Barrenness is a no fun-and-games deal. There are days when I’m “okay” with it, and the next day I struggle with my own reality. I’ve survived days in which I’ve wanted to crawl into a hole and cry. I’ve asked the Lord to take this suffering away from me. I’ve begged the Lord to open my womb and give me more children. He listens, and He gives me what I need, whether or not that includes children.
I really want more children. However, the Lord has determined that more children is not what I really need. Ouch. That statement hurts. Still, dear sister, you and I live under the Lord’s grace and mercy. He grants us daily breath, His Word and Sacraments, and He gives us the vocations of daughter, aunt, niece, and friend.
Why isn’t motherhood on that list? That’s a harsh concept to swallow; it certainly doesn’t seem fair. For now, though, motherhood is not the vocation God has given you. Rather, He is blessing you with the time, resources, and opportunities to serve your neighbor in other ways. That art class you always wanted to take? Do it; maybe you’re the modern Monet. Perhaps your art can give silent witness to the faith you have in God. The trip to Europe that you and your spouse dream about? Now might be the time to pick up the travel information and see the Luther sites. The parents at church who seem overwhelmed? Perhaps you could offer to babysit for a few hours and give the couple some time together. Does your elderly neighbor need some company? Could you offer to bring dinner and enjoy a nice conversation? Are your nieces and nephews struggling with their identities? Can you send them an encouraging note or text and remind them of their value in your family?
These vocations may never satisfy the craving and deep desire to be a mother. However, they are vocations that serve God and your neighbor. There can be great joy and satisfaction in loving others. Undoubtedly, there are days that will drive you to despair. It will be difficult to remember that your life is NOT over, despite the fact that you have not been given children. Your grief is real; there is no denying the sorrow that accompanies barrenness. Know this: You have been given grace to live the life that has already been granted to you, despite its suffering and sorrows. You are a daughter, a friend, a niece, an aunt, a godmother, and more. God loves you, just as you are. The Lord is blessing you with opportunities to try something new. What is it that you’ve always wanted to do?