When the change in your life brings difficult questions

When I flip through memories to a particularly tender time of change in my life, I linger on the years when my husband, David, and I hoped to start a family. We assumed getting pregnant would be as simple as it was for so many family and friends, but we soon learned our own journey to have a baby would be more difficult. That time taught us that sometimes in life, not changing can be the change you encounter.

We also discovered wanting a change and making it happen are two very different things.

Month after month came and went without the elusive double pink lines on the pregnancy test. My husband’s frequent travel didn’t help matters, nor did the frequent questions of well-meaning family and friends, questions like,

“When are you going to start a family?”

“You know it’ll happen if you just relax, right?”

Even as those questions fastened like weights to my heart, they weren’t the ones that kept me up at night. No, those that kept me up at night were questions of my own making. I drove myself near crazy by continually asking myself:

Why can’t I get pregnant?

Is there something wrong with me?

Doesn’t God think I would be a good mom, too?

Of course, asking these questions certainly wasn’t wrong – nor is taking the time necessary to mourn loss or be sad. But I didn’t simply ask these questions, I thoroughly dwelled on them and the unfavorable answers I came up with. Since their answers undoubtedly pointed toward there being something intrinsically wrong with me, my questions became icy fingers that pushed my peaceful spirit far out of reach.

To save my sanity, I discovered I needed to do more than just answer my own questions differently. I needed to ask them differently, too. Anytime an unexpected or difficult change in my life brings a limitation in one form or another, I can change my view of the situation by asking different questions. And once those new questions are asked, I can answer them with words based on facts, rather than my feelings.

So how do I do that? I stop focusing on the outcomes of my circumstances. Instead, I focus on the purpose of my circumstances.

For me all those years ago, this looked like not asking myself, Why can’t I get pregnant? Instead, it looked like asking myself, What else does God want to give me? What else is he working out in me through this situation?

For you, it may be a different question. Instead of asking, “Why did I get laid off at work?” perhaps you can ponder, “What better job is waiting for me down the road?”

Or instead of asking, “Why did he divorce me?” maybe it’s time to consider, “What incredible ways will God provide healing and restoration to my life?”

When we steer our questions to their overall purpose in our lives, we make our questions work for us, not against us. We show ourselves kindness by believing in faith that God is moving in kindness toward us, too. Which, of course, he is.

My new questions became arrows pointing me toward peace, rather than waves keeping me in the swirl of uncertainty and self-focus. They gave me something healthy to dwell on, something my heart and soul could anchor onto and find rest in.

I wish I could tell you I took the time I waited to become a mom with an abundance of grace and patience, but I did not. However, I did learn that the limitations change brings do have their own purpose, and asking the right questions helped me travel a narrower path toward that purpose.

May the questions from your own hard change and transitions do the same. And in the process, may you and I learn a bit more about how to thrive through the difficult change in our lives rather than simply endure it.

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14 Comments

  1. Kimberly Amici

    I love that you remind us to ask another question. It is so easy to camp out on the “what is wrong with me?”, “what am I missing?” questions and trying to come up with answers that make sense. I am in a situation with someone right now where I am tempted to ask those questions, defend myself, and even go on the attack and point other their shortcomings. However this is a reminder to step back and ask “how can I love them in a way that leads to reconciliation?” Thanks for sharing!

  2. Missy Robinson

    I am actively teaching this to my children after living it in my own life for years. Like you, it began with infertility. It was magnified by some challenging “no’s” and became a source of strength when my marriage disintegrated.

    Recently, my daughter did not qualify for a group that she desperately wanted to make. From our perspective, it didn’t make sense: she had qualified in previous years, she was skilled, she was experienced. She was devastated. I prompted her to start asking God what He wanted her to do instead…to trust there was a greater plan, even if we didn’t see it. Several weeks later, she was selected out of an extremely competitive and exclusive group to take part in a specialized training. Had she been part of the original team, she would not have been available. It was such a perfect real-life lesson for her to see in her own life that “No” isn’t because God is against us. I’m thankful and hopeful that she will be learning this earlier than me.

    Thank you for sharing and prompting us all to keep our perspective in the right place.

  3. Steph

    I needed this reminder to reframe my questions today. Though i know it makes things immensely easier when I ask the right questions, it’s so easy to wallow in the why’s. Thanks for this.

  4. Suzie

    For many years I kept asking myself why couldn’t I find someone special to love and be loved by. More than anything else I wanted to be married and couldn’t figure out why it was happening for others but not for me. I would be exposed to other people’s marriages that were destructive or abusive and wonder why them and not me. I asked myself what horrible thing had I done to be denied someone’s love. Now I had a couple of boyfriends but they either cheated on me or one kept promising me would we get married but strung me along for 8 years. Plus he was emotionally abusive. I left when he became physically abusive (only one time but that was enough). By this time I was in my 30’s and gave up. I decided I would learn to live on my own and find peace and happiness and purpose somewhere else. I did get married at age 40 and we will celebrate 19 years next month. Our marriage is not perfect but he makes me laugh and has a kind and loving heart.

  5. Marnita sonnenberg

    Needed that today after two difficult days! I never had fertility challenges but certainly experienced enough other challenges and it’s so easy to dwell on the negatives and how this could possibly be good. Homeschooling and raising our children is not an easy job but our difficulties help us understand and hopefully be a help to others.

  6. Cornelia Becker Seigneur

    Excellent reminder, to reframe the questions. And sometimes it just takes time for God to reveal to us what the purpose is. And, it may not always come as quickly for us as it does for others and it may not be the result we thought it would be. So, I am trying to learn to savor that as well, the outcome that we may not expect. It’s about trust and believing He has a purpose. Thank you for this post.

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    My mom told me this story when I was grieving from a horrible breakup:
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