The longing for marriage and for motherhood goes back to childhood for Trudy Cummings. The dream of a man who would love and take care of her with children, lots of children, running around in and out of all the rooms of their home was real. In high school and college, this dream became an identity for Trudy and in some way, an idol. She would find herself so focused on this dream that the value of her personhood was determined to be complete and good only if she would marry and only if she would be a mom. It was exhausting and left Trudy lost.
Trudy would describe this time of her life as ‘me-centered.’
“It was more about me. Whatever made me feel good.”
Trudy met a man and early on in their relationship through online dating, Trudy was so set on marriage, that she didn’t recognize at first how unwise the match truly was. Finally, a few months into the relationship, he broke up with her. Her heart ached. In the midst of the break-up, Trudy found herself deep into depression but she also found the deep desire for Christ. The mother of her ex was a believer and loved Jesus and shared with Trudy the authenticity and freedom found only in Jesus. From those conversations she committed her life to God and started counseling. Through counseling, she was able to slowly process the lies and idols in her heart and through this, was released from the bondage of depression.
“My heart was open to hearing the Gospel,” Trudy confessed. “One day I said I will never live for myself but for God. I didn’t want to live like that anymore. I went to two different churches on a Sunday and it didn’t feel like enough. I started to read the Bible every free moment I had for the next six months. It was a sweet season. I was intentionally single so that I could know God first. I stopped spending money on stuff or chasing the dream of climbing the ladder in my profession and I didn’t obsess over having to be married.”
Trudy quit online dating after hearing in prayer God saying ‘no’. She knew it was a place of potential sin and idolatry. Throughout this season, Trudy continued growing in her affections for the Lord and the contentment of who she was in the Lord. It was a season of peace and healing. A few years passed and Trudy found herself in her thirties.
“As a believer I said ‘God if it’s just you and me, I’m fine with that,’” Trudy shared. “I also prayed a lot in that season and for my future husband if it was the Lord’s plan.”
In March, Trudy first noticed Ben at a prayer meeting. A few months later, they ended up in the same City Group and that July, Ben started to pursue Trudy. He was Trudy’s first relationship as a believer and her first relationship with a believer. It was in these months, Trudy began to realize her prayer for her future husband was being fulfilled.
“I would pray ‘Lord I want someone that is madly in love with Jesus,’” Trudy said with a smile, “and that’s all Ben and I talked about. A few weeks later after our first conversation, we went on our first date. We hung out for eight hours. I could hang out with this guy because there was no pressure...I saw God really working through that. A big thing was I love stories and I always wanted to have a good story so I felt like God created a good story in us...even the hard days of marriage I can look back and say, ‘look what God did!’ I can hold firm that God brought us together. Since our relationship was built on God, I can always support my husband because I know he is seeking God first too.”
Fast forward about a year, Trudy and Ben married one another with a commitment to Christ being the center of their relationship and life.
“Looking back, I see God working in our life as we prioritized God as being first,” shared Trudy. “A big thing I learned before Ben is you should want someone, a man, that seeks God first because then you will be able to trust all of his decisions because he’s going to God first.”
Also looking back, Trudy has realized instead of instantly calling someone when she was struggling with depression, anxiety or with anything else, to first go and sit before God. To hand over her heart to Jesus and to give Him the first instead of giving Him the seconds and thirds after going to other people and other things. She found so much value to sit and wait to hear from God and to tell Him first what she would tell everyone else.
“God created us for community,” Trudy insisted, “but first we need to go to Him. And then He gives us wisdom.”
A few years into marriage, Trudy got another opportunity to go to God first and to put trust in Him. After getting pregnant for the first time, Trudy and Ben had a miscarriage. After the miscarriage, Trudy went to the doctor but all the blood work looked good and no one said anything. Since then, month after month, they have not been able to get pregnant.
“Again, it’s like putting my faith into reality,” Trudy admitted. “I tell myself ‘okay...what do I believe?’ I can go to God and tell Him ‘I waited for the Lord. Ben and I have done nothing but honor you and now we only want to be parents and be pregnant and carry a child.’ But you know what, God is not looking for what I can do or for Him. This is just part of His plan.”
Walking through infertility has now become a new kind of suffering. The Lord has given Trudy and Ben an opportunity to believe and to still choose to believe God is writing a good story. The Lord has given them both eyes to see suffering and loss which has provided a unique opportunity and gift to be a good friend to one another and to have more empathy for and towards others as others walk through suffering.
“I have suffered and I am still going through suffering,” Trudy described, “and it’s given me a heart to love people more and not just stay isolated in my own world.”
Currently, Ben and Trudy are considering all the fertility options that are available and praying about what God is wanting to focus their time and resources on. Could it be focusing on foster care or adoption or should they spend it on fertility treatments? Their goal in whatever is chosen is to walk in obedience.
“There are so many kids that want a safe home,” Trudy quietly mentioned while talking about foster care. “If we spend more time on going to the doctor for all the appointments it requires for the chance to have a baby we could miss the opportunity instead of giving a child a home today that no one is stepping up to. It’s a real wrestle of our hearts. Today, the Lord has given us the desire to be parents and we have the opportunity to be a parent to a foster child. It could be just for a season or for a lifetime but we are just taking it day by day. To us it would be saying God you are good, even if this is temporary. I am reminded of the verse James 1:27. We are called to look after those who need a home. As we journey and pray about it, the Lord reminds us, this isn’t about us, it’s about the children that need safety and love. If we want to build our family...what should that look like? We want to be obedient to what God has called us to.”
Trudy has determined that the answer to everything isn’t pregnancy. Getting pregnant doesn’t mean God is alive and in control and everything is good. Trudy heard this on a podcast recently: The answer for everything rather is the longing, the longing that leads us to the Father. There’s joy in that longing because the longing leads us to God and that is the true gift. (Joy and Infertility Podcast-#21 Jessica Satterfield)
“If I get too fixed on pregnancy, it’s not good,” Trudy admitted. “My faith is then fake. I have to think about eternity because this is just a blip in my whole life and in eternity. Before I submitted to Christ, I would have been focused on whether I got pregnant or not. Now, I find myself longing for pregnancy, but that is not everything to me. There is still loss if it doesn’t ever happen. And grief. But I am just trying to trust in this season. I keep on telling myself ‘God your plan is bigger.’ And that He is good. Also, God gave us His only Son. If God so gave us His Only Son, as Romans 8 says, how will He along with giving us the greatest gift of Jesus, give us all things on top of that? Remembering that he gave us Jesus and He gives us so much when we didn’t have to earn it is awesome. Jesus did that!” (Romans 8:31-32)
It’s so easy to miss the good in every season if we take everything into our own hands. For others who are walking through the loneliness of singlehood or the longing of being pregnant and having children, Trudy offers these words she has come to know very intimately:
“Seek God first and bring these longings and sorrow to Him first,” Trudy quickly said. “Also, reach out to community if you have struggled or are struggling. If someone doesn’t have someone, reach out to me! There is power in that. When I struggle, I reach out to a friend and ask ‘can we meet because I am struggling’. It helps to have another believer who knows how I am feeling so that there’s affirmation. To remind us that the enemy does not have power over this and doesn’t continue speaking those lies to us.”
Trudy shared some of the lies she hears and they sound like these: “He gave pregnancy to everyone else but you. God forgot about you. You are not a real mom.” She encourages others to battle these lies with the Truth. That conceiving a child doesn’t make you a parent. The world may say this, especially considering we live in such an ‘instant’ culture with everything at your fingertips.
“You know my monthly period is always hard because it’s a reminder to me that it’s another month my dream wasn’t fulfilled,” shared Trudy. “I still battle with control and want to tell God that right now would be perfect timing. Other days I am content of how God is working even if the dream is not fulfilled.”
“One other thing that has helped me is that I have gone off social media. This has kept me more sane. I don’t see all the pregnancy announcements from hundreds of people but instead I just hear it from the people in my immediate life. It doesn’t breath discontentment. It frees me up so that I can focus on the Lord and have more joy in the Lord. I don’t think I will ever go back...it’s just less stressful with no social media.”
For those who know someone who is walking through infertility Trudy offers these words of advice:
“The biggest thing you can say to someone who is walking through infertility is to say ‘I’m sorry you are going through this,’” Trudy declared with honesty and sensitivity. “Acknowledging them and their season and not with a lot of words is powerful. Ask them ‘do you want to talk about it or something else?’ Acknowledging them can make them feel seen and loved. There are times they are sick of it but there are also days they may need to talk about it. Just ask them. If you do ask, the biggest thing is to then be ready to listen. Don’t ask if you are not ready. Be a friend.”
For those reading this and are walking the infertility journey Trudy wants you to know that you are not defined by your life circumstances. Infertility is not who you are. Your identity is a child of God. You are chosen, accepted, loved and cherished by the Lord.
Trudy knows there will be days where it feels like it’s all too hard. She knows that it’s about asking God to use her especially on the hard days.
“My prayer is for the messy middle,” Trudy acknowledged as she looked down at her feet. “We need more messy stories and unfinished stories because they reflect Jesus. Also, I want those who are suffering to not suffer in silence. I want them to know there are more people like you and you are not alone.”
In life, there will be seasons of longing. The longing can feel painful and all you want is to be out of it. This longing can look like not wanting to be alone or to have our dreams become reality. The burden of this longing can feel pointless or meaningless. Trudy would tell you it’s all worth it only if the longing is grounded in Christ. These seasons of longing can make a difficult and broken story into a beautiful story. These stories must be shared and told to others as there is power in community.
Trudy recommends these resources: