Last year, I experienced the joy of expecting my second daughter, Tenley. When it comes to having babies, I have always been drawn to the idea of having a natural delivery. My first daughter was breech, and thus, my first pregnancy, (and first attempt at a natural delivery), ended with a C-Section. When my husband and I discovered that baby number two was on the way, my desire to have a natural delivery returned in full-force.
I know there are kindred spirits out there who can relate, whole-heartedly to this desire. I also know that there are those, my mom and sister included, who just as whole-heartedly believe that such desires warrant a good head inspection. All I can say is this desire mattered to me, and when nine months of planning and preparation for a natural delivery ended, once again, in a C-Section I was heartbroken.
I know there are hurts, frustrations, and unmet desires out there that strike far deeper than mine, particularly in the area of having children. I have known friends and family who have struggled for many years to have a baby. I have also known one or two families who have been forced to accept a reality where having a child of their own isn’t possible.
I, in no way, mean to make light of these desires, and I feel deeply for anyone who has known this kind of struggle. I freely acknowledge that, by comparison, my hurt and unmet desire in this issue of having a natural delivery may seem like small potatoes. “Why is this, such a big deal,” I’ve wondered with large amounts of frustration. “Why can’t I just get over it?” I don’t have all the answers to these questions, but I do know that as insignificant as my desire and my hurt may seem, God is using them to do a significant work in me.
On many levels the intense ache I felt in my heart in the days that followed Tenley’s arrival seemed silly and unnatural. My baby was healthy and beautiful, physically I recovered just fine. What on earth did I have to feel sad about? Yet in my heart, where my desire for a natural delivery was harbored, it seemed I was left with a gaping whole.
As days, weeks, then months went by, this whole filled with guilt, confusion, and regret. I felt like the outcome of Tenley’s delivery was entirely my fault. I felt like I had failed, big time. I couldn’t understand why, God, who seemingly could have intervened on my behalf, chose to let this happen. And the lies that I have struggled with my whole life, awful lies, that have told me time and again, that I am weak, helpless, and easily defeated, seemed staggeringly true.
This is my struggle. Twelve months have passed, and I am thankful that through God’s, teaching, insight, and tender mending of my heart I have, for the most part, made my way back to Jennifer. I like to say it this way because for so long I didn’t feel anything like myself. I am grateful that, through everything, God has drawn me closer to Him and has grown me in many important ways.
I praise God for all of this, but sometimes the hurt and the ache still linger.
A few weeks ago, something triggered my memory and transported me back to the day Tenley was born. Once again, my heart began to ache. “Lord, I thought we were past this,” I cried. “Why is this hurting, again?”
Always faithful, God used this ache to speak to my wounded heart. “Because your heart is ALIVE, dearest,” He gently responded. “Only DEAD hearts feel no pain.”
“Alive?” I asked.
“Yes, love, alive. A heart that is willing to desire is also a heart that is going to hurt. It’s okay to feel an ache in your heart. It proves that you’re alive. What matters, my love, is that you bring the ache to me.”
“Bring the ache to me.” These words resonate with me because they give me an action, something I can do when the hurt of a broken heart or an unmet desire rises to the surface. In the midst of my questions, my doubts, my “what ifs,” I can take the aches of my heart to God and trust Him with my longing.
Psalm 147: 13 tells us that, “He heals the broken-hearted and binds up their wounds.”
When old wounds ache and broken hearts rip open, our Savior waits to wash our wounds with His truth, bind our hearts with His peace, and soothe our aches with His love.