“Baby Sunday”

23 08 2007

That’s someone else’s term, coined about this past Sunday. God was gracious in helping me preach with confidence, and not with anger and frustration as I looked out into the congregation and saw two beautiful babies and one woman recently pregnant with her fourth child. Baby Sunday. I preached, and I said hi afterwards, and I was pastoral, except a little avoidance –ok, maybe a lot of avoidance–of the mass of people surrounding the visitors (former members) with their new baby. Mass of people. Wonderful, yet hard. I talked at length about this issue with the visitor–both before her visit (via email) and on Baby Sunday. We had a great discussion, both with tears, because we love each other, we are friends, but also acknowledge how hard this baby/no-baby issue is for relationships.

Except for needing to avoid the mass-surrounding-babies after church, I did pretty well. I actually thought I did quite well, all things considered… But it hit me later. When I was watching a movie Sunday night, I found myself crying more than necessary for the movie I had already seen three times.. I realized, “A-ha.. this is about Baby Sunday.” It hit me that yes, as well as I did, I still need to have a good cry sometimes. It hit me that this wait for China is harder than I’m letting myself acknowledge day-to-day, as I move forward with the rest of life. It hit me that I’m still quite angry at God for giving Jim and me this curse of barrenness. And yet I’m grateful that God is also helping me get through these times. I don’t know how..

My friend expressed concern about church growth… if I have a hard time with babies, then how could our church have lots of young families? Could we? Yes, I said. We do, and we can. I love babies, I love children. (Which is the problem. If I didn’t love babies so much this wouldn’t be so difficult.) I am able to be pastoral. It’s just hard, mostly with babies. If she had seen me last week at Vacation Bible School, I told her, she would have seen me holding kids, carrying kids, letting kids crawl all over me. And enjoying it. And if a family with a new baby or pregnant lady enters our church, I will welcome them as I would any other new family. So I’m not concerned about church growth from that perspective. But it doesn’t mean it’s not hard for us, for me… and it doesn’t mean that we still don’t want our baby. But still, I am also a wounded healer. The pastor with the achy breaky heart. The pastor who loves babies so much that it literally hurts to look at them now because it’s too painful that God hasn’t granted her this desire in her life.

Baby Sunday. It makes me think what other types of Sundays/church events clergy have endured over the years that are painful. Obviously, things like church conflict (Been there, done that..).. but I’m talking more about stuff like single clergy officiating at weddings, pastors who have lost loved ones to cancer giving thanks in a prayer service for a parishioner being healed of cancer… My mind’s drawing a blank right now on more possible situations, but I’m sure they happen.

I pray that God continues to give us the grace to be present, to be faithful, to be real, and to be loving… despite our own aching hearts.



4 responses

23 08 2007

Let’s talk about who defines what Sunday is about.

You define it with what the Sabbath Lord has put on Your heart. Let your mind and attitude shape the experience of who you are as a human being made of dust and stars, person, woman, wife, daughter, colleague, preacher, photographer, and sensing prophet.

Let your blue eyes shine!

24 08 2007

Every tomorrow has two handles. We can take hold of it by the handle of anxiety, or by the handle of faith.

As your faith is strenthened you will find that there is no longer the need to have a sense of control, that things will flow as they will, and that you will flow with them, to your great delight and benefit.

Every Thursday I go to B&N and get a book of Quotes, depending on what mood I might be in is what I pick to write down in a notebook. Every now and then I go through it to look back. The quotes I gave above are just two of many that I have written down over two years. We all have doubts about our faith. It does not mean it is wrong to feel this way. We will always have doubts throughout our lives. Sometimes no matter what anyone says to comfort you does not help, it has to come from your inner self.

30 08 2007
Jo Ann

I wonder if doubt and expressing a feelign or reality are actually the same thing! Was Jesus doubting when he cried out that God had forsaken him on the cross? Was Mary doubting as she weeped for the death of her son? Does God doubt when weeping for the suffering of this world? Not simply weeping in sorrow about the sins being committed, but weeping alongside those who are suffering.

I do not think it is a lack of faith that causes us to question. The reality is that life does not always work out in good ways for all people. Things sometimes flow towards poverty, starvation, illness, and violence. If we were to delight in those things or see them as benefits, I think God would be terribly disappointed!

9 09 2007

My dear new friend,

Ok, we’ve not met, but I know you a little bit from your blog . . . and I also know you as only one who has walked in another’s shoes can. I have been there. Still am in many respects, though we adopted our first child three years ago and are now–more or less patiently–awaiting our second (who knows when they’ll get here . . . sigh). Adoption is wonderful and it cures childlessness, but it is nota cure for infertility.

One thing about your post struck me because I FELT THAT WAY TOO! You said: “It hit me that I’m still quite angry at God for giving Jim and me this curse of barrenness.”

I am a very religious person and strugling with infertility led–much to my surprise–to struggling with my feelings toward God. Sometimes–on really bad days, (I would call them Babyfests) when everyone seemed to have the theone thing I wantedandI felt conspicous and miserable and, yes, smited, The worst part would be guilt over feeling angry withGod despitemy many blessings. I mean, how hard would it be for him to just swoop in and fix the problem?

I was blessed with a very dear friend who, unfettered by infertility, was often able to see things I could not. One day she said to me “I think infertility isn’t a curse given by God, I thinks it’s God’s enemy. I think it makes him weep.” I had never thought about it like that. I had worked through the idea that infertility is NOT a punishment, but thinking about what my friend said led to some difficult, but much needed, growth.

Infertility is not a curse from God. It is what it is. It feels like a curse, but I do believe that it feels that way to God too, and He works continuously to fight it. Sometimes that work comes in moments that prepare you to adopt, sometimes in a friend’s reflection that rings so true it can reopen eyes you’ve been squeezing shut to try and block out the pain. Rarely does it come in miraculous intervention, but it comes. Softly, surely. This forced growth you are going through is hard. It’s painful. You’ll be exhausted when you finally get a break. But you will get through it. At the risk of being trite, this, too, shall pass. And when you get your baby, and you will, you will know that even as you fought against your own infertility, God did too.

It’s true what they say, that God has a plan. The part they don’t tell you is that He’s not going to let you in on it.

God bless, and please forgive me forintruding with my two cents.

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