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Mother's Day Envy

Love is patient, love is kind.

It does not envy, it does not boast, it is not proud.

1 Corinthians 13:4

 

Every Monday night, the men at my church meet for weekly Bible study in our fellowship hall. Pizza and popcorn are always available, and several times a year they pull out all the stops and provide a steak dinner with a famous (or semi-famous) speaker. From what I hear, it’s always a great evening of fellowship and learning. I can’t attest to the validity of this statement, however, because my gender prohibits me from attending their meetings and engaging in the experience. I am only an outsider looking in with envy.

 

As a woman who was not able to bear children, this is also how I tend to feel on Mother’s Day. Envious.


Like Rachel who reportedly watched with envy as her older sister Leah carried and delivered four sons to their shared husband, Jacob, I have watched with envy as my friends bore children, raised them from infancy to high school, and sent them off to college. I am now at that stage of life where most of the invitations I receive from my peers are either for their child’s college graduation, wedding, or baby shower—all reminders of what I have missed.

 

I bear no ill will toward my friends or their children for celebrating these milestones. On the contrary, I rejoice in being included in their lives and celebrations. But I would be lying if I didn’t admit that at times my heart yearns for what I do not have, and envy creeps in like mold. “A heart at peace gives life to the body, but envy rots the bones” (Proverbs 14:30).

 

In ancient cultures, a childless wife was an embarrassment to her husband and a failure to herself. Though that is no longer the stigma associated with infertility today, the inability to bear children still has a way of making a woman feel inadequate, less than whole. I know. The words of Solomon echo what many women believe. “Children are a heritage from the Lord, offspring a reward from him. Like arrows in the hands of a warrior are children born in one’s youth. Blessed is the man whose quiver is full of them” (Psalm 127:3-5). There’s no question that Solomon was talking about himself. With 700 wives, his quiver must have been overflowing!

 

But for every verse about the blessing of children, there is a story of infertility. When matriarchs Sarah and Rachel were unable to bear offspring, they both encouraged their husbands, Abraham and Jacob, to sleep with their maidservants. The men did as their wives instructed to produce sons, but in the end, both wives conceived their own children as well.

 

Then there was Hannah, the mother of the prophet Samuel, and Samson’s mother, whose name is unknown. Unlike Sarah and Rachel who took matters into their own hands, these two barren women prayed to conceive children. God graciously answered each of their prayers and gave them both sons whose names live on in the Bible.


In the book of Ruth, we read that Naomi’s two sons marry Moabite women who produce no children during their ten years of marriage prior to their deaths. (Granted, Ruth goes on to marry Boaz, and they give birth to Obed who will one day be the grandfather of King David.) And speaking of King David, his wife Michal never produced an heir either. “And Michal daughter of Saul had no children to the day of her death” (2 Samuel 6:23).


I take comfort from these stories—not because suffering loves company, but because in them, I see myself. I can’t help but thank God for these and woman and their struggles. These stories echo down through the generations to inform me that infertility is not a curse. It is more like a birth trait given to us by our creator—more like blue eyes or a quick wit. “For you formed my inward parts; you knitted me together in my mother's womb” (Psalm 139:13).

 

And God will not allow my infertility to be wasted. Without children of my own, He has provided me with time and treasures to advance his kingdom in other ways. I have had the precious honor of counseling women through infertility, praying women toward pregnancy, loving on my nieces and nephews, mentoring students at my church, and teaching children about the love of God. These are the stories that fill my heart with joy and bring me peace.

 

I could hide and focus on what I lack, but I have found that it is better to embrace how God designed me and use it to encourage others, just as God has encouraged me through the strong women in Scripture. “As a mother comforts her child, so I will comfort you” (Isaiah 66:13).

 

So, to all the mother’s out there: Happy Mother’s Day.

And to all the barren women: God sees and loves you, too.

 

THE SONG THAT COMES TO MIND is You Make Everything Beautiful by Rebecca St. James with For King and Country

Favorite lyric: Grant me freedom to walk a new path, and let me feel Your love. In my weakness You can shine. In Your strength I can fly.”

 

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2 comentários


Lori Jahner Mohre
Lori Jahner Mohre
13 de mai.

Thank you for sharing this with us. It was beautiful, honest & encourging

🌷🌿

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Michelle Rahal
Michelle Rahal
13 de mai.
Respondendo a

Thank you, Lori. To God be the glory!❤️

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