Are there any blessings that come from a life of barrenness? Most certainly. Last week I had the priviledge of experiencing one of them. I was able, by the grace of God, to look at my station in life, to consider my empty womb and my only child and say with St. Paul, “Rejoice in the Lord always! And again I say, Rejoice!” How is this possible? Last week someone needed me.
My flexible schedule, my helpful and increasingly independent 7-year-old and my saintly husband all contributed to me being able to be a blessing to a church family who needed help. Very few people are able to do what I can do because they have full-time jobs, school commitments, little children, or other responsibilities. Currently in my life I am somewhat free, and this freedom has allowed me the opportunity to provide for a family whose father has experienced emergency surgery and whose mother is about to bring another new life into this world. There are no grandmothers to come take over the household, only friends and neighbors who are trying to take the place of that precious role. Yes, it is stressful at times to try and get everything scheduled so that all the needs are met. But oh, what a joy to know that we can be the hands and feet of Christ, caring for His people and loving His little children until both mom and dad are healthy and fully capable of returning to their duties.
Each day that we wake up in the morning, we women who are waiting on the Lord decide how to view this life that has been given to us. Despair, heartache, frustration, longing—these are all emotions that cannot be avoided. They should not, however, be allowed to take over our lives. While we wait for whatever it is that our hearts desire—be it physical healing, pregnancy, adoption, or peace to accept a childless life—we have a calling to be active in our current station, to be content, and, yes, even to rejoice.
Helen Keller once echoed some of St. Paul’s words from Philipians 4:11-12 when she wrote, “Everything has its wonders, even darkness and silence, and I learn, whatever state I may be in, therein to be content.” Darkness and silence have wonders? How strange for us to comprehend. But when you lack the ability to do what others can it makes you acutely aware of those things that others take for granted, and the gifts you still posses become stronger than they normally would be. The gifts that many of us possess right now are time and flexibility. Combined with our now-accute awareness of those who are suffering in some way, these gifts can overflow into huge blessings for those around us.
Dear sisters, forget yourselves for a time in acts of love and service to your neighbors. Look upon their pain and help them carry their burdens. And as you do so, praise God that He can use you for His purpose to serve in roles that few women these days can do. What some see as a curse you can view as a unique opportunity and blessing while you wait. So give thanks, be content, and you’ll find that even through your tears and longing the Lord will help you to “Rejoice!”
Take my life and let it be
Consecrated, Lord, to Thee;
Take my moments and my days,
Let them flow in ceaseless praise.
Take my hands and let them move
At the impulse of Thy love;
Take my feet and let them be
Swift and beautiful for Thee.
Lutheran Service Book, #783, vss. 1-2