Mother’s Day can be at the very least awkward for Infertile Imeldas. There is a whole range of emotions and thoughts associated with the topic, as wide and varying as the women themselves. Many people aren’t quite sure how to approach a woman who deals with infertility on a regular day, let alone this holiday set aside for celebrating mothers. It can be a tense mess.
As one of those Infertile Imeldas, I want to offer up some encouragement to those of you who live in this circle with me. I don’t at all wish to diminish the hurt and confusion that many feel, but I do want you to know that:
1. Your value is not determined by your uterus.
I don’t know why God allows some women to conceive easily and others not at all. I can’t begin to solve this mystery. However, I do know that you are a complete, whole, worthy woman. Eve was not a woman because she had children. She was a woman because that’s who God made her to be. Children are awesome, but there is so much more to the feminine identity, existence and experience than being able to carry one for 9 months. We are prone to forget that Eve was tasked with caring for creation just as Adam was – there were things that she was meant to do, that only she could do. Adam was incomplete without her. She was the final, climactic piece of God’s creation. She was not made only to bear children. She was made to reflect something of God that Adam didn’t.
2. You are vital in the lives of children.
There are so many kids out there who are desperate for a stable, loving influence in their lives. Or who just need someone other than Mom and Dad to talk to. Be that person. Reach out to those kids, whether they’re in your neighborhood, your workplace or your church. If you don’t have any contact with kids, volunteer somewhere. This world is a messed-up place and there are so many kiddos aching for love. You can give that to them.
3. You need to focus on the good in your life.
It’s so easy to become bogged down in disappointment. We don’t have the eyes of God, the eyes that see the whole picture. We can spend so much of our time wondering, “Why?” Even though I have come to believe that dealing with difficult situations and emotions, getting it all out on the table, is a good thing, at some point you have to let the crying cease. You have to make the choice to look up to God and around at what He has given you. There is so much to be thankful for! He has blessed you in so many ways! You can keep picking at the scab and let yourself become bitter, or you can enjoy life.
4. You need to find an outlet.
I don’t want to stereotype the gentler sex, but we are, in general, creative sorts. We need to be involved in nurturing something or someone.There are innumerable ways in which to do this. What are you interested in? What have you always wanted to try? What project would you like to tackle in your workplace? Don’t let that energy and talent go unused and wasted.
5. You are part of a family.
If you are married, never forget that you and your husband constitute a family. If not, you are still someone’s daughter, someone’s sister, someone’s cousin. Moreover, you get to play a fabulous part in the family of God: the Auntie! You get to listen, hug, kiss, spoil and love all sorts of children – and you get to send them home with the get cranky.
6. You are loved.
God is not punishing you. Let me repeat that, loudly: GOD IS NOT PUNISHING YOU. You aren’t being denied children because of some sin. Read John 9 if you don’t believe me. God adores you and has so much wonder and good in store for your life!
Above all, dear sisters, we must remember that our plans can’t hold a candle to His. We must remember that every “no” that falls from His lips ensures a greater “yes” sometime in the future. Maybe the doors will open for you to adopt. Maybe they won’t. Maybe one day, miraculously, you will find yourself pregnant. Maybe you won’t. Whatever does or doesn’t happen, we need to walk this road with our eyes firmly fixed on the One who intimately knows the way we are traveling. Let us each take His hand and grasp it tightly. We do not know where this journey will take us, but we must rest in the love and wisdom of the God who knows all.
Grace and peace,
I love the New King James translation of the Bible. When I was 7, I got a pink Precious Moments edition, complete with little devotionals geared toward kids scattered throughout. Nearly 22 years later, I still have that Bible, tucked away with some others treasures, and have yet to use another translation regularly. Because, come on. How can you possibly not love a translation that has words like abomination in it?
“Lying lips are an abomination to the LORD, but those who deal truthfully are His delight.” – Proverbs 12:22
This is the verse that I am currently working on memorizing, and I just love the imagery. Lying lips. So smooth, yet ultimately so deadly. Whatever shade they are, the words that pour forth are black. Deceitful horrors. This is an abomination to the Lord.
Abomination is defined as “a thing that causes disgust or hatred.” The Hebrew here is to ebah, meaning “a disgusting thing…in [both] the ritual [and the] ethical [senses].” In God’s eyes, lying is like eating rotten, botulism-infested food. It makes Him sick. He detests it. He’ll push it away when it’s offered every single time.
I love how frank God is about this. I love that He’s so serious about sin in our lives. He doesn’t beat around the bush and He doesn’t let us get away with fudging, hemming or hawing.
But He doesn’t stop there.
Delight is defined as “great pleasure.” The Hebrew in 22:b is ratson, meaning “pleasure, delight, favor, goodwill, acceptance.” God feels as strongly about the truth (and the lips that speak it) as He does about lying. He pushes away whatever falsehood is offered to Him, but He accepts anything truthful. He will reject those that try to flatter Him, but He will hold closely those who seek Him in humility.
I want to be as fiery about lies and truth as the Lord is. I want to know what it is that He hates so that I can run away from it. It is no small thing to play with what God spits out. Indeed, it is an ugly thing.
The mind controlled by the Spirit is the mind steeped in truth. In practical terms, neither I nor anyone else will deal victoriously with anxiety if we lack vigilance in our thought-lives. One careless moment, one seemingly-harmless negative, contrary line creates havoc. It is an abomination when I think (and therefore say, for all our thoughts lead to speech eventually) that God won’t take care of me, that He doesn’t notice me, that I have to make everyone happy, that the work left at the end of the day is entirely my responsibility, that I am not good enough/smart enough/pretty enough/whatever enough. All this is in direct opposition to what He reveals about Himself and what He says about what He has created.
God asks, “Will you trust me?”
If I say “yes,” and then don’t, I’m lying.
Thankfully, He can (and does!), reform the worst of us liars.
Grace and peace,
As Chris and I were making dinner this evening, we discussed the day. This is one of my favorite things about our relationship; chopping, stirring, simmering and tasting go hand-in-hand with gentle, unwinding conversation. The topics flip back and forth. Stories get added to. Worries are aired. The pressing concerns of the previous 8 hours fade away.
After relating one particularly difficult situation to him, I found myself saying, “I don’t know what anyone wants from me.”
One little sentence can reveal so much about the state of the heart.
A large part of the anxiety I struggle with comes from constantly trying to live up to the expectations of others, whether stated or dreamed up by myself.
I don’t buy into the line of thinking that says we should have no expectations of each other. For example, my boss should expect me to be at work on time and my husband should expect me to be his best friend and cheerleader. Those are good, right things. Problems arise when others have standards that are not good and right. You will always be there exactly when I need you and you will be in the mood/frame of mind that I want you to be in. Your problems will never take precedence over mine. You will never give me a funny look. You will always be cheerful. You will never complain and you won’t ask for help. You will…
The truth is, I do know what is wanted, but that want is impossible. I know because I’ve had that want, placed that expectation on others before. I can’t be more Jesus than Jesus. Bless His name, He shapes me every day. Little rough edges are smoothed away by His dear hands. But He’s the one who’s always “on,” not me. He’s the one who’s the best possible friend anyone could ask for. He’s the one who has all the answers. He’s the one who has the ability to give, give, give and give some more. He never gets tired, never gets crabby. He – alone – is perfect.
What people want, what they need, is Jesus. If they know Him, then they need more of Him.
That’s where the mind of life and peace is.
“Am I now trying to win the approval of human beings, or of God? Or am I trying to please people?If I were still trying to please people, I would not be a servant of Christ.” – Galatians 1:10 (NIV)
Grace and peace,
A mind ruled by the Spirit leads to a lifestyle led by the Spirit.
Over the weekend I was reminded of these words, spoken by our Lord:
“Be careful not to practice your righteousness in front of others to be seen by them. If you do, you will have no reward from your Father in Heaven. So when you give to the needy, do not announce it with trumpets, as the hypocrites do in the synagogues and on the streets, to be honored by others. Truly I tell you, they have received their reward in full. But when you give to the needy, do not let your left hand know what your right hand is doing, so that your giving may be in secret. Then your Father, who sees what is done in secret, will reward you.” – Matthew 6:1-4 (NIV)
We might slap something like “God led me to…” or “I want to love others…” on it, but if we’re going around telling everyone about the good we’ve done, whether face to face or via social networking, we’re really in it for ourselves. We’re trying to silence that voice inside our heads that screams, “You’re insignificant!” We’re trying to prove something. Trying to show that we’re better than, more than.
That’s not life. That’s not peace.
And it’s not what God desires.
Grace and peace,