You – mama with a baby in your heart, but not in your arms – I’m guessing you know what it’s like.
You want to be part of a church. You love the corporate worship; you long for sweet fellowship with other believers. You know it’s important to be a participant in the Body of Christ.
But at church there are so many families – moms and dads with tiny babies. Little ones running around, playing and laughing. Tired parents trying to socialize while also keeping an eye on their rowdy kiddos. And you’re reminded of what you want and don’t have.
And the women – those girls you love, who are your friends, whom you worship God alongside – it sometimes seems like all they talk about is pregnancy and babies. Of course, that’s their life, so why shouldn’t they talk about it?
You don’t blame or begrudge any of them. But it hurts. It hurts so much that you don’t even want to go to church.
I understand. I’m there.
The church my husband and I attend is full of young families; there are almost more kids than adults in the congregation. I love that we’ve found a church full of people in our age group and demographic, people we can hang out with and have over for dinner. Yet, every Sunday, I find myself having to focus really hard on not feeling sad, bitter, or jealous, as I’m literally surrounded by mamas with their little ones.
It’s not that Jesus hasn’t worked healing in my heart after our miscarriage. He certainly has. It’s not that He isn’t walking with me through the struggle to grow our family. He certainly is. Our loss is not
something I dwell on every day throughout the week. But there’s something about being at church and women’s gatherings, surrounded by the blessings and fulfillment of other women, that just really hurts sometimes.
Every week at our church, someone prays aloud a blessing over all the children before they scurry off to their Sunday school classes. A few weeks ago, the person praying said, “God, thank You that You have opened the wombs of this church!”
That prayer was like a slap in the face that still stings now, weeks later. Yes, God has blessed many of the women in that church with the babies they were hoping and praying for; yes, that’s so good of Him. But there are also those of us in the room (or maybe I’m the only one?) who ache to hold the baby they lost…
whose hearts wonder, in the quiet moments, what that child would have been like…
who ask themselves the scary question, will I ever be able to have a baby?
Yes, church hurts sometimes – whether because of the insensitivity of those who don’t understand, or because it’s hard to see others’ blessings without the discontent stirring of your own longings.
The truth I am telling myself, and telling you in the process, is that being part of the Body of Christ is worth it. You and I need the encouragement and accountability that comes with worshiping with the Body. We need to hear the Word, and I think, sometimes, we even need these uncomfortable situations that will help us continue to embrace His comfort and healing.
And, if we’re honest, we know it’s God’s design that we allow other believers to comfort us and help bear our burdens. But that takes being vulnerable.
That takes sharing with other women what we have lost, and letting them know that it’s tough. And then allowing them to encourage us, hug us, ask us how we’re doing. That might be awkward, but it’s healthy, and it can be healing.
I don’t know about you, but I want to pursue a healthier mindset and healthy friendships… because I want to be a healthy functioning part of the Body of Christ. The loss of a baby hurts. Infertility hurts. But let’s not allow grief and bitterness to ruin our opportunity to love and be loved by the church.