What happens when you learn to hold things loosely?
God gave me a glimpse of this when He riddled me with Lyme. The fitness and high I gleaned from regular running was long gone and merely putting on a shirt or lowering myself onto a chair without Mister’s help was an accomplishment. I had been clinging too tightly onto my physical prowess, so God eliminated the idol by eliminating my physical capabilities.
He taught me to enjoy running and weight lifting and other physical activities with open palms; whenever I feel myself lean too heavily on them for my satisfaction, He sends phantom pains that remind me of the immobility of Lyme and my soul’s grasp loosens hastily.
But this wasn’t (isn’t) the only idol.
God graciously lessened my desire for children just in time for Mister’s and my diagnosis, but He did not completely eliminate it. I am sometimes most inconveniently seized by a short moment of grief. I’m not bitter, no. But I recognize completely that I may never feel the wonder of a human growing inside me. I probably won’t ever understand the intense love and exhaustion of motherhood. I will most likely watch most of my friends make pregnancy announcements and go on to be moms with “mom friends” who will understand their kid stories and have the same kid schedule and be able to talk about all the mom things.
God can and does work miracles, but He has closed my uterus for a reason, and He will not open it unless it is for His glory and my ultimate good.
Two months ago, this would have roused a bitter storm. How could my obedience to “be fruitful and multiply”‘ not be for His glory and my ultimate good?
I wanted so desperately to have children. To fill a gigantic and unreasonable house with at least four (despite Mister’s limit of three) little people. My little people. To raise them up in the way they should go. To watch them become athletes, musicians, scholars, and, prayerfully, believers. I felt the natural, womanly, Christian desire to have a brood.
Perhaps I held this desire a little too tightly. It’s hard not to, you know, in Christian circles. The past almost-three years of marriage, Mister and I have been asked about our plans for a family.
And since telling my Christian friends about our infertility, I have been met with, not encouragement to be content in the Lord, to wait patiently on the Lord, but to seek alternative solutions like fostering or adopting or try different “fertility boosting methods”.
I know it’s all given in kindness, with the desire to offer hope in a seemingly hopeless situation.
But I am not without hope. God is teaching me to hold the finite, human, godly, earthly desire to raise children with a loose grip. He spent the last several weeks of summer prying my fingers away from this desire, this wish I held onto for almost two years, preparing me for when He would lift it completely out of my hands. And while fostering and adopting are still a possibility, for now, God is telling us to wait. My desire is lessened and the possibility of that desire ever becoming reality is uncertain.
So I will wait on the Lord, like my namesake Hannah, and pray that He will constantly remind me of the finiteness of my own desire for children and the infiniteness of His salvation, grace, and being. If all He asks of me is to let go of my deepest earthly desire in order to serve, worship, and love Him better, I am blessed beyond words.
How long, O Lord? Will You forget me forever?
How long will You hide Your face from me?
How long shall I take counsel in my soul,
Having sorrow in my heart all the day?
How long will my enemy be exalted over me?
Consider and answer me, O Lord my God;
Enlighten my eyes, or I will sleep the sleep of death,
And my enemy will say, “I have overcome him,”
And my adversaries will rejoice when I am shaken.
But I have trusted in Your lovingkindness;
My heart shall rejoice in Your salvation.
I will sing to the Lord,
Because He has dealt bountifully with me.
Then the Lord said to Job,
“Will the faultfinder contend with the Almighty?
Let him who reproves God answer it.”
Then Job answered the Lord and said,
“Behold, I am insignificant; what can I reply to You?
I lay my hand on my mouth.
“Once I have spoken, and I will not answer;
Even twice, and I will add nothing more.”
(And Job 38 – 42:6)
The Lord is the portion of my inheritance and my cup;
You support my lot.
The lines have fallen to me in pleasant places;
Indeed, my heritage is beautiful to me.
P.S.: My infertile sisters in Christ: hold this God-given and biblical desire with open hands. God opens the womb and God closes the womb. Do not be like me, clutching it tightly and (albeit subconsciously) making an idol of it. We do not reserve the right, as Christian women, to bear children. And we are not useless or to be pitied, as Christian women, without children. Dwell with me on the strong, godly, childless women of the Bible, such as Anna, Sarah, Hannah, and Elizabeth, who wanted children and couldn’t until God let it happen. It is close-minded to think that the only course for Christian women is to marry and have babies.
P.P.S.: My dear fertile sisters in Christ: I know you can imagine my grief and I know your good, kind, empathetic hearts. But urge me to look upon Christ, not to seek new fertility diets (trust me, I’ve already tried them). Point me to God alone instead of helping me resurrect my idol. Know that God works in mysterious ways and that this is for my good and His glory. Value me as a complete woman in Christ despite my not towing children or sporting a baby bump. Remind me of my value. Remind me of God’s will. And please, please do not feel guilty for having children while I cannot. I love your children and you too much even to think about being envious.