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 I’ve cried and complained and shouted and withdrawn.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.