The Barren Wombgeorge frederic watts: hope (the barren womb)

For the last few days I’ve been playing the, but what if I’m pregnant? game.  This game goes something like this: I have a headache.  I’d like some aspirin.  But what if I’m pregnant?  Then I definitely shouldn’t take any. I’m in a room with fresh paint and can smell the fumes.  But what if I’m pregnant?  Then I definitely should not stay in here long. I sure would like some caffeine right about now.  But what if I’m pregnant?  Then I definitely should abstain. And so on.  And so forth.  I’ve played this game most of the last 45+ months.  3 years.  9 months.  14 days.  Since the day I got married.  I’m probably not pregnant.  Again.

It’s grueling.  It’s stressful.  It’s hopeful.  It’s hopeless.  My faith is steady.  My faith is shaky.  It’s an endless cycle of wonder, hope, despair, and surrender.  I haven’t tried everything.  But I’ve tried what my heart has beckoned me to try.  I’ve tried what circumstances allow me to try.  I’ve heard endless stories of couples trying for many years before finally deciding to adopt, and with that moment of surrender, they find out they are pregnant.  I’ve had countless daydreams of trying to pretend that I am adopting… Trying to pretend that I’m not stressed…

When I was a teenager, a lady that I worked with told me that she could never have kids.  I thought it was perhaps the saddest news in the world to have to live with…

Sometimes when I see irresponsible mothers, teenage mothers, mothers who smoke or do drugs, mothers who mistreat their kids, I have a moment.  I try to let it pass from my mind.  Sometimes it lingers longer than I should let it.  I am not a victim, I remind myself.

Sometimes I try to convince myself that a life without children wouldn’t be so bad.  Yet my heart can’t help but secretly cry out and my eyes can’t help but swell up with tears over the site of newborn babies.  Mommies being tender with their toddlers.  Daddies playing with their little girls.  Thoughts of having no posterity.  My life dying with me.

Sometimes I feel like my life is just on hold.  And I’m just waiting.

Sometimes I feel resolute that it will for sure happen, despite the odds.

Sometimes, I wonder if that is really true.

Lots of times I dream about the birth.  I know how I want it to be.

Lots of times I dream about raising my kids on a farm.  Homeschooling them.  Creating with them.  Exploring with them.  How I would teach them life lessons.  How I would teach them to love and honor their dad.  How we would serve people together.  How we would be kind to neighbors.  How we would leave secret treats on people’s doorsteps.

Sometimes I make deals with God.  Like Hannah, I say, if you give me children, I will give them back to you.  Hannah gives me hope.  Her barren womb became fertile (with Samuel).  So did Sarah’s – at 90 years old.  I’m only 34!  So did Sarah’s daughter-in-law, Rebekah.  She had twins after 20-years of marriage!  From her son, Jacob, comes the whole House of Israel.  Jacob’s wife, Rachel, was also barren for a time.  She had two sons.  Joseph is one of them – he saved his whole family from a severe famine (after they left him for dead).  Samson’s mother was barren.  He was the strongest physically of all the judges in Israel.  Elizabeth gave birth to the cousin of Jesus of Nazareth.  His name was John the Baptist.

Each of these sons in Biblical times played an important role in the history of Israel.  Their births were saved for a special time, so their missions could be fulfilled.

And so I cling to hope.  And promise.

“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 54:1)

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