Crystal’s Testimony: I Need To Be Enough For You

When I hear the word “barren,” I find it offensive.  Not because I view myself as barren.  I actually don’t.  If I view myself that way, I feel I’ve accepted defeat.  I’ve given up.   I’ve reserved myself to the fear that God has forgotten me and my desire to be a mother.

No, I’m not offended that my physical body is barren.  I’m offended, because I know that my barren spirit offends the Lord.   Each time I find myself feeling broken, hurt, lonely, and empty, I know it’s because I’ve tried to solve my problems on my own.  

One more supplement.  A new medication.  Another doctor visit.  A different procedure.  Surely, more information will shed light on the problem and explain why I haven’t conceived.  There must be something tangible I can do to make my body cooperate and carry a healthy baby to term.  

But over and over again I hear God saying…

“I need to be enough for you.  

When will I be enough for you?”

 

I go through the cycle month after month.  I’m filled with hope and anticipation that this will be it.  Something this time will work, and my husband and I will conceive our first child.  I wait with waning patience. And over and over, the waves come crashing down and I fall into despair.  

Not this time.  Maybe not ever.  The disappointment overwhelms me, and the depression is enough to crush my being.  Anger follows, and I want to shut myself away from the world.  It’s in that moment that I pray, through sniffles and tears, sometimes even without words.

“Lord, why does this continue to happen?  What am I supposed to do?  How do I fix this?”

And each time, the answer is the same.

“This isn’t something you can control.  It isn’t something you can fix.  I don’t need you to do anything.  I am enough.  What I need is for you to trust me.  Your faith has to be bigger than your fear.”

And in that moment, a weak laugh escapes with a shallow breath.  I’ve done it again.  I’ve taken my eyes off of Him.  But each time, He brings me back.  And I pray that His words never leave me.  

I’m listening, God.  I hear you.

I pray that he strengthens my faith and that one day I will realize the joy of being a mother.  But first, I know he must continue the work in me to repair my barren soul.  

Look to the Lord and his strength; seek his face always. – 1 Chronicles 16:11


Thank you Crystal for boldly sharing your testimony today. This journey is long, and hard. But thankfully, God saturates the barren soul with Himself. Continue to listen for His whispers. And may He satisfy you more than you ever dreamed possible. 

If you have a testimony you would like to share here on Testimony Tuesdays, email me at [email protected] ! To check out the writer’s guidelines see my page, “Want To Share Your Testimony?”

When You Want To Cry In Target

baby aisle target

I was at Target shopping for a birthday gift for a toddler’s Star Wars party, when I suddenly realized…I wasn’t looking for Darth Vader anymore.  I had mindlessly drifted through the Legos, and Barbies, and halloween costumes, when I looked up and suddenly found myself…

in the Baby section.

The baby section at Target always takes my breath away a little. And it always has.

I’m not sure why. I guess it feels like I’m in the forbidden garden, or something.

Because for so many years, I didn’t belong there.

I wanted to. I wanted to belong there.

Those were the days when all my friends were having babies–except me.

And my only ticket to the Baby department in those days, was with a printed blue registry in my hand, trying to match the codes for crib sheets and baby bathtubs.

I’m sure the veteran moms zooming past could tell I wasn’t a mom. And as they quickly grabbed their diapers and butt paste with a toddler in their cart, and an infant on their chest–I was carefully reading the fine print to Playtex bottle liners wondering if I was buying the right thing for the baby shower. And I felt like a 13-year-old in Victoria’s Secret.

I didn’t belong there. And everyone could tell.

At least, that’s how I felt.

Like I was on the outside. Looking through the window at this mysterious world I desperately longed to be a part of.

And that’s why…when I stumbled into the Baby department last weekend, ever so naturally, now with a 3-year-old toddler, and a big rounded pregnant belly, looking at little fuzzy bathrobes, and car-seat covers, and thinking I should probably start a registry for a couple items I still need for our baby boy on-the-way…I suddenly got a big lump in my throat.

Because all at once, I remembered, so vividly, all the years,

I wanted this so bad,

just this.

Just to be a mom.

Just to be here in this aisle, and do this very thing.

And now, I get to. 

I get to. 

Tears blurred my view of the receiving blankets and onesies on the shelves in front of me.

And I wanted to fall to my knees right there, and worship God.

Because He heard me.

Those years ago, from the floor of my bathroom, He heard me.

When the pregnancy tests that I had excitedly smuggled to the check-out earlier that day, sat negative in the trash can, He heard me.

And He is the God who hears. 

And I stood there in Target, and wanted to cry.

Because, I was barren once. 

And I used to stand in these aisles. 

And dream.

And now those dreams have come true.

Because of the God who hears. 

****

To those of you who can’t get pregnant right now…

Who only go into the Baby section to buy gifts for your friend’s baby showers..

Who feel a sharp pang in your heart when you see the baby announcement on Facebook…

Who feel like it’s so easy for everyone else to get pregnant…but you..

I want you to remember this moment.

I want you to remember how impossible it feels.

Right now.

To have a baby.

That this dream will ever come true.

Because one day, you will be standing in the Baby aisle of Target. And you won’t be shopping for someone else’s baby.

You will be shopping for your own baby.

And all of a sudden, you will want to cry.

Because of the God who hears. 

And God has heard you. 

 

I believe God is going to do a miracle in your womb, and speak His very life into you. So that you can conceive and birth a child.

Or,

He is going to do a miracle in your heart, and the womb of your heart will open–to take in an orphan baby. And He will deliver your baby to you in His own way. And this is just as miraculous. For that baby will be your very own. Just as if you had birthed them.

Either way, if God has planted the desire in you to be a mom, if it’s really of Him, then He will also be faithful to carry it to completion, in the perfect way He chooses. In the perfect time He chooses.

And when that time comes,  and you find yourself standing in Target, registering for your car seat, or crib, or bath tub. When you are picking out which onesies you want, or which itty-bitty socks…I hope you remember.

I hope you remember…that you were barren. 

And you used to walk through these aisles

and dream. 

And that dream has come true.

Because of the God who hears. 

I hope you will stand in the Baby section at Target, and suddenly want to cry. Not for sorrow. But because of all His goodness.

Because…

He is the God who hears. 

And He has heard you. 

Your every cry. 

Why God Took So Long To Give Me A Baby

God gave me you

I was painting in the garage, and she was drawing a rainbow on the cement floor with chalk when she said, “I’m glad God gave you to me as my Mommy.”

I wasn’t ready for it. “What?” I asked, making sure I heard her right. She tried to say it again, but her words came out a little more awkward this time, and she said something like, “I’m happy your’e my mommy from God.”

Tears filled my eyes.

Then she prayed, “God, thank you for giving my mommy to me. And thank you (I couldn’t understand this part.) And thank you, she makes me breakfast. And thank you we’re going to make pumpkin spagotti (biscotti). I hope it tastes good. Do you think it will taste good, God?”

Then she opened her eyes, and went back to drawing her chalk mural–while my eyes blurred with tears, and a huge lump came to my throat. Where did that come from?

She’s three…and I didn’t know her little heart could hold such gratitude. Or that it would just burst out of her, during this subtle moment in the garage. Or that she would thank God, outloud, for me, right then.

Usually, she doesn’t even want to pray out loud–even with me encouraging her.  But today she felt something inside her.

Something beautiful.

Her little heart can hold more love than I often know.

Her little mind…is not so little as I think it is. She thinks far beyond what I would expect.

“Thank you, Selah,” I said, smiling. “I’m so glad God gave me you as my daughter.”

I would have hugged her right then, if my hands didn’t have white paint on them, and if there wasn’t so much junk between us on the floor. The drawers I was painting, and an old wooden chair.

“Did you have to wait a long time for me Mom?” she asked. (I have told her the story many times, but she wanted to hear it again.)

I stepped across the junk on the floor and came a little closer to her. “Yes,” I said. “I asked God for a baby over and over again. But He didn’t give me one for a long time.”

“And when me and Daddy found out you were in my tummy, we were so happy!” I told her.

“Do you know why God took so long to give you a baby?” she said.

“No, honey,” I said. “I don’t know.”

“I know why,” she said.

“Why?” I asked.

“Because…He was making me,” she said.

He was making me.

I looked into her deep blue eyes, that seemed to know something from another world, and her blonde tossled hair russled in the breeze. And in that moment, she seemed a thousand years old.

He was making me. 

And that answer was enough. And my heart resounded with the truth of it, “Of course He was. Of course, that’s exactly what He was doing, Dear One.”

Because now that I know her, and know how special she is–it only makes sense, that it took so long. I don’t know what God was doing with her up there. There is just something about her, that seems as if she spent a long time on God’s chest before coming to mine. Almost as if heaven didn’t want to give her up.

Selah. 

And I say this with tears, to you, barren ones…

Who are waiting for your baby prayers to be answered.

Who are praying every day for God to give you a baby. To give you life.

I don’t know why it’s taking so long. 

I don’t know if He will give you a child through your womb, or through foster care, or adoption.

But either way…if you are waiting right now, and you don’t know why it’s taking so long.

Maybe it’s because God, the Maker and Giver of Life and every living thing…is still in the process of making your baby.

We can’t even begin to comprehend what is happening in the heavenlies, in the unseen, and what, or who He is forming. 

His ways are not like ours. His timing is not like ours.

And perhaps if He’s moving so slowly, and He’s taking so long… It’s because He’s forming something so breathtaking and beautiful…it cannot be rushed.

He is in the process of forming a masterpiece. 

And maybe one day, a little masterpiece will stand before you and say, “I know why God took so long to give you a baby.”

And you will say, “Why?”

And they will say,

“Because…

He was making me.” 

4 Lies The Barren Woman Believes–Part 4

God has forgotten me

Today, is Lie #4 of the “4 Lies the Barren Woman Believe” mini-series.  Be sure to check out Lie #1, Lie #2, and Lie #3 leading up to this one, if you missed them. And may the Truth set you free!

Lie #4: God has forgotten me, otherwise, He would have given me a baby by now.

Truth: God never forgets.

And He has such tender words to the barren woman in Isaiah 54 (I encourage you to read that chapter):

Do you know what God tells the barren woman to do?  Sing.

(Sounds crazy, I know.) But, He first tells her to “sing,” and lift up her voice. Because He is going to enlarge her territory. And next He says, “Do not be afraid; you will not be put to shame. Do not fear disgrace; you will not be humiliated…” (Isaiah‬ ‭54:4‬a ‭NIV‬‬‬‬‬‬)‬‬

But isn’t that the fear…that you will be ashamed? Disgraced? Humiliated? Forgotten?

These fears come from the evil one, and not from your Abba Father.

Maybe your body has failed you, maybe people have failed you, or you have failed people. But you know what? He never fails. His love never fails. And so you can put your hope in Him.

He says, “For the mountains may depart and the hills be removed, but My steadfast love shall not depart from you, and My covenant of peace shall not be removed,” says the Lord, who has compassion on you.” (Isaiah‬ ‭54:10‬ ‭ESV‬‬)‬‬‬‬

You can put your hope completely in Him. No matter what happens this week, this month, or this year. His steadfast love shall not depart from you.

And then He says,
“O afflicted one, storm-tossed and not comforted, behold, I will set your stones in antimony, and lay your foundations with sapphires.” (‭Isaiah‬ ‭54:11‬‬‬)‬‬

I don’t understand all of Isaiah 54 in it’s entirety, or what is symbolic and what is literal. But here are some things that this chapter points about God’s character and His love for the “barren woman”:

He sees you.
He speaks tenderly to you.
You are not forgotten.
He is going to expand your territory.
His love for you will not be moved—even if the mountains come crashing down.
He will not fail or forsake you.
He will take away your shame. Forever.
He is building a beautiful foundation for your life.

Oh beautiful one reading this today, It’s time. It’s time to stop wallowing in the darkness. For He has ordained your life with purpose. Can you sense it?

Today, you are alive.
You are bursting with life–if His Spirit lives in you.

Today, you are Beloved Daughter.
You are precious, and honored in His sight.

Today, God is gracious and kind.
He delights to give you a thousand gifts you could never deserve.
And He is full of grace and truth.

Today, He is establishing His beautiful purpose for your life.

Today, may the Spirit of Truth come rushing in and cast out every lie. Every single one. So that you will know the Truth, and speak the Truth, and believe the Truth–and that the Truth will set you free.


 

Be sure to check out Lie #1, Lie #2, and Lie #3 leading up to this one, if you missed them. Or, some other posts you might like are:

“Where Is God When You Can’t Get Pregnant?”

Stop Waiting To Be Happy

That Moment You Decide You Want To Be A Mom

4 Lies The Barren Woman Believes–Part 3

lie 3 infertility

Today is Lie #3 of the the “4 Lies the Barren Woman Believes” mini-series. If you missed Lie #1 or #2, check out the two posts before this one. And may the Truth set you free!

Lie #3: I can’t have children because I am not good enough. If I were more “righteous” God would reward me with babies. God is punishing me for a past sin.

Truth: Oh sister. You know this one isn’t true—why do you believe it?

Let’s debunk this lie a little bit.

Children are a blessing. There is no doubt about it. Psalm 127:3 says, “Children are a heritage from the Lord, offspring a reward from him.”

However, God also says that, “He makes his sun rise on the evil and on the good, and sends rain on the just and on the unjust.” (Matthew‬ ‭5:45‬ ‭ESV)‬‬ The rising sun and falling rain are symbols of blessing. God actually pours out His blessings on the just and the unjust. Both saints and sinners. ‬‬‬‬‬‬

If He only gave babies to the ones who were “righteous” enough—pretty much no one would have babies. (Like ever.) His word says, “None is righteous, no, not one.” (Romans 3:11) And God says that our most righteous deeds to “filthy rags.” (Isaiah 64:6) So let’s stop believing, “If I’m just a little more righteous, then I will conceive.” Because if that’s true, you will just keep heaping heavy burdens on your back. Children are a blessing and a gift to be received, not earned.

God is wise. In a way we can’t fully comprehend in this life. The fact that you can’t conceive is more based in His wisdom and purpose for your life, and not based on your good or bad deeds.

Look around, are the people with babies righteous? Some are, many aren’t. Using “righteousness” to obtain blessing from the Lord is a D-A-N-G-E-R-O-U-S place to be. This was the trap the Pharisees fell into. They thought their “righteous” deeds “earned” them a blessing. And that’s why they were furious when “sinners” were inheriting that blessing before them.

Ladies, I get it. I too have wondered, “What is wrong with me? Why does that teen-mom keep pushing her baby past my house? Why does it seem like this works for everybody else—except me? Did I do something wrong to make God close up my womb?”

While it’s good to ask God to reveal your past or present sins and aim to live a righteous life—you have to remember God’s immense grace for you. Grace is unmerited favor. Un-earned. Don’t get trapped into believing that you can “earn” a baby, or anything else for that matter. None of us can “achieve,” or “produce,” or be “holy” enough to earn God’s blessing. And yet, He is so gracious. It’s because of Him that we are saved by the precious blood of Jesus Christ, and not by anything we could do.

I encourage you to keep crying out to Him and bring your requests before Him, just as Hannah did. But as you do, put your hope in His faithfulness, and not in your righteousness.

“But I trust in your unfailing love;
my heart rejoices in your salvation.” Psalm 13:5


 

For more in this series, read “4 Lies Barren Believe-Part 1“, “Part 2,” and “Part 4“. Or, read any blog posts in the “Trying To Conceive” category.

A few you might like are:

To the Woman Who Thought She Was Pregnant, When She Wasn’t

5 Important Questions The Barren Woman Should Ask

To The Woman Still Longing To Be A Mom”

Does Infertility Affect Friendships?

friendship

“So…do you guys think you might, I mean, someday, ever want to have kids?” My friend asks me as we play with her toddler on the floor. I see the curve of her belly, pregnant with their second. She doesn’t know we’ve actually been trying for over a year—with no success of conceiving. She doesn’t know I actually ache to be in her shoes. Swollen feet and all. “Oh, yeah,” I say, “We definitely want kids.” And I roll the ball to her toddler, trying to act as natural as possible.

Inside, I have no idea if I will be able to have kids. And I wonder if she knows, we’re trying. I wonder if she knows I would be a mom by now, if I could. And that as disheveled and chaotic as she feels, and as unattractive as she thinks she looks, with her postpartum curves—she actually looks incredibly beautiful to me. But I don’t know how to say this. Not today. 

My friend is sweet, and doesn’t press further. And I feel relieved when she doesn’t.

***

I was completely blindsided by it: infertility. I remember so naively waiting those two minutes for that first pregnancy test, feeling so sure it would be positive. I envisioned us jumping up and down in celebration. But instead, we just stood there. “Maybe it will just take a little while,” my husband said. “Yeah,” I tried to shrug off the disappointment, “Maybe.”

But month after month of trying to conceive, my period came back. And months turned into years of waiting. And crying. And praying. And wondering…

What was wrong with us?

All of our friends were on babies #2 and #3, but we could not get pregnant with one. As our friends’ families grew with new babies—it was just still just the two of us. As our friends traded in their cars for SUV’s and minivans, and turned offices into nurseries—we would walk by our extra bedrooms and pray God would fill them someday. Somehow.

Sometimes it felt like the world kept rushing past us, while we just stayed still, frozen in time. Waiting for God to move.

Now looking back on those years of waiting, I see God was moving the whole time. In fact, He did some of His best work in us during those years. And He did it, before I ever got pregnant. He opened my eyes to see. And instead of seeing my life as a barren wasteland of disappointment, I saw Him. I saw His beauty–and that though my womb was barren, my soul didn’t have to be. He began to make me alive in Him and began to birth something in me that would change the way I see forever.  (You can read more about my infertility story here.)

But what about in the meantime? How does infertility affect friendships between women? And if you are already a mom, how should you approach a friend who is possibly unable to conceive?

I can’t speak for other women—I only know my own experience with infertility—but here are a few ways women who are already mothers can honor their “childless” friends, whether they are “childless” by choice, singleness, or infertility.

1. Realize the Mommy Club can be slightly exclusive. Being a mom now for two and a half years, I have grown to love the Mommy Club. I love swapping labor stories, poop stories, and tantrum stories with other other moms, just to know I’m not alone in this. Motherhood is an incredible bond between women (even women who are just passing by in the grocery store!) But the “Mommy Club,” as wonderful as it is, can be a little exclusive at times to non-mothers, especially in the Church. And this often happens quite innocently. All the moms are laughing and going on and on, swapping war-stories from the mommy trenches, and raving about the best butt paste, and the non-mother has nothing to contribute except, “I babysat in high school once.” (Cricket, cricket.)

Now, this doesn’t mean you should drop your mom fellowship time. (Not at all!)  It’s just something to be aware of, so that you can love, and include, and value the woman who is not a mother, just as much as the one who is. And in order to do this, we as moms have to, “Look not only to our own interests, but also to the interests of others” (Philippians 2:4).

2. Include Your Non-Mom Friends. I think many moms assume that “non-moms” would never want to come to a play date, or meet up at the mall when your kids are present.  But I loved when my friends would include me in things like this, without the prerequisite of being a mom. I’m so thankful for friends that invited me into their daily life at home with kids because this helped me see what it was like to be a mom, and made me desire to be a mom.

Although motherhood is a strong bond, it’s not the only bond women can have. For Christians hopefully there is a bond even stronger than motherhood, and that is being a part of God’s kingdom together. Being a daughter of God connects me to every other female in the body of Christ—whether she’s two, or twenty-two, or sixty-two. It’s a sisterhood that began long before I ever conceived my daughter. And it’s one that will need to exist while I raise my daughter, and long after she has a family of her own.

3. Be Sensitive In Approaching The Topic Of Infertility. If you are already a mom and curiously wondering if, or when your childless friend will ever have children, try to be patient. I never minded at all if someone asked, “Do you think you ever want to have kids?” It was what happened beyond that question. The moment you ask, “Well, are you trying?” You are pawing at a box she might not want opened—or hasn’t initiated opening, anyway. For your friend who is battling infertility, it might feel to her like you are going through her underwear drawer. It might feel like you are saying, “So..when are you gonna have kids? Are you having sex, or what? What birth control are you using? How long have you been off of it? Is he still wearing a condom? How’s your man’s sperm count? Is everything working down there with you two? Are you guys having enough sex?” (Whoa.) No, thanks.

Don’t let your curiosity get the best of you. Or your friendship. You may get the information you want, but you’ll damage the friendship. I think that the woman that is comfortable talking about her infertility, will talk about it. So let her bring it up.

And if she does share intimate details with you, honor her in that. Be very careful not to gossip about anything she shares with you. (That means not telling anybody she hasn’t specifically told you to tell.) This comes down to simply loving your infertile friends, being patient with them, and learning how to honor them and uphold their privacy through the process.

4. Be Exceedingly Thankful To Be A Mom.  It’s especially difficult for women who could never conceive, or lost every child in miscarriage to hear women gripe and complain about being a mom. It’s true that motherhood has intense challenges, sleepless nights, and can at times make you feel like you are totally losing it. But, for the Christian, we are called to battle back with joy and gratitude and reliance on the Holy Spirit.

Complaining and grumbling not only steals your joy and darkens your perspective, but it can make the hearts of others ache, too. So be joyful in your mothering, knowing that others are watching and listening. You might be afraid that if you “enjoy” your motherhood too much in front of “childless” women, you will cause them pain. However, I think the opposite is true. Your grumbling causes them pain, not your joy. So be exceedingly joyful in your motherhood, and if, or when they get to enter motherhood they will be more likely to be joyful in it, too.

5. Be Available For Your Infertile Friends.  The longer a woman, or couple experiences infertility, the more likely they will be to open up about it. And if they open up to you, give them the encouragement they need. Pray for them, comfort them with Scripture, and remind them that God is lovingly leading their life together. We were very private about our struggle with infertility, but the few people we did open up to provided such a source of comfort and strength to us during the process.

Infertility Doesn’t Have To Break A Friendship
As Christians, we have this amazing opportunity to love each other. The seasons of our lives don’t always line up perfectly with each other. And although some friendships may drift while others thrive, let’s let it be because of the leadership of the Holy Spirit. And not because of the anger, bitterness, and jealousy of an infertile couple. Let’s not let friendships be broken by prying questions, or gossip, or because we were too selfish to look past ourselves.

I think something really beautiful happens when people from different seasons of life are both vulnerable and strengthening to each other. Titus 2 talks about how within the body of Christ we all need each other.  So, wherever you are at, whether you are in a house filled with the cries and screams of little children, or you are praying desperately for a miracle in your womb, or you are a grandmother, or you are a single person who is traveling the globe, let’s love each other. Because before any of us were mothers, we were daughters. We were sisters. We were children, born into the Kingdom of God and saved by the blood and mercy of Jesus Christ. The One whom we love, and live for.

“Be completely humble and gentle; be patient, bearing with one another in love. Make every effort to keep the unity of the Spirit through the bond of peace” (Ephesians 4:2-3).


This post was first published on Loving My Lot as a guest post I wrote for author/blogger Jeanne Harrison. Be sure to check out Jeanne’s other posts, like Mom vs. Mom: The War I Didn’t See Coming, and her new blog turned book, “Loving My Lot”, which you can purchase by clicking on the picture link below!

 

Photo Credit: D’Attoma Studios

To The Woman Who Thought She Was Pregnant When She Wasn’t

thought she was pregnant
Maybe you thought your belly was starting to curve. Maybe you let out your gut in front of the mirror after your shower, and could swear it was protruding.

Maybe you felt a wave of nausea on the drive to work.

Maybe your bra felt tighter than usual.

Maybe you felt extra tired this month.

Maybe you had some major mood swings and your husband quipped, under his breath, “She must be pregnant.” And you pretended to roll your eyes, but inwardly you were rejoicing.

Hoping.

Dreaming.

And then you woke from that dream, two minutes after the pregnancy test. And you woke again, several days later when your period began without fail.

And maybe you scolded yourself for letting yourself believe, hope, wish that this month was different.

Maybe you vowed that you would never let yourself “expect”that you were expecting again.

Maybe your heart grew a little harder, and your dreams shrunk a little smaller. But I want to tell you something, and it might sound cliché, but it’s true:Don’t stop hoping. Don’t stop dreaming. Don’t stop praying for a miracle.


Because when you stop, something dies in you. Something that very much needs to be alive if you are going to be a mom one day.

When we were trying to conceive, I wanted to give up. There were months I charted my cycles like a statistician, and other ones I picked up all those stupid charts and threw them into the garbage, along with my dreams.

And it happened on a Sunday, that a seed was planted in me. Not by my husband, not by IVF, but by a dear friend, named Stephanie. It was just a seed of hope. She knew we had been trying, and failing. And longing, and despairing.

It was such a simple thing. I was just standing alone in the church ladies’ bathroom, drying my hands on a paper towel, and she walked in and said, quite out of the blue, “Can I pray for your womb?” I kind of laughed, and then said, “Sure.” Even though, my first thought was, “What good would that do?” Even though, I had stopped praying for a baby months ago.  Even though, I already accepted this wasn’t God’s path for us. And I was trying to be okay with it. But I said, “Yes,” anyway. I told her she could pray for me.  And so, she laid her hands on my flat belly, and prayed that God would bring life there, to my womb.

That was it.

But it started something in me, like a smoldering wick that suddenly burst into flame. Like the reawakening of a dream. It was hope. And it fluttered awake in me.

And I know, it can hurt to hope. It can be dangerous to hope. But without hope, everything dies.

I knew I had already tried everything in my power to become pregnant. But the great thing about hope is that, it has nothing to do with the person who is hoping, and it has everything to do with the One who is being hoped in.

And so I felt free, because I wasn’t hoping me. I was hoping in God. The One in whom all things are possible.  

To the woman who thought she was pregnant and found out she wasn’t. To the woman who feels worn out with asking. To the woman who has stopped believing God hears,

He does hear you.

And to the woman who feels “past-due” for a miracle, I want to remind you of a woman who has felt this same way. Her name was Sarah, Abraham’s wife. And she could not have children. And she stopped hoping she ever could.

But when God has ordains something, it happens. And God had chosen Sarah to bear a son, even she was almost ninety years old.

“Now Abraham and Sarah were old, advanced in age; Sarah was past childbearing.” But God told Abraham that his wife will bear a child, and when she heard it, “Sarah laughed to herself, saying, “After I have become old, shall I have pleasure, my lord being old also?” And the LORD said to Abraham, “Why did Sarah laugh, saying, ‘Shall I indeed bear a child, when I am so old?’…” Genesis 18:11-13

Maybe you feel like Sarah. Maybe you feel too old, or too jaded to believe God could do this.

But be encouraged. He can. He still can.

And you are never beyond hope.

God still brings children into the arms of a mom who will love them, at all costs. And I don’t know how it will happen. But God still does miracles in orphanages across the ocean. And God still does miracles in the foster system and the court rooms of America. And God still does miracles in the wombs of barren women.

I see one every day. She’s blonde, and her eyes are blue like the ocean, and when she smiles, it’s like Heaven breaks through.

So don’t lose hope. You need it. And let this hope reawaken your dreams. And reawaken your prayers. Because God hears you.

Don’t stop praying for a baby.

Don’t stop praying for a miracle.

Because God still hears the cries of the barren.

And He answers them.

“Now to Him who is able to do far more abundantly beyond all that we ask or think, according to the power that works within us, to Him be the glory in the church and in Christ Jesus to all generations forever and ever. Amen.” Ephesians 3:20-21


For more encouragement during infertility, check out these posts, About My Barrenness, How Far Is Too Far When Trying to Conceive, When the Barren Sing, Stop Waiting to be Happy, or any of the other posts in my Trying to Conceive Category. Please share these posts to encourage anyone struggling with this season.

To The Woman Still Longing To Be A Mom

I am thinking of you tonight. Actually, I think of you often. I know how you feel when you walk through the Baby section at Target. Maybe with a gift registry in your hand, and wonder if you will ever own a tiny bathtub like the one you are buying. You wonder if you will ever own little onesies, or little shoes, or little anything. Because right now, the miracle seems so far away.

You will go to the baby shower and hear all the “Ooh’s” and “Aah’s” over every little, tiny gift, and wonder if you will ever have any little tiny gifts of your own to open? Will your stomach ever round with life? Will you ever hold a baby and whisper over him or her, the word you long to say, “Mine.

I know how your heart aches, and waits, and wonders at a life that seems so easy for others, even “accidental” for many, but so seemingly impossible and difficult for you.

Maybe tonight you hold out fragile hands to a God, that you have to believe, hope against hope, is a good Father. And gives good gifts to His children. And that He gives bread and not stones. Even when you can’t taste it yet.

For the woman who feels He is far tonight, I’m thinking of you. For the woman who is growing weary of waiting tonight, I’m thinking of you. And for the woman who has yet to hold her child lost in miscarriage, I’m thinking of you.

And maybe you never got see your baby’s face. Maybe you never even got to give your baby a name. But God knows your baby’s face. God knows your baby’s name. He knew from the moment He breathed him or her into existence. And though your arms ache to hold that child, He is holding him or her tonight. And though you’d give the world to sing them lullabies, He sings over them tonight. And I know you have to wonder, why aren’t they here? With me? And I do not know such a mystery. All I can wonder is, perhaps the world was not worthy of such a one.

They were too precious.

I’m not trying to make you grieve. I just want you to know that I love you tonight. And I think about you. And I want you to know God has filled me with compassion, and love, and hope for you.
Because you are the reason I started Barren to Beautiful. Your pain, and confusion, and your aching heart is the reason. And I know, we have never met. I wish we could. I wish I could hear your story. I wish I could hear your heart’s cry tonight. I wish I could console you.

And so, because I can’t, I just want to turn my gaze toward the One who can. The God who made you, and loves you, and has ordained your life with purpose. And so I’m just going to pray for you, if you want to join in:
Dear God,
I lift up my sister to You tonight. And though this is just a little blog post, You are a big God. And so I pray that You would break into the room where she is right now, by Your Spirit. And show her that You are real. And that You have the power, and that Your Spirit gives life.

Show her that You hear her cries in the night, even the quiet whispers of her heart. You know her dreams. You’ve seen them all. And before a word is on her tongue, O Lord, You know it completely.

You formed her together in her mother’s womb, Your eyes saw her unformed body. And all the days ordained for her were written in Your book, before one of them came to be.

And thank you that this is not the end. Thank you that endless and boundless life flows from You. Thank you that in You, death has lost it’s power. Death has lost it’s sting. And that the Day is coming when Death will be swallowed up in Life forever.

So bring comfort to her heart, and peace to her soul. And when her body is weak and gives out, be her strength. When her body fails her, month after month, let her say, “Whom have I in heaven but You? And there is none on earth I desire besides You. Though my heart and my flesh may fail, You are the strength of my heart, and my portion forever.” Psalm 73:25-26
God, come close to her tonight–because you say in Your Word to the barren woman,

O afflicted one, storm-tossed and not comforted,
    behold, I will set your stones in antimony,
    and lay your foundations with sapphires.” Isaiah 54:11

I pray you would fill her with Your Holy Spirit, and that her heart and soul would overflow with Your life. And that though her womb may be barren, her spirit would not be barren any longer. Minister to her tonight. And let her rest in You, and to wake with perfect peace as she fixes her mind on You all night long.
In Jesus’ Name, Amen.

P.S My husband recorded this beautiful song in our living room the other night. And he did it for a friend who is grieving right now, but I just wanted to share it with you as well. It’s a very old hymn called, “Whate’er My God Ordains Is Right.” Click here to listen to it. Perhaps it will minister to you, as much as it does to me.

Much love. You are my heart. And feel free to connect on Facebook, or via email at barrentobeautifulblog.com . For more of my story or encouragement during infertility, check out the posts in the Trying To Conceive category on my blog.

Love,

Rebekah

“Therefore the Lord waits to be gracious to you, and therefore he exalts himself to show mercy to you. For the Lord is a God of justice; blessed are all those who wait for him.” Isaiah 30:18

When the Barren Sing

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I was looking for a parking space in a very crowded lot, when suddenly, near the front, a car pulled out in front of me. I quickly turned on my turn signal, eager to pull in, and whispered a prayer of thanks. But as I began to pull in, I read the sign nailed in front of that space: “Parking For Expectant Mothers ONLY.”

I hit the breaks. And just sat there for a moment, before shifting into reverse.

For Expectant Mothers ONLY.

Who knew a parking lot could be so cruel?

It was like I just got rejected from the Mommy Club. “No barren women allowed.”

The sign could have said: For women whose bodies work right. For women who have had their prayers answered. For women who have something to look forward to.

For women with something to expect.

I still remember it so well. That longing. That wanting to “expect” something. Or someone.

I used to walk through Barnes & Noble and see that giant “Parenting” section near the Children’s Books Department. And the rows and rows of “What To Expect” books.

And I remember the feeling that I had nothing to expect. 

“Because, I expected to be pregnant by now. I expected a lot of things. By now.”

But if you are barren today, I want you to know you have something to expect.

You have Someone to expect.

And He is Almighty God. And He’s coming for you.

My prayer for you today is that you would know His love, and know His nearness, and know His mercy. Because He just wants to pour it out on you like never before.

I know Mother’s Day is just around the corner. And the sting of infertility can become sharper than ever. But God has a message for you this Mother’s Day. He says:

“Sing, O barren, you who have not borne! Break forth into singing, and cry aloud, you who have not labored with child! For more are the children of the desolate than the children of the married woman,” says the LORD.” Isaiah 54:4

“Do not fear, for you will not be ashamed; neither be disgraced, for you will not be put to shame; for you will forget the shame of your youth, and will not remember the reproach of your widowhood anymore.” Isaiah 54:13

“For the mountains shall depart and the hills be removed, but My kindness shall not depart from you, nor shall my covenant of peace be removed,” says the LORD, who has mercy on you.” Isaiah 54:10

“O you afflicted one, tossed with tempest, and not comforted, behold, I will lay your stones with colorful gems, and lay your foundations with sapphires.” Isaiah 54:11

First He tells you to sing. And then, He gives you the reasons to sing.

And they are:

1. Because you will not be ashamed.

2. You will not be disgraced.

3. You will forget the shame of your youth.

4. My kindness will not depart from you.

5. My covenant of peace will not be removed from you.

6. I’m going to comfort you and lay a foundation for you. In precious stones.

He’s saying everything you have grieved, all your sorrow, all your disappointment, all your despair—I’m going to remove it. And I’m going to redeem you. I’m going to redeem your life. I’m going to be a Husband to you. I’m going to pour out my mercy on you, and show you everlasting kindness.

Now that is something to expect.

See, God knows better than anyone, exactly how you feel in this moment. Can you hear His tender love here? “O you afflicted one, storm-tossed and not comforted, behold I will lay your stones with colorful gems, and lay your foundations with sapphires.” Isaiah 54:11

He’s saying: I am with you! I am for you! And as long as you put your trust in Me, you will NEVER be disappointed!

So, sing barren one! Break forth into singing and cry aloud!

You were not meant to be silent. You were not called to pine away in despair. You were made to sing, lift up your voice, because of God. And because of His mercy and everlasting kindness He pours out on you.

I hope that there is this sound across the land, the song of the barren women, lifting up their voices. Shouting for joy. And singing louder than anyone in their churches this Mother’s Day. And when they think of Him, when they think of His love, tears fill their eyes. Because He is closer now than ever before.

Because when the barren sing, something powerful happens. When the barren sing, the darkness trembles. When barren sing, Satan shudders. When the barren sing, the silence is broken. Despair and heaviness leave. Emptiness becomes full. Dead places become alive. Hardened hearts turn to flesh. Clenched fists, open wide in surrender with joy, joy, joy.

Laughter is restored. Like the sun warming your skin. And hope. And peace. And rest in the Holy Spirit.
When the barren sing, heaven breaks through.

So sing. 

“My soul, wait silently for God alone, for my expectation is from Him.” Psalm 62:5

And He’s coming to take all your shame, and fear, and sadness, and sighing, and make it flee away. Forever.

[If you need a place to start, listen to this song (it will open in YouTube in a new window): Reason to Sing

For more reading on worship during infertility, or heartache of any kind, here are some other posts that may be helpful: Singing in the Dark, Where Is God When You Can’t Get Pregnant?, About My Barrenness.]

She’s Longing For A Child This Christmas

This goes out to every woman whose heart aches to be a mother, but finds herself still in waiting. May these words soothe your soul if you are in this place, or otherwise break your heart for those who are. This guest post was originally published on MomLife Now by a beautiful writer named Sasha and I am honored to share it with you:

She’s Longing For A Child This Christmas

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Christmas can be the most joyous time of year. The pitter patter of little feet running out on Christmas morning. The squeals and shouts, the laughter and excitement. . .

Not everyone will feel such joy. For many this day is a sharp wound. Piercing deep in the mother who has yet to hear herself called by this name. She who has tried and tried again, only to see another negative stick, another baby lost in the womb. The adoption at a standstill–again.

To you, dear momma, I have been thinking about you. My heart unable to push you to the back of my mind. With every visit to Santa’s lap I have ached for you. I felt the hot tears fall onto my pillow last night, brushing your searing pain. The emptiness which tries to engulf you.

But what good are my tears to you? I tried to make them worth something. A prayer.

~~~~~~~~~~

God of the childless mother,

She may not have a little one who calls her “momma” just yet, but she is a mother still. Your definition of the word starts with the heart, and hers, tenderly longing, is tenderly felt by you.

I see her as she smiles lovingly on my own child, helping him pick up his cheerios just spilled across the floor. I see her as she acknowledges my shy little girl, telling her just how beautiful she looks this morning. What an incredible mommy she will be. I feel such joy for the soul who will be so blessed as to call her such.

Today though, her own soul, it’s so wounded. So desperate.

Meet her at her desperation. Give her the patience–the miraculous patience–she needs.

I see so many “mothers.” Mothers who leave their children, who neglect them, beat them, shame them. They keep on having more babies. Babies who will live through hurt and suffering. Then, I see her. She who would love her child more than life itself. God, why is she the one having difficulty? She who deserves so much to be a mother! If I struggle with this question then I know she does too. I know her hope fades thin.

Revive her hope. Hope for a day when she will find herself face to face with the child you have destined for her. Mothers come in all different shapes and sizes. Show her the path to take.

When all seems hopeless, bring your hope. When all falls dark, shine your light. When life slaps much too hard, bring your arms of comfort. Hold her God. For although a mother is her desire, your daughter she is first.

Christmas day, which could bring such pain to her tender heart. May it be a day of hope, of sweet longing for the future. A reminder that one day she too will hear the pitter patter of little feet–feet running straight to her.

Hold her tight this Christmas. She needs you.

~~~~~~~~~~

“The eternal God is your refuge, and his everlasting arms are under you.” ~Deuteronomy 33:27


Sasha is a wife and mom of two who loves to open up about the realities of motherhood at her blog, MomLife Now. For more from Sasha, you can also follow her on Facebook.