Violets in the gardenAs an adoptive mom, Mother’s Day brings many emotions. For years before my husband and I adopted children, I dreaded Mother’s Day. It reminded me of what I wanted and did not have. Even now, 8 years since we adopted our first child, I can still remember those feelings with surprising freshness. Infertility or barrenness is a difficult road to walk. Most young women assume motherhood will be a part of their life experience. When God has other plans, the shock and despair can be overwhelming. Given this, I thought it might be helpful to share how God helped me navigate this emotional mine field.

After my cancer and hysterectomy, I considered many options and struggled with much fear. My husband and I discussed surrogacy, adoption, foster care, and remaining childless. Many well-meaning friends tried to convince me that not having kids wasn’t such a bad thing, especially my friends with teenagers. Their warnings fell on deaf ears, however. I knew that my life would simply not be complete without children.

Four years later, with considerable pain, after deciding on adoption and still being without a child, I finally had to ask the question I dreaded: “Lord, do you not want me to have children?” What if He said “yes”? How could I reframe my life into a world that didn’t include children? It seemed impossible to me. And yet, I still had to ask. What I heard that day began to change my perspectives. In a still, small voice within my heart I heard, “Wait upon me and I will give you the desires of your heart.”

Wait…..  Okay Lord, but isn’t that what I have been doing? Four years of waiting is a long time. What am I waiting for? Or better yet, what are YOU waiting for? Are you waiting on me?

Then one day God led me to 1 Samuel 1:1-20 and the story of Hannah. Barren and brokenhearted, Hannah was blinded by her grief. She had the love of her husband, his preference, in fact, over his other wife Penninnah who had given him children. Indeed, one day when Hannah was weeping, her husband asked her, “Hannah, why are you weeping? Why don’t you eat? Why are you downhearted? Don’t I mean more to you than 10 sons?” (1 Samuel 1:8). Hannah’s  despair over being childless kept her from enjoying the blessings God had given her.

I realized I had been like Hannah, so consumed over the desire to be a mother that the sadness over what I wanted and did not have kept me from enjoying the good in my life, and there was so much good! I realized I had to surrender my will to God, believing his promise that if he chose not to make me a mother, he would fulfill the desires of my heart some other way. I started to see how God could provide spiritual children, a ministry, a career or so many other things that would fulfill my heart. I just needed to trust Him with my hopes and dreams.

Not long after that, the call finally came and a few months later we brought home a beautiful baby girl. I think God had been waiting for me to take that leap of faith and let go of my plans for my life. So if this Mother’s Day brings the pain of childlessness, let me encourage you to trust God with the desires of your heart. He may choose to bless you with children or He may choose to bless you in other ways. He made your heart and put your deepest desires there. He knows what will make you truly happy.

~ Kyleen Stevenson-Braxton