This is one of those posts no woman ever wants to be qualified to write. Not from the voice of first-person, at least.
But today I feel the words in my heart in a much lighter way than I did six years ago. I don’t credit time passing for this welcome change, time doesn’t heal any wounds really. God’s gentle way with me – over time – has been the path of healing for me, and continues to be…because a barren womb is a tricky heartache. If even in a subtle way, infertility pain just never goes away. A woman’s soul in a quiet way always longs to bear life.
“…the grave, the barren womb, land, which is never satisfied with water, and fire, which never says, ‘Enough!'” Proverbs 30:16
It doesn’t mean you would necessarily change the life you have for another one. It is possible to be richly satisfied and content with the circumstances and blessings you have received, and yet still long for something more. That’s where I’m at today, deeply grateful and full in my heart. But still I find my heart thud ever so slightly when I walk past the baby clothes in any store, and remember that there are women who want a baby, get pregnant, and deliver a baby. My mind cannot even imagine what that must be like to desire something like a child, and just go grow one!
And for years I took in the message that because I didn’t carry that kind of seed to grow, I couldn’t bear life.
God has been faithful to carry me through that season with His comforting presence and with other women experiencing a similar struggle who also wanted to walk it out with Jesus. Finding a place among those women to give air to my anger, disappointment, confusion, shame, bitterness and sadness created a sacred space. I picture the Old Testament stories of animal offerings for Israel’s sin, and the peace that settled into the camp after reconciliation was restored. For me, the offering on the altar was my dream of bearing children. God’s will consumed it before me and I shed the tears, but then He brought in the calming peace of Christ and gave me a new vision of hope in my heart; that He is the God who makes all things new – including my dream of motherhood!
Today I parent, but I think I’m parenting in a way I wouldn’t have without infertility.
We were blessed with a beautiful daughter through the labor of adoption, and we also fostered a daughter for a time. There have been many other “children” (young women especially) in our family line though, from baby-sitters to mentees of some sort. Both Grizz and I take those relationships seriously, maybe more than we would have had we not learned something important from our infertility story.
We don’t grow God’s family by procreation. We grow it by regeneration through faith in Christ. So in the truest sense, every woman and every man on the planet has the potential to grow children. The seed? The unstoppable, life-bearing Gospel of Jesus!
More than ever in my life, I see our forever family as real as the family in our home today. God has lifted my eyes out of my small story into His epic story unfolding, and my vision has forever been altered. I want to reach women who are struggling with the pain of infertility or are believing they have nothing to offer this generation and tell them to look up! We are going to be Home soon, this world is passing away…and the enemy of God would love for us to get lost in our closed wombs and empty cribs. Yes sister, mourn. You are feeling the curse right there, in your home…but. Feel the cross there too, standing empty of sin and shame but full of hope for new life!
Motherhood is no longer reserved only for women who birth babies, or even those of us who bring children home from other bellies. Motherhood is a call for all women who follow Jesus – to plant small, root deep, and bear life. Forever families are being grown all over the world by teen girls, women with no husbands, women who have suffered miscarriages, and women who have closed wombs. How is God’s forever family growing? What is the seed? The Gospel of Jesus carried within their redemption stories…going out through their hospitality, friendships, service, worship, gifts, and even in their honest struggle with Jesus in their longings. They may not see they are growing children around them, but they are! And you are or can be too!
If you know someone struggling with infertility or feeling useless, without anything to offer, would you consider sharing this message with her today? My book shares a little bit of my infertility journey too, with the larger focus being on the hope that is available to all of us with broken places! (Update: my new book coming out October 1, 2019 deals directly with infertility, adoption and fostering, so be sure to watch for this resource!) You can also share this interview I did recently on Author/Speaker Carol McCleod’s podcast called The Joy of Motherhood. I’m on episode #26, you can’t miss me, I’m the one with the name Heather Yates. I hope you and the women you share it with feel a little lighter in your hearts as well friends!
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