Infertility is a curse that eats at your soul. Did God think my husband and I were unworthy to be parents? Doubts followed me around like the dust clouds hanging over Pigpen in the Charlie Brown cartoons.
Many many times my husband and I had went forward for prayer about our infertility.
It is said that God has three answers to prayer: Yes, No, and Wait. It seemed like the answer we kept getting was "wait."
We were getting close to our tenth anniversary, and still no child. We were afraid we would end up never having a family. The fear of ending up alone was very real to me.
Watching others have babies while you have none can make you feel so empty. It was hard to be excited for my friends and family when they were expecting a new little one to join the family.
It seemed that daily in the news there would be reports of children neglected, abandoned, or worse yet - abused. Hearing about those children just made my pain worse. It seemed so unfair that people who would not take care of a child could have them so easily and here I was, still waiting to be blessed with a baby.
I know lots of people have been in our shoes. Infertility has been a problem even in ancient times. The bible tells of several couples who were barren. Abraham and Sarah ... Jacob and Rachel ...Hannah and Eli
Then there was Zacharias and Elizabeth - it's their story that lines up with my story.
Zacharias was a priest. His wife Elizabeth was also from a priestly lineage. The bible says they were righteous before God and walked blameless.
Blameless. Blameless blows my "unworthy" theory of why God had not healed my barrenness out of the water.
The bible also says that Zacharias and Elizabeth were well advanced in years. A lot of the bible translations say they were old - some say, very old.
By now, Jim and I were 30, certainly not old!
One day, something amazing happened to Zacharias. Gabriel (an archangel) showed up just as Zacharias was ministering in the temple of the Lord. Of course, the sight of an angel would bring fear to your heart!
"But the angel said to him, “Do not be afraid, Zacharias, for your prayer is heard; and your wife Elizabeth will bear you a son, and you shall call his name John" Luke 1:13
Yes, the sight of an angel would bring fear, but I think God was also speaking to the fears of Zacharias' heart - the fear of dying with no one to carry on your name, of ending up with no family, of the longing for a child being so strong it just might disintegrate you.
Unfortunately, Zacharias doubted, mainly because he was so old. And so, as a sign that it was indeed a messenger from God who told him this good news, Zacharias endured a loss of speech until the promised baby was born. His speech was restored when he named the baby, John, just as Gabriel had directed. John means “'Gracious,' because he shall bring in the gospel of Christ, wherein God's grace shines most bright." (Matthew Henry) John became John the Baptist, the one who prepared the people for the arrival of the Savior.
One day, something amazing happened to us. We were in a revival meeting in Terre Haute, IN. During prayer time at the altar, the evangelist suddenly spoke up, "Is there anyone here that is desiring to have a baby and is not able to have one? God says to come forward and let us pray for you and you will have a child."
There were two other couples there that day who wanted to have children but so far had not. All of us came forward and the evangelist laid hands on us and prayed. Later, my husband said he felt God had touched him in that moment.
In less than a year's time, all three families had birthed a healthy baby.
We named ours, Elissa Joy, which means "consecrated to God" and "delight."
I'm adding this post to my collection of posts on the subject "Fearless," because my fears of ending up alone were groundless.
I'm also linking up to the community of storytellers at Tell His Story. Go to Jennifer Dukes Lee to find out more.