Sunday, April 20, 2008

Will I Be Single and Childless for Life?


Last week I was speaking with an old friend of mine. "Sally" is one of my dearest friends whom I have known for twelve years. She is one of the most spiritually mature women I know, and highly sensitive to issues concerning motherhood. You see, Sally was adopted as an infant. If there is anyone I know who truly appreciates the beauty of parenting, it is my friend Sally. Yet Sally remains childless, as one by one, everyone around her is becoming pregnant.

I can identify with Sally. I came from a place of selfish feminist philosophy, thinking marriage was stupid. God changed me so radically, I not only understand the concept of marriage, but I have come to desire it. Last year, all of my friends started relationships. Then one by one, all of my friends' relationships successfully ended in either engagement or marriage. I am the only one who had a potential opportunity last year that ended, period.

Sally and I were surveying the people we knew and placing horrible judgments on them. We marveled over the immaturity of some of these individuals. Some were devastated to learn they were pregnant, complaining about how they were going to get "fat." Some were obviously not prepared for marriage, not wanting to give, but only expecting to receive. Together, Sally and I proudly asserted that if anyone desereves a child, it is Sally, and if anyone deserves for a relationship to work, it's me! I have done everything God has asked me to. I have studied all the scriptures and been more obedient than the rest. I did everything "by the book." I even followed God down roads I didn't want to in order to serve a man I wasn't attracted to at first, only for him change his mind, and that was that. What gives? How can God give a baby to these selfish, stuck up women, and a husband to these immature women who have no idea what they're in for, when Sally and I are prepared for and so well "deserving" of these gifts? Doesn't God trust us with these gifts? Haven't we rightfully earned them, moreso than these younger, foolish, less mature Christians? If you are a woman who has ever entertained these types of thoughts, allow me to point you to Luke 15, the story of the Prodigal Son.

In this story, the father represents God. The prodigal represents the immature, foolish Christian who has squandered his time with God in pursuit of worldly things. However, there is a third character in this story -- that of the elder son. Note that he is not just any son, but that he is the older of the two. Why is this important? Because in Biblical times, the older son always got the largest portion of his father's estate. In this story, the older son says, "Lo, these many years I have been serving you; I never transgressed your commandment at any time; and yet you never gave me a young goat, that I might make merry with my friends. But as soon as this son of yours came, who has devoured your livelihood with harlots, you killed the fatted calf for him." (Luke 15:29-30). The father responds, "Son, you are always with me, and all that I have is yours. It was right that we should make merry and be glad, for your brother was dead and is alive again, and was lost and is found.” (Luke 15:30-31).

This message was preached at my church this morning, and as I sat there and listened, I began to survey my life. As I reviewed everything I have, I realize that God appears to have given me much more than He has given any of my friends. Yet here I am, complaining about not getting a goat, and stating my case that I am more deserving of a goat because I have always obeyed Him and followed Him more closely than my friends. Immediately I grew ashamed of my attitude. On one hand, it is unbiblical in the sense that I am viewing any gift from God as a "reward" for my good works, which is not a doctrinally sound way to view the God of the Bible. On the other hand, I am comparing myself to others and coming to some very self-righteous conclusions. God has not withheld anything from me and Sally. He does not love us any less than His other children. In fact if Sally and I look closely, we will see that much like the elder Son, God has bestowed upon us far more blessings than many of our friends.

How about you? What is God doing in your life? Is it possible He will call you to lifelong singleness? What if He never allows you to have a child? Will you be as the elder son in the story, refusing to rejoice with your friends because they have something that you don't?

It was Keith Green who wrote, "He's brought me here where things are clear and trials turn to gold." Only in God's Kingdom can trials turn to gold. You may never marry. You may never be a mother in the biological sense. But if you submit to God's will, those tears of disappointment will one day water and bring forth much fruit. God may give you the opportunity to nurture and help in ways that you never could imagine if you were a wife and mother in the earthly sense. If God has not yet given you your heart's desire, perhaps He is simply reminding you, "You have been with me always, and all that I have is yours."

7 comments:

Jennifer said...

PRAISE GOD!!!! Okay, no joke, only five hours after I posted this, I spoke to "Sally" on the phone. God blessed Sally and her husband with a son on Friday! The social worker she's been working with at the adoption agency called and said they had a baby for her. And do you know how I found out? I called Sally to tell her about the amazing sermon that was preached today on the prodigal son and encourage her to be content with all God has blessed her with already, and little do I know, she had a baby in her arms the entire time I was sharing!

I was going to add this little update as an edit to the original post, but I thought, "The point is still the same." Ladies, we may never get that husband or that child we so desire, but instead of weeping over what we lack, let us rejoice whenever we see God being compassionate toward any human being, as none of us are deserving. He is kind and loving and no good thing does He withold from those who walk uprightly (Psalm 84:11). Be encouraged!!

Rita Martinez said...

oh wow that is sooo wonderful to hear/read! Praise the Lord!!!! :D Congrats to the new mommy and daddy!

As for the post, at the beginning of my walk I was friendless on both sides (Christian/Secular) and boy did I feel alone for a season, I couldn't understand why God had taken me from the "hell" I was living in to have me enjoy this Christian walk all by myself whenI wanted someone I could share the joy I had, and to share whatever new thing I learned while reading the Bible.
But I understood that sometimes God will separate us for a while to prepare us for whatever is to come. And so it was.

Soooooo my dear friend, since you are willing to submit to the Will of our dear Father whatever it may be, I will still pray for a Mr. Jen further along the way and maybe some little ones too ;)

Jennifer said...

Great, great point about being "friendless." It is true that sometimes we literally have no one when we first come to Christ. I too, remember being "caught in the middle". It's almost like choosing sides for a ball game and no one wants you on their team! I think it is important to remember that God does have a plan for everyone's life, and when we are only looking at it from a "What about Me?" perspective, we forget that "It isn't about me." We should be willing to follow God down whatever path He chooses for us.

Rita Martinez said...

when we are only looking at it from a "What about Me?" perspective, we forget that "It isn't about me." --> Exactly!!

Kurt said...

Great post Jennifer. I have felt this way too. Yes, even a man can feel like he may be single and never become a father.

As 38 gets closer (5 more weeks) life gets more challenging. But even now, during the trial I am now facing, which you know of, I am learning to trust in the Lord even more than I did 4, 5 or 6 months ago.

When that day of marriage comes, for you and for me, it will be a day that God will be so happy He waited to bless us with the best wedding gift He could ever give to those who love Him.

"And the Lord God said, "It is not good that man should be alone; I will make a helper comparable to him."" Genesis 2:18.

Jennifer said...

Thanks, for your input, Kurt. Even though I write from a single perspective and address women in particular, I do try to write in such a way that both married women as well as men (single or married) can identify. Men and women may be different, but we are not so different as to not experience the same exact tendencies to become disappointed or doubt that God cares because someone else has something we don't. The important thing is to remember He has already given us the greatest gift of all -- eternal life. The rest, as they say, is just details. :)

Edwin said...

Thanking for sharing the post Jen. God bless you.