Encouragement from Mom

My husband and I decided once we knew there was a problem to let our parents know. We made this decision because the question of “when are you going to have children” can hurt. We figured if we told our families then we could prevent the innocent but hurtful questions. I am so thankful that we made that decision. One day in April, my mom sent me this picture. She sent this on a day that I was hurting. I wanted a baby, my life felt like a mess, and to be honest I felt like a failure as a woman. Most women who suffer from infertility feel that way. As a woman, we are told that we can have children, that we can be a mother, a wife, a daughter. When infertility strikes, however, Sacrifice, Above and Beyondfeeling like a woman can be ripped away from you. For me, I felt like a failure for a while. I felt like my body had literally betrayed me. I was a woman, I should be able to make my husband a father, make our parents grand parents. It did not help that customers at work were popping up pregnant, facebook was filled with pregnancy and birth announcements, and there is always someone who is going to ask “why don’t you have children or what are you waiting for.”

The day my mom sent me this picture, I needed it. I had a lot going on in my life at that time and infertility being added to it hurt. I was feeling emotions as I described above and it was overwhelming. I saved this picture on my phone as a favorite so that when I’m struggling, I have this to refer to.

The Bible verse referenced is 1 Samuel 1: 9-28.

“So Hannah arose after they had finished eating and drinking in Shiloh. Now Eli the priest was sitting on the seat by the doorpost of the tabernacle of the Lord. 10 And she was in bitterness of soul, and prayed to the Lord and wept in anguish. 11 Then she made a vow and said, “O Lord of hosts, if You will indeed look on the affliction of Your maidservant and remember me, and not forget Your maidservant, but will give Your maidservant a male child, then I will give him to the Lord all the days of his life, and no razor shall come upon his head.” 12 And it happened, as she continued praying before the Lord, that Eli watched her mouth. 13 Now Hannah spoke in her heart; only her lips moved, but her voice was not heard. Therefore Eli thought she was drunk. 14 So Eli said to her, “How long will you be drunk? Put your wine away from you!” 15 But Hannah answered and said, “No, my lord, I am a woman of sorrowful spirit. I have drunk neither wine nor intoxicating drink, but have poured out my soul before the Lord. 16 “Do not consider your maidservant a wicked woman, for out of the abundance of my complaint and grief I have spoken until now.” 17 Then Eli answered and said, “Go in peace, and the God of Israel grant your petition which you have asked of Him.” 18 And she said, “Let your maidservant find favor in your sight.” So the woman went her way and ate, and her face was no longer sad.19 Then they rose early in the morning and worshiped before the Lord, and returned and came to their house at Ramah. And Elkanah knew Hannah his wife, and the Lord remembered her. 20 So it came to pass in the process of time that Hannah conceived and bore a son, and called his name Samuel, saying, “Because I have asked for him from the Lord.” 21 Now the man Elkanah and all his house went up to offer to the Lord the yearly sacrifice and his vow. 22 But Hannah did not go up, for she said to her husband, “Not until the child is weaned; then I will take him, that he may appear before the Lord and remain there forever.” 23 So Elkanah her husband said to her, “Do what seems best to you; wait until you have weaned him. Only let the Lord establish His word.” Then the woman stayed and nursed her son until she had weaned him. 24 Now when she had weaned him, she took him up with her, with three bulls, one ephah of flour, and a skin of wine, and brought him to the house of the Lord in Shiloh. And the child was young. 25 Then they slaughtered a bull, and brought the child to Eli. 26 And she said, “O my lord! As your soul lives, my lord, I am the woman who stood by you here, praying to the Lord. 27 For this child I prayed, and the Lord has granted me my petition which I asked of Him. 28 Therefore I also have lent him to the Lord; as long as he lives he shall be lent to the Lord.” So they worshiped the Lord there.”

Re-read verse 10: “And she was in bitterness of soul, and prayed to the Lord and wept in anguish.” I will not lie, I have felt very bitter in my journey with infertility. There are days where I have gone to the mail and there was a baby shower invite. Something that once filled me with joy and excitement made me a little sad. Don’t mistaken me, I am happy for those I have known that have been blessed with a child and that have gotten to have the experience of pregnancy. It does, however, still sting me. Getting that baby shower invitation can be a very bitter reminder that I am struggling. It reminds me that I have something wrong creating what seems like obstacle over obstacle at times. When I first got my diagnosis, I did not necessarily go to God like I should have. It wasn’t until I began talking to other women through Ovia and my mom that I began to go back to God like I should have. Now, when I have those bitter thoughts, and I do, I do as Hannah did and I pray to God and I cry to Him. I know He hears me and I know that He truly does have a plan for myself, my husband, and our future child.

I am so thankful that my mom sent me this as encouragement. Just a few months later, in August, I had a miscarriage. This is a passage that I referred to many times while I was grieving and I still do when I have days where the grief feels so fresh. Re- read verse 27: “27 For this child I prayed, and the Lord has granted me my petition which I asked of Him.” God hears my prayers and he can hear your prayers too. God will give us what we ask for when it is the right time according to His plan. There will be things that happen, like my miscarriage, that make no sense to me. In all honesty though, God heard my prayer and He gave my husband and myself Riley. It may not have been for as long as we would have liked, but He choose us to love Riley. I know that He will be there to encourage me when I need encouragement and I know that He has my best interest in mind.That Bible Study reminds me that I need to have faith when I am down. It reminds me that I need to devote myself, my marriage, and my child to God. It reminds me that I should pray daily for my future child and that God will give me what I ask for when it is time.