"So she called the name of the Lord who spoke to her, 'You are a God who sees me,' for she said, 'Truly here I have seen him who looks after me.'" Genesis 16:13
"When the Lord saw that Leah was hated, he opened her womb, but Rachel was barren." Genesis 29:31
"And God listened to Leah, and she conceived and bore Jacob a fifth son." Genesis 30:17
"Then God remembered Rachel, and God listened to her and opened her womb." Genesis 30:22
"...and the Lord remembered her. And in due time Hannah conceived and bore a son, and she called his name Samuel, for she said, 'I have asked for him from the Lord.'" 1 Samuel 1:19b-20
These are not the only instances of God opening barren wombs recorded in scripture. Sarah's womb was opened by God well beyond menopause for her, and she became the matriarch of the nation of Israel. And Elizabeth, the wife of a priest, noted as walking righteously before God, was "advanced in years" as well. She was blessed to be the mother of John the Baptist.
My point in making note of the scripture references above is not to point out how God opened the wombs of barren women. In fact, the very first scripture listed above is not about a barren woman at all. She was pregnant for the sake of a barren woman, and she became the matriarch of the Muslim nation through her pregnancy.
What I wanted to take note of is that God saw, he looked after, he listened to, and he remembered these women.
The women noted above were not particularly righteous or good, but God still took note of them. This comforts me because it reminds me that I cannot earn God's favor, and it is also not required that I try.
Another thing these women that God noticed had in common is the fact that they were in places of desperation.
Hagar had fled from her mistress who had mistreated her and she was in the desert, alone and pregnant.
Leah had been given in marriage to a man who did not love her, who then married her sister a week later.
Rachel had had her fiance given to her older sister to fulfill customary rules, and although she was finally able to marry her fiance a week later, she was barren and her sister was fruitful!
Hannah was the second wife of a man who loved her, but she was taunted relentlessly by the first wife who was as fertile as the day is long. The desire to bear a child consumed her to the point that her husband seemed hurt that she didn't find his love to be enough.
These women were wounded, they were weary, they had lost hope, and they longed to be seen, to be remembered. Sound familiar?
It blows my mind that the God of the universe would reach out and literally touch the lives of these women, paying attention to their wounded hearts and their helpless requests, but He did. Not only that, He had a plan for each and every one of them. They had no idea how their struggle was going to play out into the course of history, all they knew was the pain they were facing at that time. But God knew.
Sometimes I think, "Seven years is a really long time to be infertile." And then I remember Rebekah (from the bible) who had her husband praying for her to bear children for 20 years! I remember Sarah, who had gone through menopause already, and Elizabeth (as mentioned above). I remember their situations and realize that they were not forgotten about during that time. God hadn't quit caring. But He had a plan to show not only the world but these individuals how truly amazing he is. Although, I'm sure he didn't seem too amazing while they were waiting. Heck, Sarah got tired of waiting and that's how the whole Hagar thing got started.
Let me be clear: ANY length of time longing for a child is a very long time. Sometimes just one day can seem like an eternity! So I realize saying someone waited 20 or 12 or 10 or 7 years isn't really a great comfort. (Trust me, I know!)
But I AM encouraged by the STORIES told by the ones who have endured and survived infertility (and yes, I do mean to use the word "survived"). I am encouraged at the thought that, although I may not like that I have had to travel down this path, there is a bigger plan in motion than what I can see right now. It helps a great deal that I truly trust that God is good and that he is in complete control. Yes, there are days that I scream out to him, "WHY!!!" There are days that I beg him to remember me. But there is even comfort (eventually) in knowing that I can do that and not be struck down, but instead be heard.
I recognize that we all believe different things. These are my thoughts based on what I've been struggling through this week.
One week left to go on this two week wait. I am longing for a miracle. I am longing for all of us to be heard, seen and remembered by the God that I serve.
May God show you that he sees you and looks after you.