Trust, Patience, and Endurance: My Lessons from Infertility

By Sarah Jenkins

I can’t imagine any little girl dreaming of her future wedding and family and at the same time including the shadow of infertility. I certainly didn’t. I planned on getting married and having children. Even through the beginning of my marriage I continued under the impression that we would be able to do so. My husband, Zach, and I had both received blessings that highlighted the role of children in our future and felt the Holy Ghost testify to us that we would be parents.

We were awed by the responsibility of parenthood, but we were dedicated to doing our very best. We hoped and prayed and planned and prepared, but month after month went by without any success. After a year of doctor visits, tests, probes, and procedures, we still weren’t able to conceive a child.

While my husband was a steadfast support to me, I began to waiver in my faith. I remember one particularly dark period when I let Satan take such control of my heart that I confessed to my husband that I didn’t even know why I was praying anymore—“it isn’t like God is answering me,” I said. “It’s not like I’m feeling anything. It’s not like He was even listening to or loving me.”

Questions flooded my heart and occupied my mind. Why was life so unfair? Why were people who weren’t committed to marriage and family allowed to be parents? When was it going to be our turn? Was there something wrong with me? How could God command us to multiply and replenish the earth while simultaneously denying us the ability to do so? Were we being punished? What were we doing wrong?

Sometimes, in light of these questions that plagued me, I would explain to Heavenly Father my desire to be a mother and my understanding of the sacredness of that great and wonderful responsibility. Promising Heavenly Father I would be a better person if I could conceive a baby, I would make lists of goals and work to achieve them. However, despite my good intentions, it didn’t work. While my testimony seemed to recover and my faith seemed to return, it was without foundation. At the end of a month of such progress, my heart would break all over again when I still wasn’t pregnant. I didn’t understand then these powerful principles that I have since learned.

Absolute Faith and Trust in God

In my experience it was easy to trust Heavenly Father and believe in Him when everything was going well—when things go the way I wanted them to go within a timeframe that I established. One day as I was reading my scriptures, I read, “Dispute not because ye see not, for ye receive no witness until after the trial of your faith” (Ether 12:6). It helped me see that absolute trust and faith is what really matters, especially when things don’t go the way we want them to, when we want them to. From this verse I learned the simple truth that I ought not to doubt simply because the blessing (or answer or witness) hasn’t come yet. If the blessing hasn’t come, it doesn’t mean it won’t come. It just means the trial’s not over yet. Hang on. Hold tight. It means learning whatever we need to and then to “stand still, with the utmost assurance, to see the salvation of God, and for his arm to be revealed” (D&C 123:17). Absolute trust and faith means to trust and believe when it’s easy and when it’s nearly impossible, when we want to and when we don’t, when we feel able and when we feel utterly incapable.

Patience to Stay the Course

Through our struggle to conceive, I’ve come to realize that patience isn’t waiting two weeks or a month. It isn’t waiting six months or even two years. Patience means waiting until the end. Patience means humbly accepting the Lord’s timing—whatever it is. Throughout the past months and years, I have often created agreements in my mind with Heavenly Father. I’d explain to him what I’m going to do to prepare if He will bless us with pregnancy this month. What I’ve come to realize, however, is that Heavenly Father doesn’t work like that. I don’t set out the terms of the agreement. Heavenly Father has promised me children, but He has not promised me them tomorrow. Patience means staying the course until the promised blessings come.

Understanding Our Potential

I remember after our first failed medical procedure—a procedure that I had been sure would work—the thought came powerfully into my mind that “God . . . will not suffer you to be tempted above that ye are able; but will with the temptation also make a way to escape, that ye may be able to bear it” (1 Corinthians 10:13). Immediately, I found great comfort in Paul’s words as I knew I couldn’t bear anymore disappointments or heartbreaks. I concluded that must mean it was the end of this trial! However, I was wrong. Heavenly Father knew I could endure more.

I now know that He sees more clearly than I do what my limits are and what my potential to grow and learn is. He knows that it is only through trials that I will reach my full potential. I know that His plan is often a refiner’s fire. I am grateful that He alone knows how long I can stand the fire and endure my trials. Were it up to me, I’d be out of the fire before it’s even lit, and I wouldn’t learn a thing.

Struggling with issues of infertility is not a trial that I foresaw, nor is it a trial that I would wish upon anyone, but I know that as we trust and believe completely and absolutely, develop patience and come to understand our own divine potential, it is a trial like all others, one that can be endured and overcome.