For This Child I Prayed
I belong to a club. It’s the kind of club you’d never voluntarily sign up for. Although you’re privy to its membership right away, somehow you are drawn into meeting other members of this club and there’s an instant bond. They each have a story like mine. One of longing and heartbreak, of waiting and praying, faith and love. I belong to a silent club of women who are unable to bear children.
There’s a desire that runs deep within a woman’s heart for children. We are uniquely created to bear and nurture. In 1 Samuel 1, we are introduced to a beautiful soul named Hannah (her name even means “grace”). Right away, we are told in verse 2 that Hannah was childless. Me too, Hannah.
Before we get too far into this, let me explain that my story does have a happy ending. We adopted our son, Max, 11 years ago. It was an amazing and beautiful journey, one that brought me closer to God in a way that I am still discovering. Getting there, however, was far from easy. I identify deeply with Hannah’s sorrow. Not many got to see this silent and isolating journey, the aching, the jealousy, the anger, the sadness, the longing.
During our journey, my husband and I were presented with the option of “open adoption”. It was a general term used to describe a wide range of options when choosing a relationship with a birth mother and family. This included everything from just sharing pictures with the birth family to openly sharing your life; daily moments and building a relationship. Immediately, I was turned off from this idea. I felt like someone was telling me that I had to share this child. Truthfully, I hated the idea. I remember telling my husband, “I’ve waited this long to be a mother, I don’t want to share a child with someone else.”
Well, Hannah knew something I didn’t. In the midst of her heartache, Hannah was a woman of faith who unashamedly poured out her pain to the Lord and trusted Him to hear her prayer.
“She was deeply distressed and prayed to the Lord and wept bitterly. And she vowed a vow and said, ‘O Lord of hosts, if you will indeed look on the affliction of your servant and remember me and not forget your servant, but will give to your servant a son, then I will give him to the Lord all the days of his life, and no razor shall touch his head.’” 1 Samuel 1:10-11
This prayer is amazing to me. In it, she is asking for the Lord to gift her with a child and, in the same sentence, promising to give that gift back to the Lord if indeed He chooses to give her a son. As you can see from my story, that was not my prayer.
My heart for my son is to keep him, protect him, shelter him. I feel justified in the heartache endured before he came to us. I feel justified when I see him as my one and only chance. These false beliefs keep me from trusting God. Had I allowed them to take root, I am scared to think of how I may have missed all that God has done through our adoption and parenting journey. I wouldn’t know the beauty of blending two families together to love one little boy in big ways. I may have missed out on learning from so many unplanned and unconventional moments. And I would never have been able to see all the ways God has gifted me with the opportunity to care for and nurture numerous others throughout my life.
I believe no matter how our children come to us, all of us mamas fight the urge for our little gifts to be idols in our lives. The truth is, nothing is more important than our relationship with God. Hannah knew this and more importantly she lived what she believed. In the end, she fulfilled her promise and gave her child over to the Lord’s service.
Mamas, the Gift-giver knows your heart deeper than you can imagine. He has trusted you with the precious children in your midst. No matter how they came into your care and nurturing, He created them for you and therefore nothing is more important than your relationship with Him. The God who made it all possible.
“For this child I prayed, and the Lord has granted me my petition that I made to him. Therefore I have lent him to the Lord. As long as he lives, he is lent to the Lord.” 1 Samuel 1:27-28
Questions to journal after reading…
● Does my relationship with my child(ren) glorify God?
● Does the way I parent reflect my trust in the Gift-giver?
● How do I parent with the belief that these children are the Lord’s?
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