[Guest Post by Jessica Quinn – I had the pleasure of being introduced to her through Tyndale House Publishers. She is an amazing godly woman with a husband and a thriving PR career. I can’t wait for you to read her story about being a barren wife. And I have to wonder–if any of you can relate? Be encouraged today by her story!]
Cinderella is my favorite princess.
I think it has something to do with the fact that she rose up from feeling unwanted and unseen to meet her prince charming, and then went on to live happily ever after.
That is the answer, right?
Meet prince charming and live happily ever after? It is a longing I was comfortable with most of my life. Yet, a longing I couldn’t wait to be done with.
I met my prince charming in 2004, married him in 2005.
I was 35 when we got married, so there wasn’t much time to waste. We decided to have children as soon as possible. Finally, here it was, my happily ever after had come, right? And then it didn’t, and the next month it didn’t, and the next month it still didn’t.
I prayed, we tried, and it didn’t—no baby.
I prayed some more, took some medicine, acted mental from the meds—none of it worked. The next thing I knew, three surgeries later and my biological clock still ticking, nothing happened.
And I prayed some more.
I prayed with open hands.
I prayed with an open heart.
I prayed scripture.
I asked forgiveness of my sins past and present.
I prayed that when this little miracle happened that many would see God’s handiwork—but in my heart I knew I didn’t care about that as much as I cared about the answer to the prayer—a baby. Then I asked for forgiveness again, this time for my selfishness.
And then it was time for InVitro Fertilization.
It was around this time that I found myself in my familiar moment of desperate prayer when something began to feel oddly familiar, but I couldn’t quite put my finger on it. I prayed and I prayed and I begged God—wait—that was it!
Here I was again, desperate and begging God for someone to come into my life, except this time it wasn’t a husband—it was a baby. It was the same prayer I’d prayed my entire adult life, begging God for a husband–my husband.
And then I got my husband and then here I was again begging God for a baby. What must God think of me?
But I needed a baby, just like I’d needed a husband, right?
What would I be without a child?
What would my life become?
What would we do without children to teach us that incredible love—all of the life lessons we’d yet to learn. Obviously this was God’s plan for us—an honorable prayer request to be sure. This would fulfill my role on this planet, God’s Earth, right?
And then it hit me, the reminder that in this life we will have trouble—and longing.
This side of heaven we’ll have deep, unsatisfied, painful longing, and quite possibly again and again before we see Jesus. What if this was God’s plan for me? What would I do if we weren’t supposed to have children? Would I survive? Would I be “okay” with that?
He answered the prayer of my husband, shouldn’t I just be grateful?
I honestly didn’t know.
After the IVF failed and we were told it just wouldn’t work for us, I’d likely never carry or deliver a baby, my heart broke into a million pieces and I grieved. I still wasn’t sure what God was saying.
And then when the adoption failed, and my heart broke all over again, and then another lead on a baby failed, and my heart wanted to be bitter, I was onto something.
What if God was saying no? What if this wasn’t God’s plan for me? What that okay?
The pain was intense and each new lead was heaping on more pain. But.
What if we just stopped?
What if we just—lived.
As we were, as a couple, and were grateful. Isn’t that where I’d landed in my singleness? But on that front God had another plan. But for this, this felt like this was the plan—His plan. My husband was enough to be thankful for and enough for a full life here on Earth. Yet, still I wrestled with whether or not that was self-soothing or God’s peace-giving.
Then one afternoon, while on a business trip with a client, an author and pastor, I asked him about all of this. He told me that if there was still a desire in my heart, then God wasn’t done. When I was waiting for my husband, that desire never left, it only intensified, and God provided.
With this, the pain became too much, and the desire went away.
There—I had my answer.
I could be a barren wife and be okay with it.
I realized I can use the time God has given me and help others. And I can be thankful and not bitter, grateful and not jealous. I mean, come on, it really isn’t all that bad to be able to sleep in on the weekends and take amazing trips to the beach while my friends are at soccer tournaments, right? In the end, my husband and I have been able to give some exhausted parents time to get away, and short breaks during the day here and there, and the trade-off is we get to love on some amazing children who will always be a special part of our lives.
We’re still learning the life and love lessons you learn from children, it just comes in a different package.
And we are grateful. I have and I get to hold my husband each day, and as for children, we may not get to have them, but we get to borrow other people’s precious little ones and hold them tight and cherish each moment. We are grateful for our friends and family who share with us and meet those needs. God does provide in His own way, in His perfect timing.
Jessica Quinn, owner of Jessica (Atteberry) Quinn Public Relations, has worked in public relations for the past 20 years. Quinn works with a wide range of clients including individuals featured in prominent breaking news stories, faith-based charities, and authors writing about sports, politics or various non-fiction and fiction topics. Notable clients have included: Tony Dungy, Joe Gibbs, Deanna Favre, Rick Warren, and Karen Kingsbury. Quinn is also an adjunct professor at Kennesaw State University.
[Photo: lovingyourwork.com, Creative Commons]