To the disappointed mama-to-be standing with yet another negative PTK in hand…
I see you.
To the shocked and flawed mama crying on the bathroom floor…
I see you.
To the frustrated and fed up mama wondering how she can get through another baby shower smiling
I see you.
And to the mama left disappointed by another bump in the long road to adoption…
I also see you too.
I feel your desperate pain.
And I know that deep longing in your heart.
It’s okay not to be okay
If you’re anything like me I know that most of the time you’ll look like you’re doing okay and you’ll be managing to keep it together for everyone else around you.
It’s hard to keep holding onto hope when you’re faced with month after month of disappointed dreams…
Maybe sometimes, like me, you find yourself trying to rationalise or minimalise your pain; because there’s always someone with a story that’s worse.
Maybe sometimes, like me, you find it hard to be honest with God about your emotions and it just feels easier to give God your best spiritual performance.
And maybe, like me, you aren’t very comfortable with very public demonstrations of emotion either.
But not Hannah, who’s story about struggling to conceive we can read about in 1 Samuel 1, where she is found weeping and pouring out her soul to the Lord at the temple.
In fact, so great was her emotional display that Eli the priest actually thought she was drunk:
15 “Not so, my lord,” Hannah replied, “I am a woman who is deeply troubled. I have not been drinking wine or beer; I was pouring out my soul to the Lord. 16 Do not take your servant for a wicked woman; I have been praying here out of my great anguish and grief.”
17 Eli answered, “Go in peace, and may the God of Israel grant you what you have asked of him.”
(1 Samuel 1: 12 – 17)
Hannah’s story reminds me that it’s actually good to bring my tears, my anger and disappointment right before God, being real about how I am feeling, and that He can deal with my raw emotions.
It also reminds me that it’s good to share my emotions with others too; maybe not with just anyone who will listen, but at least with some close trusted friends, family members or leaders who I know will stand with us, support us, and pray on our behalf.
Because just look how Eli blesses Hannah and encourages her not to worry, but instead to trust in God and to go in peace, saying ‘May the God of Israel grant you what you have asked of Him’.
We are then told in the story that Hannah goes home to her husband with her spirit lifted, and ‘in the course of time’ she becomes pregnant with a son who she calls Samuel.
In the ‘course of time’
An amazing answer to prayer for sure, but also just a small word of caution here too…
Because I think it’s really easy to read the Bible and to fill in the gaps ourselves, assuming that the answers always came instantly and miraculously.
But that’s not actually what we are told here in this passage. It says that her prayer was answered ‘in the course of time’…
This ‘course of time’ could have been a few days or weeks, or it could have been a few months. It could have been significantly longer. We aren’t told for sure.
But bearing in mind that there were no ovulation sticks, no early pregnancy scans, and no digital pregnancy test kits with 99% accuracy up to 5 days early, I think it’s safe to assume that there was a reasonable time lapse between her prayer and the answer.
And I wonder what happened in that waiting time too.
Did she trust God fully and without waivering? Or did she continue to wobble and to doubt at times like me?
I think this passage is really challenging because often when I don’t get an instantaneous answer to prayer, I think of it as somehow less miraculous or less God-given.
But again, not so with Hannah. She fully attributes the birth of her son to the Lord hearing and answering her prayers and dedicates his life straight back to God in thankfulness.
So back to you again …
So mama, or mama-to-be, reading this with your broken heart in hand, know that it’s okay to be real about where you really are today, with your loved ones but also with the Lord.
Know that He sees you. He knows that deep longing in your heart, and His heart is breaking for you in your pain.