I feel guilty admitting that waves of grief wash over me every time I notice my father’s delight when he holds his grandchildren . . . grandchildren that are not mine.
Don’t get me wrong. I love my nieces and nephews. They have been a constant source of comfort in my life, and I adore seeing how happy they make my father — especially when he’s not feeling well. I am grateful that he has them and that they get to grow up knowing him.
But I would be lying if I didn’t admit that I sometimes feel like I’m missing out . . . because I don’t have children — and the best fertility doctors in Las Vegas can’t seem to explain why.
This grief intensifies as the years go by, as my father grows older in age and more feeble in strength. Infertility holds incredible power to inflict pain on its victims with each milestone life brings. I used to allow the waves of grief to pull me under their current as if I was a helpless victim. Succumbing to the pressure, I would act as if I believed myself too weak to fight.
I used to give in to that overwhelming current, driving myself further and further into my work at any cost. I created the excuse that I needed to work hard, handling it all before the babies arrived. I convinced myself that it was acceptable to let my work hours linger longer and longer into the night.
I was fueled by the lie that life would be worth living, and my home worth enjoying, once those babies arrived. But to live like that was a lie and, finally, I’ve started fighting the downward current to keep my head above water.
Looking back, I now see that I was numbing my disappointment and ignoring the reality that I am growing older without children. I began to see that this lie produced greater problems than the ones I found myself focusing on. I had begun to ignore the very people I’d once prayed to have strong relationships with — my husband, my family, and my friends.
I’ve finally learned how to fight against grief’s pressure. I’ve finally learned that keeping my head above water means closing my laptop at a consistent time, even if the work is not complete. It means finding new ways to enjoy my home, slowing down and sitting on the couch, discovering new interests and hobbies, and reading for fun. It means appreciating time with my family instead of worrying and wishing that it could be different. All of this, and more, leads me to find greater fulfillment in each of my days.
Over the past year, I’ve slowly but surely started learning that life is worth living, family and friends were created to be enjoyed, and emotions are powerful teachers, however obtrusive they may feel. The enjoyment available to us in life is not dependent on our ability to get married, birth children, maintain a model-sized figure, or take family vacations that inspire envy in others.
Our ability to enjoy life depends on the intimacy we cultivate with the Lord — even, and especially, when we’re confused and discontent.
The apostle Paul told us that he’d learned the secret to being content. “I know what it is to be in need, and I know what it is to have plenty. I have learned the secret of being content in any and every situation, whether well-fed or hungry, whether living in plenty or in want. I can do all this through him who gives me strength” (Philippians 4:12-13, NIV).
I pray that you feel the Lord’s strength pulsing through you, helping you push against the current that’s trying to pull you under, in any and every area where it exists.
God is with you, and every milestone you pass has been meticulously thought out and planned by an intentional and loving God who desires the best for you. Continue to pursue His presence, because it is there that we receive a perspective that is far greater than ours. That perspective leads us to experience peace, joy, gratitude, and delight in the everyday — and everything about it is worth the pursuit.
The gratitude you experience as you allow God’s perspective to shift your attention away from your grief will flow from the time you spend with Him.
The secret place where contentment is uncovered is found in His presence. I hope you’ll go there with Him . . .Leave a Comment