I was doing a series of lessons in my Sunday school class about women in the Bible. We studied the usual suspects, as well as some lesser known females that figure in the pages of Scripture. As I studied and looked deeper into the lives of these women, many of whose stories I had heard since I was a little girl in Sunday school, it hit me that many of them struggled with infertility to one degree or another.
Sarah was an old woman, well past menopause, when she had Isaac. Rebecca also had to wait a long time before she finally gave birth to twin boys: Jacob and Esau. Rachel watched her fertile sister Leah produce child after child, while her womb remained empty. Not even having her husband’s love filled the void she felt.
As I looked at these women who struggled with infertility in a time when answers for empty arms were few and far between, I also saw another pattern that emerged. The majority of these barren women went on to become the mothers of key players in the Bible’s pages.
Think about it. Isaac was Abraham’s heir. Jacob became Israel and father to the 12 tribes of Israel. Joseph saved a nation of people from starvation.
Over and over again, the barren women in the Bible played a key role in bringing up chosen children who made a big difference in the world. While their path to motherhood was not necessarily the one they would have chosen, God had a bigger plan in mind.
Since this is May and we just celebrated Mother’s Day, I thought it would be interesting to take a closer look at these women and what their lives can teach us. I have never struggled with infertility. When it was time to have our children, things were pretty easy for my husband and myself. However, I do know that many women struggle with infertility or not being able to have biological children of their own. I am adopted, so my mom knows this heartache firsthand. Others have suffered the loss of one or more miscarriages. Others wait and wait to adopt a child and it seems like it will never be their turn.
It seems every woman I’ve talked to or interviewed for an article or even read about that struggled with being infertility seems to wrestle with the feeling of being “less than” as a woman. As if not being able to reproduce made her a failure as a female. The thing is, though, no matter what your path to motherhood looks like, we need your stories.
It’s in the brokenness of deferred and denied dreams that God’s presence stands out the most.
My wish is that this series offers hope and encouragement to all women no matter where you happen to be on the road to motherhood. Hope that God sees you. Hope that though the path might be uncharted to you, God has it all mapped out.
My other wish is that this series brings us together as women. It’s when we understand each other’s stories that true sisterhood takes place.
Will you join me?