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Are you struggling with hardships? My friend, Nicki, struggled with infertility for years, but through her pain, she learned how to give thanks. Nicki is my special guest on the blog today, and I’m so honored to have her share her wisdom. I know you will enjoy her magnetic, radio personality!
This is the first in our Summer Sizzle Series! I’ve teamed up with some of my pals to share one post each week of our very best work. I know you’ll enjoy the wisdom gained here this season.
And now, for Nicki’s story.
Struggling with hardships of infertility
I never thought I’d be able to honestly tell you that I’ve found so much to be thankful for related to the infertility my husband and I faced. Notice, I did NOT say that I am thankful FOR infertility, but that I have found ways to be thankful IN the thick of it.
The reality is, yucky stuff happens to all of us. We are imperfect, messy human beings in desperate need of a Savior. My mess may look different than whatever you are muddling through, but we’re all doing our best to navigate through this crazy life.
The pain, grief and heartache we have faced over the years should have torn my husband and me apart. In fact, statistically speaking, couples struggling with infertility are three times more likely to divorce. That’s crazy, but honestly not shocking. When you have two sinners filled with heartbreak and sorrow, each blaming themselves (and potentially each other in their weakest moments) for the devastation that rips through your marriage, it’s a total recipe for disaster. But with the right attitude, it doesn’t have to be.
I feel blessed to have endured this hardship. I am not in any way, shape or form happy that I can’t have kids naturally, but God has used our infertility struggle to strengthen our faith in Him and our love for each other in ways that I can’t even begin to put into words. My husband is my worldly rock and I am so blessed to be loved by him.
Hint: the tips below can apply to any hardship you might be facing.
5 ways to be thankful when you’re struggling with hardships
1.) Look for the encouragers.
They are there, sometimes you just have to weed out the discouragers to find the people who remind you of God’s goodness and His love for you. They are a lifeline on the days when you feel unworthy. God has cared for my husband and me so much through this journey by placing people in our lives who have rallied around us in prayer and support. I also feel blessed that God has shown Himself frequently through the kindness of strangers.
2.) Read God’s Word! Be authentic with the Lord.
God has made His love known for me time and time again through His Word because I choose to pick up my Bible, even when I really felt like throwing it across the room. I have chosen to run to Him in my grief because He’s wired deep within me an ache to find hope in Words that come from Him alone. I have gained a deeper understanding of authenticity with Abba Father because I’ve been able to come to the throne and tell Him how angry I am at His will in my life. God is so good, loving and patient, even when we are angry, bitter and hurting, struggling with hardships. Relationship truly is about being authentic and speaking openly about our issues, why would it be any different with our Creator?
3.) Find comfort in your favorite humans.
I can’t tell you how many times I have heard the phrase “you should try these vitamins, they totally worked for me,” or “did you try to prop a pillow under your bum?” and a million other strange, uncomfortable and inappropriate tidbits of advice. It can be so awkward when people want to share “helpful” information, especially when all you need is a hug and a little prayer. Weed out the unhelpful people and cling to the friends that will sit with you and eat chocolate or go shopping or better yet, binge eat chocolate after a long day of shopping.
4.) Be thankful for the gift of grace.
People often like to fill awkward silences with words when you’re struggling with hardships. I’m so guilty of this! Too often we don’t think before we act and the words we offer to those grieving can be so discouraging. So when the “helpful” advice comes flying out of someone’s mouth, don’t respond with bitterness. And don’t take it personally. Instead of recoiling or getting angry, respond with something like
“Thanks for caring, but I really just need prayer. Will you commit to praying for me this week? That means more than any advice you could offer right now.”
5.) Be thankful for the abundance that God has given you.
Don’t be focused on the ONE THING you can’t have. Instead, make a list of the hundreds of other blessings that fill your life. Refer to this list over and over again. Practice gratitude until it is embedded deep into your core, even when struggling with hardships. Remember: Just because you haven’t been blessed with children, doesn’t mean that you’re not blessed with an abundance of other wonderful things. It’s all about #perspective.
I’m so very thankful for all the blessings that have occurred as a result of my struggle. I continue to be thankful IN the midst of it, even as we continue to navigate the insane and ridiculous world of adoption.
Cultivating an attitude of gratitude has allowed me to gain perspective in my life and see God’s faithfulness and love for me over the years. I trust that He has the best in store for my future, even when I can’t understand it. Faith is truly a marvelous gift and a blessing!
What is it that you are struggling with today?
Maybe it’s a bump in your marriage, maybe it’s the pain of infertility, miscarriage or other devastating loss. Know that in your pain you can turn to a Savior who loves you and desires to wipe away your tears and carry your burdens.
Make the choice to trust in Jesus and the rich promises found in His word.
Nicki Schroeder is a Christian radio personality in the Midwest. She is the creator of “The Grace Challenge,” Bible encouragement to help you glorify Jesus in the middle of your busy, beautiful life. Nicki is a writer and speaker who strives for authenticity in her relationship with Jesus and others. She is a soul encourager who loves coffee, cupcakes and Jesus, just not in that order. Visit her for weekly encouragement at www.nickischroeder.com.