I’m going to preface this blog with a couple of things. Firstly, this is part of a new series I’m writing called The Waiting Room. Secondly, it’s a bit of a long post, so settle in and enjoy. And thirdly, I didn’t really want to write this post. I didn’t want to write it last year, or the year before, and I certainly don’t want to write it now. But as it is, I’m feeling God nudge me to share what’s going on inside me. And considering that years ago I promised that I would always be honest and transparent with my writing, I feel I need to come good on that. So here we are.
This weekend is Mother’s Day here in Australia. It’s a beautiful day where we get to honour all the amazing mother’s and what they do. It’s a time to stop and say thank you to all the mothers. And not just the biological mothers but the mother figures; the step-mothers, grandmothers, aunties, mentors,and spiritual mothers. I get the joy of honouring my mother, my Nan, my sister-in-love and some of my closest friends for how they love their children and the sacrifices they make. It’s a sweet weekend of celebration for many.
However, it’s also a hard weekend for many. I don’t want to take away from the mothers because today is to celebrate them and it grieves my heart to know that I could be dampening a sweet day for some with my words, but today is hard for some people. Some have lost their mothers and are facing another year without them. Some have fractured relationships, or no relationship with their mothers and today just brings pain to the surface. Some wake up to the pain of having lost a child, whether through death or estranged relationships or abuse. And for some, Mother’s Day is a reminder that they are not yet a mother.
And that’s where I land. Clinging to a long held dream of being a mother that for reasons unknown, hasn’t happened yet. Mother’s Day is a reminder that another year has come and gone, and that dream of being a mother has yet to come to life. For reasons beyond my understanding, this dream that has been in my heart since I was 7 years old, just hasn’t happened. I don’t know why, only God does. But as I ponder another year of childlessness, I realise that time does not make this pain any easier. It does not lessen or ease it. As a 40 year old single female, if anything, the ticking of the biological clock feels more like a ticking time bomb. And it hurts.
If I can describe the emotions, I would say that I feel like I am walking on a wire over a mountain, holding the pain and grief of not being a mother in one hand, and the joy and happiness for all the mothers around me in the other. I am trying to balance both and there are days when my joy and happiness for all the mothers around me has me about ready to explode. One of my closest friends had a beautiful baby girl recently and I could not stop smiling about it. My heart was about ready to jump out of my chest with excitement and delight and I praised God over and over for her safe arrival. I am beyond excited to have another little human that I can love on and spoil and snuggle. And let’s not forget the new baby smell and the tiny fingers and toes!
But the truth is, there are some days when I fear the pain and grief of still not being a mother is going to overwhelm me. The ache hits me like a Mack truck square in the gut and I find myself choking on a sob. Try as I might, the ache and longing won’t go away. And so, I cry out to God. “why, Lord? How long, Lord? Will it ever happen, Lord?” There have been times when I have begged those questions, desperate for an answer to understand why my pain and ache is necessary. But when I have asked ‘why’, God just won’t answer that question.
Instead, God replies with” Do you trust Me?” God isn’t saying yes or no or even wait, He’s asking me if I trust Him. Do I trust that He has good things for me and that He isn’t holding anything back from me? I would love to tell you that my instant response to that question is a resounding YES, but honestly, there are days when I struggle to let go of my dreams and place them in His hands. For most of my life, I have felt like I have had to wait for what I’ve wanted. It feels like every time I had a dream or a desire flicker to life in my heart, I went into a holding pattern where I had to just wait. And wait. And wait. And this feels like sitting in the waiting room again, feeling torn between wanting to just leave or just stay there and wait in the hopes that any minute now, the door will open, and I will finally get to hold my dream in my arms. So, when God asks me if I trust Him, my heart whispers, “yes, Lord, but goodness, it’s hard sometimes. So hard.” It is so hard to let go of my dreams and hopes and lay them at His feet, trusting that He has great things for me and that those things are good, if even they don’t look like what I want or expect.
Yet in the face of my doubts and pain, God pours out His love for me. It is a strange and beautiful and overwhelming thing. The more I ask God why and how long, the more I feel Him just smile at me and gather me in His arms. His love just settles over me like a blanket and I find myself settling into a feeling of peace and love. And while I still want answers, being in His presence and feeling His love quietens me. In His presence, I am reminded that He sees me and loves me and calls me His beloved daughter.
He also grieves with me. God is not a mean, sadistic God that enjoys our pain. No, He is kind and loving and when we hurt, He feels it with us. When we grieve, He cries with us. And that’s the constant; in every season of ache and longing, He has held me and grieved with me. You may be asking, “well, why doesn’t He just shift it if He’s God?” and my answer is, I don’t know. I don’t have a good answer for that. But what I know is that He is God and He is sovereign. And He is Kind. I truly believe that. In the face of my pain and my raised fist to heaven, God has been gentle with my heart. He has gathered me close and held me as I’ve cried myself to sleep. And He has sat with in the waiting.
And so, as I find myself sitting in this waiting room, I am asking God how to wait well. I know that this waiting period will not be wasted, and that as painful as it may be, it will grow me in some way. God will always take our pain and give us beauty for our ashes when we place it in His hands. So, I leave you with this: with all my heart and soul, I know that God hears my cries and feels my pain and holds my hand as I wait. I know that He is near because God is always near to the broken-hearted (psalm 34:18). He is near, even in the waiting. Especially in the waiting. And only He can comfort us and ease the pain that sits in the depths of our soul. So, if you, like me, were holding your pain and your breath this weekend, know that you are seen and heard and loved by a mighty Heavenly Father. Much love and prayers to all. And a Sweet, Happy Mother’s Day to all the mother’s out there.