Sunday, May 8, 2011

Empty Arms on Mother's Day

Today is Mother's Day.

It has been a wonderful day filled with kisses and homemade cards and hugs and sweet, sweet smiles from my two adorable children. They are the light in my day, my hope for the future, my reason to keep going because I know they are depending on me to teach them and help them and love them. I will be eternally grateful for them.

But Mother's Day wasn't always sweet and wonderful.

For a long time, there were no kisses or hugs or homemade cards. There was just the hole in my heart that could only be filled with children. For 9 long years my arms ached to hold a baby I could call my own.  My husband and I tried all the meds out there. We started the adoption process a couple of times, but for some reason, that was not the path we were to take. Finally it came down to trying in vitro or just accepting the fact that it may just be the two of us for the rest of our lives.

We tried the in vitro and against our specific odds, odds which caused the doctors to be skeptical that we would have a positive outcome, we were blessed with a beautiful daughter. Then 18 months later, I discovered I was pregnant with a little boy! Wowsers! Two children when I thought I may never have any!

Some of you reading this may have found yourself in this same situation - or you know someone or love someone who is dealing with infertility issues. I'm writing this to you. It may be just one of you, but I'm betting there are more. In fact, I know several women who are struggling with infertility or trying to adopt and I wish I could put you all in one room where you could all talk together. But the problem with that is that you are each individuals and you may compare yourselves to others or think that no one really understands you or that the other women don't have it as hard as you do. I know. I've felt those same feelings. So I guess this needs to be done on an individual basis.

I want to tell you how the Savior took my hand and helped me through those long years.

Before I do that, I need to say here that before I had children, I used to hear women who already had children, whine to me - to ME! (who had no children) - that they couldn't have any more children and how hard that was for them. I could hear the pain in their voices, but all I could think of was that they had a child or children to love when I had none. How could they compare their pain to mine?! I now understand what they were feeling, as I would love to have more children, but I try very hard to remember the pain and emptiness I felt before being blessed with children and then I calm down because yes, I do have children to love and my arms are not empty. I need to be grateful for the blessings I have.

That doesn't mean I don't still feel some pain and longing. Here is where I can still understand the pain that women feel who long for children, whether they don't have any yet, or want more.

I feel sincere joy when other women tell me they are expecting and I love to be around new babies and wrap myself in their straight-from-heanveness. Yes, it tugs at my wanting-more-babies heart strings but most days I'm at peace with my situation. I worked very, very hard to overcome bitterness and self-pity and ingratitude. I erroneously thought that once I finally did have a child all of those longings would go away but it comes and goes and on most days, I feel peace.

...On most days...
Satan works hard on me in this area. He whispers stupid lies in my ears like, "No more children want to come to your home." "You are doing such a bad job with the two children you do have, Heavenly Father doesn't trust you enough to send more children to you." "You are not a strong enough or intelligent enough or patient enough woman to be able to have more than two children." among other things. Like I said, STUPID LIES and I know they are stupid but he is so danged persistent.  It is one of the areas he thinks he can get to me in the battle for my soul and I will admit these lies of his hurt me as if they were arrows aimed at my heart. I am wounded and sometimes weak in this area. But he's not going to win this battle because during those 9 long waiting years, I learned how to do a few things...

I learned how to dig deep within myself to find the super duper thick trust in God that tends to settle at the bottom of my heart.

I learned how to close my eyes and recall the images of Sara and Hannah and Elisabeth from the bible - waiting and waiting and waiting for a child and then only having one child, yet being powerful women in God's kingdom.

I learned how to imagine myself into the eternities and know that this life is not all there is and that someday, if I am faithful, all of my righteous desires will be fulfilled.

I learned how to recite Isaiah 55:8 over and over again, "For my thoughts are not your thoughts, neither are your ways my ways, saith the Lord."

I learned how to let the Savior take me into His arms and carry me out of this dark and scary place that could lead to depression, bitterness, sorrow and ingratitude. He holds me tighter and acknowledges that He knows it is hard and He knows I am wounded and that He is doing all He can to help me make it out of the faith smothering jungle wherein so many women in this situation find themselves. As I cling to Him, I know He can do what He is promising. So even though I can't see the path clearly in front of me, I trust that He can and I hang on even tighter.

Our Father in Heaven is in control and if I have learned anything in this life, it is to TRUST HIS JUDGMENT. So, the rest is in His Hands. He is in charge and yes, I WILL TRUST HIM! He knows what I do not know and sees what I do not see.

"How did you learn this?" you might ask. Well, I had a choice. I could let my empty arms become filled with bitterness and sorrow, or I could wrap them around Someone who understood bitterness and sorrow and learned to overcome it Himself. I chose to do the latter.  "Jesus partook of history’s bitterest cup without becoming bitter!" ("Enduring Well" by Elder Neal A. Maxwell)

He went to your saddest place and found the way out. Let Him lead you out of your darkness into His light where, although we may not get all we desire in this life, we CAN trust Him and His love.

Some days that is all you can hold onto... but at least your arms won't be empty.

(p.s. This lesson doesn't just apply to waiting for children)

To read follow up posts to this click on these links...

"How I Survived Those Waiting Years"
"I Will Stand Still For You"


  1. Beautiful post Lisa. I really enjoy reading these.
    Kriste Onwiler

  2. Thanks Kriste,
    Your comment means more than you know. :)

  3. Lisa!! You are definitely a choice daughter of our Heavenly Father! Thank you so much for opening up & sharing yourself with others. You lift me up!


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