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I dreaded Mother’s Day. I used to day dream about taking the weekend and going away to a spa … anything to get away from the constant reminders that I wasn’t a mother when I wanted so desperately to be one.

Church was torture: smiling mothers holding little ones’ hands, videos of children telling the congregation about their wonderful mommy, roses at the doorway for all the beaming mothers … TORTURE! I went through the motions, trying to disguise the tears that welled. I celebrated with my own mother hoping she didn’t notice how much I didn’t want to participate in this day. Then, at night I cried myself to sleep.

The pain of infertility and barrenness is difficult for many women. Wanting children, we will put ourselves, our families, and our bodies through the ringer in the pursuit of fertility. We watch the other mothers around us and wonder, Why not me? Our friends and family members who conceive easily struggle to relate to us, feeling uncomfortable around us and at a loss for words.

So what are we to do? During those most painful years, while I waited to be chosen as an adoptive mom and I struggled with the pain of childlessness, the only solution that provided any help at all was … surrender. I finally got to the place where I stopped fighting God’s will for my life and accepted that His plan was good, even if it was different from mine. I just told myself over and over: If God has given me this desire for children, then He will fulfill it. I chose hope over despair.

My part was to be open to Him working in a new, creative way in my life: perhaps He would give me spiritual children; maybe He would give me a ministry that would be like a child—something that I birthed and nurtured; maybe I would be called to raise other people’s children through foster care. Whatever His will, I had to trust that it was the best for me.

Ephesians 1:18 says, “I pray that your hearts will be flooded with light so that you can understand the confident hope he has given to those he called—his holy people who are his rich and glorious inheritance.”

So this Mother’s Day, if you are a woman who is childless and brokenhearted, embrace hope.  If you are blessed with children, appreciate them; and encourage the other women around you who are childless and struggling.

~Kyleen Stevenson-Braxton