I always thought I would live the picture-perfect, all-American dream of being married to a loving and supportive husband, giving birth to two wonderful children, and owning a house with a white picket fence. Even growing up in the Southern Baptist Church, this was an occasional encouragement you would hear in the sermon because marriage and children are biblical. Jeremiah 29:6-7 (NIV) states, “Marry and have sons and daughters; find wives for your sons and give your daughters in marriage, so they too may have sons and daughters. Increase in number there; do not decrease.” This scripture is one example that provides our Father’s direction for His children to marry and procreate. Unfortunately, my all-American dream was shattered at 40 years old when I needed a hysterectomy due to my debilitating endometriosis.

The journey of a woman battling endometriosis is filled with physical, emotional, and psychological challenges. To sum it up quickly, it causes a lot of pain, infertility, and disappointment. I tried alternative methods to be able to have a child of my own after my divorce. I had reproductive surgery to be able to get pregnant. But it didn’t work, and I did physically give up on having a baby. It wasn’t long until I began to experience intense pain again, and the physician recommended a hysterectomy. It was at that point I realized I had not emotionally given up on having a baby, and so, here comes the depression.

I have always been a believer since I was a young child. At the time of my diagnosis, I was on a roller coaster ride in my relationship with God. I wasn’t practicing my faith like I should have during my health crisis. It was a heart-wrenching reality that I would not have a baby after my hysterectomy. I was distraught because I had waited too long even to try! My life focused entirely on my education and career until I was about 35. I didn’t leave myself much of a “window,” and then I found out it was too late. So, I blamed myself, and I blamed God for a minute or two because He didn’t allow the reproductive steps to work for me. I was 40 years old, divorced, and childless, so there went my dream (my plan), and I was in misery. Honestly, I think my parents were disappointed, not in me, but in the situation.

But praise the Lord! I was physically healed by the hysterectomy almost 11 years ago. However, it has only been in the past five years that I have become emotionally healed. How? I was healed by growing my relationship with Jesus Christ, primarily through my dedicated and daily study of God’s Word. From that daily bible study, explicitly focusing on Jeremiah 29:11 offered me a beacon of hope amidst the darkness and emotional hurt of infertility. After reading and meditating on that verse many times, you can say it was my “a-ha moment” when I finally realized God has a different plan for my life. The verse says, “For I know the plans I have for you,” declares the Lord, “plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future.” The verse gave me a sense of purpose and reassurance beyond being focused on marriage and children. Therefore, this single verse has become an enduring influence on reshaping my entire outlook on life.

Furthermore, the transformative power of God’s Word, particularly encapsulated by Jeremiah 29:11, has changed me and given me the emotional healing I needed to move on past my depression, thoughts of failure, and the unexpected loss of my dream. I found solace, guidance, and a renewed purpose in studying God’s Word. Also, I am remarried and have the joy of two grandchildren through my stepdaughter and son-in-law! God provided me with a family, just not in the way I had initially thought because He ultimately controls everything!

Dear friends, you can also experience a spiritual journey from despair to empowerment through the enduring influence of God’s Word. By immersing yourself in the promises of scripture, your life can take on a new trajectory with a life marked with resilience, hope, and unwavering faith in the face of any adversity. You can find peace, purpose, and fulfillment by anchoring yourself in faith, drawing inspiration from the Word, and holding on to the belief that God’s plan is more significant than one’s own. In embracing faith through your trials, you can discover God’s plan constantly unfolds. Be confident that He will guide you through your darkest moments towards a future filled with hope and promise.

Dr. Jamie Shockley Owens is a Brokerage Manager at UPS Customhouse Brokerage. She has a Ph.D. in Human Services from Capella University and is working towards a Masters in Divinity degree at Regent University. Jamie, and her husband Robb, live in southern Indiana.

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