The year was 1997, towards the end of summer, and I was almost 28 years old. My husband and I had been married 3 years and we had been trying for a “long” time to get pregnant – 6 months! Later that fall, couples our age started announcing their pregnancies.
As is custom at our church, a husband would announce his wife’s pregnancy by asking prayer for the expectant mothers at the weekly men’s prayer meeting. First one couple announced they were having a baby, and then another, and then it seemed like two couples announced it in one day, and before long, five couples were expecting, all due within six weeks of each other! What are the odds?
I am sure I cried with each new announcement. How can this be fair? In my mind, they jumped ahead of me. Some hadn’t been married as long or been trying as long as we had to get pregnant. Some probably even got pregnant the first month they tried. I didn’t know any of this for sure; it’s just how I was thinking.
A month before they were to give birth, I remember going to the monthly ladies meeting for our Sunday School class. Fittingly, the meeting was to honor the expectant mothers by giving a devotion about mothers, playing baby games, presenting them with gift baskets, eating cake, etc. I am not sure why I even went to that meeting! The mothers-to-be were all casual friends of mine, but it was still hard. (All of us even still go to the same church today, except for one who is a pastor’s wife.) There was another lady in similar circumstances as I, and she finally broke down in tears. I remember someone reaching out to her to hug and comfort her. Though it was difficult, the Lord gave me grace, and I was able to keep my composure on the outside while crying on the inside.
I didn’t realize it at the time, but I had no joy. Thankfully, and I believe, divinely, the Lord was preparing some messages for me that my Preacher would soon preach about joy.