It was 4 years ago on Mother’s Day that I was sitting in church in Tacoma, Washington. Another Mother’s Day, another year of not being able to get pregnant. I already had my son, Jacob, but we had not been able to get pregnant with out second child. After 10 years of marriage, and 5 1/2 years of trying, we had come to terms with the fact that maybe we would only be a family of three, and that was ok.
After years of baby showers and watching our friends and family members grow their families, we had resolved that maybe it just wasn’t to be. There was no reason that we could not get pregnant. In fact, we had gotten pregnant with Jacob on our honeymoon. So what we thought would simply happen had instead become a source of pain, frustration, and tremendous heart break. I felt incomplete.
I longed for and missed the baby that I knew in my heart I should have. And yet, it seemed it was not meant to be.
I sat in church that Mother’s Day, and my heart ached as the pastor interviewed mothers in the church who were, it seemed, stellar examples of motherhood. But one mother stood out to me. She too had one child and was hoping and painfully waiting for her second child…wondering why God was not fulfilling this desire of her heart.
Toward the end of the service the pastor said that he wanted to pray for the mothers that would be; the mothers that were childless and hoping that God would finally answer their prayer and bless them with a child. He asked if there was anyone who was longing for a child to come forward and the church would pray over them.
I froze in my seat. I could not move. I looked over and saw a couple that I knew and I could not go forward because I did not want them to know that this was something that we deeply longed for and wrestled with God about. I felt the deepest pain I had every felt in my life, and as much as I wanted the prayer I could not confess this before my church family. I could not bare this private pain so publicly. In fact, no one could come forward. I knew that we were not alone, but that others could also not bring themselves to publicly bear this burden.
For couples who have struggled with infertility their pain is coupled with quiet shame, and for me, a constant bitterness.
Why could so many other women conceive and I could not? Why would drug addicts, promiscuous teenagers and abusive parents be blessed with a children, and I wasn’t? I am a God fearing Christian. I teach my child about right and wrong. I am hard working and a dedicated mother. Why could I not have a child too? I wrestled with this, prayed about this, cried and even screamed at God about this. Why not me? And God was seemingly silent.
I prayed with my friend that Mother’s Day, and confessed that maybe I wanted this too much. . .and God didn’t. She responded that maybe the desire on my heart was so strong because it was God’s will. I was so confused. But one month later while my family was away in California visiting family, I received a phone call from my husband. Our niece had been arrested and had given birth to a baby girl. The baby needed someone to care for her until her mother could be released from jail.
I couldn’t believe it. Here was this baby, born into difficult circumstances, that needed someone to love and care for her. My mother’s heart jumped, and I immediately wanted to adopt. But, that wasn’t an option. The offer was only for temporary care. I was faced with a choice: We could bring the baby into our home and our hearts and give her back when the time came, risking greater heartache or we could say no, and let her go into the state foster care system.
No matter the risk, I could not let her get lost in the system. No child should be left to fend for themselves in a state run system. We said yes, and one month later brought home our sweet baby girl. The hole in my heart was filled. And every mid night feeding was a joy for me, because I had my baby. Honestly, I guarded my heart. After all, I didn’t know if or when we would have to give her up. But we trusted God, believing that this was the right thing to do. But God wasn’t finished yet. 10 days after we brought home our daughter, we found out I was pregnant. Yep, we had a one month old, and we were going to have another baby. I was in shock.
God had given us a double portion, something that He has done over and over again throughout scripture.
In 1 Samuel 1:5 Hannah, who had also been barren, was given a double portion because the Lord had closed her womb. Hannah too, knew the pain of wanting a child, and watching painfully as those around her had their children without struggle. She too wept before the Lord in anguish, and pleaded with Him for the desire of her heart. Samuel 1:19 says that the Lord remembered her, and she was blessed with a son. Her pain was not forgotten, her prayers not left unanswered. The Lord saw every tear, heard every prayer, felt every pain. And he remembered her.
Do you long for a child the way that I did, the way that Hannah did? The Lord has not forsaken you. He sees you. He hears you, and he will remember you. Remember, Jeremiah 29:11 says, that he knows that plans that he has for you. Plans to prosper you, and not to harm you. Plans to give you a hope and a future. He loves you. He loves you, and He will see you through this. And he may even give you a double portion.