When the Barren Sing by Rebekah Fox
I was looking for a parking space in a very crowded lot, when suddenly, near the front, a car pulled out in front of me. I quickly turned on my turn signal, eager to pull in, and whispered a prayer of thanks. But as I began to pull in, I read the sign nailed in front of that space: “Parking For Expectant Mothers ONLY.”
I hit the breaks. And just sat there for a moment, before shifting into reverse. For Expectant Mothers ONLY. Who knew a parking lot could be so cruel? It was like I just got rejected from the Mommy Club. “No barren women allowed.” The sign could have said: For women whose bodies work right. For women who have had their prayers answered. For women who have something to look forward to.
For women with something to expect.
I still remember it so well. That longing. That wanting to “expect” something. Or someone. I used to walk through Barnes & Noble and see that giant “Parenting” section near the Children’s Books Department. And the rows and rows of “What to Expect” books. And I remember the feeling that I had nothing to expect. “Because, I expected to be pregnant by now. I expected a lot of things. By now.”
But if you are barren today, I want you to know you have something to expect. You have Someone to expect. And he is Almighty God. And he’s coming for you.
My prayer for you today is that you would know his love, and know his nearness, and know his mercy. Because he just wants to pour it out on you like never before. I know Mother’s Day is just around the corner. And the sting of infertility can become sharper than ever. But God has a message for you this Mother’s Day. He says:
“Sing, O barren, you who have not borne! Break forth into singing, and cry aloud, you who have not labored with child! For more are the children of the desolate than the children of the married woman,” says the LORD.” Isaiah 54:4
“Do not fear, for you will not be ashamed; neither be disgraced, for you will not be put to shame; for you will forget the shame of your youth, and will not remember the reproach of your widowhood anymore.” Isaiah 54:13
“For the mountains shall depart and the hills be removed, but My kindness shall not depart from you, nor shall my covenant of peace be removed,” says the LORD, who has mercy on you.” Isaiah 54:10
“O you afflicted one, tossed with tempest, and not comforted, behold, I will lay your stones with colorful gems, and lay your foundations with sapphires.” Isaiah 54:11
First he tells you to sing. And then, he gives you the reasons to sing.
And they are:
- Because you will not be ashamed.
- You will not be disgraced.
- You will forget the shame of your youth.
- My kindness will not depart from you.
- My covenant of peace will not be removed from you.
- I’m going to comfort you and lay a foundation for you. In precious stones.
He’s saying everything you have grieved, all your sorrow, all your disappointment, all your despair—I’m going to remove it. And I’m going to redeem you. I’m going to redeem your life. I’m going to be a Husband to you. I’m going to pour out my mercy on you, and show you everlasting kindness.
Now that is something to expect.
See, God knows better than anyone, exactly how you feel in this moment. Can you hear his tender love here? “O you afflicted one, storm-tossed and not comforted, behold I will lay your stones with colorful gems, and lay your foundations with sapphires” (Isaiah 54:11). He’s saying: I am with you! I am for you! And as long as you put your trust in Me, you will NEVER be disappointed!
So, sing barren one! Break forth into singing and cry aloud! You were not meant to be silent. You were not called to pine away in despair. You were made to sing, lift up your voice, because of God. And because of his mercy and everlasting kindness he pours out on you.
I hope that there is this sound across the land, the song of the barren women, lifting up their voices. Shouting for joy. And singing louder than anyone in their churches this Mother’s Day. And when they think of him, when they think of his love, tears fill their eyes. Because he is closer now than ever before. Because when the barren sing, something powerful happens. When the barren sing, the darkness trembles. When barren sing, Satan shudders. When the barren sing, the silence is broken. Despair and heaviness leave. Emptiness becomes full. Dead places become alive. Hardened hearts turn to flesh. Clenched fists, open wide in surrender with joy, joy, joy. Laughter is restored. Like the sun warming your skin. And hope. And peace. And rest in the Holy Spirit.
When the barren sing, heaven breaks through. So sing.
“My soul, wait silently for God alone, for my expectation is from him.” Psalm 62:5
And he’s coming to take all your shame, and fear, and sadness, and sighing, and make it flee away. Forever.