Yes, you do, even when you don’t feel like it. We carry in our bodies not only the death of Jesus but also His life. This joy is true and present for you even when you suffer in your childlessness.
Archive for March, 2012
Not every girl in her mid-thirties is as blessed as me. I get to take small, frequent vacations to my own, private, tropical resort every day. I can be sitting in a restaurant, standing at my bathroom sink, or even kneeling in church when – swoosh! – within moments I am transported to a hot, humid haven.
Two Sundays ago, I was sitting in a pew when a particularly sweltering climate change hit, and I looked around to see if anyone else in the nave had noticed the equatorial shift. Everyone sat perfectly still, snuggled comfortably in their cardigans and suit coats, while I sat there furiously fanning my sleeveless arms.
“I remember those days,” a woman in her fifties leaned over to whisper conspiratorially.
She was not the only one to have noticed my steamy situation. A cluster of women standing in the narthex after the service grinned at me and confided, “The night sweats are the worst!”
Even though most of these women are twenty-plus years my senior, they welcomed me – Lupron-induced-menopausal, little me – into their circle. I felt oddly special to be included in their conversation, like a youth at the kids’ table suddenly being invited to dine with the adults.
The most touching show of camaraderie, however, came later that night at our monthly Bible study.
“Here,” Gretchen smiled, handing me a canvas-covered fan painted with delicate folk art. “I used this during the worst of it.”
I fingered the wooden handle and raised the fan to test its canvas sail. My lips parted in sweet relief as the most delicious, refreshing breeze moved across my feverish cheeks.
“Isn’t it the best?” Gretchen exclaimed. “You can keep it.”
Yep. I am one, blessed girl. Bring on the hot flashes!
My soul is bereft of peace; I have forgotten what happiness is;
so I say, “My endurance has perished; so has my hope from the LORD.”
Remember my affliction and my wanderings, the wormwood and the gall!
My soul continually remembers it and is bowed down within me.
But this I call to mind, and therefore I have hope:
The steadfast love of the LORD never ceases; his mercies never come to an end;
they are new every morning; great is your faithfulness.
“The LORD is my portion,” says my soul, ”therefore I will hope in him.”
The LORD is good to those who wait for him, to the soul who seeks him.
It is good that one should wait quietly for the salvation of the LORD.
For the Lord will not cast off forever,
but, though he cause grief, he will have compassion according to the abundance of his steadfast love;
for he does not willingly afflict or grieve the children of men.
Who has spoken and it came to pass, unless the Lord has commanded it?
Is it not from the mouth of the Most High that good and bad come?
I called on your name, O LORD, from the depths of the pit;
you heard my plea, “Do not close your ear to my cry for help!”
You came near when I called on you; you said, “Do not fear!”
You have taken up my cause, O Lord; you have redeemed my life.
Lamentations 3:17-26, 31-33, 37-38, 55-58 (ESV)
Let us pray…
Most High, You bid us in Your Word to wait on You. As the days turn into weeks, the weeks into months, and the months into years, remind us that Your mercies are new every morning. Assure us of your abundant, steadfast love to us in Jesus, that we might rejoice in the waiting, knowing You to be our Portion, our Hope, and our Redeemer forever, no matter what it is You may speak to come to pass. In Jesus’ name. Amen.
(It is our privilege to pray with and for you. If you would like to submit a personal petition to be included in our prayers, please send your request via the “Submit a Question” page on this site.)
Lots of gifts are given at church. Yesterday a baby was bathed in the waters of Holy Baptism. I witnessed the sponsors confess the Lutheran faith into which this child was to be baptized. I silently confessed my own sins and was given the comfort of the cleansing of my sins as the baby was given that same forgiveness. The baptized child is now a member of the body of Christ. I am joined to this child in the Christian faith. I will pray for this child and encourage the parents as they teach their child the Christian faith.
Later in the service dinner was served. The crucified and arisen Lord’s Body and Blood were eaten for the forgiveness of my sins. This precious gift was given to me and my fellow believers at the table. I shared in the wondrous blessings that are given freely by our loving God. He is the Giver, and I am the receiver.
No need for dessert. I’m cleansed, fed, and full.
Does God really remember childless, insignificant, little me? Will He really sustain and keep me through all of this grief and loss?
Yes, my sister, He does, and He will.
My pastor told me about your blog just yesterday. I’m just beginning to get familiar with it, but I can tell from the brief time I’ve been able to spend here so far that it is a wonderful site. The name alone rings so very true! I didn’t have a resource like this as I walked through my 20+ years of actively hoping to have children (and having one miscarriage), nor did I really know anyone who had been, or was also going through, the pain of infertility. It was a lonely road most of the time, and a resource like this would have been so very comforting! Thank you for opening your hearts to provide comfort to others.
At age 46, having had a hysterectomy several years ago, the door of motherhood is now closed to me for good. I can tell you that through it all, God has sustained and kept me, and has never forgotten me — even when it sometimes really felt like it! His plans for me were different, but they were not less. I am 46 and childless, with all that entails, but I no longer consider myself to be barren. Our dear Lord provides daily opportunities for me to bear fruit as I abide in Him. And in what seems to me to be this very “late” season in my life (which is really all in His good timing), He is even opening the door for me to put my mothering instincts to use in caring for the elderly folks at our church as a volunteer staff member while I pursue deaconess training. He is so very faithful, and there is not a single one of our days that are not in His keeping!
I’m not sure why I’m telling you all of this, other than to say from the perspective of someone who has reached the end of the fertility road without any (living) children, that God is faithful. He loves you dearly, He has not forgotten you, and He makes all things beautiful in their appointed time. May God bless and keep you all as you walk this difficult path. I will be praying for you, dear sisters!
Spring fever has hit me, and here’s why. Twice in the past several days, I’ve held a little one. The first was a newborn. His proud parents brought him to church, and they stayed for Bible Class. His dear mama asked if I’d like to hold him. There was, of course, no hesitancy on my part. I was blessed to cradle him throughout the entire Bible class. (Well, until he became hungry. I got him back again, though.) It was pure bliss for me. I may never get to experience the newborn stage ever again.
The second opportunity came the following day. The little sweetie’s parents took a date night, and we got to babysit their six-month-old daughter. She smiled and grinned and even ventured a few little giggles. Her parents returned, and you knew she was loved. They hugged and kissed her and took her home. A longing for a baby crept into my heart.
Spring is filled with new growth and new life. The hyacinths are blooming; the tulips and daffodils are stretching up through the ground. New grass grows in the yard. Calves are being born daily. Chicks arrive at the local stores. The photo studios are preparing for the bunnies and chicks portrait sessions. There are lots of new things happening.
I’d like a baby. New life brings joy and laughter. Babies are reminders of God’s love for His people. Babies are God’s children. I want that.
The Lord, in His divine wisdom, has other plans for me. He knows what I need, and He will provide it in the proper time. He has bestowed countless blessings already.
So, for now, I’ll enjoy the babies around me. May God bless the springtime of their lives, too.
My husband and I do not have any children to feed or bathe or comb or tuck into bed at night. We do not have any pets to walk or snuggle or groom or take to the park on Saturday mornings. We do, however, have bushes.
That’s right, bushes.
Five to be exact: three rosemary, one knockout rose, and one Russian sage, and they offer us endless hours of entertainment, occupation, and satisfaction. What do they do, exactly? Well, they grow. They blow in the wind. They turn deep-and-lush shades of green, silver, and red in the rain. They flavor our food. They pump fresh oxygen into the smoggy air. They provide quiet beauty amidst the urban assault of car horns, airplane engines, and construction work. They share our space while we relax on our patio, and (Best of all!) they give us something productive to do at home in the evenings.
When you are childless, the time between dinner and bedtime can be a restless, directionless, anxious time void of activity and purpose. There is a great temptation to fill that void with television, internet surfing, Facebooking, and other mindless activities that overrule the silence, that numb the harsh reality of childlessness. Yet, numbing never nulls the pain. It just pushes it away for another time.
That is why I need my bushes. They keep me active during the inactivity of my barrenness. They require my time and attention, putting to use what would otherwise be idle hands and painfully-childless hours. They do not numb my pain nor do they make it go away, but they do give me pleasure and purpose in spite of it. For, there is great satisfaction in caring for something, even if that something is not a child.
So, turn off the television. Get out there and take care of something other than yourself. I think you will find that you can’t help but be reminded of how faithful your Heavenly Father is in caring for you.
Excuse me, I need to go check on my bushes.
It is our privilege to pray with and for you. If you would like to submit a personal petition to be included in our prayers, please send your request via the “Submit a Question” page on this site.
Collect of the Week:
Let us pray…
O dearest Jesus, You have given us Your living and active word, which pierces to the division of soul and spirit and discerns the thoughts and intentions of my heart. I thank You for this gift, even though often when I hear Your word I can think of nothing except how sinful and unworthy I am. Please do not remove Your word from me, for even though it may cause me great pain and distress, I believe that I cannot know and be assured of Your love and grace without it. You bring me low, so that You can bring me up from the pit. Lord, remember me in my need, and bring me at last into Your kingdom of grace which has no end. Amen.
(composed by Rev. Michael P. Schuermann)
I have always been fascinated with plumbing. Fascinated and intimidated. So when we bought a new water filtration system for under our sink I got an estimate from a plumber to see how much it would be to get it installed, even though the online reviews said that most anyone could put it in. The estimate was more than we wanted to spend, but my husband had other, more pressing home maintenance tasks to tackle. I had been dreaming of fresh, chemical-free, yummy-tasting, good-for-you filtered water for months. I couldn’t wait any longer.
So I installed it myself.
It took all afternoon, but I did it. I followed the directions, connected the yellow, clear, black, and red tubes to their corresponding fittings. I used plumber’s tape to reconnect the cold water line. I even drilled a hole in the PVC drain pipe, just like the instructions said to. When the last piece was hooked up and I turned the water back on I held my breath. I didn’t really expect it to work. I didn’t really think that I, a non-plumber, could have mastered this feat.
And why was I such a pessimist? Why didn’t I have more confidence in my own work? Well, the truth be told, my own pipes don’t work–the internal ones. Everything is hooked up right, and the tubes are clear, according to the dye test taken years ago. It appears that some things have leaked over time, though that was supposed to have been taken care of, too. But the expected outcome just isn’t there. These pipes aren’t delivering anything.
I still marvel every time someone shares with me that their own plumbing system is about to produce a tall, cool, refreshing, glass. Really?? I want to reply. Everything works for you? This is a miracle! How can this be? Who did the installation? I’m sure the same person did mine. But my system got messed up somehow. I still forget that most people’s systems work perfectly.
As I kneeled under my kitchen sink I watched the water move through the tubes, then travel from the copper pipe to the filter and then to the storage tank. I checked for leaks. I double-checked. And then I almost cried. It worked. I had taken control of something, pieced it together with my own hands, and then watched it work just like it was meant to. There was something indescribably satisfying about this act.
In fact, I’d love to do it again. Does anyone want their own system installed? I don’t charge for labor.
A year-and-a-half ago, I was walking through Hobby Lobby – piddling, really (a.k.a. wandering aimlessly about with no life goal other than to admire hoards of other peoples’ things I cannot and should not own) – and I came across a figurine of a young boy wearing a safari hat. His expression was sweet, like he was watching something of interest across a field, happily forgetting his present task at hand. Just like a boy!
I picked up the figurine and fingered the boy’s round cheeks. I liked the color of his skin, the shape of his scrawny arms and chicken legs. Everything looked and felt just right. He reminded me of…
No! I quickly set the figurine back down. Silly. Ridiculous, even. I did not need a figurine of a boy in my home. I loathe dusting, and this would be just another item to collect dust.
I escaped around the nearest aisle to look at picture frames and candles. Yes, that was safe. But, even as I checked prices on frames and sniffed waxy confections my mind was on that boy. His posture was just so charming and familiar. He had rolled his shirt sleeves up to his elbow, and he was resting his right hand on a hip as if he was waiting for someone to catch up with him.
That settled it.
I walked back to the figurine, picked him up, and paid for him at the cash register before I could chicken out. This was more than an impulse buy. This was hope in action.
For, you see, this boy looks like my son. I have never actually met him. I have only seen him in my head and in my heart, but that afternoon in Hobby Lobby I saw him with my eyes.
Nikusubila now stands in his bare feet on my fireplace mantel where I can look at him and keep hoping that, God willing, I may someday catch up with my son.