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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