“If one feels the need of something grand, something infinite, something that makes one feel aware of God, one need not go far to find more infinite, more eternal than the ocean in the expression of the eyes of a little baby when it wakes in the morning and coos or laughs because it sees the sun shining on its cradle.” Vincent Van Gogh
What would you say to the women who has waited seemingly forever to have children and the children never come? I write this a bit pessimistically and hesitantly, but also with sincerity. It just occurred to me that I am now a statistic. I am one of thousands of women anxious to have children, but sadly without. I want children, it just hasn’t happened yet. What is a woman to do or think as she slips ever so slowly, farther into mid-life? Society and culture expect newlyweds to pop out babies within the first year, and if they don’t, friends and associates with children become scarce, because, “You don’t understand what it’s like to have kids,” and the rumor mill cranks into action… “What are they waiting for? … Maybe they don’t want children… maybe one of them can’t have children … maybe one does and the other doesn’t…” the questions and wondering don’t end, but the truth of the matter is, it’s no one’s business. There are many people who don’t want to have children, and others have made their peace with the notion of it never happening for them. But for those of us who still desire to have children and cannot, or have not, the burden is far from light. For those of us who waited a long time for the right man to marry and start a family, the agony is sometimes inconsolable. A man finds great pride and significance in being able to provide for his family. But what comforts the woman who has not borne him the family?
One of my greatest joys as a child was to fantasize about my future. My husband, first and foremost would have to be tall with a mustache… (God did honor that request). I had names for my children, the boys and the girls; I made a list of every combination of names for twins and triplets, and then I waited with great anticipation for Mr. Right. Much later than expected, I was married. Then the looks started, women trying to spy the baby-bump and analyzing every hint of morning sickness. It’s heartbreaking to have to meet their expectation with continued disappointment. People say, be happy for others, celebrate with others and people will celebrate with you. I believe that, I truly do. I attend birthday parties and naming ceremonies with genuine joy for those parents. But a little part of my heart aches each time I am invited to celebrate the birth of someone else’s children.
There are many reasons why God blesses some and not others. I don’t know what his reason is for my life, but I know he has one, and I know his ways are not mine; Isaiah 55:8. Most days, I am carefree about it, and then there are days like today, when it really weighs on my heart. I asked myself this question today… “What would make me feel better if someone were trying to comfort me right now?” I’ve read books, and I have had conversations… I’ve prayed and tried to praise God through my pain, and I have read the story of Hannah and Sarah a hundred times but it’s not every day those passages give me peace. It’s hard to sing when we are weeping inside. Sometimes the longing is just too much. I wasn’t even going to discuss this, but one of the headlines for today says, “Childless Couples More Likely to Die Young.” I’m not sure why people feel compelled to participate in this research and then share such findings, but it’s out there.
So, what do you do? First, understand that only a woman knows a woman’s pain. Secondly, if you don’t know what to say…say nothing, just be available for prayer and expression. Sometimes we want to talk about it, sometimes, we don’t. The platitudes and clichés are an easy way out of really connecting with someone and it’s very transparent. Don’t toss around the story of Sarah bearing a child at the age of 100 for lack of something meaningful to say. A woman waiting for a “now” experience and advancing toward the end of childbearing years does not wish to hear she ought wait another 50 years to be fruitful! It’s a valuable story of hope, favor, and the faithful word of God, but to the distressed Believer, the story is not helpful in the moment.
And last, pray for us and with us, and remind us of our greatness and purposes. Encourage us to pray without ceasing, and stay expectant. We have significance beyond the possibility of having children and our plan includes more than just being a parent. God is close to the broken-hearted…Psalm 34:18 – this we need to know and remember because the Word of God says he will save us and our crushed spirit. How? That is not for us to know…we just need to know he cares enough to do it. Remind us of 2 Corinthians 1:3-5, which says, God will comfort us for the purpose of helping someone else going through the same thing. We need to know that our experience is not in vain. Even now, in our barrenness, we have a purpose if only to let others know they are not alone and God still wants to use them for something more significant than their pain. Encourage us to exercise a mustard seed sized faith; Matthew 17:20. We need to know and remember that even a little faith can produce results. Don’t just recite the references, speak the words; read the verses out loud, let the message sink deep.
I don’t appreciate the questions asked behind my back, or those slyly directed at my husband from well-meaning people, but I can’t blame them for being curious. Everyone just needs to remember only God has the answers.
I have activated my mustard seed… I reject the article and its findings, and choose to believe that I have what I have asked for by faith and in Jesus’ name!! Mark 11:24.
Mark 11:24 Therefore I say unto you, What things soever ye desire, when ye pray, believe that ye receive them, and ye shall have them. KJV
John 14:13-14 – Whatever you ask in my name, this I will do, that the Father may be glorified in the Son. If you ask me anything in my name, I will do it. ESV
John 16:24 – Until now you have asked nothing in my name. Ask, and you will receive, that your joy may be full. ESV
1 John 5:14 – And this is the confidence that we have toward him, that if we ask anything according to his will he hears us. ESV