Infertility—a long and quiet war...
Matt and Cheri Appling couldn't get pregnant. One minus sign after another cast them into a long season of trying, failing, waiting, and hoping—into the wilderness where faith grew tired before it got stronger. And in that wilderness they wrote this book.
A blend of story, reflection, and lament, Plus or Minus is the chronicle of three couples warring with infertility. It depicts life, faith, and love amidst the ebb and flow of gain and loss. Amidst empty nurseries and quiet hallways, another baby shower for someone else.
As you journey with the Applings and their friends, you will learn to cope when dreams and reality collide. You will learn to cling to God's real promises even as you long for gifts he may not give. You will see marriage in sickness and in health and witness strength in weakness. You will see what it means to live fruitfully amidst barrenness and to be thankful in every season.
This book provides solace for those battling infertility and a window into their pain for those who aren't. Poetic and raw, Plus or Minus is a portrait of faith in the trenches of infertility.
If you've walked through the heartache of infertility or love someone whose struggle has impacted you, you'll find the comfort of a friend in the pages of this book. Matt and Cheri Appling not only know—from personal experience—how infertility affects every area of your life and relationships, they offer profound wisdom for those who are still shell-shocked by it all. Take your time as you work your way through the pages of this book; you'll find comfort, insight, and direction. And best of all, you'll be reminded afresh that you are not alone.
Susie Larson, radio host, national speaker, author of Your Beautiful Purpose
As someone who walked through infertility for almost a decade, I know how difficult the journey can be. As my husband and I took each step, we needed hope, encouragement, and heart-healing truth from others who understood. That's exactly what you'll get on these pages. Pause for a moment on your path today and let these words strengthen your life, faith, and love.
Holley Gerth, Wall Street Journal bestselling author of You're Already Amazing and cofounder of (in)courage, holleygerth.com
Few life events can challenge a marriage quite like a long season of infertility. Plus or Minus is an honest, thoughtful approach to a struggle that millions usually face in silence and isolation. For couples searching for clarity or comfort in the many complex decisions they must make, or for pastors or family members who want to support the couple in their journey, Plus or Minus is a wonderful companion.
Drs. Les and Leslie Parrott, founders of the Relationship Development Center and New York Times bestselling authors of Saving Your Marriage Before It Starts
With excruciating honesty and informed analysis, Plus or Minus breaks the stifling silence in the church on the subject of infertility. The book wisely and compassionately challenges the "parenting culture" and champions in its place a holistic, biblical view of marriage and family that encompasses infertility and the complex decisions that surround it. This is a much-needed book that I hope will be on every pastor's bookshelf and in every church library.
Karen Swallow Prior, author of Booked: Literature in the Soul of Me and Fierce Convictions—The Extraordinary Life of Hannah More: Poet, Reformer, Abolitionist
Three couples. Three different journeys, yet with one common bond: infertility. Matt and Cheri are not only brave and authentic in sharing their own story, but offer a magnifying glass. They provide the reader an intimate look into the personal lives of the couples, clues on how to navigate childlessness in a modern world, and for the Christian, they offer a thought-provoking way to take a closer look at faith and fertility issues. Whether one is suffering with infertility or not, Plus or Minus is a Christ-centered present-day resource for all.
Lesli Westfall, founder of Dancing Upon Barren Land—Spiritual Nourishment for the Infertility Road, dancinguponbarrenland.com
Plus or Minus is, at its heart, a beautifully hopeful book for couples who desperately need it. For all of the couples who just do not see how they can endure another month, another test, another round of treatment, Cheri and Matt say there is hope and healing. There may not be any guarantees when it comes to infertility treatment, but Plus or Minus shows that we can keep our lives, faith, and marriages together, no matter what our infertility journeys bring.
Jenny Matthews, radio personality and board member, Kansas City Infertility Awareness Foundation, kcinfertility.org
This is the must-have book for any couple who is embarking on their own infertility journey. I was completely taken with the stories, the writing, and the vulnerability of this book. Plus or Minus is an important book for anyone who wants to know what the Bible says—and doesn't say—about fertility, and for anyone who's lost their faith along the way. This book is also for the rest of us who haven't personally struggled with infertility, but want to know how best to walk with loved ones who are coping with it. Plus or Minus is a smart, compassionate, honest, and disarmingly funny book.
Jennifer Dukes Lee, author of Love Idol
It wasn't long that long after becoming a marriage and family therapist that I realized just how devastating the struggle through infertility can be for couples. That's why I'm so very thankful that Matt and Cheri had the courage to write this book. The personal stories shared in this book will provide hope to any couple faced with infertility.
Rhett Smith, licensed marriage and family therapist, author of The Anxious Christian and What it Means to be a Man, rhettsmith.com
I have watched and prayed for many friends as they have walked the road of infertility and, like most things in life, they just want to know they are not alone. Matt and Cheri have written an encouraging, honest, and heartfelt book that I believe will be a comfort to anyone dealing with infertility and the people who love them.
Melanie Shankle, New York Times bestselling author of Sparkly Green Earrings, bigmamablog.com
Plus or Minus is a book that will be a gift to so many couples that are navigating the reality of infertility. Matt and Cheri give words to a journey of faith and love that help couples realize they are not alone. This book isn't a "how to" book, it is an "us too" book that gives life and hope to couples in need.
Justin Davis, author of Beyond Ordinary: When a Good Marriage Just Isn't Good Enough and founder of RefineUs Ministries, refineus.org
Plus or Minus is the book I wish I'd had through years of infertility, miscarriages, and then later on, secondary infertility. It is a lonely journey, but the words penned here understand the loneliness. Instead of offering more platitudes, these authors offer their presence. This book is a gift to millions of hopeful parents who suffer in silence.
Emily T. Wierenga, five-time author, including Atlas Girl: Finding Home in the Last Place I Thought to Look, emilywierenga.com
I'm convinced the Christian life is about confronting the hard questions most don't want to ask or discuss. Matt and Cheri Appling do this beautifully and redemptively in this book. If you must walk through the valley of infertility, these stories will lead you to a deeper, richer journey.
Chris Fabry, radio personality and coauthor of Extraordinary Grace, chrisfabry.com
Plus or Minus is unique among infertility books. Readers will find comfort as they see themselves in Matt and Cheri's stories. Plus or Minus will bring comfort to couples as it reminds us of the importance of creating peace in our hearts and marriages when going through the storms of life.
Allison Spencer, president, Kansas City Infertility Foundation