The One Thing

umbrella2I’m struggling with not having a baby.  Here are some of the ways I’ve been trying to handle it:

1. I’ve told myself it doesn’t matter.  Lots of people don’t have children and they are perfectly happy. I will grow out of this.

2. I’ve tried to find purpose in other things. Maybe if I read a book, a really good book, that will change it. Maybe if I can write a book,  a really good book, that will change it.  Maybe if I’m  busy.  Maybe if I rest. Maybe if I give up social media and caffeine and alcohol.  Maybe if I get 1000 likes.

3. I’ve told myself to buck up.  Stop feeling sorry for yourself. Count your blessings and seize the life you’ve got.

4. I’ve thought about giving up.

5. I’ve tried to take charge.  Internet research. A new supplement.  A new course of drugs. No caffeine.  No alcohol.  Enough avocados to sink a cruise liner. Brazil nuts.  Goji berries. Fresh hope.  Fresh lists.

6. I’ve cried and complained and shouted and withdrawn. I’ve let people in and I’ve locked people out.

7. I’ve bought new clothes.  I’ve moved the furniture. I’ve stroked the cats.

8. I’ve got angry at God.  I’ve got angry at doctors. I’ve got angry at families.  I’ve got angry at myself.

9. I’ve accepted it.  I’ve questioned it.  I’ve avoided it.  I’ve faced it.

10.  I’ve prayed and prayed and prayed and prayed.

I’ve written my list. There’s nothing more to do. And maybe – that’s the point.

Because when you don’t get the thing you built your life around, ‘Easy Answers’ aren’t good enough. You ask questions. And you finally start to listen.

The gospel tells me that God is at work at every stage in my life. Ok. But What. Does. This. Mean?

Is it abstract ‘Sovereignty’ (God’s in charge)?  That’s true, but it brings me no comfort. It makes me think of a Very Big Person accomplishing Very Big Things in a Very General Sense.

I need the truth. But it has to be personal.  It has to be Jesus.

So I forget an abstract sovereignty and I go to Jesus. I tell Him how I feel. I open the Bible and I read about Him and the people He meets.  The lepers, the outcasts, the no-hopers, the outsiders.  I see how He loves them. I watch Him go to the cross and feel every thing that they feel and feel every thing that I feel.  Childlessness and despair and loneliness and doubt: He knows and  He cares.

Not just in the outcome but in the process.  Not just when I’m fixed but when I struggle.  Not just when the antidepressants start to work, but when I’m weeping in bed.  Not just when the test strip turns blue, but when it’s another negative.

I take to Him the questions and I take to Him the pain.  Is life still worth living if I can’t get the one thing?  Sometimes it doesn’t feel like it.

Jesus does not condemn me for feeling. He listens.  He loves. He carries.  The pain doesn’t go and my circumstances stay the same; at least for now.  But the One Thing is mine – and I am His.


6 thoughts on “The One Thing

  1. I completely understand how you both must be feeling about all this. For me, the worst thing was seeing the absence of conception as indicative of something wrong with us, when we were in fact perfectly healthy. As absences go though, not having a baby was very real and present to us, particularly my wife. And, yes, we tried all the things you mention above (no alcohol and de-caffinated tea – for goodness sake!). What a miserable time it was. Even sex became something of a chore because of the weight of expectation placed upon it. I really feel for you both, and pray you get your baby. :)

  2. Love this post Emma. Thank you. You are so right. Jesus cares!

    Praying for you and excited that you’re coming to Oxford soon.

  3. There is always the one thing…the one more thing.

    I can’t even name my “one thing” but I feel the cavernous ache of it from morning till night. I have been rattling around for a month as the anniversary of a very terrible day last March replays on a loop through my mind. The one thing eludes me and I feel disconnected and isolated. I have tried to share my dilemma and so far there is no one who gets it, no one who wants to reach down so far into the dark…

    But as you say, this is where Christ meets us. This is the beauty of our Christian faith. Not a set of rules, but a person who gets it. He really has been there, through his own suffering yes, but also through mine. He has seen everything , understands everything, I need not explain because he gets it…even the one thing.

    Having said this, please know I do continue to pray that you will come to know the joy (and pain) of mothering one way or another :)
    P.S. We have a private well on our property with really high mineral content in the water…you want me to bottle up some and send it to England, to have with your avocado?

  4. Thanks Caroline – praying for you too.

    Miracle water you say…?? It’s the Missing Ingredient!

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *