Early in our marriage, my husband and I went running together—an activity I loved but he did not. When I ran alone, I would often play a game to help me push myself to run farther. I would tell myself, “You only have to run to that stop sign.” And once I would get there, I’d realize I could go a little farther and run to another checkpoint.
During our first run together, I thought this game could help my husband. I told him, “We have to run just to that stop sign, and then we can stop.” Once we got there, I pointed out how we still had some extra energy and could go a little farther. But he was not thrilled by the idea.
So, we stopped running.
Years later, I remembered this experience while thinking about our struggles with infertility. We had experienced three miscarriages and a failed adoption and undergone many different medical procedures. I felt similar emotions to those my husband had experienced on our run years before—I was tired and wanted to stop running.
In our infertility journey, my husband and I would see a figurative stop sign ahead and think we had finally reached the point where we could add a child to our family. But every time we came to a stop, we would be told we needed to run to the next sign, followed by another, and another.
We had tried to be prayerful and seek the Lord’s guidance in each step of the process, but we still found ourselves waiting on another adoption opportunity or pregnancy miracle. I felt discouraged, like we were being asked to run an endless marathon with few results.
I didn’t know how much farther I could make myself go.
A Change in Perspective
One morning, I was studying a general conference talk by President Russell M. Nelson in which he invited us to make repentance a lifetime pursuit.1 As I read his words, I recognized that I had let my discouragement and disappointment cloud my faith in Heavenly Father, and that despite the roadblocks and setbacks, He was guiding me and my husband.
I prayed and asked Him to forgive me for losing some of my hope and faith in Him. I asked Him what my focus should be during my “run” with this infertility trial.
I was immediately reminded of the importance of having gratitude in all of life’s circumstances. I realized that I had been so caught up in the run with infertility that I didn’t see all I had to be grateful for—time with my husband; a healthy mind and body; and most importantly, a Savior who loves me, who wants the best for me, and who knows how both my husband and I feel about this struggle.
As I pondered my blessings, I realized that throughout this time of waiting and running, we had seen so many blessings and truly had an incredibly joyful life. Changing my perspective from “When will this run be over?” to “Look at all the good around me!” helped me to better recognize God’s hand and find the patience, faith, and hope to keep going.
Grateful for the Run
I would love to say that we have reached the last stop sign and the end of our infertility journey, but we are still moving ahead and allowing the Lord to guide us.
I’ve recognized that I shouldn’t be waiting for the end to see the good in my life. I can see God’s goodness and trust in Him even without being able to see the why behind this trial or how it will end.
I always played the stop sign game on runs so I could push myself a little farther than was comfortable. This resulted in me becoming increasingly stronger and grateful for having pushed myself. Similarly, God knows that being pushed spiritually outside our comfort zones and experiencing challenges allows us opportunities to become more refined, more gracious, and more like His Son.
As Elder Dieter F. Uchtdorf of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles said: “Being grateful in our circumstances is an act of faith in God. It requires that we trust God and hope for things we may not see but which are true. By being grateful, we follow the example of our beloved Savior, who said, ‘Not my will, but thine, be done’ [Luke 22:42].”2
No matter how far this run with infertility or any other trial takes me, I’m determined to be a better follower of my Savior by being grateful in my circumstances, exercising faith, and trusting that good things are coming.