It’s almost Mother’s Day again. And for some of you, this can be a bittersweet holiday. You delight in the opportunity that this occasion affords to honor your own mother and all your friends who are mothers, but you also can be saddened by the reality that you are not yet a mother, even though you long to be.
Perhaps you are single and there does not appear to be any prospect for marriage in the near future. You are keenly aware, however, that the body clock is ticking. You may fear that the childbearing years will pass you by.
In her book, The True Woman, Susan Hunt, includes a story by a woman who faces this very struggle. Debbie Trickett from Atlanta, Georgia, knows the heart-wrenching challenge of infertility. But Debbie also knows the heart-changing power of savoring God’s presence and goodness. We got permission to share her story with you. We pray it will impart fresh comfort and encouragement to any who have an unfulfilled longing for children:
Children. I want children. Not just a baby. Not just a child. I want children. Three of them. If I were younger, I might want more, but at thirty-four three seems like a good number. Marrying a little late and moving across the country a couple of times as well as a long-running struggle to pay the rent delayed the real trying for a while. The trying has been going on for a long time now. Not as long a many of you, but much longer than most.
To no avail. No children. Not one pregnancy. I have never experienced that wonder of knowing that there is a life inside of me. Instead, there is a longing that will not be filled, that will not be diminished, that will not end this side of heaven without children to fill it.
Nothing else in my life has been as baffling to me as not being able to conceive a child. My emotions hide even from myself, spilling out in tears of sadness or anger at the most inopportune times. There have been no days of real clarity, no times when a light has come on to show the way—not even a little. But the mysterious and marvelous mercy of God has convinced me of one thing in all of this—it is dark because I am in that deep, hidden place under God’s wing.
Certainly, the inability to bear children to the glory of God is due to the sinfulness of sin and its effect on all of life. It is not that God punishes us by not allowing us to give birth to the offspring we most desperately desire. It is rather that we, along with all of creation, suffer the wretched consequences of the sin of our first mother and father, Adam and Eve, compounded by the sin of all the sinners who have come after them. And that, of course, is all of us.
Since this is so, I know that, as with all of life, I must not put my trust in anything other than God, even in the provision of a child. This does not necessarily mean that I may not use a medical intervention to try to conceive a child. It does not mean that adoption is not an option to pursue. Rather, I trust that God in His mercy has given us these means as part of His redemption from the effects of the Fall.
At times the knowledge that God has given His covenant of grace to believers and their children makes not being able to have a child even more difficult to understand and bear. God has rescued me from such a desperate place and has given me such a glorious glimpse of Himself that I want, with all that is within me, to see this passed on to the next generation of my family, my children.
My heart cries out, “Why, O God, will You not answer this prayer? Why will You not do this simple thing for me and for Your own name’s sake? You do it for so many so easily. Your marvelous grace. Why not to me?” With thoughts like these, it is easy to fall into deep despair, and at times I certainly do. When this happens, God in His time and His various graceful ways, comes to me to remind me that I am not alone.
He does not, as so many do, tell me that “my time will come.” He does not say that if I will just relax and not try so hard, everything will be okay. He does not say, “If you adopt a baby, you’ll get pregnant.” He does say that He is with me. He weeps with me as Jesus wept for Lazarus. He reminds me that He is good and that He can be trusted with my heart. Any doubt of that was wiped away at the Cross.
He has given His best to me, His own beautiful, beloved Child. Will He withhold any good thing from me? No, never. Is Jesus enough to make up for this aching void in my soul? I do not always feel that it is so. But it is. Jesus loves me—this I know.
Taken from True Women by Susan Hunt, (c)1997. Used by permission of Crossway Books, a publishing ministry of Good News Publishers, Wheaton, Illinois 60187, www.crossway.com.