My Christian faith was a great comfort to me years ago when my husband and I were wrestling with infertility. Honestly, though, I wasn’t very inspired by biblical examples of women who longed for children and then miraculously gave birth.
Maybe it was because I knew my chances of conception were slim to none, or perhaps I found more solace in passages that had to do with God’s faithfulness, sovereignty and love.
There was one particular verse about mothers that intrigued me, however. Psalm 113:9 says this: “He settles the barren woman in her home, as a joyful mother of children.”
As I well knew, by definition, barren women don’t have children. And yet, there it was. What was I to make of it?
The Amplified Bible parenthetically describes these as “spiritual” children, which makes sense. But as families around the country gather this weekend to celebrate mothers, I can gratefully testify that this verse has come to pass in my life.
Literally, not figuratively.
Sometimes I think I refrain from praising God publicly for his specific blessings because I don’t want to cause undo pain for someone else. I tread carefully even now, never forgetting the anguish this time of year can cause for women who are struggling to conceive. I still don’t relish going to church on Mother’s Day, because I remember. I look around and wonder, Is anyone here feeling what I used to feel? The ache, the sadness, the loneliness?
I remember what it’s like, and my heart breaks for those who are there now.
And then I go home, to the two lovely ones whose presence allows me to call myself a mother, and to my husband, who traveled every step of the rocky road to parenthood with me, and I remember something else. I remember how God turned this barren woman into the joyful mother of children. And I can barely keep myself from shouting His praises from the rooftops.
We’ve always told our girls a little story that goes something like this:
“We wanted children for a long time. We prayed and prayed that God would give us just the right ones for our family. Out of all the babies in China, he chose the two of you, for us. And we are so glad he did.”
Eight years after we adopted our second daughter, I still haven’t gotten over it.
Life hasn’t always been kind since then. Like everyone else, we’ve weathered economic storms and personal challenges. But the story of God’s faithfulness in creating our family endures. And it gives me hope that the God who answered our prayers so remarkably in the past will never leave us or forsake us, no matter what the future holds.
P.S. I’m linking up today with the lovely ladies at Missional Women.
This column originally appeared in the Kansas City Star.