For many women, it is a nurturing thing to have someone to talk to about the heart’s desires and life’s frustrations—provided the other person is mentally healthy and connected to God. We can share our disappointments and encourage each other. The emotional and spiritual impact of not hitting life goals can be exponentially difficult in times of national/global crises. Time for “normal life” may seem to be slipping away without chances for adjustment. I recently got a message from a client that I had helped years ago. She wanted to talk with me about her inability to get married and have a family. I suggested we meet as Christian sisters for peer support.
My former client comes from a family pattern of divorce, and she has worked hard on processing her own memories and trauma while maintaining relationships with her parents. She had few dating relationships while she was working on higher education and a professional career. Currently, she values a variety of friends within her age group and her church. She is aware of her biological clock advancing, and she doesn’t wish to choose to become a single adoptive mother.
I listened to her story, the patterns in her extended family, and affirmed the good choices she has made in her life; then we prayed together. Later she thanked me, and we planned for another meeting next month.
Just a day later, at the end of our online spiritual growth community class, one of the women members referenced the difficulty in finding forgiveness for personal health problems. I wanted to find out more about her struggle, so I emailed her and told her about some of my family health challenges and how I have coped. She responded with concern about not knowing how to comfort or encourage her sister through fertility struggles. Then she shared personal disappointment with her marriage situation that has impacted plans to start a family.
I listened to or read the heart cries from both of these God-loving women who are grieving the loss of their hopes and dreams for a family. Sometimes I think it’s doubly hard for professional, accomplished women to reach a roadblock in their expected life journey. We might believe that we should be able to figure out life, cope with pain, and find a way through it all. We often fear we may replicate our parents’ lives and aim high to do it “better” than our mothers! Or perhaps we expect more from God since we have been blessed with so many role models and resources. So many “shoulds” can lead to great disappointments. With many others enjoying weddings and new babies, even a good life can feel like a failure.
I remember some other female friends who either made a poor marriage choice at a later age or cannot envision that they will ever find a mate and have a family. At some point, we can understand that we are the only variable of control in finding or maintaining a relationship. We do not have to replicate our own mothers’ mistakes and issues. We also may learn, like the Apostle Paul explained in I Corinthians 7, marriage requires energy and time that is not available for other missions or goals. There are consequences for all choices in life, and marriage and babies offer surprise expenditures of energy.
The disappointment of missing what seems like a God-given desire is unlike many others. Most people wish for deep intimacy with someone or to share their love in creating new life. We all want a sense of protection and safety to be ourselves and someone to share life’s journey, life expenses, and troubles. So there often remains some sadness or anger about the potential loss of a life goal and dream. Any resulting grief demands time and process.
Where Do We Place Our Faith?
I relish finding resources and relationships for people. I wish I could “fix” these dilemmas for my friends. When faced with the harsh reality of an unfair existence, where do we place blame and our faith? How do we gather the grace to forgive God, others, and ourselves? How do we go on and find joy again?
I remember the interaction of Jesus with His disciples when the harsh projection of His earthly life resulted in some followers deserting Jesus. He asked the disciples if they wanted to leave also. Simon Peter responded to Jesus in John 6:68, “Lord, to whom shall we go? You have the words of eternal life” (NIV).
Throughout the Bible, God refers to His followers/His church as His bride, and often as His wandering, unfaithful bride. God desires intimacy with each of us, so he understands a broken or hurting heart. He waits for us to allow Him to translate what we experience from this world of sin and for His healing love. I believe there can be unidentifed personal growth for each of us when life doesn’t turn out as expected—beyond what anyone else can deliver.
As we struggle and share our lives in the community with honest reflection, I trust that love, intimacy, and family can occur in unexpected ways and times.
Questions for personal journaling or group discussion:
- What does intimacy mean to you?
- How can finding a spouse or having children become an idol disrupting spiritual growth?
Karen Spruill writes from Florida.© 2002 - 2023, AnswersForMe.org. All rights reserved. Click here for content usage information.