My Womanhood (and Identity) is Not on Hold

nowI’m not sure if I’m the only barren woman who feels like this, and I’ve never really been able to express it out loud before, but sometimes I feel… embarrassed? (is that the word I mean?) by my infertility. I attribute some of it to living in an Eastern culture, where being a mother is the end-all when it comes to womanhood. Marriage is a big step, but children seal the deal. Until then, you’re still just half a woman. But this culture isn’t all to blame… Western culture can be like that, too, for starters. I feel the sting in my small group when it’s the other married women, who have kids, me, and the single women. I’m this weird middle person, and it often results in me feeling like a weird half-person. (I don’t want to neglect what the article I’m going to share doesn’t — single women often struggle with the same thing.) It somehow makes me feel ashamed, and I’m ashamed to admit that. I see it when someone asks if we have kids (my least favorite question). It only increases when I say, “No,” and they follow up with, “How long have you been married?,” obviously trying to save the awkwardness with a good reason for my half-state. Surely I’m just a newlywed. But when I’m not (and of course, I’m not), the embarrassment kills me (and often them). I do and don’t want to cry out, “It’s not for lack of trying!” And I hate that feeling. What is that? Why am I mortified by something I obviously can’t control? Am I really a half-woman?

chanAnd then there’s my own sinful heart, the biggest culprit, which can convince itself that my identity and wholeness is found in anything but Christ. That my life is “on hold” until “the rest of it” comes along.

I found great encouragement in this article from The Gospel CoalitionYour Womanhood is Not on Hold, by Courtney Reissig (of Don’t Waste Your Infertility greatness). How often I catch myself waiting for my “real life” to start, after we’re done with all this infertility and trial stuff. And how much of my life passes me by because of this. The truth is, in Christ I am complete. And even more so, He has given me an earthly identity — I, for example, am a wife, a homemaker, a teacher, a friend, a laborer for the Kingdom, an aunt, a sister, a daughter. Why can’t I do those things to the fullest now? Why am I waiting for a child to start living? And why I am flinching when I say I don’t have kids?

Earlier this summer I was chatting with a single girlfriend who was about to take a month-long trip-of-a-lifetime touring the U.K. It was her first time leaving America, and using up a big chunk of her savings. She said, “I know it’s kind of crazy for me, but I’ve realized I’m saving so much of my life for the off-chance that I’ll get married, that I’m missing it now.” She kept saving that money and vacation time in case she met someone to take it with her. “I’m pushing thirty, and I hope I do get married, but I don’t want to waste my best years just waiting for it.”

My conviction about this has pushed me to start by being a wife and homemaker to the fullest for now. Continue reading “My Womanhood (and Identity) is Not on Hold”

Songs for Psalm 115

When I was writing yesterday’s post on Psalm 115, I couldn’t help but think of these two Christian rap songs. Since I’m sure not everyone who reads this is strictly a contemporary Christian music or classic hymns fan, I decided to treat you to them.

If you’re from the group who didn’t read the passage when I said to, or didn’t talk out loud to yourselves (you know who you are!), I don’t give you permission to enjoy these songs. 😉

Shai Linne – “Not to Us”

Shai Linne – “Our God is in the Heavens”

Ok, if these were out of your music-preference zone, here is a non-rap song based on Psalm 115.

Chris Tomlin – “Not to Us”

A Discussion of Psalm 115 — A Psalm written to you by name

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Read with me for a moment, Psalm 115. Read it aloud to yourself. (I’m serious, no skimming! The word of God is only as powerful in you as much as you actually read it.)

Psalm 115

That is such a precious Psalm (yeah, ok, they’re all precious). It’s always been one of my favorites. I love that he starts with the great cry of every Christian’s life:

 Not to us, O LORD [literally, O YHWH, or Jehovah, which is God’s real name],

not to us, but to Your name give glory!

 We could stop right there. Close the book. Close the browser tab. That’s all you need. That’s the life prayer, amen and amen.

But ok, we’ll continue…

I cherish verses 2-3. I wrote a long time ago (i.e. 5 months ago, but a long time in blog time) about how often I wrestle with how my infertility presents our faith to non-believers. I wrestle the most with this because I live in a land dominated by another religion, so mine stands out drastically to everyone I meet. Moreover, in this culture having a child is basically the entire purpose of every women’s life. So I fear that God won’t get the greatest glory when they see my barrenness. I literally do hear their voices when I read verse 2…

Why should the nations say, “Where is there God?”

 –But, mercifully, immediately, we have our mouth-shutting response. –

Our God is in the heavens; He does all that He pleases.

After berating their make-believe gods in verses 4-8, we hear this plea cried out in verses 9-11:

 O Israel, trust in the LORD!

            He is their help and their shield!

O house of Aaron, trust in the LORD!

            He is their help and their shield!

You who fear the LORD, trust in the LORD!

            He is their help and their shield!

At first I wanted to say that as the Psalmist is crying out in desperation (can you hear it in his voice?), begging everyone he knows to trust in the LORD, you can almost hear him inserting your name – but I don’t even need to say it, because he does just that in verse 11! Continue reading “A Discussion of Psalm 115 — A Psalm written to you by name”

Glory in Suffering – Sermon Jam (Britt Merrick)

Be blessed by these words of truth about suffering. I know many people struggle more during the holidays, so I hope this is the reminder of truth that you need today. Merry Christmas!