Yesterday, Hubby, Reagan and I went to Walmart. Yes, the same girl who just blogged about NOT buying more stuff went to the proverbial birthplace of stuff-obsession. She even forgot her canvas bags. I'll understand if you leave me a nasty comment. I really will.
Anyway, we parked in the parking lot - once again scouting out the parking spot which is both the closest to the store and the farthest from the other cars (avoiding the door dings, y'all). I opened the door and went to get Reagan out of her carseat. I leaned over and unbuckled her, explaining that we were going in the store. She kicked her legs against the carseat in anticipation. I ran my fingers through her hair and then pulled her out of the car. Carefully, I placed her feet on the pavement, making sure she had her balance. I leaned down and said to her, "Reagan, you have to hold Mommy's hand!" Her little fingers wrapped around mine and off we went. One tiny step at a time. Her little legs were going as fast as they could go to keep up with my small steps.
We got inside the store and I put her in the shopping cart. She watched as I directed her feet through the little leg holes. When she was seated, she looked up and me and smiled a big toothy grin. We strolled through the store - making our selections here and there. I happily pushed the cart as Reagan scanned the contents of each shelf carefully. She was quite pleased to have us pull something off a shelf or a hook and put it in the cart. She was even more thrilled to be allowed to hold and examine some of our fine selections. Every 10 minutes or so she would let out the loudest, highest pitched, mariah carey scream that you ever did hear - just to see how we would react.
When we were done we walked back to the car, her tiny hand in mine again.
And it hit me again - how happy I am just to have her here. How blessed I am to feel that tiny hand gripping mine tightly. How irresistible it is to kiss her tiny head. How imagining a life without her brings tears to my eyes.
But I knew it - a life without her. I was there. For years we prayed for her. At first they were patient, pleasant prayers:
Lord, if it be your will please bless us with a child.
Then more confused:
Lord, we don't know what's going on but we choose to trust you and your timing.
Lord, everyone around me is pregnant. Everyone else is worthy of babies. These people who don't know what it is to hunger for a child - to ache deeply for that little one - have no trouble having kids. What's so wrong with me?
And sometimes short and to the point:
Lord, you know. Help me.
No, I haven't forgotten those days. I haven't forgotten what it is like to see people in Walmart with their babies and toddlers and screaming-obnoxious children and to go home and cry because THAT's what you want. Even as I buckle Reagan's seatbelt I flashback to wanting to just have the opportunity - the reason - to buy a stroller. No, I will never forget that feeling.
And I haven't forgotten you. You, my friends who pray to the Lord fervently how many times a day that He will hear your cry and allow you to get pregnant, stay pregnant, and have a healthy baby. You are on my mind so many times a day. I understand if the words are too painful to say "We've been trying, we just can't..." I know the shame and fear that wait on the other side of that sentence. As time goes on I am struck by how many women go through this same battle. Alone. Because to some admitting it is like admitting defeat or failure. That's how it felt for me, anyway. I'm not there now (so don't ask me if I have something to tell you or give me a funny look when you see me). But I was.
I wouldn't want you to think that in all my stories of Reagan-this and Reagan-that that I don't wonder if it causes you pain. I remember what it was like to walk that road. Truth be told, having a baby does not free you from the emotional scars of infertility. I remember. I remember you. I remember being too embarassed or shy to ask for prayer.
To you who are reading this, let's take a few minutes today to remember these women - whomever they may be. Prayer is a mighty powerful thing, and if you feel so led please feel free to read this prayer and seek out that power:
Father God, we can't reason with or make sense of the struggles we face. We don't understand so much of the pain and heartache around us. But we trust you, God. We trust that you will work out your good, your perfect, your awesome plan. We trust that you will hear us as we lift up these women who long to be mothers. Lord God we pray for your strength and peace to reign in their lives. We ask you to fulfill your purpose for them and to give them joy in their journey. We beg you to comfort their souls when reminders of pain surround them. Give them great light and great hope in their darkness. Help them to see that you are walking with them through the valley. And give us the right words and the loving gift of silence when they come to us. In your holy name, Amen.