Expectant Prayers ®

Jennifer Jo Weiss

Does the Family Seem Complete?

Today's topic is a little off the beaten path for some of you out there, but for others it is a very current issue.  

The question was echoing though my head as I was in prayer this morning... "Does the family seem complete?"   Not for myself necessarily...I guess it was on my heart because I have spent several hours in discussions with women over the past few months that have been asking themselves that very question.  
The path that leads women to that conclusion (my family feels incomplete) may have been different; for one it was due to the loss of a child due to miscarriage.  For another, it was a still birth.  For another, she lost her 2 day old baby due to a premature birth.  Still another, who could not bear any more children, but always had the desire for more.   Each of them, though their reasons varied, felt an incompleteness when it came to their family.

From personal experience, I wake up every morning looking at the pictures of my 5 children above the dresser in my bedroom. 
I created small pictures for the 2 children I lost that hang on either side of the dresser. Jesus is holding a baby and below it says, "Baby Weiss" (and the year they miscarried). 
When the morning sun flows in and illuminates the images, I am reminded that 7 children (soon to be eight) were created in this family.   It brings a mixed feeling of emotions most mornings.  No matter how many children I will bear, I still remember the loss and therefore it always feels like someone is "missing".   After the last miscarriage in 2005, I constantly caught myself setting extra places at the table!  It's strange how we all deal with loss, but as Christians, we are comforted that we will be able to see our little ones again.  It was David who said life begins in the womb and I wholeheartedly embrace that babies contain a soul which returns to the Lord upon death... and that includes the unborn.  I don't expect that I will ever lose that feeling of "incompleteness" (until we're in heaven), but even I realize that God must have a greater good and purpose for all that I have endured.

Even when women have not suffered loss, (for some) simply looking at family photos creates the feeling of incompleteness, as if God is telling them there is more to come.  I can honestly say that up until now, when I have looked at family photos of my own family, I always felt like there was one more spot to be filled.  (And that feeling is one separate from my loss).  I have heard many women say the same thing.    

But what happens if you are infertile and cannot conceive no matter how hard you try?  What if you had a desire to have more children, but were faced with a hysterectomy?  What if you and your husband are simply not in agreement when it comes to having children (or more children)? 

There are many things in this life that we do not understand, nor will we.  God has planted within us a purpose and plan for our lives and the desire to achieve those goals.  If you find yourself dealing with this feeling of incompleteness today, perhaps God is trying to speak to your spirit.  I do not believe that we go through things in life without benefit... everything happens for a reason!  God is working for the greater good in all of us... sometimes we just have difficulty seeing the big picture.   Instead of focusing on what we do not have (and possibly can never have), we need to ask the Lord to direct our minds and paths toward the purpose He has for us and utilize what He has given.  Why do I have this desire and can it be completed in a way that I haven't considered?  Does God have a ministry or mission in mind through the passion I have for ________?  Maybe we're putting God in a box.  We need to think in his dimensions and not our own.

To put a final thought to this discussion today, I will use some real life examples.   

My friend, EM, had 10 miscarriages and ended up with only one living son.  Though all her discouragement, God opened up a prayer ministry for her - especially to women - and she has served not only as a successful Pastor's wife, but strong intercessor for others.  She will tell you that a great compassion was developed through her loss of children that would not have been there otherwise.  Sure, she looks forward to seeing all her children in heaven that she never held or saw here. It reminds her that there is great reward and treasure beyond this life and to hold all things here on earth loosely.

Then there is my own sister.  Three beautiful children and would have loved to have more... but ovarian cancer ended in a radical hysterectomy.  Her times of struggle have turned into such a blessing as she is now pursuing a career in Elementary Education. A few years ago, I never would have dreamed God would lead her on such an exciting journey!   I can't say enough about teachers because in a few years, they have the capability of touching more lives than most of us will affect in our entire lifetime!  She is nurturing and compassionate by nature and will be such a blessing to her students.  There have been other positives come from her cancer experiences, too, such as her testimony and prayer pamphlets that have touched many lives.

One of my best friends who is in her later 30's is getting married for the first time.  Her road hasn't been easy and her desire for family (which will start with her and husband) went for years unfulfilled. She's one great example of feeling "incomplete".  BUT... God took her to places that married people would not have ventured.  Singleness does have rewards, too.  Her character and tenacity have been developed into strong innate qualities that will NEVER be shaken.  She is also a teacher and has poured her life into many children over the past 8 years.  Her faith and trust in God and diligence in prayer are now being rewarded.

Or consider my various family and friends who have followed the Lord's leading into adoption.  What a blessing for all involved!

The possibilities of God are endless and His plans for you are for good and not harm.  Will our feelings ever line up with God's will and purposes for our lives?  Hopefully and prayerfully they will.
My prayer for all of us today is that God will bring a contented peace to our hearts today, no matter what kind of family situation we are in.  Trust Him and He will lead you to places you've never dreamed existed! 

May God bless you and your family today and all those who may be added to it in the future!

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