Surviving Childlessness—Faith

Following God into ministry or into the mission field requires incredible faith. So does following God into a job in construction or a management position or a university course. And following God into childlessness requires faith too.

Every Christian’s journey calls for extraordinary trust in God. Our faith overflows to our circumstances, our relationships, every aspect of our lives. It takes ongoing faith and courage to continually submit everything to God, everything we have lost and everything we have to lose. 

It takes ongoing faith and courage to continually submit everything to God.

This is easy to forget. As a childless person (or indeed, as a human being), I often fall into the trap of comparing my faith unfavourably with others. In a competitive society, it can be easy to slide into thinking someone has ‘more’ faith than me. 

You might know what I’m talking about:

‘Wow, they’re applying for adoption, they must have so much faith.’

‘Eleven IVF attempts? That’s a lot of faith!’ 

‘They’ve been trying to conceive for ten years—wow, what faith.’ 

And it is. These childless stories call for a special kind of faith and courage and endurance. 

But here’s the thing: my walk with God requires faith too. I may not be going through IVF—I may not have applied for adoption—I may not have even tried to conceive—but childlessness, in all it’s weird and wacky forms, requires incredible faith. 

My walk with God requires faith too.

It takes faith to smile when parents tell me I am ‘lucky’. 

It takes faith to sit with other stories of childlessness and hold their pain. 

It takes faith to love my nieces and nephews in the bittersweet knowledge I will never have that experience. 

It takes faith to speak up in church about the exclusion and isolation of childless people. 

It takes faith to write openly and frankly about my journey.

It takes faith to walk away from the terrifying risk of a medically catastrophic pregnancy. 

It takes faith to feel every facet of my grief. 

It takes faith to feel every facet of my grief.

And it takes faith—deep-breathing, gut-wrenching faith—to hand all these pieces to the God who sees and hears and cares and loves more wildly than the sea, the God who lives in my heart, the God who weeps with me when I am neck-deep in sorrow. 

Comparing our faith, or our grief, to others is pointless. There is no ‘standard’ way to grieve or to walk by faith. We are all grieving. We are all struggling. And we are all figuring out our faith on the fly, trying to follow God as best we can. So let us encourage one another in our attempts to follow God, wherever that may lead.

It’s not a matter of having ‘more’ or ‘less’ faith than someone else. It’s about the God who sees the tiny candle of faith flickering in our hearts—and loves us for it. 

Have you experienced a loss of faith, or an increase of faith, in childlessness? Do you find it hard not to compare your faith journey with others? How has God helped you find or rediscover your faith? Share your story. Let’s have a countercultural conversation. 

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