Monday, December 3, 2007

Blessed are the Barren?

The title of this blog is odd, especially given how not blessed I feel when thinking about this particular aspect of my life. If children are a blessing from God, then not having them must be a withholding of that blessing, correct?

Christianity Today's December 2007 cover features an article called "Blessed are the Barren." Though my copy hasn't arrived for me to be able to read the article yet, the title caught me by surprise and challenged my thinking.

While it's true that children are a blessing from God, it is not true that the barren woman lives in denial of God's blessing. She may live without that particular blessing, and in no way do I minimize the grief associated with that (anyone who has been around me this week could tell you what a wretched basket case I've been as I've wallowed in that pain I already know too well); however, my head tells me that our God is a big God (cliche, I know), and His glory is so rich that I needn't fret about running out of ways to seek it or receive His blessing.

The barren woman is not less blessed-just differently blessed. We understand God's ministry to the hearts of Hannah, Elisabeth, and Sara in a personal way that our mother sisters will never internalize. God's ministry to those women reveals some of my favorite, most tender passages in all of scripture.

I'll be honest and say that this "battle cry" is as much, or even more so a challenge to me and my own thinking as it is a profession of my current thoughts and feelings. I'll be honest. I'm angry. I grieve. I'm broken hearted and devastated. Holy and unholy thoughts both have escaped my lips this week about God and His providence. So I'm putting out there as a challenge and reminder for the days when I don't really feel like believing it.

I'll also be honest in telling you that as recently as yesterday, I wanted nothing to do with God's will for my life in this regard. Maybe tomorrow I won't either. Sometimes I struggle with what CS Lewis articulates best:

"Not that I am (I think) in much danger of ceasing to believe in God. The real danger is of coming to believe such dreadful things about Him. The conclusion I dread is not, 'So there's no God after all,' but 'So this is what God's really like. Deceive yourself no longer." -A Grief Observed

I hope it's not the case that I feel this way all the time. But sometimes I do. I wanted my will. And in my heart of hearts, I still want God to change His mind so that natural childbearing is in His will for us. Maybe He will, maybe he won't. But today, I'm choosing to claim the truth that we are not forsaken. I'm holding on for dear life, knowing in my head that it is right and good, because my heart feels anything but.

If nothing else, we are blessed as we learn this new raw intimacy with God that in my "good Christian girl" role I've always been afraid of.