I have a coworker who has a four-month old baby at home. She has never been shy about sharing the fact that she did not want this baby. She did not expect to get pregnant so quickly (within days of her birth control running out) and loudly resented the fact that she was too new of an employee at the time to qualify for short-term disability so she had to take her maternity leave unpaid. After she gave birth she struggled with post-partum depression and has had difficulty adjusting to life with a newborn.
Incredibly, she is already eight weeks into a second pregnancy! She did not want to be pregnant the first time and REALLY does not want to be pregnant this time. She has cried to me multiple times already about how she is too overwhelmed with her newborn to deal with another baby. To compound matters, she has had debilitating morning (all day) sickness to the point where she can hardly eat anything and has missed quite a bit of work because she never feels well. She has complained that she has the worst luck and it’s so unfair for this to be happening to her. And guess what? She just had her first ultrasound and surprise, it turns out she’s having twins! TWINS! Considering that twins are often born prematurely, she will very likely end up with three babies under one year of age at the same time.
It is very understandable why she would be stressed out about this. Having three babies that were unplanned so close together is enough to overwhelm anyone. I have expressed compassion and sympathy towards her. I have tried to convey hope, offered to pray for her, and have given her a shoulder to cry on. But inwardly, I am struggling a bit with her reaction to all of this. Everything (and I do mean everything) out of her mouth regarding her baby and her pregnancy is filled with negativity. She has so openly expressed the fact that she doesn’t and didn’t want any of them that I have trouble not feeling a little angry about it. A child is a blessing from God. How can you resent such a beautiful gift?
Granted, much of my reaction is clouded by my own disappointment. I have a chromosomal disorder that makes it extremely unlikely that I will ever get pregnant. Being the oldest of the Rebekahs on this blog, even if everything were working as perfectly as it should, the chance of my getting pregnant is rapidly decreasing because of age. And there’s still no husband in sight even if those first two things weren’t true.
I had a guy a couple of years ago who promised me the world. And one of the things he promised me was a baby. He went on and on about the storybook life we’d have once we got married. He said there was no price he wasn’t willing to pay in terms of fertility treatments, supplements, adoption options, etc. to make this dream a reality for us. He assured me that we had a secret weapon – the power of prayer, and that He would make me a mother. He took my hurting heart in his hands and promised me the thing it most desired. But things don’t always go the way we plan and sometimes promises are broken. Rather than give me a baby, he got another girl pregnant instead – while we were still together. For some reason the end of that relationship represented a dying of my hope of ever becoming a mother.
Listening to my co-worker complain incessantly about a gift she’s been given that I will likely never experience has been difficult. I wonder why God blesses people who don’t want children with them, and withholds them from people who do. In the end, I remind myself that God knows what is best and it is not for me to judge. He knows what is best for me; He knows what is best for my co-worker and what is best for her children. I work to remain compassionate to my co-worker who truly does have a lot on her plate. I am quite sure that if I were in her position, I would also be very overwhelmed. I would likely also express some fear and negativity, but I would never feel that I didn’t want them.
I know that my feelings border on covetousness, occasionally even camping right in the midst of the Land of Covetousness. Sometimes I even get stuck in Selfishness and Despair. During times of repentance, praise, and gratefulness, I’m able to wander far from that land, but I’ve yet to leave it completely behind. The truth is that I spend far too much time there, living right on the border. And it’s dangerously close to another border – the border of Bitterness.
Bitterness is a very dangerous place. The Bible says that a root of bitterness can trouble you and defile many (Hebrews 12:15). That means that it doesn’t just wound the person who is bitter, it also wounds the people around them. Bitterness can take on a power all its own. It can act as a poison, gradually choking many aspects of our lives without us realizing it. We are supposed to love one another. Bitterness smothers love.
Bitterness is a cancer.
It spreads. It damages and tears down. It destroys. It is not of God. It creates a rift between us and God and we cannot have a right relationship with Him if we don’t deal with it.
So it is clear that the lands of Covetousness and Bitterness should be avoided at all cost. Thankfully, there is a simple (though not always easy) solution for the problems of covetousness and bitterness. For both, repentance is in order. It takes admitting to God that our feelings are wrong and that we need some direction to get out of those ungodly lands.
When I start feeling bitterness, I know the cure is forgiveness. There is hurt in my past that still needs to be dealt with. When I start feeling covetousness, I know the solution is to start counting my blessings. I need to praise the Lord for His goodness. I need to focus on all the wonderful things I have, rather than the few things I lack.
Sometimes we make things more complicated than they need to be, but God has laid out a clear plan to live in the land of Contentment, Peace, and Praise – The land of His presence! I am praying that my co-worker will find her way to the Land of His Presence and that it will change her. I am praying that He will grant her peace in this situation and give her a deep, unconditional love for her children. Let’s all commit to spending more and more time in His presence.
In His Love,