As my mother reminded me recently, I’m practically 41. Why that sounds so much worse than just straight up 40, I don’t know. But as a practically 41 year old never married woman, there is a big looming reality that I find myself running into everywhere I turn. Unless God pulls out a miracle, I’m never gonna have kids of my own.
It’s not like I just realized this. Of course, the reality has been periodically popping up for at least half a dozen years. I’ve just been hitting the snooze button on the biological alarm clock because I truly believed it would happen in God’s time and I just needed to be focused on the life that was in front of me today. One of my favorite verses promised me that God has a plan to give me a future. Is it HIS fault that I assumed the planned future included husband and kids?
I’ve known many friends who have gone through struggles with fertility issues – some ending up with positive results and some not. I see their heartbreak and my heart breaks with them. I realize their pain has to be worse than mine because at least they were given a hope and an expectation for becoming pregnant.
I always joke about living my life with low expectations. In theory this approach should protect you from disappointment right . . .If it doesn’t turn out like you wanted, oh well, you really didn’t want much so it should hurt less, right? And on the chance it turns out great, you’re surprised and excited on top of being satisfied by getting what you want. It can also work out that you get exactly what you expected. . . nothing.
Of course, I joke about low expectations only to disguise the fact that I have big expectations AND lots of them. Big shocker . . . I have always wanted a family of my own. Didn’t seem like I was shooting for the stars with that one, but I guess I was.
It’s also true that ‘family of my own’ was not on my daily prayer list for the last twenty years. I thought I mentioned it enough for God to know what I desired. He is omnipotent and omniscient God, he can’t be forgetful, right? There are plenty of other things to bend his ear about without constantly reminding him of my ‘wish list’, right?
So that brings me to my question. Is it a loss if it was never yours? Maybe if I wanted it more, I would’ve prayed not just daily but hourly. Maybe it’s my fault. Can I say that I’ve lost the hope if I didn’t really have much to begin with? Can I mourn the loss of children that I never prayed hard enough for in the first place?
I guess in my determination to make the best of things and to live like I wasn’t missing the thing I wanted most, I communicated to everyone I didn’t want it in the first place. I constantly run into people who are surprised to know that I want a family. Maybe their reaction is just an expression of my skillfully lived out denial. But you can only pretend so long.
I wanted kids and a family of my own . . . more than anything else on my list. So, what do I do with that?
I can’t be one raw nerve that becomes an emotional wreck every time I find myself surrounded by families or children (thanks VBS 2008 for that lesson). I could become hard and bitter. I am terrified that I already am. I still try hard to believe that God has a plan and a future for me. Just not sure how to reconcile not getting what I want with the reality God chose not to give it to me.
I could always go back to putting on the brave face and go back to making the best of things. Maybe I’ll forget that I wanted it in the first place and it’ll stop hurting.
I suspect God wants it to hurt. Or better said, He wants to use that hurt. Wants me to know that He’s in control – period – and He wants to teach me something through this. The Bible does tell me he is the giver of all good gifts. So, when he doesn’t give maybe that is also a good gift?
I suppose it’s a testament to my maturity that I just want to throw a temper tantrum, scream and cry and stay right where I am until I get what I want.