At the brink of Mother’s Day comes Joshua’s 2 month-old birthday.
And I am undone. Memories of past Mother’s days filter through my mind. Images of church baby dedications come to focus. I hear the bursting applause celebrating all the mothers standing around me. A father holding a small child on my left. An expectant mother on my right. My own flat belly in view, void of children. I am left with the undeniable feeling of utter inadequacy and sorrow. Tears pooling, then falling.
As the memory fades, I think it’s safe to say that Mother’s day used to be the hardest day of the year for me.
I haven’t made it through an entire church service on mother’s day in three years. I always went into it with a light heart and the desire to honor my mother. But as the day unfolded, I was a tear-laden, sorrowful mess. The ache and sadness of being barren struck the deepest on Mother’s day. I desperately wanted to be a mother and to experience all that came with the title.
I spent some time on the phone today with a friend who’s in the same shoes I was in. My heart aches for her and her situation. She is facing the same familiar infertility crossroads and praying about the next step. Just in time for Mother’s day. And did I mention that she just got the news today that a good friend of hers is expecting?
And even though I’m no longer struggling with infertility, this struggle is no light skirmish. If there’s anything I’ve learned, it’s that infertility can be a full-on battle, and it will suck every last ounce of hope and happiness from you if you are not careful. When I was going through infertility, I had to ask myself– again and again– Is Christ enough in my life? Children or no children, will I take Him at His Word and trust that He is sufficient? Will I refuse to make an idol out of having children? (Because it won’t happen passively.) Will I choose to believe that I will have joy and peace if I don’t have a future of being a mother?
I reminded my friend that sometimes being joyful is a really hard choice we have to make while going through infertility trials. And sometimes we have to choose to be hopeful about our future, even though all we may be feeling is despair. But we cannot let feelings dictate our lives, as hard as it may be when we feel like we’re only sinking into a pit of hopelessness.
I probably felt hopeless about our situation a thousand times during the years that I struggled with infertility. I failed many times to choose to be hopeful. So I do know how hard it is. But choosing to despair is never the better choice. It will take you to paths you do not want travel on, trust me.
I don’t know what the future holds, but if there’s something I’ve learned through this experience, it’s that God is a God of surprises. I never expected to be able to have children. We went through IVF and I was so certain that I wouldn’t get pregnant that I never even blogged about it. I suspected that I was headed for a hysterectomy. It was a terrifying time for me. I pleaded with God for a child, but I knew I could never “expect” God to bless me in that way. I don’t deserve children (or anything good for that matter). But God was gracious, because that is His nature and His character. Even if He didn’t bless me with a child, He would still shower mercies upon me. Just read my previous (pre-baby) blog posts for evidence of that!
Last year during Mother’s day I wouldn’t have expected that in a year’s time I would be typing these words as our precious son sleeps peacefully in his crib. But Joshua is not my peace, my fulfillment, or my hope in this life. Christ is. And if Mother’s day is a bone of contention in your life (like it was in mine), make the day about Christ. Celebrate His goodness and His perfect love for you. Hope in Him. Place your future in His hands.
Because all else will fail you. But Christ never will.
Happy Christ Day!