Sometimes, God says, “No.”

by Brandi Lytle
Photo of a woman with her head down, sitting on a dock overlooking the water on "Sometimes, God says, 'No.'" on Not So Mommy..., a childless blog
Sensitive Post:  I talk about my belief in God, the Bible, prayers during our struggle, and a story from Luke about Zacharias and Elizabeth.  While my relationship with the Lord brings me comfort, I know that “religious” things are triggers for some.     

Grief snuck up on me recently.  I recognized that all-to-familiar ache in my heart.  Before long, tears welled in my eyes and quietly rolled down my cheeks.  And that painful, unanswered question sprang to mind, “Why?”

Why did my beautiful friend have to get an aggressive type of breast cancer and pass away at age 40?  Why didn’t God heal her?  I prayed.  I prayed specifically.  I asked Him to heal her on this Earth and to give us at least 40 more years together.

But you know what God said to me?  He said, “No.”  He didn’t even give me 40 more months with my friend.  And I miss her.  And I want to talk to her.  And I don’t understand.

During Our Infertility Battle…

When we were going through our infertility battle, I did not realize that the crushing ache deep in my chest was grief.  I felt the pain.  I cried the tears.  I questioned, “Why?”  I prayed, and I waited.

At first, I prayed for God to “please, bless our family with a baby.”  And my sister-in-law got pregnant.  (You can read more about that here.)

Hahaha.  Very funny, God.  You knew what I meant!

So, I changed my prayer.  I specifically asked God to please allow me to get pregnant.  Honestly, I begged Him to let Dane and me have a biological child of our own.

And you know what He said?  He said, “No.”

A lack of faith?  A lack of God?

Some believe that infertility and childlessness are due to some great sin, some lack of faith, some lack of prayer.  Others decide that no loving God would ever allow such awful things to happen.  So, they figure that life must be random.

Sometimes, God says, “No.”

Personally, I disagree with both.  A Not So Mommy… community member said it best– “Sometimes, God says, ‘No.’”

Remember in Bruce Almighty when Jim Carrey got to play God for a little while?  He said, “Yes,” to every prayer, thinking that would make everybody happy.  Quite the opposite happened, however.

So, I figure that sometimes God has to say, “No.”  For the life of me, I can’t figure out why He had to say no to healing my friend…  But I have to accept that I will never understand everything this side of Heaven.

And why didn’t He allow me to get pregnant?  Well, I’ve rationalized that in my own mind.  I like to believe that I was supposed to have an extra special relationship with my nieces and nephews, be an over-zealous dog mom to Maddie, be a host mom to Bruna, and an advocate for the childless community.  Perhaps it’s just a coping mechanism, but it works for me.

We are not being punished…

Whether my “reasons” for being childless are true or not, I do know one thing for sure.  I am not being punished for some great sin or lack of faith.  Let me say that again.  We childless are NOT being punished by God.

When my hubby and I were in the midst of our battle, we had an incredible pastor.  One Sunday, he preached about Luke 1: 1-7.  He explained that the cultural tradition of the day believed that a couple with no child equaled sinful.  Our pastor said this simply could not be true because Zacharias and Elizabeth, who were “righteous” and “blameless” before God, had no child.

As I listened to him preach, I wrote this in my Bible…

“God is in control.  Just because I can’t have a baby does not mean God doesn’t think I can handle it.”

I believed this truth then, and I believe this truth now.  With all my heart.

Now, those of you who know your Bible may be thinking, “Yes, but Elizabeth went on to give birth to a child.”

That is true.  And that is why I agree with, “Sometimes, God says, ‘No.’”  Other times, He says, “Yes.”  (Thank goodness!)

My point, however, is this.  If someone tells you that you haven’t gotten pregnant, haven’t been “blessed” with a child, because you need to pray more or have more faith, I want you to say this:

Sometimes, God says, “No.”

Believe the truth.

Do not allow anyone (including yourself) to cause you to doubt the power of your prayers or the power of your God.

I wrote this in my Bible on 23 September 2012, nearly nine years into our infertility battle.

“I may not feel like I have enough faith, but I pray to a living, listening God.  And I know in whom I believe.”

Just because He says, “No,” doesn’t mean He isn’t listening…

Yes, we pray.  But sometimes, God says, “No.”


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Jilliana December 23, 2020 - 6:49 pm

TRIGGER WARNING (From Brandi, Founder of Not So Mommy…): Jilliana’s comment (below) is written from the perspective of a mom with kids. Because I strive to look at things from various perspectives, I decided to approve her comment. Please, do NOT read if you are feeling vulnerable. Hugs, fabulous ones.

Jilliana’s Comment:

“So this is different in context but I wanted to thank you for writing this. So many of my friends think im odd for asking God IF we should have children. I have 2 beautiful healthy perfect girls, and im so grateful. But i have long labours that end in csections which brings on a great amount of fear so every pregnancy is actually a big deal, and full of fear. However… i still want more. We dont have trouble getting pregnant, but I dont want to try without Gods blessing like- thats an entire HUMAN i have to raise, nurture, disciple, teach, etc. Thats a big responsibility. And i wanna do it WELL. Anyway… i have asked God for a year if we are to try for another child. Even asked for a specific “sign” if we were not supposed to, which we Got. Consistently, he has said “No” about having more. My heart hurts and i dont understand that why BUT! God’s OMNISCIENT ‘No’ needs to be paid attention to. He knows things i cant- will i be injured in surgery? Will the baby die? Will it have disabilities? Will having another child delay Gods plan for us as a family? He knows the answer to all of this and he has never failed us. With our two girls, he gave us prophetic words and seperately told my husband and i WHEN to try for our second baby, giving us her name and everything. Anyway… he said no this time. And while it hurts, its a No I can trust. Cause His plans for me are good.”

RN August 16, 2020 - 5:04 pm

So tired of people assuming that because I’m a childless dried up old stick that I was promiscuous in my youth, don’t love Jesus, don’t pray enough, something equally horrible.

I hurt so much because my love has nowhere to go. No one wants it or ever has wanted it.

Nothing to do but turn bitter and defiant or melt into an endless pool of tears. I am still a virgin though few believe me.

I’d pray but don’t know what to ask for now. He has slammed the door of human love on me forever. It’s too late.
As a 46 year old spinster–long past her prime–I don’t see how God can use me.
If I crush my femininity and think of myself as a neuter it’s less painful. I’m only a failure as a woman.

Brandi Lytle August 17, 2020 - 8:52 am

RN, thank you for being bravely vulnerable and sharing your heart. I can feel your pain, and I am so sorry that you are struggling. I am also sorry that others ignorantly make negative assumptions about you because you are childless and single.

As for praying and not knowing what to ask for… I believe one of the beautiful things about prayer is that God can hear the groans of our heart even when we don’t have the words. And He is strong enough to handle our anger, bitterness, sadness, grief… He can handle any truth we throw at Him.

I am saddened that you feel you are a “dried up old stick” and “only a failure as a woman.” You are so much more than your marital status, so much more than your fertility. I have a lot of childless resources linked, including closed Facebook groups. I am one of the admins of Childless Christians. Here is the link, in case you’d like to explore these resources –

Please, know that I am always here to listen. Comment, email, visit Not So Mommy… social media on Facebook and/or Instagram… There is a vibrant childless community ready to give you love, support, and encouragement. So many hugs…

E July 14, 2020 - 9:51 pm

Thank you so much for this post. I’ve been battling with God saying no about something so near and dear to my heart.

Brandi Lytle July 15, 2020 - 11:07 am

I’m grateful that the right words reached you at the right time. I call that a “God Thing.” Sending you loads of hugs…

Elizabeth June 19, 2019 - 12:52 am

I haven’t had a loss like your friend but my husband and I are not able to have children and no reason was found after many tests and visits with our doctors. Your words resonate so much and I’m glad to have found this. My sister recently had her second baby and I love being an aunt but sometimes it is hard to handle. My dad feels my pain with me sometimes but my mom rarely talks to me about it. She once made a comment that our difficulty conceiving was probably due to my husband’s age. That did not help our relationship. I don’t think I acknowledged it and have never bothered to say anything except to my husband. I remember it though. At different times, when I see pictures of my niece and nephew, when I hear stories of things happening with my friend’s children, when I’m just spending time with my husband and feeling like there is something missing. I try to come to terms with it and tell myself that I’m okay, that life is good and why mess up a good thing and that I love being a wife and dog mom. But I don’t think it will ever be completely okay. I don’t feel bad for feeling sad at times. I just try to limit discussion with anyone except my husband.

So thank you for your words. It’s helpful to know that I’m not alone.

Brandi Lytle June 19, 2019 - 10:01 am

Thank you for trusting us enough to be vulnerable and share your heart here, Elizabeth. I’m so sorry for your struggles. Unexplained infertility is cruel, as you get no answers. I’m grateful you are able to focus on the bright sides most of the time. I’m also grateful you give yourself permission to be sad and to grieve, as well. And I’m super grateful that you can talk with your husband about this complex journey.

You are most definitely not alone. If you ever need a listening ear, I’m here. Please, feel free to email me anytime. So many hugs…

Maggie July 22, 2019 - 8:28 am

Yes, i do believe sometimes God Says No! and we will never understand why. My husband and I have accepted our childless situation but we have also lost faith in prayer. We believe that if things are meant to happen, they will happen. Prayers do not change God once He has made up His mind. I know some stories in the bible like the widow and the judge tells otherwise, nonetheless, we have lost faith in Prayers. We still believe God has a purpose and a reason and we just live our lives as godly as we could because we are grateful for all that we already have but …..we don’t pray anymore. Childless is perhaps the cross God gives us to carry just like singlehood or living with divorce or poverty or a handicap. This world is not our home, only in heaven will all tears be wiped from our eyes.

Brandi Lytle July 22, 2019 - 12:29 pm

Thank you for giving your perspective, Maggie. I don’t know that I’ve ever met someone who seems to have such a strong faith and yet does not pray… I’m grateful that you believe God has a purpose and a reason. And I can somewhat understand not praying because you don’t believe you can change His mind. My prayers lately have been a simple repetition of “Thy will be done” because things are happening right now that I simply don’t understand nor do I like… At least God knows the desires of my heart even if I don’t have the words to pray. Sending you hugs, Maggie.

Maggie July 25, 2019 - 1:00 am

Brandi, the pain of childlessness comes and goes even when we have accepted it. I have become almost immune to it in fact. Its my husband who is having a hard time. You see, i am a teacher and i see kids everyday. My school has 2000 over students. I used to think, ‘so many and not one of them mine!’ Some of them come from abusive homes and i think ‘ We could do so much more if we are parents’ Every Sunday, the priest asks parents with young children to approach the altar for a special blessing. Our arms are empty. Every Mother’s and Father’s Day, the priest asks mothers and fathers to stand for a special blessing…..we continue sitting….. Only the childless understands the childless. Then i shift my mind to all the positive things in our lives, a loving husband , a lovely home, 2 lovely dogs, overseas holidays…….how do i complain???? There are 2 books i strongly recommend everyone to read. ‘When God doesn’t make sense ‘ by James Dobson and ‘Gratitude- Chicken Soup For The Soul’ I assure you that they will ‘still’ the tempest in your heart. Brandi, talking about purpose of childlessness. You creating this website is one. God bless you my dear. I keep a gratitude journal. It keeps me thankful and appreciative when i am down. I am 52 this year. Our attempts at adoption were unsuccessful as well. Just as His plans are higher than our plans so His thoughts are higher than ours. Amen

Brandi Lytle July 25, 2019 - 9:11 am

Thank you for your thoughtful comment, kind words, and beautiful perspective, Maggie. I truly believe that my website is serving a purpose… It was so nice to hear that validated, however! You are awesome, Maggie! I pray your husband comes to a point of acceptance and peace, as well. Hugs…

Heather March 19, 2024 - 7:06 pm

You’re not alone, Elizabeth. I’m there with you in a very similar boat. My heart has been crushed in this area several times and it’s a pain like no other. But I want to encourage you to cling to Jesus. He is faithful. I’ve started praying Not my will, Lord, but your will be done. Along with similar scriptures, prayer and pouring my heart out. It has given me a lot of freedom and strengthened my faith. Bless you!

Melissa January 24, 2019 - 3:26 pm

Wow Brandi so much of your struggle sounds like mine. God said no to healing my aunt of cancer some years ago and she left behind two young children, and many nieces and nephews who miss her so much. He has also said no to having biological children as my husband has no vas deferens – some weird genetic condition we could never have foreseen. Thanks for your blog, I only discovered it today and already it has helped me feel not so alone.

Brandi Lytle January 24, 2019 - 6:11 pm

Melissa, despite the circumstances, I am so glad that you are here! I truly believe God brings the right people to my blog at the right time. I am grateful that the words in this post resonated with you. And thank you for sharing part of your story with me. I am so sorry for the loss of your aunt and that you weren’t able to have biological littles. It is a blessing that there are others out there like us so that we can have those validating “me too” moments. Hugs, my new friend!

Sherry Stout January 21, 2019 - 10:12 pm

Even though no isn’t what we want to hear, it is sometimes what we have to accept. I am quite sure He says yes many more times. Thanks be to God!

Brandi Lytle January 22, 2019 - 10:04 am

I agree that He does say, “Yes” a lot more. I think sometimes we get very focused on the “no,” and it causes us to miss the blessings…


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