by: Anna Finch
Does the Lord sometimes neglect our deepest longings and cares? Is He truly near to the broken hearted? While at times that might be hard to believe, we have the full assurance and confidence from God’s word, “The Lord is near the brokenhearted; he saves those crushed in spirit” (Ps. 34:18). The Don and Jacque Hogue experienced and learned this truth during a difficult season of their life.
Don and Jacque's story began in the fall of 1981 when they met and shortly thereafter married in July the following year. Like most people, they had hopes of starting a family of 2 to 3 kids, and that was something they intended to come to fruition a couple of years into their marriage. Sadly, when they decided they were ready to start a family, they struggled to get pregnant. Jacque would go through 5 years of infertility treatment in hopes of having a baby.
During this time of infertility, Jacque struggled to understand why she couldn’t get pregnant. It made it hard at times to be happy for students she had taught who had kids or those who seemed to easily have many children. “I spent a lot of time asking why," Jacque reflects. While Jacque was not bitter at God or blaming Him, it was just hard to understand why her journey to become pregnant was so hard. She trusted in the scripture, “all things work together for the good of those who love God.” While at times it was hard to believe that truth, she continued to seek and cling to the Lord. There were no answers to why they couldn’t get pregnant. Nothing was physically wrong and there weren’t any hereditary issues. She watched as friends who were also having fertility issues eventually got pregnant and had multiple children while she still prayed, hoping it was a part of God’s plan for her to have a child.
Infertility was not something commonly talked about in the 90’s, so the Hogues did not have many people to open up about their struggle. As Jacque recalls, “We were fortunate to have our church family aware of our struggle and knew many people were praying for us.” At times people blame God when things in their life are not working out for them and stop going to church, but for Don and Jacque it was through the encouragement from their church family that helped to strengthen their faith in the Lord and His sovereignty. Having a church family to lean on is important no matter what experience of life they may be going through.
“While I may never understand fully the reason I was not able to get pregnant for so long, I know the Lord has used me to be an encouragement for those who are experiencing infertility. I know and understand their struggle and desire to be a source of comfort and encouragement.” The Lord strengthened their marriage as they walked through this long season praying through many tears that the Lord would give them a child.
In the Spring of 1990, Jacque found out she was pregnant, and they eagerly told everyone the exciting news. On April 1st, Jacque lost the baby which was incredibly devastating and the most painful experience of her life. Pastor Ray and Sharon Sikes without question were there to be with the Hogues comforting and praying with them amidst great heartbreak. Ladies in the church who had experienced a miscarriage were quick to bring comfort and walk with them through that painful season. The silver lining was that the doctor confirmed that they were actually able to get pregnant and advised in three to six months that they try again.
God in His goodness had other plans for Don and Jacque and six weeks after their miscarriage she was pregnant. They did not announce their pregnancy until the beginning of the school year and things went pretty smoothly until the last month when Jacque was put on bed rest with preeclampsia. Nine years after they got married on February 14th 1991, the Hogues welcomed their miracle baby, Aubrey, into the world. “We never gave up on God,” even if it wasn’t a part of His plan for them to have a child, the Hogue’s clung to God and the love and support of FBC Choctaw.
Aubrey was in church the first Sunday following Jacque’s release from the hospital which happened to be the first Sunday in the new sanctuary. Jacque could not wait for baby dedication. “God had blessed us with her, so we gave her to Him to do with as he willed.” There would be few Sundays that the Hogues would ever miss church because it was a second home for them. Aubrey began singing at the church at a young age and was highly involved as a child and teenager. “Whatever we did right or wrong as parents, there’s never been a time when she stepped away from the faith. We made church a priority, ” said Jacque.
Through parenthood, the Lord taught Jacque faithfulness. While some people started to miss out on church once they had kids, she determined that that would not be the case for them. Despite the fact she was at church on Sunday early to practice the piano, Aubrey would come with her either in her carrier or later running around as her mom practiced. She grew in her patience and gratefulness for all he had blessed them with.
The greatest joy of motherhood for Jacque has been watching Aubrey grow up following the Lord, using the gift of singing to bring praise to the Lord, and working hard in school and her profession. Seeing Aubrey marry well and watching them grow brings so much pride to Don and Jacque. The Lord is continuing to bless them as they look forward to welcoming a grandson this fall.
For those who may be struggling with infertility you may not understand the reason, you may feel discouraged or neglected by God, but he hears your prayers. “I don’t know whether God will answer one’s prayer to have a biological child, maybe God will choose to give one a child through adoption or to be an influence on a child in another way. While I don’t know how or when God will answer one’s prayer there will be an answer.” Don and Jacque firmly believe that during their long and painful experience God never gave up on them, and they never gave up on Him or stopped trusting in His plan and purpose and resting in His peace.
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