Monday, May 13, 2013

I Am Not Hannah

Nor am I Rachel, Elizabeth, or Sarai, or any of the other myriad women in the Bible who were "cursed" to barrenness and then "blessed" by God after years of fervent prayer.

Nope, not me. Because I never received the "blessing" of biological children. I stayed "cursed" and barren.

Now, don't get me wrong: I love my children. This isn't about being dissatisfied with them. It's not even really about being dissatisfied at all! But my infertility will always be a real pain of my life. And Mother's Day will always be a time of love, celebration, and a little pain. It will always be a time when I remember unanswered prayers.

And that's what I want to write about today: unanswered prayers. I know that I'm not the only person who has them; how do we, as Christians, approach the pain of unanswered prayer? I mean, we believe in God Almighty, who has the power to do anything, who loves us. Why would He refuse to fulfill some of our deepest desires?? Birthing a child is clearly something God approves...

A flare of temper by my youngest child this Mother's Day weekend gave me an insight into a way to understand this. We had told her no about something she wanted, and she reacted with a stomp and a snarl, reminding me of a time when I was six or so. My mother had told me that I couldn't camp outside with my cousins; I was incensed! "Everybody else" was going to camp outside, even the cousins my age. Why did I have to sleep inside with the babies? I can clearly remember my outrage.

What I didn't get at the age of six-ish was that "everybody else" was a boy. My camping-out cousins were all boys, aged 6-15. My mom knew what she was talking about! (Just like I did with my daughter this weekend.)

And that's the thing that allows me to let go of the pain of infertility most of the time: Someday I will understand God's reasons for not blessing me with a biological child. Someday I will deeply and truly know that His way was right and best.

And so I trust God in all things. Those things that seem right to me, and those things that seem wrong to me. The deep and abiding joy of meeting my adopted children... The pain that strikes me when I'm invited to a baby shower...

I don't have the omniscient perspective of God, but I can trust that He has my best interests in mind, even when His decisions cause me pain and anger in this lifetime. Like a parent protecting their child from dangers s/he doesn't recognize.

I must admit that I'm looking forward to the day when I gain understanding of the painful things of this life!

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