About My Barrenness

Discovering Barrenness

“At least 2 years!” Is what I begged of my husband. At least two years where we could have sanity. Build our relationship. Discover who we were as a couple. Then the little munchkins could come. When I was ready.

So…we did the infamous Pill. No dreaded “honeymoon baby” for us. That’s what happened to people who didn’t think. Who didn’t plan. And I was determined that would not be us.

Two years came…and I started to “feel ready.” Something just changed in me. I knew I wanted to be a mom. I didn’t want life to be all about me, or my husband. I wanted a baby to love too.

“Trust me, we won’t have any trouble!” I assured my husband with a wink, as I threw that final round disk of 28 pills like a frisbee into the trash can. My mom and older sister both got pregnant in their first year of marriage, and I was sure I would be of the “Fertile Myrtle,” just-look-my-way and I’ll be pregnant “type.”

But that first month “we tried,” I remember so vividly, so naively (looking back), taking that first pregnancy test. Waiting those two minutes. And the shock when it read: NEGATIVE.

If you have experienced this, at least once, you will know the strange sorrow that subtly fills your heart. I cried before I left for work, and my husband hugged me, and assured me everything was alright. It might just take a few months.

Months Waning On & Why God?

The next month came, and so did my period. And the next, and the next. It was just taking a little “longer than expected.”

I charted my periods, fluids, temperature, and anger. I went to the doctor. My husband went to the doctor. I read books, and blogs. And cried. A lot.

Most of my friends were on baby #2 or #3. But I was barren. And no one knew why. It seemed so easy for everyone else. (Especially those teenage girls pushing their strollers down the street.) But not for me, not for us. It felt as if we stood still; frozen, and the whole world kept rushing past us.

It was about two years of this. It doesn’t seem that long now..but it did then. The climax of every 28 days waiting to find out if “this month is different.” Only to be disappointed by the regular flow of blood, or a negative pregnancy test (that doesn’t magically turn to positive after it’s tossed in the trash can.) Trust me..I always checked. Just in case.

Some months I was full of faith. “In faith..” I’d declare, “I am NOT buying tampons..because I am trusting this month I won’t need them!” (Only later to go out and have to buy the overpriced ones at the gas station down the road.) Darn.

The Day I Stopped Being Barren

Then it happened. All this time God was trying to lasso my heart, and I remember the day He did. Sometimes that happens. You’re not even looking for it, like swimming with your eyes closed and smacking your forehead off the side of the swimming pool.

I was listening to an online episode of “Adventures in Odyssey” with my 5th grade students. While they finished coloring their homemade storybooks, I sat and listened to a story about a woman who had become blind by an accident. She said for years she “tolerated” what God had allowed in her life, but she never was thankful for it. But over the years, she learned how to actually thank God for what He allowed in her life. This is what He determined was for her greatest good. So she embraced it with both arms, and thanked Him.

For so long “tolerating,” but never “thanking” God for what He was doing. At last, so convicted. Cut to the heart. If God decided it was not time, who was I to say His plan was not good? I ducked behind my monitor and wiped away tears and bitterness. Who was I to quarrel with my Maker?

That was the day, this very small seed began to grow in me. Instead of fighting Him tooth and nail over his plan, I began to thank Him. Begrudgingly at first, but then genuinely. Praying things like: Thank You that You know my body better than I do, and maybe you’re protecting me from something my body cannot handle. Thank you I don’t have to go through morning sickness. Or weight gain. Or (the dreaded) labor. Thank You for no stretch marks. Or a flabby stomach. Or flabby arms. (Ok..maybe my list was slightly vain and trivial..but it was sincere.)

I began to realize maybe God had a different purpose for me, for my husband. Began to think of the extra time we would have together. What this might allow us to do. It was the working of a real miracle in me: I stopped envying all my friends who were moms. Stopped wanting other women’s lives. And I started thanking God that He had a unique calling on me. I kept my focus on the few things He had entrusted me with, (like loving my husband, and taking care of our home, and my job) and tried to do those well.

That seed was growing in me. Life was beginning to fill me.  I stopped seeing all the EMPTY in my life. Started seeing how full it was. Overflowing. Joyful. Unique. And God became close, intimate, and sovereign over this. For the first time: I stopped demanding with clenched fists–and started worshiping with open hands.

As I was leaving my job one day, this song came into my mind. I remember jotting it down on pink post-it notes…and finishing it the moment I walked in the door and crashed down at my piano. It was like this cry coming out of me, that I had to get out on paper, had to sing:

Barren, barren for all to see

Barren, but He’s still beautiful to me

 

I prayed for a baby

For the start of new life

Though I barely know how to be a good wife

 

The doctor’s say

They don’t know what to do

I know in Your sovereign will You’ll choose

To give me life

 

And You say,

“There’s Someone living inside you,

Though not a child, tucked inside your womb,

But my Holy Spirit, who conquered Jesus’ tomb.

He’s alive, He’s alive, He’s alive,

Hear Him roar!

And you’re alive, you’re alive

More than ever before.

 

Do you trust me, Honey?

In My time, In My way

When your womb is barren,

And your hands are empty?”

 

Tears fell over the keys. And a new chord was struck that day, within me. One that had not been played before. I was waiting for a baby to fulfill what only God could. The Life I was longing for.

And I was no longer barren. My soul was full, brimming, overflowing with joy. Gratitude. I was thankful, fruitful. Surrendered. Connected to the Vine. No longer dying..but living. And for the first time…in a very long time: content.

The Baby Blessing

We had rented “The Shadowlands,” and I was scarfing down a bowl of Oreo Birthday Cake ice cream, when I realized I finally had to pee. I had picked up a pregnancy test like I had many other times, and this was nothing new. My period was late..but that didn’t mean anything. This had happened before..to no avail. “Do you want me to pause it?” My husband called as I darted up the stairs. “Noo!” I shouted down. I wasn’t going to let myself be excited. I was just going to be content to “not be pregnant.” No expectations. I peed on the stick and waited, refusing to look at it. Furiously praying as I always did, “Lord. Please let me be at peace with whatever the result is!” (I don’t think there’s ever been a girl in history whose heart hasn’t skipped a beat while waiting those FOREVER two minutes.) I took a deep breath.

Opened my eyes. And to my shock read, “Pregnant.” I shook my head as if to clear it. “Pregnant?” Pregnant. My mind started racing a million miles per hour. “Brandon!!!” I shouted for my husband to come upstairs. I had no words. I just shoved the pee soaked stick into his hands. And he read it. Speechless. Our eyes met. Locked. And we started laughing. “What?!” Hugging. Staring at it.  “Do you think it’s right?!” We’re crying. Collapsing on the bed. Locking onto one another. Could this be real?

And suddenly, the realization, the rush of warmth—God. He did this. In His time, in His way. 

About This Blog

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The goal of this blog: is that you won’t be barren anymore.

What is barrenness?

Barrenness: (adj.) – an emptiness of the soul. A thirst not quenched.

A longing for something not yet received. A place of waiting. Wondering. An awareness of the “lack” of something desired. And the inability to produce it.

Let me explain.

1. Barrenness is powerful. 

It can change you. Drive you. Make you take on a new identity. For better. .Or for worse.

When I so desperately wanted a baby. I thought about it all the time. Every sermon I listened to somehow applied to it. Every song..somehow became about it. The books I was checking out of the library had it as a theme. I was aware of every baby bump that seemed to pop up out of no where all around me. Friends on baby #2 and #3..while I waited.. Brooded. And cried.

But barrenness is so much deeper than the woman who finds she cannot conceive. Barrenness, I am convinced, can appear in any area of life. Man or woman.

What do you do when you can’t have what you want? Who do you become?

Never underestimate the power of your desires.

Barrenness (a desire for fulfillment) can lead you to a desert. To a thirsty place. And like all deserts…there are mirages. Your eyes can play tricks on you. You begin to go places you never planned on going. Because you are driven by your thirst.

2. Barrenness can form a lie in your heart.

And here is the lie: If you had “this” you would be satisfied. (ie. if you had a baby) Your life would be full.

But here is the truth: There is only One Person who can fill your emptiness and make your life full. Jesus Christ.

Jesus said to her, “Everyone who drinks of this water will be thirsty again, but whoever drinks of the water that I will give him will never be thirsty again. The water that I will give him will become in him a spring of water welling up to eternal life.” John 4:13-14

When you start becoming acutely aware of your “desire” you believe that once you get what you want, that the empty feeling will stop. Like dumping water on a fire and hearing it sizzle.

But it’s more like dumping gasoline on a fire and watching it blaze even harder.

Because desire spawns more desire. Not contentment.

It’s like getting a tattoo. It’s addicting. When you get one..you want another one. Then another. Next thing you know you are covered.

Desire is like this.

3. God Loves Barren Women (Your hope!)

If you are barren, in any form. God intimately knows and actually validates through His Word, your pain. Your thirst. Much more than the sympathetic look on your OBGYN’s face.

In Scripture we see barrenness in Proverbs 30:

“Three things are never satisfied; four never say “Enough”; Sheol, the barren womb, the land never satisfied with water, and the fire that never says, “Enough.”  Proverbs 30:15b-16

Okay, you have the “barren” womb sharing a bed with: Sheol (Hell), the parched desert, and an unquenchable fire. (SIde note: if “barrenness” has brought any agony into your life, your marriage, your heart…do you feel slightly more validated now??)

Although God feels your pain, He doesn’t want you living in it. He doesn’t want you to make an identity out of it. Scripture calls barrenness is one of three things “never satisfied.” So is that the end for you?

No. God does something totally unprecedented. He says, (to you!)

“Sing, O barren one, who did not bear; break forth into singing and cry aloud,
you who have not been in labor!
 For the children of the desolate one will be more than the children of her who is married,” says the Lord.  Isaiah 54:1

Okay, we will discuss this much more later on. But God basically just wheeled in the DJ stand to the funeral going on in your heart. God is saying, “Rejoice! I have something for you! Even better. Even more than what you want!”

But do you really believe that?

The Waiting

Here you are. I don’t care if you’ve been barren for a month, or eighteen years. What will you do in this waiting place? Will you estrange yourself from God? Distance yourself from anyone who has what you so desperately want? Become consumed in thinking about, reading about, dreaming about your longing?

Or. Do you surrender?

What I’ve learned in my own experience through barrenness is this:  Barrenness is a catalyst for finding real beauty. Barrenness puts you in a position to be surrendered fully to God. To trust fully in Him. And to rest in His plan for your life.

That’s what this blog is about. The waiting. And how to spend it. I hope we can spend it together. Because the waiting room is so valuable. God has you right here for a reason. Nothing is outside His control. And He is more intimately involved than you can see right now. He wants to form something beautiful out of your ashes. The pain is real. And he knows it. But so is the power. So is the beauty. He will open your eyes to see Him. You may be on the brink of the deepest intimacy with God you have ever experienced.

“Fear not, for you will not be ashamed;
 be not confounded, for you will not be disgraced;
 for you will forget the shame of your youth,
 and the reproach of your widowhood you will remember no more.” Isaiah 54:4

He says: You will not be ashamed. You will not be disgraced. You will not be embarrassed. I may or may not give you the thing the fire in your soul rages after…but I will give you Myself. And You will not walk away from here empty, barren, or thirsty.