I've heard it said many times that a person can't fully understand the love of God until they've become a parent.
Many people have stated that it wasn't until they saw, held, raised, loved, and cared for their own children that they truly realized how much God loves them and what the sacrifice of His own Son on the cross of Calvary really was.
I hope you know me well enough by now to hear my heart here if you're a regular reader of this blog. If you are not, please understand that I don't know what having and raising my own children is like. I may never know. And I would certainly never, ever take away from a person's own experience of parenting. I don't doubt at all that so many have better understood God's love through parenting. If having children is the way that our Heavenly Father has helped you to truly realize and grasp His amazing love for you, then I think that is a wonderful thing.
What bothers me, however, is the idea that NO ONE can understand it unless they've become a parent. It is one of those statements that I hear that, as a barren woman, cuts so deeply.
I wonder if anyone who has thought or said this has ever realized how much an infertile Christian woman relies upon the love of her Lord. In fact, I would even say that I may not have realized the greatness of it until I experienced infertility! And perhaps that is just the point I'm trying to make here. We all have different paths, different trials and afflictions that we will face in life. We will even have different joys and different blessings. And we all will decide how to accept and live with all of the combined circumstances that make up our lives. I believe that God is big enough and strong enough to reveal His deep and relentless love to His children no matter where they are in life, whether they will ever experience the joys of childbirth and parenthood or not.
It is unfair to suggest to someone that she may never understand God's love and sacrifice until she has a child. Many of us can identify with a portion (however small) of what He may have felt when He sacrificed His only Son. Although I've never held any of my children in my arms or looked upon their faces or even called them by name, I knew them and loved them while they were a part of my body and after they were no longer. Many have had to continue to live after having lost a child inside or outside of the womb. Furthermore, many have had to face the fact that they may never have any children. This too, friends, is sacrifice.
For me, it is the very love of my Lord that gets me through that pain every single day.
I understand sacrifice. I understand love. I don't know if any of us can ever truly grasp the depth of God's love until we see Him face to face. Until then, if the Lord has used giving you a child to reveal His love to you, what a wonderful and special gift! If instead He has used infertility to reveal how much He loves you with an undying love, what a wonderful and special gift that can be as well.
Your Love is Deep (song lyrics by Jami Smith)
Your love is deep
Your love is high
Your love is long
Your love is wide
Deeper than my view of grace
Higher than this worldly place
Longer than this road I travel
Wider than the gap You filled
Who shall separate us?
Who shall separate us from Your love?
Nothing can separate us
Nothing can separate us from Your love
(Ephesians 3:17-21 NIV)
I pray that you, being rooted and established in love, may have power, together with all the saints, to grasp how wide and long and high and deep is the love of Christ, and to know this love that surpasses knowledge—that you may be filled to the measure of all the fullness of God.
Now to him who is able to do immeasurably more than all we ask or imagine, according to his power that is at work within us, to him be glory in the church and in Christ Jesus throughout all generations, for ever and ever! Amen.