When I married, I held tightly to the progressive ideas of my Baby Boomer generation. One of those ideas was that society was so evil and corrupt, I couldn’t stand bringing a child into the world.
The Vietnam War had become ugly. I didn’t want my child to grow up and have to fight in such wars. Racial riots flourished. What kind of person would bring a child into such an environment? My arguments sounded so noble.
Children are expensive and messy
“Besides,” I thought, “children are expensive—and time-consuming. They drool and mess their pants. Their noses are always runny, and they throw food at the table. They cry, too, and whine.” I had never baby-sat, because small children seemed so helpless and messy, ungrateful and self-centered.
I especially hated baby showers, but because I had a lot of friends, I was invited to many. Nothing could have irritated me more.
One day, a baby shower, of all things, started a huge turnaround that would challenge my self-centered ideas and change my life. I was sitting inconspicuously in a group of gushing, sentimental women and becoming more disgusted by the moment. I glared, thinking, “This is ridiculous! I don’t need a baby to prove my worth as a person!”
What is going on?
During refreshments, the veteran mothers compared horror stories of their birth experiences. The mother-to-be got more pale with every story. I thought, “Who wants kids? I’m glad I’m smart enough to avoid such foolishness!”
Looking around, I saw how many women had brought their babies along to the shower. Then it happened. Someone handed me her baby to hold while she went to the restroom. I had no time to protest. The baby looked at me straight in the eyes, cooed, and smiled.
Oh no, what is happening? I felt a strange stirring in my stomach. I couldn’t breathe. “What is going on, Lord? I can’t be attracted to this child.”
That was the beginning.
It seemed as though everywhere I went, people asked me to hold their babies. Each time, I could hardly wait to hand the baby back to its owner. I began to develop a reputation for being a baby hater.
Yet, I began to realize I longed for my own child. That was a surprising revelation.
Prayer. Barrenness hurts. Fasting.
One evening I knelt at the foot of my bed and read about Hannah’s plight in I Samuel 1. I was beginning to relate to the pain of barrenness. Nobody knew about the new stirrings that softened my heart, so people teased me just as Peninnah had teased Hannah. It hurt.
That night before God, I committed myself to fast and pray for my own child. “Lord, I promise to rear the child to honor You. I’ll give it back to You if You will just bless me this way,” I vowed.
In the midst of that fast, the Lord impressed upon me my need to yield my personal rights to Him. I prayed, “It’s okay, God, if I never have children. I want what you want.”
I finally felt peace.
Amazingly, my spirit felt as though God said, “Finally!” I felt peace for probably the first time in my twelve years of marriage. I had surrendered my will to Him.
Children are expensive and time consuming!
That very day I conceived my first of two children. Sure enough, my beliefs turned out to be true. Children are expensive and time-consuming. They drool and mess their pants. They sometimes have runny noses and play with their food. They cry and whine, but so what? They were my babies, and it somehow didn’t matter.
My friends had a baby shower for me and for my first child, Rebecca. I remember the day she looked me straight in the eyes, cooed, and smiled—as though she knew a secret. Somehow I felt that Rebecca and God had been in alliance, all along knowing what I really needed and wanted.
To God be the Glory! He knows what is best for each of us!
—First published in Women Alive! July/August 1998
My Father: Experiencing God's Love A-Z
Pamela Taylor invites you to join her in this interactive acrostic devotional journal designed to draw you into the extremely personal and abundant love God has waiting for you. Experience the "Just ask..." of His love for you!
Until next time,
Awaiting His shout,
Christian Life Coach
Leading from Your Strengths Mentor