Even before I was married the doctors were telling me that babies would be difficult to have, at best, and I was wiping tears and crying out to God that I didn’t want to travel this road. I had been mothering everything around me since I was a child myself.
Being a mom was in my blood.
It was my hope. It was the thing I longed for as far back as I could remember.
I spent evenings curled up, staring out my window at the stars that blanketed the night sky. Can I have a promise, God? I asked Him.
The only words that seemed to come were simple and comforting. Do not fear tomorrow. So I clung to the promise, hoping beyond hope that He meant that I would someday be the mom I longed to be.
When marriage came several years later and my cycles stopped coming, I prayed that I was pregnant.
But it wasn’t a baby, it was cysts and pain and the return of my nightmare with a vengeance. I spiraled into depression as my doctor’s visits provided nothing but discouragement. The pills I tried left me with see-sawing emotions, an upset stomach, weight-gain and a growing bitterness.
When I came back from the doctor that last time, in tears because she told me I had to lose weight to get pregnant and I wasn’t trying hard enough, when I literally was almost starving my body per her instruction, my husband put his foot down and said, “No more.”
The pills went in the trash and I stopped looking in the mirror.
For three months I did nothing.
image credit ptnimages
Then I started, slowly, to look into natural remedies for infertility. That led me to researching nutrition and I realized that the diet the doctor had placed me on was actually starving my body of nutrients and I had depleted my body’s natural resources to battle illness.
In the meantime, my husband and I were asked to work at a mission hospital in Haiti so we packed up our little house and flew to LaColline. I fasted for several days then started drinking potassium broth (made with potato skins, carrot skins, onion and garlic) then added in the traditional Haitian diet of rice and beans with a bit of meat broth for flavor and whatever I could grow in my garden. I felt like my body, which had been tilted sideways, righted itself.
The depression lifted and I seemed to wake up from a long, painful sleep.
Along with correcting my physical body, God was calling me to correct my spiritual life. The bitterness over the loss of my dreams was coloring everything I did and I realized that I needed healing for my bitterness far more than I needed a baby.
So I went to the only place I knew for answers. I flipped open my Bible to Genesis 1:1 and started reading. Twenty-six days later I read the last words in Revelation.
God still makes blind eyes see and deaf ears hear.
At the beginning of those 26 days I was blind and deaf and at the end I could see and hear.
I met God, again, in the pages of Scripture. Not just as my Savior from sin or the Creator of the universe but as a God who understands pain intimately. My fears and heartache were not foreign to Him.
To put it simply: I saw parts of His heart that I would have never understood without the loss of my dreams.
Since that day I have experienced years of childlessness, a miscarriage, and several dips back into depression and tears. But I am learning. I’m learning that being a mom doesn’t necessarily mean bearing a child. I’m learning to love God most and to pour His love onto those around me. I’m learning to look beyond my pain to see the hurting people around me. I’m even learning to be thankful that this is my road.
I still hope.
Hope that someday I will have the child I dreamed of. But for today, for this moment, I want to be faithful. I want my words and my experiences to point people to the cross and to the heart of God.
And this is the hardest truth I know: if empty arms are the most effective way to show people the heart of God, I am willing to bear that burden. Not because I am strong enough but because I know the heart of Him who carries me.