I will preface this post by saying that I have not always been a Christian. In fact, my husband was the trusting and long-road-minded individual who unequally yolked himself to me in the hopes that he could open my eyes to the beauty of Christ’s love for me. It worked; but with that beautiful blessing of the knowledge of my salvation and the forgiveness of my many many sins also came an astounding awareness that I am much more flawed than I had ever thought before. Being a mother has only magnified that – and convinced me even more of the absolute necessity of my relationship with a merciful and teaching God.
Those who know us, or have followed our story, know that we struggled with infertility issues while trying to conceive our son; after a year I went alone to my OB/GYN and was told that all of my tests had come back normal, and we were being labeled with “Unexplained Infertility.” All that was left was to start doing invasive surgeries on me in the hopes of finding some hidden problem. There are a few things from that time in my life that I remember vividly: I remember hating social media because EVERYONE BUT ME WAS PREGNANT. EVERYONE. I remember un-friending and stopping contact with friends (even close friends) who were conceiving the moment I knew, just because it seems that once someone announces a pregnancy, that becomes the only thing they’re capable of talking or posting about. I remember going to the grocery store one day and seeing a teenage mother yelling at her toddler in the cart, the toddler crying, and her with her finger in that baby’s face telling him how he was good for nothing, and hating her. I remember one day becoming so frustrated that I laid in the middle of my living room floor with my face in the ugly mauve carpet and sobbing harder than I had ever cried, screaming at God about why He wouldn’t give me a baby, asking Him to tell me what I was doing wrong that that blessing was being withheld from me, sobbing and crying why, why, why. I remember. I remember like it was yesterday.
And then my blessing came. One day at work, after a million negative hopeful pregnancy tests, two coworkers announced their pregnancies and my friends, who knew we had been trying (and that our marriage had almost fallen apart in the process as we blamed each other, blamed God, blamed the world, as I became more depressed and less open to my husband’s monthly attempts at consolation) said “hey, it always happens in three’s! Maybe you’re pregnant too!” They told me to go down on my lunch and have blood drawn. I was inwardly angry with them for making me go through another negative test, this one public. But I went. And a few hours later, while on the phone with a GI doctor, I went down and got my medical records and turned the paper around and only saw one word: “POSITIVE”. I screamed, fell to the floor, and cried. I later apologized to that doctor, whose ear I may have permanently damaged.
I had promised God, in all of my pleading, that if He would only give me one child, if He would ONLY make me a mother, I would raise that child a Christian, and never turn my back on God again. And though it had not been on my time, He had answered my prayers. He had given me my miracle baby, the one I had been told I may never have. I had a few scares during the pregnancy, one preterm labor at 22 weeks, but I prayed and begged and God each time had delivered my son, and he was born a petite 5 lb 11oz, but healthy.
And yet, I have failed God so many times since then. I have failed Him even today. Because, as we passed the 6-month mark of trying for number two, I have found myself being targeted by Satan in the worst ways. We managed to become pregnant two months ago – on the brink of announcing, I miscarried. And now, I am feeling it all over again. I have resented friends who have had easy times conceiving; I have judged other mothers who I considered not as worthy to have more as me; I have yelled angry words at the God who granted me the very thing I asked of him; I have begun hiding people in my Facebook newsfeed so I wouldn’t have to see daily bump pictures.
I was humbled the other day. I was following a woman into a store, with her three beautiful children in tow, and in my head I angrily thought, “I hope you realize how lucky you are.” Then I came home, my coffee in my hand, and looked in the mirror, and I very clearly saw the Holy Spirit point his finger at me and say, “I hope YOU realize how lucky YOU are.” And in that moment, I was so convicted. I have friends who are STILL trying for first pregnancies; friends waiting in adoption pools years long; friends for whom IVF has failed. I have already received a blessing they still long for. And I KNOW that longing! And yet I was scoffing at my own miracle out of jealousy and greed for another. I know friends who look and look and can’t find Godly husbands, friends who are in abusive relationships, and I think – I was blessed EVEN BEFORE I was given my son. I think on my loving family – my parents and grandparents and even great-grandparents, that I was surrounded with my whole life, full of love, nothing but love, ever. And I think, I was blessed EVEN BEFORE I was given my husband.
No matter what we pray for, no matter how blessed we already are, we can only seem to think about the next blessing. It’s like buying a new car and then wanting the new model; liking your house for a year and then feeling like you need something bigger and nicer and newer. We are all alive; we are blessed in different ways. I may never know why God has only given us one child thus far. But I MUST trust God with my life plan. I MUST be thankful for the miracles He has already shown me. I know what it means to be a mother – and I know others who would kill to have that. Our selfishness and our greed for control of our lives prohibits us from fully living within the blessings of a Lord who KNOWS our hearts! My God isn’t depriving me another baby; My God wants my happiness and weeps with me each month, wept with me during my miscarriage! God HATES to see us suffer as his children! But the world is not perfect. If it was, we wouldn’t need God. Our lives will not be perfect. But we have to actually daily focus ourselves and put on our blinders and see only the things we HAVE been given; not look only at the things we still long to have. I promise, friends, it is the only way we will make it through this life without bitterness.
So I challenge you to look in your own mirrors each morning, and think of something you have already been given that was an answer to a prayer; thank God actively for something happening in your life. Defeat the anger and bitterness of heart that the world would love to trap you in. My Lord, I promised you the same thing as Hannah as I laid on that carpet alone in our rental house in Florida – I will uphold my promises; you have kept yours.
1 Samuel 10-11: “Hannah was in deep anguish, crying bitterly as she prayed to the LORD. And she made this vow: “O LORD of Heaven’s Armies, if you will look upon my sorrow and answer my prayer and give me a son, then I will give him back to you. He will be yours for his entire lifetime, and as a sign that he has been dedicated to the LORD, his hair will never be cut.”