He gives the childless woman a household,
making her the joyful mother of children.

Psalm 113:9   HCSB

This verse feels like a mockery, a point of despair, for many of my single sisters.

Mother’s Day is a tough week for these women who wanted to have children by this time in their lives, but didn’t. Couldn’t.

Some of you ladies were married but couldn’t have children. Your husband passed away, or you two divorced, and remained childless. The still-empty womb aches for you. So does my heart.

Some of you, like myself, did not plan on staying single this long. You thought you would have been a mother, or a grandmother, by now. It hasn’t happened.

Sometimes silently, sometimes openly, you think and pray and ask questions and wonder: Am I ever going to have a child? When will I be able to start a family?

 Or Is it too late? I’m concerned that if I wait much longer, I will be too old to have kids. I want to enjoy them and be able to keep up with them now, while I’m young. I don’t want my kids’ friends to see me and say, “Are you living with your grandmother?”

Or Did I sin or something, that God is punishing me by not letting me marry the right guy so I can have children? I want to do it right. I want to do it God’s way. Why hasn’t God answered my prayers?

Or I went through menopause already. I waited on God for marriage and babies and it didn’t happen. It’s never going to happen. I was cheated of enjoying motherhood.

Then when we read of people who have children and carelessly take them for granted, get jailed for child abuse, or even go to abortion clinics to abort their tiny, trusting, innocent babies, our hearts sink and our stomachs churn. You think How could you? I would have given nearly anything to care for that child you neglected/beat/killed. You’re a heartless monster and you shouldn’t have any more children. You probably shouldn’t even have a dog.

I get it. I am with you and probably thousands, if not millions, of other single sisters on this unmet but legitimate desire.

I know why I never got married before—I didn’t want to marry a man who was not going to the country I planned to minister in as a full-time missionary. I just never thought this season of singleness due to delayed missionary transfer would extend so long.

I am open to adoption or foster care or having children or grandchildren live with us, although I know it’s not the same.

My friends and I have joked around over the years that my husband’s probably over there scratching his head, wondering why I have not arrived yet. I’ve even joked that if I ever get married, half of southern California will try to show up at the wedding to see who I finally picked. And my marriage will have to be BYOC—if you want children, buddy, you’d better bring your own!

When the smiles and giggles die down, however, the longing to be a mother remains. Like a distant sad song that plays far away in the background, our longings for children linger in the quiet moments, when we get around young nieces and nephews and cousins, or when our friends get pregnant again.

I endure. I love. I serve. I cultivate contentment, joy, and blessing, which stave off jealousy, hostility, and bitterness. I try more to seek His face and rest in His sovereign timing for marriage and stepchildren. And I continue to pray for my future husband. I’ve also prayed for my children and grandchildren.

You do the same. Let’s walk together in this journey, my single sisters in the Lord.

Perhaps, mother-not-yet, you will become a mother some day sooner than later.

Though you wish it had been last year, hang on to your dreams and prayers, unless He’s told you to stop.

Don’t let yourself become bitter and desperate to take on a role He has not called you to at this season.

Cultivate that meek and quiet spirit in His presence, which is precious to Him, and so that He may minister to your heart about His own legitimate but unfulfilled desires.

Desires like seeing everyone get saved. Desires like having all who name Him as their Savior take Him in as Lord.

I pray that this year’s Mothers’ Day will not be so hard for you, my friend. It’s only a week and it’s not as bad as Valentine’s Day. Hang in there, the Monday after Mothers’ Day is coming.

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