If you know me, you know that I love babies. But you also probably know that I’ve wanted babies of my own since I was five years old. Before you suggest “Adopt as a single mom!”, please note the three following things: 1. Adoption and parenting in general require that I be financially stable, which will quite possibly never happen, due to my having made the idiotic decision to attend college with no plans beyond graduation; 2. Your health impacts your ability to adopt. You can be rejected as a single adoptive parent if you have serious, ongoing medical issues, for valid and obvious reasons; and 3. I just had a two day episode where I literally couldn’t get out of bed because I was in such debilitating pain, which pretty obviously makes single parenting of an infant not really feasible.
I think that personally this is one of the hardest things about being single: no matter how many good friends you have, no matter how many loving family members, when it comes down to it, you have no back-up. You’re no one’s priority. And I’m not trying to insinuate that the people in my life are letting me down here. Outside of marriage, there really isn’t a relationship where you have that kind of mutual investment and support, where your lives are built together and you’re putting each other first, where you’ve made vows before God to stay committed to each other. Obviously I don’t think my married friends and family should prioritize me over their spouses, or that my single friends should prioritize me before taking care of their own life stuff. It just is what it is.
But so it’s really hard. Because I get blinding migraines and there’s no one I can call to pick me up from work (Although my roommate did point out to me that I could have called my church’s office, which I only thought of when I was halfway home after my vision returned. I blame that on migraine brain, which is a totally legit thing where you’re in so much pain that you actually have to use large amounts of your brain power to breathe in and out and therefore you can’t think of basic solutions to problems). Because I have to drive myself to the ER. Because when I have to make decisions about the future it’s just me. Because when I’m falling apart there’s no one to lean on.
So yeah, I get it what Paul is saying about staying single. As it is I talk to Jesus a lot, and it’s a massive blessing, both in the moments themselves and in the long term growth of my relationship with Him. Like Friday: I laid in the back seat of my car and cried out to the Lord because this is my life and I’m living it alone. I have this tendency to be more invested in my relationships than the other party. But that will never be true with Jesus. He gave his life so that I could be at His wedding feast, which, talk about investment. So there’s this massive well of comfort and support that I know I probably wouldn’t turn to as readily if I had someone physically present to comfort me. But I don’t, and so I do. And His love never fails.
When I’m trying to pick a health insurance plan, I know that the Holy Spirit will guide me. When I’m lying in the back of my car in quite literally blinding pain, I know that Jesus is there with me. When I’m falling apart, I’m still certain that He’s not disappointed or caught off guard. I know that He loves me.
But it’s still hard to come to terms with the idea that I might never have a baby. And if people want to shout “girl power!” at me and guilt me for “needing a man,” they had better have raised several babies alone in the midst of at least two severe chronic health problems, or I will probably smack them upside the head.
The other day someone called to surprise me with the news that she’s pregnant. I tried my best to be happy for her, but I could tell that she was disappointed by my reaction. As the body of Christ, we’re called to rejoice with those who rejoice. But we’re also called to weep with those who weep, and I don’t think those are mutually exclusive. And sometimes you have to be prepared to meet in the middle.
Yes, I am happy that she’s having a baby, but also I’m reminded that I am not having a baby and I probably will not be having a baby. And I’ve prayed and sought the Holy Spirit on this one, and it’s not envy. I don’t want the babies that my friends are having. I don’t think I should be having babies instead of them. It’s just honest grief, because that’s a hole that I don’t see being filled in this lifetime.
So I would just ask that if you want me to be able to rejoice with you without having to weep with me, please don’t surprise me with your engagements and your pregnancies. Write me a letter or text me or let me find out from someone else. Because I really need a moment to gather up that grief and lay it back down at the feet of Jesus where it belongs. And if you surprise me I won’t have that moment, and you’ll have to watch me do it.
I’m so broken, friends. I wish that my first impulse was joy for the people I care about. I really do. I pray that one day it will be. But right now it’s not. So please continue to have patience with me. And thank you for letting me hold your babies, even if I cry a little bit. Because I really love those babies.
I believe in the faithfulness of our God. I believe that all of this will be redeemed someday, all this cancer and sorrow and loneliness. And I know more and more every day that Jesus is sufficient to meet all of my needs, even when it takes me a little while to call on Him. His steadfast love is the source of my constant wonder. And He has blessed me far beyond my deserving. Great is His faithfulness.
I love the Lord, for He heard my voice;
He heard my cry for mercy.
Because He turned His ear to me,
I will call on Him as long as I live.
The cords of death entangled me,
the anguish of the grave came over me;
I was overcome by distress and sorrow.
Then I called on the name of the Lord:
“Lord, save me!”
The Lord is gracious and righteous;
our God is full of compassion.
The Lord protects the unwary;
when I was brought low, He saved me.
Return to your rest, my soul,
for the Lord has been good to you.
For you, Lord, have delivered me from death,
my eyes from tears,
my feet from stumbling,
that I may walk before the Lord
in the land of the living.