Our journey to parenthood was long, but not as long as some. And it was painful, though not as painful as others experience. Were it not for the unwavering prayers of precious saints, and the gentle touch of those who lifted us up and carried us through the dark days of struggling to understand, my husband and I would have surely failed at being faithful.
Every woman who longs to be a mommy, but is still in that desperate time of waiting and wondering, knows this to be true: we wrestle with God and struggle to understand. Our bodies seem to be at war with our hearts – our deepest desires that seem to be so much of who we think we are – and we know that the war within us is physical, it is emotional, it is spiritual.
We watch our friends and sisters and cousins become mommies, and we rejoice with them. But we grieve for ourselves. We see all of their firsts: first teeth, first steps, first words, first Christmas, first birthday, first day of school; beautiful, precious lives that move on in a natural progression of some divine plan that seems to have forgotten us. And we wonder if we will ever have those firsts. We wonder and we wait. And we wrestle. Oh yes, how we wrestle.
We wrestle with dreams and reality. Dreams we’ve had since we were little girls, and a reality that those dreams may not come true. We wrestle with truth and lies. Truth that His plan is perfect, His will is good and gracious; and lies from the Deceiver that we aren’t good enough, healthy enough, strong enough, worth enough to be a mommy. We wrestle with joy and sorrow. Joy for the babies our friends deliver, for their health and their innocence and their beauty; yet we sorrow for our own empty arms and empty cradles.
Sometimes we withdraw ourselves because the pain is too great a burden to carry in front of others. But it is then, when being alone and isolated feels the most natural, that we need friends with tender hearts and thick skin to come alongside us and help carry our burden. We know you can say nothing to comfort us, even though you will try. We know you hurt for us, even though you cannot understand.
When we hide behind a fragile facade of trusting God’s will and timing, hold our hands and be there with us as we wait. When our tears are bravely held back through a grace-filled moment of courage, cry with us – let those tears fall, so that we know it’s safe to let our own tears flow. When our hearts are broken, don’t try to say the right thing – there is no right thing. Just be there, without judgement or question or platitudes, holding our hands, and we’ll know you’re shouldering a burden we can no longer carry on our own. When we don’t know how to pray, or flat out refuse to out of anger and frustration, won’t you pray for us? Won’t you pray for our broken hearts and wounded souls? Your prayers are our allies on a battlefield of self pity and regret.
You may not understand our journey, but you understand questioning God. You may not understand our broken heart, but you know what it is to hurt and grieve. You may not understand our struggle, but you know what it means to wrestle with the Almighty. And we need your friendship. We need your compassion. We need you companionship.
Don’t let us isolate ourselves. Don’t let us feel forgotten. Don’t let us retreat to that place of aloneness where we feel safe, but really are the most vulnerable. As much as we think you won’t understand, as much as we want to be alone in our pit of despair – we need you. We just may not realize it yet.