please do not seek to help those struggling with infertility by simply explaining what worked for you. That may or may not be their experience.
#2. Show them you care through prayers, cards, and calls
Every infertile couple knows that you cannot solve the issue for them. They are not asking you to do that. They are simply asking that you would care about them and that you would care about their suffering. So, remember, if they tell you about their infertility they are simply asking you to “one another” them a little bit.
Pray for them. Pray that God strengthens them in the inner man to endure this trial. Pray that God would give them the desire of their hearts – to have a child – if it is according to His will. Pray that you would be kind and gracious to them.
Send a card or make a call. Ladies, you know how challenging it can be to start your cycle when you really want a child. So if you learn that one of your friends started her cycle now could be a great time for a card. A “thinking of you” card could go a long way to suffering with your friend.
Those struggling with infertility do not always want the “what worked for you” advice. They often want someone who would pray for them and care about them as they walk through this valley that seems like “the valley of the shadow of death.”
#3. In appropriate moments point them to the God who is actively working in their lives
It is true that people need truth in times of trial. James 1:2-4 and Romans 5:3-5 remind us that God often uses trials to grow and mature our faith. Certainly those who struggle with infertility need to remember that. However, there really is more. Not only is God growing us, but trials should encourage us to run to him. Dr. Wickert (an OB/GYN) will write about some of the options that couples have, but ultimately we want our friends running to the Lord. We want them seeking him in the midst of their hurt and asking for the grace that Jesus, who has suffered without sin (Hebrews 4:14-16), provides.
Ministry to those who want children can be very meaningful and significant. By God’s grace, he will use you to help lighten the load of his hurting children.