At the Well - Reaping What We Sow
Although I was never a biological mother, not for lack of wanting, mind you, but the product of a body broken and a uterus that was so tilted and collapsing that nothing survived in there, I am a bonus mom to my dear daughter, Kristyn.
Many years I went through something like denial. I called myself biologically childfree because it hurt too much to say I was childless. I sought out and joined other childfree groups and made some really great friends. Every woman in that group had pondered having children. Most, like me, were infertile. One could have have them but her husband couldn't. I don't think there was a single woman in the group that initially set out from day one of her life and said, "I don't want children." I may be wrong, but I don't think I am.
"Many are the plans in a man's heart, but it is the LORD's purpose that prevails." ~ Proverbs 19:21 (NIV)
Often we seek out people who are like us. As Christians we are drawn to other Christians. As women, we are drawn to other women. As bonus mom's, we are drawn to other bonus mom's. As bloggers, we are drawn to other bloggers.
People who are biologically childfree are no different. Whatever there reason is for not having children, they seek out others who don't have children. Especially the women. In this world, we are ostracized. We may be bonus mom's but it's not good enough. If we don't have 3.5 children we are different.
We are labeled, so we embrace the label for a time and declare ourselves childfree and love the life we have. We are happy to have more money to spend, ecstatic to live lives as DINKS (Double Income, No Kids). Really what we're doing is making the best of a bad situation. We don't have what we planned on, so we re-invent life to embrace what we do have. It works for alot of women. It hurts less when you think of it that way, I can tell you that!
"If you have any encouragement from being united with Christ, if any comfort from his love, if any fellowship with the Spirit, if any tenderness and compassion, then make my joy complete by being like-minded, having the same love, being one in spirit and purpose. Do nothing out of selfish ambition or vain conceit, but in humility consider others better than yourselves." ~ Philippians 2:1-3 (NIV)
Regardless of how we came about being biologically childfree, sometimes we don't have anyone to sow. Don't judge us, please. Our husband may be infertile. We may have a gene that we live in absolute fear of passing down to our children. We may have a mental illness that disables us from being God's best parent for a child. Or we, as women, may simply just not be able to conceive. Sometimes we don't know what the problem is. We've had all the tests, taken all the drugs, had all the procedures, and still our wombs remain closed. Sometimes, like people who are called by God to be single, we are called by God not to be mothers. We decide not to mess with what God doesn't seem to be giving us and quit trying to force His will on our lives.
"Trust in the LORD with all your heart and lean not on your own understanding; in all your ways acknowledge him, and he will make your paths straight." ~ Proverbs 3:5-6 (NIV)
I consider myself blessed that God placed me in a marriage where my husband had custody of a six year old precious girl. I invested 14 years in her life as bonus mom and reaped what I sowed many times over. And some of what I didn't sow, hah hah!
Two years into our marriage, we moved into a developing subdivision and I took spring break off to be with her. She wanted to go exploring and I told her to stay on the road and not to go in anyone's house. I told her if she met a friend to come home and let me know where she'd be. I got into a good book and looked at the time. Surprised she wasn't home, I walked to the edge of our driveway and looked up and down the street. No Kristyn. I had lost my baby, Steve's baby! This 8 year old life I had been entrusted with was nowhere to be found.
Do you know how fast a 22 year old woman can run and shout and look at the same time? I felt like my head was literally spinning on my shoulders as I looked for her. I berated myself because of the construction that was going on in the neighborhood. I just knew she had been hurt or worse. I ran back home and called Steve. He assured me she was probably fine but to call back if I couldn't find her.
The door-to-door pounding began. When I say pound I mean pound. I knocked on doors like a madwoman. On the tenth house I huffed and puffed at, I got the answer. "Sure. She's playing in the bedroom with so-and-so." Ya'll, I think my knees were like putty. I think I explained to the woman we were new to the neighborhood, blah blah blah, and she retrieved Kristyn.
Although I had never laid a hand on her, with each step up on the road, I swung at her little booty with the flat of my hand. "I told you to call me if you found a friend! Do you know how scared I was? You have got some explaining to do to your Daddy!" I said, each word accented with a pop on the behind. Although it was only about 8 houses up, she said it was the longest walk she had in her life.
"The rod of correction imparts wisdom, but a child left to himself disgraces his mother." ~ Proverbs 29:15 (NIV)
She called her Dad and explained how she just forgot to call. She also told him I had a swing like a pro and every word I spoke had a pack to it. She asked me if she could ever play with her friend again and I told her absolutely, if she called when she went into her house. I held her for a little bit and sent her back up to play. As soon as she got there she called me. I grinned. I knew where she was going.
Recounting with Steve on the phone the fear I felt, the great popping of the hiney with every word of scolding, and the sending her back out to play, I remember telling him, "Now I feel like a mother."
I was, whether I was running up the hall with her at 2:00 a.m. or sitting in the doctor's office waiting for a strep culture to come back or helping her write spelling words 3 times each and holding her when she cried because some girl at school told her she was not her friend anymore.
During an eight year period of prayer, I prayed that God would open my womb. I also prayed for others and spent one year praying for Kristyn in the fourth grade regarding school. All the times others could not see me being a mother, I was a mother. God finally opened my eyes to see how blessed I was with what I did have.
"For I know the plans I have for you," declares the LORD, "plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future. Then you will call upon me and come and pray to me, and I will listen to you. You will seek me and find me when you seek me with all your heart." ~ Jeremiah 29:11-13 (NIV)
Years later, the phone would ring. "It's me. After the ballgame we decided to go to McDonald's." "It's me. We were going to spend the night at Joanna's but her mom's gone. Can we all spend the night at home?" Each time she called, we would grin. Reaping what was sowed.
"Train a child in the way he should go, and when he is old he will not turn from it." ~ Proverbs 22:6 (NIV)
Now I am a grandmother. It just amazes me that one can suck down a bottle in under 2 minutes flat and the other wants to crawl up in my lap for no reason at all and sit like a big boy with a grin on his face that says, "I am right where I want to be."
Thank You, God, for Kristyn, Corey, Nolan and Liam. A bonus daughter, son-in-love, and 2 precious Grands...what did I do to merit them? Who am I, Lord, that You would bless me so many times over? My cup overflows, indeed, Lord! In Jesus' Name I pray, Amen.
"He settles the barren woman in her home as a happy mother of children. Praise the LORD." ~ Psalm 113:9 (NIV)
Please visit our hostess Sherry At the Well for more thoughts on sowing and reaping. Be sure to share your own, too!