Normally I post on Friday, but I thought this would be so helpful to many of you that I am posting it in lieu of my own blog today. Karen Gaul has written a wonderful Christ-centered post for Mother’s Day. You can find more of her writing here.
Mother’s Day has for many years been a day filled with contrasting emotions. It has been sweet to celebrate my mother. To reflect on all she gave and sacrificed for me. To remember how she instructed me in the ways of the Lord. To cherish our intimate talks along the road we both travelled. Now she is resting from her labour in the Presence of Jesus and so I reflect on all she was to me.
But Mother’s Day also reminds me every year that I didn’t have children, although today that isn’t a painful day, it certainly was for many years, it is still a reminder.
There were the most difficult years, the years we were trying to have a child of our own. I was desperate to fit in and be like all our friends. Emotions ran high (tears, anger, desperation, sorrow, isolation, confusion).
I was angry at others for having babies, I was angry at God for not allowing us to get pregnant, I was emotional and brought to tears very quickly when newborns arrived at church. I would escape to the back room at work when customers came into the store to show off their babies. I wasn’t interested in sharing anyone’s joy because I was caught up in my sorrow. The platitudes and biblical reminders that people so graciously gave, although truth, were a source of anger to me. I wasn’t ready to hear them, I was consumed with something else that I wanted above all.
During that time I wasn’t unlike Rachel who longed for a child. Her desperation grew to the extent that she cried out to Jacob demanding that he give her a child or she will die (Genesis 30:1). I don’t remember ever screaming that at Jamie, although by my actions I surely did that to the Lord God.
It was about this time that the sovereignty of God really began to grab hold of my heart. After 4 years of being totally consumed with having a child, I began to loosen my grip and surrender my stubborn heart to the Wise One.
When I reconciled it with the Lord to be where He wants me to be and be ok with what He wants to do with and in my life a lot of things changed (this was a process, not a one time event). I grew in my ability to rejoice with those who rejoice and I was also able to enter into others sorrow and pain.
I was doing very well, thanking God for the direction He had taken my life in until a Mother’s Day service about 12 or so years ago. Our pastor invited all the mom’s to stand up. In the area where I was sitting myself and one other woman were left sitting. Rather than acknowledging all the mom’s I felt totally centered out and wanted to crawl under a pew. I can look back and smile at that moment now, because it was one of life’s embarrassing moments. I am not as easily offended or embarrassed anymore; I find delight in sharing that God has blessed us not with children but in countless other ways.
When God closes the womb He has other things in store. It isn’t about being mean or punishing me for past sin, it is because of His great Love for me.
What God wants me to learn:
- He wants me to trust him more fully, to trust His plans for my life.
- He wants me to know that He will provide all I need and then some (Ephesians 3:20). He has provided, He is providing and He will continue to provide in my future.
- He wants me to know He is indeed enough. I don’t need a child to complete me, I need a Saviour.
- He wants me to desire Him above all else in this life and when I do He will give me the desires of my heart.(Psalm 37:4)
- He wants me to learn that I can nurture whether I have a child of my own or not.
- He wants me to learn to walk alongside others who are struggling and hurting. I can do that experientially well in this area. One verse that gave me life was from Isaiah 54:1 “Sing O barren one, who did not bear; break forth into singing and cry aloud, you who have not been in labor! For the children of the desolate one will be more than the children of her who is married”, says the Lord.” I am and have had the opportunity to be a spiritual mom to many.
- He wants me to learn to be content with all He gives (Phil 4)
- He wants me to have a right view of suffering coupled with a right view of a Sovereign, reigning, risen Christ. God closes a womb and opens up other opportunities.
This world isn’t perfect, we live in a fallen sin-filled world so not having kids is NOT punishment from God, it very likely isn’t because of a personal sin, that would again be punishment. Punishment got taken care of at Calvary.
Because the world, and our bodies don’t function in a Garden of Eden mode we suffer many trials, one of them is barrenness (I prefer to use … a closed womb). I am reminded that even though life around us isn’t the way we necessarily want it to be, our risen Lord reigns and controls all that takes place and uses it for His glory and our good (Romans 8:28).
The big question for me has and continues to be “Is God enough?”
If you know someone who struggles in this area or you personally struggle here, don’t hesitate to reach out. There is purpose with children, and there is equal purpose without children. My contact information is to the right of this blog. I look forward to hearing from you.