Finding Life After The Death Of A Dream

BY BENNETT ROLAN, BSF DIGITAL EDITOR

At a glance, Hoa Luu recognized the doctor’s office phone number. For a moment she paused, suppressing the familiar longing and excitement. But minutes into the call, she knew the truth. Her pregnancy results were negative once again. Hoa felt numb. How long could she endure the endless cycle procedures and tests? And what if she never had a baby? 

Surrender In Sadness

Married in her early 20’s, Hoa and her husband, David, pursued careers, traveled frequently and grew steadily in their faith. But as they considered starting a family, nothing happened. After countless doctors’ appointments, specialists and treatments, the prognosis stayed the same. Through years of disappointed hopes, Hoa was exhausted.

There was just extreme sadness. I was distraught over learning that I wasn’t pregnant. I could feel myself becoming bitter and angry, turning pregnancy into an idol,” Hoa shared. “What really helped me was talking to other women who were older, who didn’t have children. Knowing that I wasn’t alone was so helpful.” 

In the midst of her struggle between longing for a baby and leaning on the Lord, Hoa joined the staff at BSF Headquarters. There, she found wisdom in a much-needed friend. 

“When I wasn’t really looking for anyone, God dropped Gwen into my life,” she said.  

Hoa and her husband, David

Like Hoa, Gwen Cruzan struggled through the highs and lows of infertility. Some years older than Hoa, Gwen provided hope that joy in the Lord runs deeper than the death of a dream.

“I often think about 1 Timothy 6:6, ‘Godliness with contentment is great gain,’” Gwen said. “Sometimes we can become so focused on the things we want, that we don’t see the things we have. The Lord is the only one who could have provided that contentment. But I had to find a place of total surrender to His perfect will for my life. That doesn’t mean it’s easy, but God’s will is perfect, with or without children.

Together, Hoa and Gwen have laughed, cried, prayed and hoped. They’ve built a deep friendship fueled by the need to remain fixed on the Lord in joy and sorrow.  

“Instead of focusing on anger or bitter regrets,” Hoa shared, “God opened my eyes to be content with what He has placed before me. I pray for excitement for whatever God has planned. And surely it’s better than what I could create on my own.” 

Sometimes we can become so focused on the things we want, that we don’t see the things we have.

For both women, the grief of infertility and the struggle for contentment is ongoing. Holidays like Mother’s Day or well-meaning comments can open wounds that God is still healing. 

“There are times when it’s more difficult than others. It is a little bit of a roller coaster when you see the nieces and nephews you helped to raise having children,” Gwen shared. “Asking God ‘Why?’ is natural. But we may never fully understand the intricacies of God’s plan, because it’s never about us. It is about Him and what He desires to do through us for His glory. I think if I had let my devastation keep me from being around children, I would have missed God’s blessing through relationships with young people in our church and children in the BSF school program. For me, contentment is something God has given over time.” 

A Commitment to Contentment

Though we may not struggle with infertility, we can relate to the deep disappointment of living in a fallen world. Our hopes for the future are often sidetracked and our carefully laid plans can fall apart in an instant. When we experience the death of a dream, the loss often threatens to pull our eyes from Christ.

Too often, we’re tempted to make our own path. We set our goals without pausing to reflect on God’s purpose in our disappointment or in the future He sets before us. God will lead some to adopt or care for a foster child, while others will prayerfully pursue medical solutions to solve infertility issues. Some couples will enjoy a life apart from children, seeking ways to serve as a family. Wherever He leads, God faithfully walks with His children, drawing us into deeper relationship with Him.

“You have to look internally at what is happening in your heart,” Hoa said. “Where is your desire? If your desire is for God, He will provide the contentment and guide those next steps.”  

In studying Genesis, Hoa’s compassion for Sarah was magnified as she read about a woman who struggled to believe God’s promise.  

Gwen and her husband, Russell

In Genesis 21, we see the contrast of God’s blessing through Isaac’s birth and the destructive results of Sarah’s earlier interference. Though waiting on God’s promises and welcoming His plan can be painful, Gwen and Hoa both testify that He alone satisfies our unfulfilled longings.

“Reflecting on our lesson in Genesis with the story of Sarah, Abraham and Hagar, I am comforted in knowing that our God is a God who sees us. He is the God that hears us, and He is the God who truly loves us best and knows what’s best for usHe has His perfect timing in blessing us, Gwen shared. “Look to the Lord to encourage your heart through His Word and His people. Continue to serve Him.   It’s easier to sit in God’s waiting room when you’re busy with your hands. Through Psalm 27:13-14can say: 

I remain confident of this: I will see the goodness of the Lord in the land of the living. 

Wait for the Lord; be strong and take heart and wait for the Lord.’” 

203 Comments

  1. Thanks for the inspirational message. I am going through a very difficult time and this just reassured me that Gods plans are better then our plans Amen. Thanks for sharing your story and giving me hope again.

    Reply
    • Dear Jane, praying for you. Your heart for Jesus is evident!

      Reply
  2. This story is
    Helpful and encouraging!
    My husband and had a beautiful child and enjoyed her so much for the first 25 years, Then she said “Good-bye” and we haven’t heard from her since then. It has been almost two years .
    We need to trust her and us into The Lords able arms.

    Reply
    • Dear Lily, praying for you, your husband and your daughter. Am encouraged by your heart to trust and desire to seek Him through this time

      Reply
  3. Am truly encouraged by this story. I am a first born girl in my family. A single parent of an adult son and daughter. While all my siblings have grand children, I have none. I was praying for my son to get married and God answered in 2019. Am now praying for a grandchild. Am encouraged. God will answer at His appointed time. Thanks

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    • I have learned through Hoe and Gwen to focus on what God has done for me and not what I desire for my life. May He help me on this journey through the study of Genesis.

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  4. Thank you, Hoa and Gwen, for sharing on this painful subject. More than 35 years ago, my husband and I were struggling with infertility when my BSF group began studying Sarah’s and Abraham’s long wait for a child. I came to realize and accept that God knows the best ways to bless us. He soon opened doors to build our family through adoption. Now as I study Genesis again this year, I am so thankful for how God used BSF to reveal His mercy and purpose for our lives.

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    • Renee, what a beautiful story of God’s surprising gifts!

      Reply
  5. This speaks to my heart on SO many levels. Thank you Thank you for sharing this. I am encouraged and at the same time challenged. May God be praised and glorified in your lives and stories. I want the same satisfaction in the Lord and will seek Him with all my heart!

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  6. That is the verse that the Lord provided for me to cling to on the morning that I miscarried the only child we ever conceived. It was the morning of a dear friend’s baby shower that I was hosting at my home. I clung to the verse for the entire day, at peace.Psalm 27:13

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  7. This was such an encouragement for me to read. “Surrender in Sadness” was so relatable to me. “Extreme sadness, becoming bitter & angry, turning (fill-in the blank here), into an idol. Sometimes we can become so focused on the things we want, that we don’t see the things we have.If your desire is for God, He will provide the contentment & guide your steps…He alone satisfies our unfulfilled longings”. Thank you for sharing.

    Reply
  8. Hoa and Gwen, thank you for sharing the insights that God has written through your lives for us to read, and from which we can take heart.

    Reply
  9. Thank you for sharing your heart felt struggles to come to terms with Gods will for your lives God Bess you.

    Reply
  10. This heartfelt story is very encouraging for difficult life challenges that we face. Thank you Hoa and Gwen for sharing. Blessings

    Reply
  11. This blog is just perfect for our times right now and not just for the exact reasons in this blog, but for all disappointments in our lives. The issues that are happening right now with our nation. The sadness over our lives right now with Covid 19 and also the serious issues with political violence . We need God more than ever right now. He is our only hope. As a nation we need to adjust our thinking, we need to trust God to know the best for us. We need to stop the hate. We can do it.

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  12. Very encouraging.

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  13. Beautiful, heart warming testimony. ..thsnk you for this real life sharing.

    Reply
  14. Am sincerely inspired by this testimony. Learning to be contented in the Lord. Also waiting to hear his leading in my situation.
    Sometimes i have fallen victim in the struggle to get the next best and available solution for my situation. At one time i could hear the Lord asking me if the solution am looking for is in meant to fulfil my selfish desire or is it in the Lord’s purpose and glory; I can now hear Him teach me to be content in him. He has the best solution for my situation. I desire to serve and wait for his leading in my life.

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  15. that’s awesome.God brought Gwen into your life so you could encourage each other and gave you both contentment and freedom to serve. may you and your husbands be blestxx

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  16. Thanks Hoa and Gwen for sharing your story .

    Reply
    • Beautiful, heart warming testimony. ..thsnk you for this real life sharing.

      Reply
  17. Wow! This is so helpful for me as I’m waiting on God’s timing for marriage and wondering what my future holds! God truly does encourage our hearts through His Word and His people!

    Reply
  18. Thank you Gwen and Hou for sharing your testimonies, a reflection that God is Sovereign. “I am confident that I will see the goodness of the Lord in the land of the living “

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  19. Indeed during times of o uncertainties when our enemies are waiting for us to fall; yet I am confident I am confident I will see the Lord’s goodness while I am in the land of the living so wait patiently for the Lord. Be brave and courageous! How true.

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  20. I am so blessed by reading this testimony. Thank you dear Hoa and Gwen for being an example of godly women who trusts in the Lord in and through their struggles. Praying that the joy in the Lord would always run deeper than the death of any dream.

    Reply
  21. God is good! I am not infertile but I struggle with another problem that I am not at liberty to disclose. But your blog has been an affirmation to my problem. Just yesterday I told my daughters that I needed to be content in my circumstances until God changed them or even if he never changed them. Your blog, that has been in my email several days affirms my decision. Thank you for your blog.
    I love the ministry of BSF. I often share my app with family and friends encouraging them to join. Thank you. Donna Broden

    Reply
  22. I am most grateful for this strong encouragement. A commitment to a life of contentment will always help me to live a life of gratitude to God every day. The study of Genesis has truly been a great blessing to me.

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  23. Great testimony.Am challenged to focus more on what I have than what I do not have. I have prayed for a life partner ever since in my 20’s and now 45years and marriage has not been forthcoming. It has not been easy especially when it comes to fitting in even in church because they wonder which group will you belong. Pressure from family, friends and others who do not understand the reason why.Others trying to make you understand you are not getting any younger etc. I have tried to find strength in God who owns the reason why, though there are times of low moments. The story of Sarah and Abraham and God keeping the promise to them at old age has really given me hope by understanding that in God’s timing it will come to pass. Amen.

    Reply
  24. Wow. This is very deep. Thank you for the encouragement. May you be blessed.

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  25. All our hopes should be entrusted in the Lord. The only comforter and problem solver.

    Reply
  26. Excellent article. Thanking both Hoa and Gwen for their transparency, journey and focus on our Lord. He alone is enough and He along can fill our brokenness on what we want, for He has also given us all that we have. I have not walked these shoes or traveled the roads of Hoa and Gwen, but I will remember their encouraging lessons and words (in case I run across another woman who needs encouragement). May God continue to teach, lead and bless your lives richly. Thank you again sisters and MIP for publishing!

    Reply
  27. Oh, so wonderful and meaningful message that I can pass to my niece waiting in the Lord for a baby… such an encouragement will be this for her… Thank you Jesus

    Reply
  28. That was a touching testimony,our Lord is our ‘reward and portion”.The study of Genesis was a blessed one .

    Reply
  29. Gwen & Hoa’s testimonies reflect the power of God to turn despair into contentment!! Sitting under Gwen’s teaching in BSF, it’s obvious she has birthed so many “spiritual” children all to God’s glory. Her joy is infectious.

    Reply
  30. I was unable to have children. The best advice I received was from a female OBGYN who asked me if I had a good marriage. I replied that my husband was my best friend. She told me to go home, love and cherish your husband. I did, and we were married for 40 yrs. before he died. I have never regretted that advice. I have a wonderful niece and great nieces whom I love and cherish.

    Reply
  31. My husband and I have been married for 34yrs now and are retired and still no children. Is it a disappointment, yes, does the hurt ever go away completely, no. There are times when friends talk of their grandchildren and how wonderful they are we just have to rejoice with them and let it pass. Mother’s Day I do not go to church as it just hurts still. Whenever my husband and I talk about our childless marriage we comfort each other and just pray. Only one who has not experienced the blessing of a child can ever understand and those with children need to be aware that their bragging brings hurt to others unintentionally. The world just doesn’t seem fair at times but the promise of Jesus’s second coming and going to heaven to be with Him forever where there are no more tears, hurts or sorrows and worshipping forever is such a gift that the excitement of it outweighs anything here on earth.

    Reply
    • J,

      Thank you for your testimony. You & your husband are courageous & faithful. Your personal experience speaks truth of your journey, one that many reading can relate to. Knowing you are a child of God & looking forward to eternity with your Father in heaven is a reassurance of the grace and mercy that gives others HOPE.❤

      Reply
  32. I too struggled with infertility. My situation was somewhat different and people may think I didn’t suffer with the emotional stress of it. But I did. I had a one child, but had always hoped for 2 children.
    When she was 2, I began trying to have a second child. After 5 years of crying every month when my period started, infertility pills, and one miscarriage, I decided to give up that dream. It was a destructive idol in my life and I had to move on. I decided to go to college so I could take control of my life (as if we are in control). I am now retired, and as I look back, I can see how God had something better for me. I became an occupational therapist and specialized in lymphedema therapy. So many of my patients expressed to me how thankful they were that I had come into their life to help them. God put a passion into my heart to help this population and I loved them all. Even though retired, I still feel God calls me to continue to help those with lymphedema. I have a support group and am a resource to anyone in need of information. This is all God, and I believe this is why I didn’t have more children. If I would have had another child, I highly doubt I would have went to college and would have never even known what lymphedema is. God had a different plan in mind.

    Reply
    • Amen sister. Beautiful story.

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    • Denise, I have a dear friend struggling with lymphodema. Will you please post your support group information? It is such a blessing God called you to this work. I also understand your suffering in longing for a second child.

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      • Hi Alisha, The lymphedema support group meets in Monroe, MI. We are currently not meeting due to COVID restrictions. Hope to resume meetings in March or April.

        Reply
  33. My husband and i also went through the infertility journey. I found i could not be around children – especially not young children for over a decade. I could related to high school age and up. It took years to heal from the devastation i felt. I still avoid worship services on Mother’s or Father’s day. I have grown in my faith and reliance on the Lord. I smile and giggle when i see a pregnant woman walking in front of me somewhere – that special waddle. It was 10 years before i could even hold a baby. And people’s in appropriate remarks hurt me and they hurt my husband. I am now 65, and recently widowed. All the more that i miss having children. But GOD! Has brought me through, sent me in different directions than i ever expected. Getting involved with a local infertility support group, helped me move forward, as well as reach out to others. There are still some occasions that bring up pain. My friends are grandparent, some even great grandparents. This is another life cycle in which i don’t get to participate. It has taken much prayer and Bible study to get to a place of contentment with where God has put me. That does not mean all pain is gone. It ebbs and flows. And when it flows, i walk closet to Jesus, and He makes me whole.

    Thank you for sharing this story.

    Reply
    • Beautiful testimony. Thank you for sharing your journey! I see that God’s journey has indeed taught you as you are able to serve and teach others in this life. Your pain is relatable to many and they too will see God through your pain and joy. Blessings!

      Reply
  34. This was a beautiful and heartwarming story of Gwen and Hoa and their struggles. A good reminder for all of us to “wait on the Lord.” His timing and reasoning is always best.

    Reply
  35. Exactly what I needed to hear today. My heart is hurting. I am angry. This is not what I thought life would be. But as you said, God’s plan is not about me; it’s all about Him. Feelings are not Truth. God help me stand on Your Truth today!

    Reply
    • This just made me feel not so alone. Thank you for your brave comment. You never know who needs to hear what when but this was needed. Many blessings,
      SP

      Reply

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