I’ve been blessed to work with students and the Lord, in his infinite wisdom has given me a mother's heart. There are my college kids from the years I worked in higher education, who lovingly called me Momma, the kids from the youth group where I served as an adult leader who now have kids of their own. I’m so proud and honored to have played a part in their spiritual development. Watching them serve the Lord as adults has brought me tremendous joy. But recent events brought me to tears, made me a hormonal mess for the span of 48 hours. Why?
I asked my husband if he was disappointed that we had no children after being married almost seven years, me pushing 46 and the doctors saying it's too late. They say my recent diagnosis of liver disease won't allow me to get pregnant nor carry a baby to term if I did. That beautiful man said no, of course he wasn't, that God would simply provide our family through adoption.
Which was always part of our plan, but when I examined the truth of the matter later on I realized what I was really asking was, are you disappointed in me, did I fail you as a wife and as a woman? Childless women in the Bible were often ridiculed and frowned upon. It often feels like a mark of shame, this badge of barrenness I bear.
But that's when Jesus whispers to me to take heart, my husband loves me because I'm me, not because of what I give him. That somewhere there is a child praying for me as hard as I’m praying for them. There was joy in understanding that. In tears, there was hope and there was joy.
One of my kids had a beautiful baby recently and I thought, if these were really my children, I'd have over twenty grandchildren by now, twenty grandchildren, and here I am, arms empty, heart still breaking. But then I remember the ten years they cried out to the Lord for their child and how I loved them so much I couldn’t help but rejoice with them for this miracle! There was joy in that.
Bianca, my Chihuahua, has traveled the road with me for thirteen years of fulltime ministry. Right there giving comfort, nuzzling me with that heart shaped nose, hogging the bed and making her appearance between Jon and I at the most inopportune times. Now the vet thinks she has cancer, and we need to decide on surgery or letting her go.
How do you cope when the one little creature who has been most like your child may be reaching the end of her days? I grasped onto to the promise that God cares for man and animal alike, I rejoice that she is in no pain, still chewing bones, begging for treats and racing up and down hotel hallways. I trust that the Lord has this in control and how long she lives is decided by Him. So I spoil her, hold her close and spend more time playing fetch and less time chained to my desk... and there is tremendous joy in that. I believe, although I know some disagree, she will be there in heaven and I find explosive joy and great peace in that.
Finally, I was in covenant with three women, all of us childless, all of us praying for years that God would open our womb and bless us with a baby to call our own. All three have had baby boys, like Hannah prayed for Samuel or Sarah laughed for Isaac, or Elizabeth gave birth to John in her old age. All, except me. What do you do when you feel forgotten? Like your prayers will never be answered and your life over the last eighteen months has been nothing but adversity?
You rejoice that you still believe, you find strength in the truth that no matter how you feel, God has not forsaken you and you praise Him because somehow, in the midst of it all, you still love Him and want others to love and know Him as well. You stand back in utter amazement, convinced Jesus Is Real, because you can still sing, and I find unshakable joy in that.
My prayer is that whatever is breaking your heart today, that somehow, God shows you... the joy in the darkest places.
Sing praise to the LORD, you His godly ones, And give thanks to His holy name. For His anger is but for a moment, His favor is for a lifetime; Weeping may last for the night, But a shout of joy comes in the morning. Psalm 30 Verse 4 and 5
This blog was first published in March of 2017 on the Devotional Diva website. We are sharing it again since October is Infertility Awareness Month. At the time of this posting - October 2018 - Bianca the Chihuahua is cancer free and still begging treats.
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