“To them I will give…a name better than that
of sons and daughters.”
“Where are your boys?” The unexpected question came from my 4-year old nephew as he and his 2-year old cousin bounced on the couch beside me yesterday afternoon.
“I don’t have any boys,” I responded matter-of-factly.
He stared at me as though my words weren’t quite sinking in. “You don’t have any boys?”
“No. Joseph is the only boy I have,” I smiled and patted my husband’s knee, making my nephew smile.
I’m not sure what prompted the question. Maybe because people had been talking about Mother’s Day, and the thought occurred to the little guy that his grandmother had boys, his mom had boys, and his other aunt had boys, so it would only make sense that I should have children too.
And there it was–in a child’s innocent question, the sudden reminder that on this day I remained different from most of the women around me. A fleeting moment of sadness accompanied the thought.
Perhaps your Mother’s Day contained similar reminders. Judging from the number of times my post “Mother’s Day for the Childless” was shared this weekend, it seems clear that many women are searching for comfort in the midst of unfulfilled longings for children. If you’re one of those women, I hope the following thoughts from Elisabeth Elliot will strengthen your heart as you learn to see your childlessness in Calvary’s light…
Children, God tells us, are a heritage from Him. Is the man or woman to whom he gives no children therefore disinherited? Surely not. The Lord gave portions of land to each tribe of Israel except one. “The tribe of Levi… received no holding; the Lord God of Israel is their portion, as he promised them” (Joshua 13:14, NEB). Withholding what He granted to the rest, He gave to Levi a higher privilege. May we not see childlessness in the same light? I believe there is a special gift for those to whom God does not give the gift of physical fatherhood or motherhood…
A woman of about fifty wrote, “Each Mother’s Day became a little harder for me as I realized another year had gone by and after many years of marriage I am still childless–the only woman in my Sunday School class who is not a mother. The morning service started… I could not see the pastor for the tears in my eyes. Almost at the end of the message he said, ‘I know there are some of you women here this morning who would like to be mothers, but for some reason God has chosen differently. Don’t question Him. He has a reason.’”
Childlessness, for those who deeply desire children, is real suffering. Seen in the light of Calvary and accepted in the name of Christ, it becomes a chance to share in His sufferings. Acceptance of the will of the Father took Him to the Cross. We find our peace as we identify with Him in His death and resurrection…
My correspondent says God has given her “several kids adopted in my heart to pray for, whose mothers say they haven’t time to pray.” Another girl asked her to be grandmother to her new baby. “Well, what a blessing and how this has changed my life!” she says. “If I had sat around and felt sorry for myself, look at the above blessings I would have missed. What a thrill on Mother’s Day this year to get a Grandmother card!”
And what of the young childless woman? Is she merely to mark time, hoping against hope that someday she will be given a child? There are always younger people who need a boost, some encouragement in their struggles against the pull of the world, a listening ear when they face hard decisions, someone who will simply take time out to pray with them, to walk with them the way of the cross with its tremendous demand–the difficult and powerful life of glad surrender and acceptance. As the branches of the wine pour out their sweetness, so young women may see their opportunity, as branches of the True Vine, to pour out their lives for the world.
[Keep a Quiet Heart, pp. 172-174]
Photo: Isaac Joo