The Fruit of Waiting
For me, becoming a mother was both the most beautiful and painful thing that has ever happened to me.
No, I don’t have a birth story to share with you. At least, not the kind you’re thinking of. I became a mother through adoption after being unable to conceive. Instead of carrying our son in my womb for forty weeks, I bore the burden of barrenness in my heart for more than four years. The waiting seemed endless, and, at times, I felt forgotten by the Lord. But, God was at work--in my heart and in my circumstances--as I waited. Looking back, I know that I would endure the heartbreak all over again because my son was worth the wait. The wait was also worthwhile because of the godly fruit that God produced in me: humility, gratitude, and joy.
Early on in my journey to motherhood, God had to teach me a lot about humility. When my husband and I decided that we were ready to start trying for a baby, I jumped into planning. I spent hours researching everything related to conception and pregnancy. I was ready for it to happen as soon as possible! But the months dragged on and the strip never turned pink. I became obsessed with trying every supplement and strategy for conception that the internet had to offer. I put my trust in research and my hope in the plan that I had made for how my life was “supposed” to turn out. I struggled with bitterness and anger toward God because he wasn’t answering my prayers the way I wanted him to.
After close to a year and a half of trying, we were referred to a fertility specialist. There were lots of tests and procedures, but the monthly rollercoaster of hope and crushing disappointment took its toll. Finally, we got to the point where we knew that becoming parents was more important to us than becoming pregnant. We felt God leading us to discontinue treatment and move forward with domestic adoption. I released control and accepted that adoption was where God was leading our family. I had to humbly trust that God’s plans for our family were infinitely better than mine.
Waiting also taught me to approach God with gratitude instead of entitlement. As we struggled over those four long years, I was often tempted to doubt God’s goodness toward me and to focus only on my unfulfilled longings. I had taken my good and godly desire for motherhood and turned it into an idol that I treasured more than Christ. At my worst moments, when all of our friends were getting pregnant and our nursery was still empty, I felt as though God’s goodness was for other people and not for me. Over the two years that we worked through the adoption process, twelve moms decided that, no, we weren’t the right parents to adopt her child. I wondered how God’s goodness fit with my breaking heart. But, God was working in me. He opened my eyes to the ways that he was already providing for my needs while we waited for him to bring a child into our family. My husband, and our family, friends, and church were all blessings I had been taking for granted. Even simple things, like a nice meal or a sunny spring day were reminders of God’s constant goodness to me.
Most of all, I began to realize that God’s Word overflows with evidence of his goodness to me and to all believers. The story of his justice, mercy, and compassion toward his people--to me--spills out on every page and reaches its culmination in Jesus. Through Christ, God has showered me with mercy. Because of his goodness, not mine, he poured out his wrath on his beloved Son so that he could pour out abundant love on me. I had no grounds on which to feel slighted when God did not answer my prayers for a child in the way I expected. He has already given me more than I could have ever earned on my own merit .
As I was brought low in humble gratitude before the Lord, I was overwhelmed with a sense of inexplicable joy. My long path to motherhood had emptied me of my pride and sense of entitlement. In its place there was a delight in the Lord that I had never experienced before. The Word came alive with a beauty and depth that I had never seen in it before. I still ached to be a mother. Pregnancy announcements from friends still sometimes felt like a sucker punch in the gut. Yet, the joy I had found in the Lord was secure, even when my circumstances seemed uncertain.
The Waiting is Over
One Sunday in August 2016, we got the call that we had been chosen by an expecting mom to adopt her unborn son. Exactly three months later, our little boy was born. God had finally answered our prayers. Or, at least, it may seem that way. Really, in his mysterious, all-knowing, all-powerful way, God had been answering our prayers all along.
Every negative pregnancy test, every “no” from a mom viewing our profile, was a part of God’s loving provision. They led us to the birth mom who chose us, and the son we have now welcomed into our family. Every “no” leading up to this final “yes” led me on a powerful path of sanctification in humility, gratitude, and joy. God has given me so much more than a child to call my own; he has given me more of himself.
God heard my prayers for a child. He knew my pain and never forgot about me. That is how my husband and I settled on our son’s name: Zachariah, meaning “God has remembered.” His name is a reminder that even when things don’t go how we plan, God never forgets us. Zachariah is a sweet reminder of God’s constant faithfulness.
If you are waiting on God, trust in his faithfulness. Whatever good thing you are longing for, God has not forgotten you. He will be faithful to produce fruit in your life and draw you to himself through your waiting.