Worshiping with Empty Arms (Pt. 1)

It’s been two years since I first shared the story of how God has used the trial of childlessness as a refining fire in my life. Since many of you have begun reading Precious Adornment in the last few months, I thought I would post the series again in the hopes that God will use it to encourage someone else who may be struggling with the pain of a dream delayed. We must never doubt that He will make everything beautiful in His time.


“I am the LORD your God…
You shall have no other gods before Me.”

Exodus 20:2-3

What is it about Wal-Mart that drives children to insanity? From my experience, it would seem that stomping feet, flailing arms, and shouting voices are nearly as common in Wally World as are the everyday low prices.

I once observed a little squirt no more than 3 years old draw the attention of all he passed with a prolonged combination of wailing, sobbing, and screeching. As his helpless father attempted to soothe his son by saying, “Sssshhhhh…you’re ok,” the child responded between angry sobs, “I-am-not-OK!” On a separate occasion, I couldn’t help but stare in shock as an enraged ankle-biter, maybe 4 years old, shrieked and repeatedly delivered open-handed slaps to the backside of his seemingly unfazed mother.

Temper tantrums. They are not pretty sights to see. These outbursts usually have one thing in common—an unmet desire. After all, it is not actually Wal-Mart that is responsible for the production of temper tantrums. It’s just that this wonderland of toys and sugary snacks provides the ideal environment to awaken the greedy monster residing within the heart of every child. A shopping trip progresses smoothly until a tyke develops a sudden desire for something he believes he must have in order to be happy. When the parent denies the fulfillment of that desire, the monster within roars to life, demanding that his needs be met OR ELSE all around will suffer the consequences.

The unfortunate truth is that children are not the sole proprietors of temper tantrum territory. Adults have them too, but our tantrums usually look quite a bit different than those of a two-year old. I should know—I’ve had some doozies in my day. One of my adult tempter tantrums stands out rather prominently in my mind. It lasted for months…maybe a year…uh…year and a half? I wanted something, even believed that I deserved it, and when God said no, it truly felt as though my world were crumbling around me. Although God reminded me that His grace would be sufficient and assured me He would supply all my needs, I turned a deaf ear to His comforting voice and in my heart raised my own instead: “I am not OK!”

In a sermon on idols in the Christian life, I recently heard Mark Driscoll teach, “An idol is a good thing that becomes a god thing, and that’s a bad thing.” This was true in my case. What I wanted was a good thing; the Bible even says so, “Children are a gift of the LORD, the fruit of the womb is a reward” (Psalm 127:3). It wasn’t what I wanted that was the problem; it was how much I wanted it. My good thing had become a “god thing” in my life, and believe me when I say, that was a very bad thing. In my heart, I echoed the words of barren Rachel in Genesis, “Give me children, or else I die!” (Genesis 30:1)

I hope you don’t mind my being so transparent in this post. It has taken me over a year to bring myself to actually type out the thoughts that God has placed on my heart regarding my struggle with childlessness. I certainly don’t want this blog to function as an arena for airing my dirty laundry, but I truly believe that the Lord might take the testimony of what He has done in my heart and use it to encourage your own. I want to tell you how the Lord has glorified Himself by preventing me from worshiping a false god—the god of motherhood. In my next post, I will share with you how the Lord brought me to a place where I could truly and joyfully worship Him, a place where I worship with empty arms.

Read Part Two HERE.

4 thoughts on “Worshiping with Empty Arms (Pt. 1)

  1. Thank you for sharing. I am struggling with singleness – different and yet not. I long for a husband and kids and I, too, am prone to tantrums.

    Thanks for the reminder I needed to hear! It is hard to find a way to express your pain and beg the Lord for His goodness and provision, while not screaming at him for not providing the answer you want yet or at all.

    I, myself, am in the process of learning and relearning (its taking more than once to learn!) the balance between petition and praise.

    • Sorry I didn’t reply to your comment before, Katy! I’m glad to know that the Lord used what I have learned to speak to you about your own trial. There are many parallels between singleness and childlessness, and the lessons learned are much the same. I’m praying God will help you to trust in Him with all your Heart during this time.

  2. I am struggling with childlessness. For this whole last year, I have felt that “I deserve to be a Mom because it’s a good thing.” The Lord has taught my husband and I so much, but I must admit that I still struggle some days with sadness, discouragement, and emptiness. I look forward to reading your other posts on this topic. Thank you for sharing!

    • Brenda, I truly hope the posts were encouraging to you. It is not an easy road, but I speak from experience when I say that the Lord will sustain and strengthen you through it. I still struggle with the same sadness you mentioned; I don’t think those feelings necessarily go away, but somehow the Lord produces joy even when the pain hasn’t gone away completely. I will be praying that God will use this trial to draw you closer to Himself and to show you that He truly is good. “Wait for the LORD; Be strong and let your heart take courage; Yes, wait for the LORD.” Psalm 27:14

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s