I’m not going to cry…I’m not going to cry…I’m not going to cry. And I didn’t. Or at least for the first five minutes after hearing she was pregnant…with her fourth. But despite my best efforts to pull myself together, the tears poured out of me, and the despicable ugly cry came. You know the cry, ladies. It’s a recipe of alligator tears mixed with snot everywhere, while your face is beat red, and you make horrible facial expressions all while trying not to hyperventilate. As I said, it’s ugly.
And I wasn’t prepared for it.
Because most days, walking through infertility isn’t so hard for me anymore. It was something I thought I had come to peace with and had faith to believe would change. At least one day it would. And I thought it was something that no longer made me jealous of others. Or envious of what they had or bitter for what I didn’t. I thought I was beyond the place of comparison. And beyond the stage of being angry at God or even myself. I thought I was no longer embarrassed by my situation. Or had the feeling of being a leper, an outcast, and different from other women and families. And I thought I was past that struggle of shame.
Or at least I thought I was…
But on that day, the grief, the shame, the anger, the bitterness, the envy, the guilt, and the embarrassment that infertility brings, came down on me like an unexpected afternoon rainstorm. The lessons I had learned about trusting in His purpose and not in my plan were washed away. And the confidence I had that one day my circumstances would change, vanished. I no longer felt secure in His arms. Instead, I felt unworthy, overlooked, and completely forgotten. Because why does she get babies and I don’t? Why were her prayers answered and mine ignored?
As I threw myself on the bed, wiped my tears (and snot) on my husband’s pillow, and stared out of the window, I silently wondered if it was time to wave the white flag. Time to stop praying. And pleading. And asking. Because maybe my prayers for a child didn’t really matter. Perhaps not having my own biological child is my lot in life and something I need to accept. Maybe my dreams are just that, dreams. And the desires of my heart? Well…not His. Because why else would my prayers continually go unanswered? And the desires of my heart year after year unfulfilled?
And so, with tears falling, I decided to go ahead and pour out my heart to Him anyway. I asked Him a lot of questions to ask them. I even clenched my fists and pounded the pillow like a five-year-old as I told Him how I felt without holding back. I told Him about the anger and doubt I had towards Him. I confessed my bitterness and envy that I harbored towards her. And I pleaded, perhaps for the last time, for Him to hear me and open my womb. And when the words finally ran out, and the tears started to dry, hope whispered in my ear, and somehow, I was reminded of her.
I was reminded of Hannah from 1 Samuel 1.
Ahhh, how comforting she was to me at that moment because she understood my pain. She knew what it was like to look ridiculously crazy and downright ugly while her heart cried. She knew what it was like to see someone so close to her, another wife of her husband, experience the joys of children that she had been longing for. She knew what it felt like to feel forgotten. To always feel overlooked. Shamed. And ignored. She knew what it was like to be me and how frustrating it was to pray…and pray…and pray…with no results. But she also knew the rewards of never letting go of hope. Or giving up on her prayers. Because after years of crying out to the Lord, it was that one prayer in the temple that changed the course of her life forever. It was the one prayer that ended her barrenness and birthed a champion.
It was that one prayer.
And it mattered.
While I haven’t experienced a breakthrough in my struggles or received an answer to my prayers, I won’t give up on them. I won’t stop bringing my requests before Him in confidence that they do matter. And friend, neither should you. Because it wasn’t just Hannah’s prayer that He heard. Her prayers weren’t the only ones that mattered. In Genesis 25:21 it says that after Isaac prayed pleading prayers on behalf of his barren wife Rebekah, conceived twins. And in Luke Chapter One, when the angel Gabriel approached Zechariah while in the temple, He told Zechariah that the Lord had heard their prayers and his barren wife Elizabeth would soon conceive a son.
Friends, I don’t know what it is that you have been specifically praying for, but don’t let the time you have been waiting stop you from pouring your heart out to Him. Don’t let it keep you from bringing your requests and placing them at His feet day after day. Or let the delay in an answer cause you to think He isn’t listening. Because that one prayer you prayed a few nights ago, this morning, or maybe just now, mattered. They all matter. Because friend, you are His precious child. And what matters to you matters to Him.
“The Lord has heard my cry for mercy; the Lord accepts my prayer.” ~Psalm 6:9
“He will listen to the prayers of the destitute. He will not reject their pleas.” ~Psalm 102:7
“Never stop praying.” ~1 Thessalonians 5:17
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