When my husband and I first found out I was infertile, we shared the news with some dear friends of ours. These friends are walk-by-faith kind of friends. They know everything is within God’s realm of possibility, and they live their lives as is that’s true. (These are great friends to have. If you don’t have any, find some.) When they found out the doctor told us we couldn’t have babies, the first thing they said was “Pray for a miracle!”
Pray for a miracle. I hate to admit it, but I hadn’t even thought of that. Maybe it was because I was in the throes of grief over my inability to give birth. Or maybe because my faith can be diminutive at times. Or maybe it was because I wasn’t even sure God wanted me to pray that. Whatever the case, it took me a while to consider it and do it.
But eventually, I started asking God for a miracle baby. I began to think, How awesome would it be for all the people who knew I had this condition to find out that I was pregnant? What a testimony to the power of God! What proof that He still answers prayers! What evidence that He still does miracles! How badly I wanted God to get glory through this narrative. I could see the headlines: Sterile woman with no eggs miraculously becomes pregnant. Doctors cannot explain it. The supernatural is at work! (Okay, those are pretty cheesy headlines. But cheesy is my thing, as I write for kids for my day job.)
Anyway, I know people who don’t believe in Jesus. I thought surely a miraculous pregnancy would cause them to consider the existence of a God, a God who not only is real but who sees our pain and answers our petitions with a YES, just because He’s awesome like that. So I prayed.
In addition to this desire for God to get more glory, my dream of becoming pregnant started to grow as well. Oh, and I didn’t just want to be a mom, but a boy mom. Those very same walk-by-faith friends had three boys of their own. When my husband and I flew to visit them, I couldn’t get enough of the experience. (Well, after 15 hours of nonstop activity, multiple meltdowns, and constant interaction, I suppose I did have enough, as did my friend.)
Nevertheless, I pictured holding this boy in my arms. Playing with him. Laughing with him. I imagined him riding in the passenger seat of my car, chatting away on our way home from school. Indeed, my ache to have a miracle baby and a miracle testimony were replacing my grief. Like Hannah, I prayed for a son that I could dedicate to the Lord.
Was it silly to pray for this? Should I have just taken what God had clearly ordained for me and shut up about it? Of course not! To do so goes against everything the Bible says about prayer. (Luke 18:1-8, Ephesians 6:18, Philippians 4:6, 1 Peter 5:7, ) So if you are an infertile woman on your knees begging God to heal you, you’re not being silly either. You are walking by faith, trusting God is as powerful as He declares Himself to be in the Scriptures, and asking Him to do what the Bible has shown us repeatedly that He can do: a miracle.
Yet as I write this blog today, God hasn’t given me that miracle. He hasn’t given me eggs. He hasn’t given me a pregnancy. He hasn’t given me a biological child, let alone a biological son. He’s only said no, over and over again, like He did with the Apostle Paul concerning his thorn in the flesh, and like He did with Jesus in the Garden of Gethsemane concerning another path to redemption.
Yet here’s the thing, it took me a long time to realize: God did do a miracle. I just had to look closely to find it.
God has done a miracle in me. The woman who had stopped praying. The woman who had refused to talk to Him about anything concerning her infertility. The woman who had believed all kinds of lies about herself. The miracle was not of the flesh, but of the spirit. It was not of the womb, but of the heart. And if I take my cue from the story of Jesus forgiving the sins of the paralyzed man (Mark 2:1-12), then I’d say Jesus thinks these kinds of miracles are pretty important, so I probably should too.
As I write this, I am still praying for God to give me eggs and knit together a baby in my womb. But it’s no longer a striving kind of prayer, a prayer that is me wanting to impose my will upon God’s, a prayer of me telling Him how He should get more glory. Now it’s more of a prayer of meekness and submission, a prayer that says, “You are the God who heals! You are the God who saves! But above all, you are God, and I am not.”
I still pray for that baby – the boy who is not yet, and may never be. And all the while, I pray for the children who already are: my friends’ kids, my godkids, the kids in the ministry I work for. And if God never gives me a miracle baby, there is another miracle I must tell people about: the miracle that happened inside of me, the miracle of redemption, revivification, and renewed faith. I must talk about the God who listens to His daughters begging for miracles, and who, the entire time they’re begging, performs miracles within their souls.