Tag Archive | single

Survived Another Childless Mother’s Day

Phew, I have survived another Mother’s Day! Honestly, I feel guilty even writing that because I know there are many people for whom Mother’s Day is a much more painful event than it is for me. Especially for those mothers who have lost a child. I cannot imagine how unbearable that would be. And don’t get me wrong, Mother’s Day is a wonderful day to honor our mothers and all that mothers the world over have done for us.

But I struggle with it, and I know I am not alone in that struggle.

I wavered about whether to post this or not. It feels whiny, oh, poor pitiful me, and entirely too self-focused, but in the end I decided to go ahead and post it anyway because we strive to be real on this blog. My feelings – right or wrong, are very real, and as I mentioned, I know that I am not alone in these feelings. Perhaps another woman will read this post and know that she too is not alone in her pain.

When I was young, like most girls, I assumed that I would grow up to marry and go on to have children. In all the times I “played house” I never imagined a scenario where children would not be part of the equation. Recently I read an article by Melanie Notkin called My Secret Grief. In it she discusses the hidden pain of circumstantial infertility. Unlike the pain of medical infertility, circumstantial infertility is not caused because of some biological issue, but rather because (as the name infers) circumstances never lined up to make motherhood a reality. Notkin put down in words many of the things I’ve never been able to say.

If you are childless (not by choice), it can be difficult to express the feelings that go along with it. If you try, well-meaning people will say all kinds of things which sting and cut at you in ways they cannot comprehend.

As a Christian I struggle with the sadness it brings me. I know that I should be content with what I have (see Philippians 4:11, 1 Timothy 6:6, Hebrews 13:5), and mostly I am, but there are hard days. Really hard days. For the last few years, Mother’s Day has ranked among the top for really hard days.

I vacillate between trying to face reality so I can move on from my desire to be a mother and trying desperately to hold on to the hope that it may one day still happen. I don’t know how to give up my hope of being a mother, but I think I might be happier if I could figure out how to. The Bible says that “hope deferred maketh the heart sick” (Proverbs 13:12). As a never married, single, childless woman I know the truth of that verse all too well.

As My Secret Grief points out, when you get to a certain age if you are still childless it is assumed that you either never really wanted children or you just didn’t try hard enough. I have had countless people tell me I should just go out and find a guy to make a kid with. “Why wait for marriage?” they say. This world doesn’t understand the concept that fornication is a sin. Or they tell you that you should just get a sperm donor, or adopt.

Here’s the thing: I honestly think my child deserves to have two parents. They should have both a mother and a father who is present and active in their childrearing. I understand that this is not always possible and there are many many wonderful single parents out there, but it seems selfish to purposely put your child in the position of only having a single parent. Again, please do not think I am disparaging single parents out there. The majority of them work tirelessly to provide good lives for their children and should be commended for that. But to deliberately deny a child a father just because I would like to be a mother is unfair to them. Perhaps I could manage to get pregnant (this is still medically questionable) or adopt (financially prohibitive) without the presence of a husband, but for the sake of my children, I wouldn’t want to do that. In the eyes of the world this is seen as not wanting it bad enough. Trust me; I’ve heard enough comments to know the reality of this view. The truth is that I do want it that badly; I just don’t want it that selfishly.

I struggle with how heart-broken I am over being childless. I feel guilty because I think my desire shows an inherent lack of gratefulness for what I do have. And I have been blessed! Abundantly blessed! But the sadness and longing remain. God designed women to be mothers and most of us feel that pull to our very core. The Bible gives us seven examples of barren women in the Bible who later went on to give birth. What strikes me about them is that they all cried to the Lord over their situation. Granted, it was tougher in Biblical times because women were mandated to give their husbands children and those who could not were seen as cursed. It was a much more dire situation, but I have no doubt that the tears they cried were much like my own. The Bible says that Hannah prayed with great weeping (I Samuel 1:10). The King James Version says that she was in “bitterness of soul” and that as she prayed she “wept sore”. This was a woman who knew the heartache and sorrow of being childless.

Yet, all seven of these women had husbands. I cannot cry to the Lord for a child (though I have) until I first have a husband. And time has so quickly passed me by. I had to give up an ungodly relationship when I was saved – knowing confidently that the Lord would provide for me. I waited five years to meet a man in the church, but there just weren’t any. I found a sweet man who became a Christian. I wasted five more years of my life on that man and he ended up getting another woman pregnant while we were together. Heartbreaking.

We are told not to be unequally yoked, but there are literally NO single men my age in my church. I know of a total of two single men (both younger than me) in our entire church district. I know dozens of single women in this same age group. And I am not confining myself to a man within a few years of my age. I’m talking within a 15+ year age range; there just aren’t any available men. Let alone a man that would be a good match for me and I for him. It’s difficult to remain hopeful.

Well-meaning friends and relatives tell me that they miss the single life. They wish they had more time for themselves and for the Lord. I have no doubt this is true. If I were married with children, I too would miss my current single life at times. But most of the people who have said this to me weren’t single for all that long. They moved out of their parent’s houses and within a few short years they were married. They never had that much time to themselves. I moved out of my parent’s house seventeen years ago. Seventeen long years ago. I’ve come home to a silent, empty house day after day, week after week, month after month, for years and years and years on end. Most of the time, I’m okay with this. Most of the time, I am content in the Lord. But there are days. Really hard days.

Mother’s Day is especially difficult because I feel I am mourning the family I never had. My pastor, bless his heart, loves to make a big deal out of Mother’s Day. I actually really appreciate him for this because mothers deserve to be recognized for their endless hours of tireless sacrifice for their families. The work they do is acknowledged far too little. Mother’s Day is the one day that people set aside to honor them. It is wonderful and important. But it is difficult. More than once I have been the only adult woman left in the congregation after he calls all the mothers to the front. I want to sink into my seat and just disappear when that happens. I don’t want anyone to see me sitting there by myself and pity me. For the last couple of years, I have made it a point not to be in the sanctuary when this happens because it is just too painful for me.

Is it selfish? Yes. Yes, it is. Mother’s Day is not about me. I should be there to encourage and honor the godly women in my life who give so much for their children. But I hide. I hide because I can’t stand the feeling. I can’t stand how every year someone will say to me, “Next year” when next year never seems to come.

But the day comes and goes and I find after it’s over that I have survived. I’m still breathing. I’m okay. The Lord has granted me strength to get through another day. He is my Provider. He is my Comforter. He is my All-in-All. And after all the feelings have passed, I am reminded that faith is not a feeling. I am blessed. The Lord is MIGHTY in my life. He is my Strong Tower. He is my hope. He is my Loyal Friend and Husbandman. He is enough. I so love and appreciate Him for that. When I feel I am alone, I am never alone. He is with me day after day, week after week, month after month, for years and years and years on end.

And He is with you too.

In His Love,
Rebekah L.

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Moving On, Moving Up, Moving in Him

movingLast week I moved to a new apartment. I spent almost seven years living in a teeny tiny studio apartment. Though I recognize that many have far less than I do, it was just one room and was not even the kind that has a little kitchenette area. I literally slept four feet from my refrigerator. Let me tell you that you don’t realize how loud a refrigerator is until you have to sleep four feet away from one! The apartment was in a building with 16 units and mostly housed sketchy drug users and drunken college students. Being kept awake at all hours of the night because of the partying was a common occurrence. It was not the most spiritual of environments. That being said, it was a roof over my head and it afforded me the opportunity to completely pay off all my debts.

I had planned to only spend one year in that ratty little apartment, but one year stretched to two, then two to three, and at some point something weird happened in my psyche; I lost hope that I would ever get out of there. You see I was dating this guy who to me seemed to be the world. He promised me he would get me out of that terrible environment. We dreamed of the day we’d get married and he’d carry me over the threshold away from that place. When things fell apart between us I sort of just resigned myself to the fact that I would live in that horrible little place forever. Financially, I could afford something a little better for at least two years before I made the move. But I just couldn’t make the move. I didn’t feel I deserved any better and somehow moving meant giving up on the dream that he would take me away from that place. I had convinced myself that it was the last place I would live until I got married, so moving felt like admitting I would be single forever; I would never get anything better in life.

Thank God for that still small voice! In prayer recently God whispered to me of His love, His care, His intentions for my life. That drug infested place just doesn’t fit into those plans.  In a moment of letting that old fairytale go, I realized that I should never have been depending on a man to get me out of that place. I was still there because I believed a man was the answer to my problem, when the answer was in God! Jesus is the one who takes care of me. He is the one who provides for me! I realized He wanted better for me and He was willing to provide it!

So I prayed that if I should move this year that the landlord wouldn’t approach me with a new lease to sign until I found a reasonably affordable place. In all the years I lived there, the landlord was never late in getting the new lease to me, but this year he was! In fact, the landlord who never forgot, seemingly forgot for over three months! So while I waited for the new lease I began casually looking for a new apartment. At first I didn’t have much luck. All the decent apartments were way out of my price range. I had almost resigned myself to another year in my dilapidated studio.

But then just like that, the door opened! My co-worker found out her downstairs neighbor was moving out. I spoke to her landlord and agreed to go look at the new place. I prayed that if it was the right place that I would feel comfortable with the new landlord, the new apartment, and the new neighborhood. I also prayed that if it wasn’t the right place that the door would close and the landlord would rent it out to someone other than me. The day I saw the place, I knew it was for me. It isn’t a huge apartment, but it’s a huge step up from where I was living. It’s actually a two bedroom and has a decent size kitchen and living room. I had a good report with the landlord right away and he even gave me the keys that very day even though I hadn’t yet given him a dime of my money! Amazingly, the new rent is LESS than the old apartment was! And it isn’t in a building with 16 units. There are only two apartments in the house; mine and my co-workers. That means no more listening to partying at all hours of the night. Also, my cat absolutely loves the new place. That may seem trivial to most, but it was a big confirmation for me. My cat has experienced incredible stress every time I’ve moved. When I moved into that horrible apartment he cried non-stop day and night for three days straight. It’s been a little over a week now and he is still as happy as a clam in the new place. Instead of crying, he’s been purring non-stop. He is running around and playing like he used to when he was a kitten. I thought he had stopped playing because he is getting up there in years and his eyesight isn’t what it used to be, but now I’m starting to believe he was just as depressed in that other apartment as I was.

For me, moving was so much more than just a physical relocation. It was accepting that what I had with that guy is over – and that’s okay. It’s believing that God wants the best for me. It’s knowing that all good gifts come from Him!

What a blessing! The Lord is so good to us! Truly! I think we so often live beneath our privilege. The Lord wants us to ask of Him and depend on Him to provide for us. Our blessings don’t come through spouses or children or bosses; they come from the Lord! He is the source of our joy. I thank God for that still small voice that reminded me that He is the one who cares for me. The Lord is good!

In His Love,
Rebekah L.