I could barely catch my breath on that Friday night in March when I received a text message from a close friend who said “we are expecting” and “we heard heartbeats.” That’s right, heartbeats. Plural. As I sat in my chair surrounded by over 150 other people and unable to escape, the knot in my throat grew to the size of a grapefruit as I tried to hold back the tears and type, “Congrats.” I sat there numb. This was the seventh pregnancy announcement I had heard that week, and while I was truly happy for each of the ladies, I was sad for me.
I felt like a child at a birthday party, excited as I held my spoon and stared at my empty bowl, ready to receive the much-anticipated scoop of ice cream; but then to only have the excitement vanish as I slowly look around and notice all my friends at the table enjoying not just one, but two of the best scoops of ice cream I had ever seen. Why had I been skipped? Was I being forgotten? When will it be my turn?
As I continued to stare at her message, I shamefully kept thinking that if she had only been pregnant with one, it might not hurt so bad…why does she get two? It wasn’t a question I asked in anger or a jealous rage, but rather in soft-spoken envy. I didn’t have any ill will toward her. I was happy for her, but I felt forgotten by God, and I desperately wanted what she had.
I wanted to be the one sending a text message letting everyone know my precious baby bird was on his way. I wanted to shout with excitement as I heard two heartbeats. Heck, I wanted to lose my voice from shouting so loud after hearing just one. Not to mention, I wanted to feel the rush and excitement of listening to the “swoosh” sound while the nurse said everything looked perfect. And I wanted to squeal like a little school girl with joy as I skipped, galloped, and cartwheeled myself out of the doctor’s office. I wanted everything that she had.
It’s been weeks since I received her message, and whenever I see her from a distance, tears form in my eyes as I still feel as though God has forgotten me. I can’t help but have a blank stare as I think about how her womb is full (really full) while mine remains empty. I can’t help but ask God, why does she get two?
Whenever I walk into a room, and she smiles and waves in my direction, I smile and wave back, but it’s awkward. It’s awkward because of the distance I have created between us since she shared her news with me that night. I know she wishes I was pregnant too. I know she doesn’t want to pour salt into my open wound, but knowing all of this doesn’t take away my pain. It still doesn’t make me stop feeling forgotten and wondering, why does she get two?
I pass her in the grocery store, and as we exchange small talk, my mind can’t stop racing and my heart won’t stop hurting. Again, why does she get two?
I feel ashamed because every single time I see her, I know I shouldn’t be asking this question. I shouldn’t care if she gets one, two, or even five. Instead, I should be rejoicing in her victory because it was just last November when I listened to her on the phone tell me she was going to miscarry. She has been through the pain of crying herself to sleep at night and through the heartache of having to tell others she is no longer expecting. She has been through the deep, dark trenches, and here I sat, ashamed as I selfishly begged God the question, why does she get two?
I’m not new to biology and, like most people, naturally assumed that the question was ridiculous since this was a natural conception. The answer was as simple and obvious as two eggs ovulated, or perhaps one egg split. However, when our eyes met a few weeks ago, and I again silently asked God, “why does she get two” the Holy Spirit spoke to my tender and ready to listen heart. He said, “It’s more than just biology. It is God being faithful to keep His word.” At that moment, Zechariah 9:12, a favorite verse of mine, bounced around the walls of my soul.
“Come back to the place of safety, all you prisoners who still have hope! I promise this very day that I will repay two blessings for each of your troubles.”
God always gives more blessings for each of our troubles. In the Old Testament, He restored double blessings to Job when Job still refused to curse God despite losing everything. When David quit pleading and instead began worshiping God, losing the child he had with Bathsheba, God blessed him once more in quantity with another son, who became the wisest and richest king the world has ever known.
I didn’t realize it at the time, but on that Friday night, I let my feelings take me from my place of safety; I chose to become a prisoner shackled to envy, and the “why her and not me?” syndrome started to eat me from the inside out. However, since our eyes met several weeks ago, the chains have been broken–I have been set free.
I am free from envy, and like Job and David, I will praise God as I choose to joyfully watch her enjoy her double portion while I patiently wait for mine. Her growing bump reminds me that He is faithful, and at the end of this journey, I will have more than before, if not in quantity like Job, then in quality like David.
My friend, what is it you have lost today? A child? Your health? A job? Maybe your marriage or a close relationship? I pray the Lord will draw you near, and as you return to His place of safety, hope will abound, and joy will overflow even in the midst of your waiting. Be confident today because He has declared and promised to restore more blessings for each of your troubles, and He is faithful…all you need to do is become a prisoner of hope.
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