Hope Without Shame
Sometimes it’s hard to be a married person without children within a church setting. And I’d imagine any couple, whatever the exact particulars behind their child-less states, has found it to be so. Not that other people set out to make it hard, or that they must walk on eggshells around anyone is such a situation. It’s just … sometimes it’s hard to hear about the virtues and challenges of children and not feel like you’re “less than” because you don’t have kids. Take a passage that was shared during a recent sermon at my church. Below is a screenshot of the scripture referenced and what I almost immediately typed underneath it in my Evernote file:
Now a few caveats:
- No one said we should be ashamed for not having children.
- But it is, with our experiences, what my husband and I heard. Our filters muddied things up a bit.
- I am not saying the above passage from the Bible is not true. But family is more than having biological kids (as a wise and good friend pointed out to me yesterday).
- There was a time I would have heartily agreed with the above Psalm with nary a thought about anyone without kids, for whatever reason, in the room with me.
And one more thing: Taking the time to, as best I could, let God know I was struggling helped. It made room for hope to come in, as well as reminding me to have empathy for others whose situations and circumstances are different from my own. For, I’m sure, we’ve all painted with too broad a brush more than once or twice when it comes to whatever things – parenting, work, church, politics, whatever.
Speaking of hope coming in, here’s where I found it in a recent devotional reading:
… but we rejoice in our sufferings, know that suffering produces endurance, and endurance produces character, and character produces hope, and that hope does not put us to shame … -Romans 5: 3b-5a (ESV, emphasis added)
You guys: Hope does not put us to shame! And what – particularly during this Easter season – are we to remember that God gives us like no other?
HOPE. Big, amazing, can’t-always-wrap-your-head-and-heart-around-it hope.
So, again, I’m thankful I took the time to let God know of my struggles with Psalm 127. Because He met me in my messy need, took away my “less than”, and reminded me He is always more than ready to help, to listen, to provide comfort and hope for good tomorrows.
I hope that makes some sense and offers some encouragement to more than this heart—I do. Because genuine, grounded hope is a very good thing to spread around.