Most of the time, I don’t think about it. But then, when I least expect it, I get slammed.
I’m going about my regular routine on a regular day in my regular life—and what I lack pierces my heart and deflates my spirit like a balloon losing air.
That’s how childlessness hits me, in surprise attacks.
I don’t talk about my childless life much except within my closest circle of friends. Not because it isn’t important, but because I don’t have answers to the complex nature of my barren life.
If I remember correctly, the testing we went through oh-so-many years ago placed us in a category that less than two percent of all couples fall into: The Mystery Category. With absolutely no medical explanation for our infertility, we were encouraged to begin general treatment to boost our chances for pregnancy. So we moved forward. There were appointments. And tests. And procedures. And injections. And pills. And tracking. And lots of anticipation. And lots of disappointment.
We had all that and more. But there was no child. Mystery prevailed.
After months of this routine, I was tired of the bustle. We were as far down the infertility treatment road as we had planned to go, so we pulled up from the process. I was grateful for the break from constantly thinking about my body and what it was—or wasn’t—doing. We decided to sit in the mystery for a bit and see what God might say.
Although I was comfortable with mystery and waiting, many people were not. Discomfort often led people to give good-hearted but unsolicited problem-solving sessions. Have you tried wonder-treatment XYZ? Stop obsessing; then you will get pregnant. It’s good you are young—you have plenty of time. Do you take all-natural supplements? You know you can go adopt kids, right? You could babysit to get your kid-fix.
But mystery doesn’t solve that easy.
Childlessness squawked at me through the voices of the well-meaning and lodged in my own heart, reminding me of all I lacked. Although I was never one of those girls who planned out her family in elementary school, in this stretch, it was quite clear all I was missing.
During one heart-raw incident, I choked out a prayer, asking God to help, asking Him to explain why He would withhold this gift from us. I distinctly remember the wash of His presence, the Voice that flowed like water into the desert of my soul, speaking words so contrary to my own that I knew the Living Word spoke them: If this is the one gift you don’t get in this life, will you refuse to trust Me?
Would I? After everything the Lord has done for me, would I choose the one thing I lacked and rail against Him for it?
It’s been a decade since the treatments. Our childlessness remains. But I do not feel barren. My life is richly blessed and abundantly full, despite the surprise attacks that sometimes break into my days. God has enabled me to trust His distribution of gifts to me.
Every road in this life has its share of joys and sorrows—single, married; children, no children; rich, poor; sickness, health. I am honored to walk this particular road with the Lord, getting to know His provision for these joys and sorrows in the mystery of childlessness.
Today, years down this road, I can say without a doubt: God has given me immeasurably more than He has withheld. He does all things well.
“The Lord is my chosen portion and my cup; you hold my lot. The lines have fallen for me in pleasant places; indeed, I have a beautiful inheritance” (Ps. 16:5–6).