This article is written by BCC Counselor Sherry Allchin as part of our new series on the family. In this series, our counselors examine various difficulties of family life and share ways to pursue healthier family dynamics.
It’s hard to wait for the family you so desire! But here you are again; no pregnancy this month. Another year has gone by!
Why isn’t God answering my prayers? Doesn’t He love me? Did I do something so wrong that He is punishing me? Was that miscarriage my fault? Will I ever have a family?
These are the thoughts that run through the minds of so many hurting couples who desire a family.
It seems more like a repeated nightmare than a dream! “Will God ever hear my prayers and let a family fill this empty house?” Trusting God becomes harder by the month!
Hannah’s Story of Pregnancy
Hannah must have felt that way. She was being taunted for having no children, though she desperately longed for a baby. Her husband didn’t understand her longing, and the priest misjudged her bitter weeping and distress for drunkenness. Yet she brought her petition before the Lord and He heard her heart’s cry. (1 Samuel 1:1-20).
There are several truths here to notice. Hannah recognized that God gives life and is involved with every pregnancy (Psalm 139). Hannah prayed, and then she trusted God for the result.
She moved from a place of “anxiety and vexation,” of deep depression and not eating, to a place of peace and trust in God, with a joyful countenance and once again enjoying God’s provision for her daily bread.
She conceived in God’s timing, according to HIS plan for her and her child. Hannah dedicated Samuel to the Lord because she understood he was from the Lord and he belonged to the Lord (Psalm 127).
Michal’s Story of Adoption
However, every story doesn’t end with a babe in arms.
David’s first wife Michal brought David into Saul’s family, yet she had no child until the day of her death (2 Samuel 6:23). She and David were no longer together and she was bitter. David did have children by other wives, and Michal evidently raised her sister’s five sons after Merab’s death (2 Samuel 21:8). Both Michal and Merab were daughters of King Saul, so this gave Michal sons and the sons a mother.
Could adoption be an option for some couples or even singles who desire a family?
Adoption has always been a part of God’s plan. We are HIS adopted children. Jesus was the firstborn, the only begotten son of the FATHER. Yet we are adopted and loved by our Father in Heaven with a full inheritance in Christ (Ephesians 1:3-14).
He gave us a model and told us to care for orphaned children (James 1:27). Adoption is the right option for many.
Many stories in Scripture speak of God’s faithfulness to barren women.
Sarah and Abraham waited long for a child. In desperation, they went ahead of God and had Ishmael through Hagar, who caused them great sorrow. Yet God still kept His promise to Abram and his barren wife who bore Isaac at 90 years of age to a husband that was 100! (Genesis 21:1-7).
God was faithful even though they were not always faithful.
Jacob and Rachel had a fertility issue. Her older sister produced children for Jacob, and Rachel did not. Her unquenched desire led to ungodly competition in that family and finally to Rachel’s death in childbearing. However, God still greatly used that dysfunctional family to fulfill His promise to Abram to make his seed a great nation, Israel. Joseph was Rachel’s godly son who remained faithful even through great trials.
If children are the heritage of the Lord (Psalm 127), then why doesn’t every couple that desires children have their quiver full?
I don’t know the answer to that; His ways are not always our ways (Isaiah 55:8-9). What I do know is that God is faithful and desires for us to trust HIM even when we don’t understand the path He has for us (Proverbs 3:5-6).
Options While You Wait
In today’s world, there are medical interventions that each couple must determine the path they believe the Lord would have them take. For some, that path leads to more disappointment, but for others, it leads to a family. There are many options and each must be prayerfully considered with medical counsel, as well as ethical and biblical counsel.
All holidays are especially hard for couples who are waiting for a family!
One practical and helpful solution may be to minister to children who don’t have a family or don’t have even the basic necessities of life, much less holiday gifts and celebration traditions. For some couples, fostering children may fill that void. This gets the focus off self to serving a needy child, one of God’s children (Matthew 19:14).
Many churches and communities reach out to needy families at Christmas. Samaritan’s Purse sends Shoe Box gifts internationally to kids who may find their only Christmas gifts in that box.
We’ve encouraged others to sponsor a child that lacks the basic needs of life like food and schooling through an organization like Reaching the Heart of Zambia which ministers to children in need and shares the gospel.
This honors the Lord while you wait for your own family, or it is also a way to teach your family compassion for those in need of a family.
Here’s the point. Don’t remain bitter or depressed like Hannah at the beginning of her story. Instead, pray and trust God that HIS will and HIS time might be fulfilled in your life and your family, whatever that is.
God gave Hannah children, but Michal reared children born to another mother. Whatever the path God has for you, a heart that loves others and trusts Him will be the path of great blessing.
God calls each of us to comfort others with the comfort that we have received (2 Corinthians 1:3-4).
That is exactly what God’s Word, Biblical Counseling Center, and other caring counselors will help you do – first to become comforted yourself through the Gospel Truths and then help you to comfort others!
Trust God to direct your path according to HIS will and rejoice in the family God has for you, in His time and His way.
Caleb Ministries is a great resource for hurting couples who have experienced infertility, miscarriages, infant loss, or post-abortion Sandy Day, the founder, has so many helpful resources for women and couples who are struggling with loss and pain because she has experienced all those pains. She is an ACBC Certified counselor, and I’ve referred a number of hurting women to her. She has helped them tremendously, as she has helped hundreds of women over more than twenty-five years of ministry.
The Caleb Ministries website has links to articles, books, and Bible studies that will encourage women and couples with delayed families. The PAT boxes (Providing a Treasure) are lovingly given to families who have lost a baby so they can make and keep memories.