I’m a big sister. The second oldest of five kids with an older brother, two younger and a baby sister.
At the age of eight, I’d mastered changing cloth, double diapers held together with stick pins!
At ten, I went to my first babysitting job. It was the family next door, but still …
I loved children. They loved me.
When my husband and I married at 31, we had been friends and dating for four years so we were ready to start a family.
I wasn’t sure we’d have a honeymoon baby, but sometime within the first year, we’d be expecting.
But the year passed childless. Then the second and third.
And you know what? I was okay with it. My husband and I are good friends and enjoy just being together so a few married years on our own seemed fine.
As our fourth year of marriage approached, I was driving home from work one day, praying for someone called to the celibate lifestyle, and the Lord tapped my heart, “Is it okay with you if you don’t have children?”
Was that even God? Should I tell the devil to step off?
Goodness, the Lord commanded Adam and Eve to be fruitful and multiply. The Psalms praises a man with a full quiver. Proverbs extols the wise woman and her children rise up to call her blessed.
Why would God ask me such a thing? Maybe He didn’t. Perhaps it was my own imaginings. Wouldn’t be the first time I “missed God.”
If I was right every time, I’d have been a world famous, best-selling author by then. Ha!
But the question, and a sense of the divine, settled in my heart and took root.
My husband was as open to this request as I and we spent time over the years praying, seeking, making sure we had a “Yes” in our hearts to Him.
Time passed. I never became pregnant.
Little confirmations that indeed we may not have children happened along the way. I pondered them, like Mary, in my heart.
I had peace with this request, though I didn’t always understand it.
And if God wanted to change His mind … we were certainly fine with that too.
Then a few years ago I was reading in 1 Samuel and this verse came alive to me:
1 Samuel 1:8
“Then Elkanah her husband said to her, “Hannah, why do you weep and why do you not eat and why is your heart sad? Am I not better to you than ten sons?”
Hannah mourned her barrenness. Her rival wife taunted her. Yet each year, Elkanah gave her a double portion because he loved her. Her barrenness was not an issue with him.
But in her own grief, Hannah could not enjoy and receive his love.
“Am I not better to you than ten sons?” her husband asked.
I can almost hear the yearning and pain in his voice. He hurts for her, yet she cannot be satisfied with his gifts and blessings.
Am I not that way with the Lord at times? Something doesn’t go the way I want in life, but the Lord blesses me and showers me with love.
Yet I’m so focused on what I don’t have, I can’t receive Him.
As a childless couple, I wonder, “Who will take care of us when we are old?”
And the Lord’s answer to me is, “Am I not better to you than ten sons?”
Oh, how my heart comes alive when I realize my portion in the Lord. He is indeed better to me than ten sons!
When things don’t go my way – at home or church, with friends, or in the publishing world – I must open my eyes to see what He is doing, how He is blessing and keeping me.
He is better to me than ten sons!
How have you been able to see the blessing — His blessings — of life not going according to your plans?
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Hauck is an award-winning, best selling author of critically acclaimed novels such as RITA nominated Love Starts with Elle, part of the Lowcountry series. She also penned the acclaimed Songbird Novels with multi-platinum recording artist, Sara Evans. Their novel Softly and Tenderly, was one of Booklists 2011 Top Ten Inspirationals.
Her book, the bestselling, The Wedding Dress won the Romantic Times Inspirational Novel of the Year and is nominated for the Romance Writers of America RITA award.
Her latest release, Once Upon A Prince, earned a Starred Review from Publisher’s Weekly and Booklist.
Rachel serves on the Executive Board for American Christian Fiction Writers and leads worship at their annual conference. She is a mentor and book therapist at My Book Therapy, and conference speaker.
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