15 October 2012

In Our Shoes

Over the past 7 years, I have seen a lot of pregnancy tests. Each negative test was more devastating that the previous.  And the positives inspired sheer elation. Rarely do I think back to a time when I felt much differently...

When I was 19, I remember saying, "I never want children. A child is a life-time prison sentence!" I remember thinking that a child is the ultimate responsibility that you can never escape. I thought of all of the heart-ache I caused for my parents, and I new for sure I would never want kids of my own for fear of the pain they could cause me. I also remember thinking that I was way too selfish for children ...and at the time, I was right!

When I was 19, I was not ready for children, and I had NO idea how amazing it is to hold a baby in my arms and comfort her when she is unhappy. I had no idea how beautiful a smiling 2-year-old could be covered in yogurt and asking for a 'nackin'. I didn't understand how much love you could feel for a child or how difficult it could be to lose one.

Back then, a positive pregnancy test would have been devastating. Probably even more devastating than the many negative pregnancy tests I have taken in the past 7 years.

When we were trying to get pregnant with Abigail, I chatted with a friend online who was pregnant with her 4th child. She had gotten married after I had, and she had gotten pregnant pretty soon after getting married. I told her how devastated we were about not having a child on earth yet. And I will never forget her response. She told me she would trade places with me if she could ....

My blood began to boil, and I shook with anger and jealousy. How could anyone want to be in my shoes? I had just lost our first child, and I was desperately trying to get pregnant and carry a child to birth. And this woman had the gall to tell me she would rather be in my shoes than to have her 4th child!

I would have given almost anything to be in her shoes. God must love her more than He loved me because he had given her more blessings.

Sometime after Abigail was born, while I was dealing with her milk protein allergy, reflux, and colic, I thought back to my conversation with my friend and thought about how difficult it would be to care for my sick child with 3 other children to take care of. And it occurred to me that perhaps my friend had been speaking out of as much desperation as I was feeling while trying to have a child - maybe even more.

And it wasn't until a couple of years later that God has given me the ability to sympathize with people who considered a positive pregnancy test bad news - a teenager, woman whose marriage is falling apart, or someone who has more than she can handle. Once I learned that lesson, my jealousy of people with unplanned children seemed to just evaporate.

God has given each of us different paths, and we walk them IN OUR OWN SHOES! God knows the different speed bumps we will encounter on those paths, and He knows when we will be most desperate for His rescue and comfort.

Jeremiah 29:11 (ESV) For I know the plans I have for you, declares the LORD, plans for welfare and not for evil, to give you a future and a hope.

I have learned that if I can just mentally put on someone else's shoes, I can usually sympathize with their despair even if it hurts me to do it. God has now blessed me with 4 children - 2 in heaven, and 2 here on earth. And I know that He doesn't play favorites. He has blessed me so abundantly with my husband and children.


  1. Hannah, I sure don't remember much heartache. I do, however, remember a precious little girl, also covered in yogurt, who stole my heart and still has it.