Monday, October 17, 2011
Book Review: How My Soul Yearns
By Ashley Wells
I wasn't quite sure what to expect when I started this book. I've read some infertility resources that were very encouraging and others that were a little less than helpful. However, Ashley Wells' book is a wonderful resource not only for those who struggle with infertility but also for those who want to love and encourage them.
One thing that makes this book very special is the courage with which the author puts her own heart into it. She tells her personal story and really lets readers into her own struggles not only with infertility itself but how this issue affected her walk with God. She gives readers encouragement and ideas for strengthening their faith as they walk through what can sometimes feel like a very dark, lonely journey.
My husband and I have struggled with infertility and that is one of the reasons why I chose to read this book. We as Christians rightly value life and children, but at times it can feel like some churches give the childless something of an "outsider" status, making one question one's own worth and perhaps even forget how God has told us He loves and values us. In her book, Wells addresses the issue of infertility making one feel worthless and reminds readers of how God defines our worth and of how very much He loves us. It's an inspiring message and not only is it helpful to those of us who have struggled with this issue, but I think it gives others insight into what their friends and family members may be struggling with and can show them how to extend love and biblically sound encouragement to those people.
Wells' sometimes achingly painful description of the emotions one goes through with infertility can help readers understand what someone they care about might be feeling. And if you're caught in that cycle, this book takes away some of that isolation. At times, it's so easy to feel as if I'm the only one I know who has this struggle. However, not only do the verses Psalms contained in the book remind us that God hears our cries but they remind us to praise Him in all circumstances.
One aspect of Wells' narrative I could relate well to was her description of how this struggle affected her marriage. So often we tend to think of how hard it is for us as women to not be able to have the children we long for. However, this can be a difficult issue for men as well, and can cause them to also struggle with feelings of loss and guilt. This can especially be true in cases where infertility has resulted from health issues of the husband rather than the wife. I think this was an important point for the author to make, and her reminder to take care with our husbands' feelings on this issue is a wise one. They need support, too.
In addition, the author doesn't pull any punches when she gets to the heart issue of how infertility can affect our walk with God. She discusses very frankly how her own struggles took her natural, God-given desire to have children and allowed her to turn the idea of having children into an idol that "comsumed every part of my being," coming between her and her relationship with God.
Because the issue of infertility is one that is very emotional for me, this book could at times be difficult to read. However, it is well-written and I found the author's message very encouraging. So many resources on infertility address the issue from a coldly scientific perspective and tend not to focus on the emotional and spiritual issues involved. How My Soul Yearns does a wonderful job of putting this issue in scriptural perspective and I would recommend it for anyone who struggles with infertility or who cares about someone who does.