I remember when the fear first began. It wasn’t when three of my friends, as well as my sister, all became pregnant around the same time; that was incredibly exciting. It began when all three of my friends had miscarriages, one devastating loss after another. Only my sister’s baby was born that year.
Three rounds of heartache and grief, followed by the anxiety of trying again to conceive and bear a child to full term was heart-wrenching to witness. It was during that long season of darkness that something began to grow deep within me — a fear of motherhood.
My husband and I married young, and although we both wanted children, it had always seemed like a plan for the distant future. However, throughout the course of this past year, even though all three friends now have healthy babies, I had found myself pushing the idea further and further away. The journey to motherhood appeared to me like one of uncertainty and sacrifice that could result in beauty or in death — and more likely the latter.
On top of all the fear surrounding the threat of loss, I was also scared of being a bad mom if I were to have a child. Although I had wonderful parents, I still carry pain from my own childhood that I would never want my own child to inherit. So the solution seemed to be obvious — avoid all that potential pain by never having a child.
A few years ago, I never thought that I could utter those words. But then a few months ago, I found myself asking my husband how he would feel about adopting children instead of having our own. After all, there are so many children that need loving homes. But what I couldn’t bring myself to share with my husband were my beliefs that if we were to adopt a child, we would surely be giving them a better life — however, bearing a child of our own would not come with that same guarantee. I kept these secret feelings buried deep in my heart, but the Lord searched me and He knows me, and He did not let these lies have their way in His child.
Faith over Fear
In the fall of last year, I was forced to deal with these fears when I thought that I might be pregnant. I remember lying in bed late one night thinking, “What if I really am pregnant?” And as ashamed as I am to admit it, my very next thought was, “If I’m pregnant then I’ll have to stop playing rugby!” I had just joined an athletic team for the first time since high school and my body was finally feeling good again. It’s my body, I reasoned with myself, and my first concern about having a baby was that he or she could take that away from me.
Oh Lord, I prayed, “This is obviously not okay! You’re going to have to do something about this sin in me.”
And in the silence of that anxious night, it was as if I could feel my Heavenly Father there with me, smiling as He whispered this promise into my heart, “Jeana, you’re going to love being a mother.”
Soon after that night, we learned that we were not pregnant. But within a couple weeks of that discovery I ran into a woman I know from a local worship ministry who said she had something important to tell me.
“I was praying for you last night,” she said, “And then I felt the Lord tell me to tell you this, ‘Stop playing rugby —it’s time to have a baby.'”
Then she smiled and shrugged, seemingly as perplexed as I was. She was then immediately called away from our conversation, leaving me with no opportunity to explain any of my recent experiences with her. I hadn’t yet told anyone about the thoughts I had been wrestling with, or the conversation I’d had with God. And I certainly hadn’t told anyone about the pregnancy scare.
But what astounded me even more in that moment was that instead of fear or doubt filling my heart, it was as if a well of faith had opened up within me. And with every question I brought before God, He answered me with flood waters of peace and joy for the future.
“I’ve given you a mother’s heart, Jeana,” He spoke to me. “You are only delaying your joy the longer you wait to bear children. You need to remember that I AM the one who plants and grows these dreams inside of you, and you can hope expectantly. For it is I who authors Fathers your dreams from conception to birth and into full maturity.”
“I know the name of every miscarried child, and their mother’s tears and stories are not wasted. But I will not let you have a miscarriage of faith because of your obedience to fear. When you’re obedient to me, and you remember that YOU ARE NOT ALONE, you can expect JOY.”
I had been delaying joy because of my obedience to fear.
How on earth had I forgotten my dream of being a mother?
Behold, children are a heritage from the Lord, the fruit of the womb a reward. Psalm 127:3 ESV
As I write these words today, I am not pregnant. But the months that followed that conversation were filled with confirmation through random texts and words from friends saying that 2018 will be a “fruitful” year for my husband and I — in our endeavors, church planting, and family.
Room for Hope
The lies have been uprooted by Jesus, and I’ve found that there’s now more room for hope to grow within me. Fear of loss has been replaced with joyful anticipation for the things to come. The Lord is shifting my perspective, reminding me that all children are a gift —to both my body and my soul. And my fear of failing as a mother has been restored to faith by this one truth that I cling to — I am not alone, for the Lord is a Perfect Father — both to me, and to the children I will bear.
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