Walking through Infertility

I received a copy of this book from Crossway to review. All opinions are my own. 

Source: Crossway

I recently came across Proverbs 30:16 which speaks of four things in life that never say ‘Enough!’: the grave, the barren womb, land which is never satisfied with water, and fire. This verse jumped out of the text during my bible reading because it made me stop and contemplate the agony for those who have dealt and are dealing with infertility. I have friends who have miscarried and also friends who have experienced the monthly frustration of not being able to conceive a child. And it is heartbreaking.

When I came across Walking Though Infertility by Matthew Arbo I was very intrigued to read about infertility from a biblical perspective and to hopefully gain more insight on how to support those I know who are walking this journey. While this book was written for those who are struggling with infertility any Chrisitan who wants to better understand this subject in light of who God is and what he has done should read this book.

God is the giver of life and God’s word is life giving. The book begins by exploring the stories of more prominent infertility narratives in scripture. Details from the stories of Abram and Sarai (Gen. 15-21), Jacob, Leah, and Rachel (Gen. 28-30), Elkanah and Hannah (1 Samuel 1), and Zechariah and Elizabeth (Luke 1:5-25) are shared not to show how all these narratives have a “happy ending” resulting in a successful pregnancy. Instead the author is quick to point out that these stories highlight God’s covenant faithfulness. Old covenant inclusion depended on being born into a house of Israel while new covenant inclusion depends on the redemptive grace of Christ that saves sinners.

I seriously love God’s word! If you aren’t reading the Old Testament you need to do it! It will make the New Testament even more amazing.

The book goes on to speak about Christian Discipleship, which I was not expecting in a book on infertility. In light of the good news of the gospel though this makes perfect sense to be a topic that is covered and addressed. The author states that the ecclesial purpose for all believing couples, those with and those without children, is the same:

LOVE GOD

LOVE ONE ANOTHER

MAKE KNOWN THE GOSPEL

The gospel truths in this book were eyeopening. If you have children of your own or it is just you and your spouse, discipleship enables us to find our place in the world. Jesus wants us to do life with him but we must accept the terms of our existence that he sets. Our identity needs to be found in God, even parenthood with all the best of intentions can be made into an idol. We must be content in Christ’s authority and be ready to be used at his disposal for the good of his kingdom. Membership with Christ implies mission with Christ.

Interwoven throughout the book is a hypothetical couple who you follow along with on their infertility journey. This was helpful to see how a couple could apply the information from the book into their own life while making decisions in light of God’s word.

The final chapter of this book on the moral appraisal of fertility treatment was so informative and well written, it also discusses miscarriage and surrogacy. I never had given any thought to the moral ethics of fertility treatments like IUI and IVF. IUI is the least involved and carries few moral implications. On the other hand IVF carries several significant moral implications included the creation of excess embryos, assumed risks to the child, and the expense of treatment. There is an estimated 500,000 to 800,000 embryos frozen in storage across the United States waiting to be implanted and the likelihood of these embryos being destroyed is so high. Even with these risks IVF may be morally permissible if the couple is able to accept several outcomes as described in detail in the book.

I wish I could go into all the details in this final chapter and for this information alone I would recommend purchasing a copy of Walking Through Infertility.

Walking Through Infertility is available on Amazon.

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In His Image

I received a copy of this book from Crossway to review. All opinions are my own. 

Source: Crossway

Have you ever wondered what God’s will is for your life? In His Image by Jen Wilkin reflects on 10 communicable attributes of God:

  • Holy
  • Good
  • Loving
  • Merciful
  • Just
  • Graceful
  • Faithful
  • Patient
  • Truthful
  • Wise

This list describes how we be conformed to the image of Christ. The overarching theme of the book is to show that when we “focus on our actions without addressing our hearts, we may end up merely as better behaved lovers of self.”

Biblical truths and scripture flood this book making it a great read for new believers as well as those who have spent numerous years studying and reading God’s word. With the truths of scripture jumping off every page it is easy to see that God doesn’t want us to be conformed to who we were. Instead he wants us to be re-formed to who we should be by the power of the Holy Spirit. The more we grow in holiness the more we will grow to also hate our sin.

Each chapter ends with several verses and questions for reflection. While I think In His Image is great to read on your own it would be an excellent book to do with a friend or small group because the questions are thoughtful and go deep. The chapter on Truthfulness had me cringing slightly at the thought of answering the following question out loud “How prone are you to lying and shading the truth? In what situations are you most likely to lie?” When thinking how I would answer this question in a room with a group of women the answer that first popped into my head is that I am not really prone to lying, but that would be a lie.  Thanks Jen Wilkin for asking the questions I don’t really want to answer.  I appreciate the accountability.

I have six pages of notes from reading this book. It was good because it caused me to reflect on the characteristics of God and how he reveals his character in the bible. Here are a few of my highlighted passages…

“We allow minor annoyances to test our patience and let our anger rise but God who we have actually committed sins against is patient with full knowledge of every single one of our offenses.”

“God is the source of all knowledge and can not be less than truthful. He defines reality because he is its origin. God defines objective reality which means Christianity flatly denies moral relativism.”

“The immediate effect of apprehending Gods justice will be an inward desire to obey. The longterm effect will be an outward facing desire to do justice for others.”

“Coveting implies a lack of Gods present provision and hoarding anticipates a lack of God’s good provision in the future.”

“Patience is not just the ability to wait but to abide. It is not gritting our teeth waiting for our circumstances to change or trial to resolve, crossing days off our calendar. It is living daily in daily awareness that God holds all things together and that whatever trouble we are facing is light and momentary. Sin and suffering have an expiration date. They are not eternal. Those who are patiently waiting in Christ do so with the assurance that all things will be made new and with conviction that everyday until then count towards eternity.”

“Everything we say or do will either illuminate or obscure the character of God. Sanctification is the process of joyfully growing luminous.”

I highly recommend this book. In His Image is available on Amazon.

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How My Husband Encourages Me

I am so thankful to have a husband who encourages me and who has my back and truly wants the best for me and our kids. This year we will reach 11 years of marriage. There have been many ways Josh has encouraged me during this time. You can read more about how we met and what the last 11 years have looked like HERE. Josh has been doing something for over a year now that has brought real encouragement to me and I would like to share what that is and why it is encouraging and motivating me.

He Spends Time In The Word

Josh made a commitment 18 months ago to read the entire Bible and he recently finished. This was his first time reading it through in its entirety and I am so proud of him. This will be my third year of reading through the Bible and somedays it is challenging for me to want to read my Bible. But seeing my husband reading and us being able to talk about what we are each individually learning has been amazing.

My husband spending time in the Word has been a huge encouragement to me. And I think the biggest reason it is encouraging me is because Josh isn’t speaking God’s truth out loud anymore because he has heard a pastor preach on it. He is speaking God’s truth more and more because by reading the Bible and making it a priority in his life he is allowing the Holy Spirit to transform him.  When you see someone you love being molded more and more into the image of Christ it is praiseworthy. Not because of what Josh is doing but because of what Christ is doing through Josh.

How This Encourages Me

This reminds me that I constantly need to check my motivation behind what I am doing. The best things in life I do will be meaningless in eternity unless I am doing it to point others back to Jesus and not to myself. And the only way that will happen is if I allow the Holy Spirit to continue to transform me. Seeing other believers dedicating daily time to God’s word continues to motivate me and keep me accountable to spending time in reading the Bible even on days I don’t feel like it.

In order to grow in the fruits of the spirit (Galatians 5:22-23) I need to spend time growing in the knowledge of God through his word. Complacency and distraction will not help me to learn more about God and his character but it will keep me at the center of my own story.

In order for others to see Jesus in me I need to daily remind myself that I am not at the center of the story. The Bible does not revolve around me. The Bible tells the the complete story of God’s plan from creation, the fall, redemption, and to restoration.

How This Can Encourage You

If Josh and I have been able to read the Bible and experience life change that only God can bring you can too!  There is no magic plan just commitment and self-discipline to spend time in God’s word. If you are wanting to start reading the Bible check out The Bible Project or start in the New Testament. This year I am Reading God’s Story: A Daily Chronological Bible which uses a six day a week reading plan to read through the entire Bible in 365 days. I am really enjoying it and am surprised how much more I am understanding in the Old Testament. Whatever plan you decide to use just stick with it, I promise it is worth the time and effort.

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