Last autumn I enrolled on a Lifeshapers course at Grace Church. I was 99% confident that I didn’t have any issues that needed dealing with, I just wanted to do the course so that I could get experience in prayer counselling with the aim of being a future prayer partner. I’m not saying I thought I was perfect, but God dealt with so much rubbish in my life a couple of years ago through illness that I didn’t think there were any ‘big’ issues left!
A few weeks into the course, while my friend Penny was praying for me at the end of a meeting I became aware of a big issue that God wanted to deal with in me. I hoped Penny would hurry up and finish praying because I felt at any moment I might erupt in an explosion of tears, only I wasn’t sure why. As soon as she was done, I said goodbye and fled to my car.
Driving home, I asked the Lord to show me what it was He wanted to deal with. I didn’t want to know, but at the same time I did! It was a painful and scary moment. He immediately showed me that He wanted to deal with my childlessness. It’s a good thing the roads were quiet that night because I cried so hard – sobbed – that it was hard to see and even harder to concentrate on driving. I forced myself to calm down as a neared home; I didn’t want Adrian to see I was upset because I couldn’t talk about it.
After Adrian had gone to bed, I sat staring into space. I didn’t want to face my childlessness, but at the same time I understood that if I didn’t deal with it now when the Holy Spirit had highlighted it, I might not get another chance. Certainly, it would be foolish to ignore God rather than face the issue, painful though I knew it would be. I was due to meet with my Lifeshapers’ prayer partner Judy the following morning. Would I have the courage to mention what had happened? Or would I have reburied it? I suspected the latter so, shortly before midnight, I texted her: ‘Make sure we talk about me being childless tomorrow as otherwise I’ll bottle out’.
Judy is a faithful friend and over the following weeks we prayed into it. She encouraged me to share with Adrian how I felt about not being able to have children. Poor Adi, he wondered what on earth I was going to say when I organised a ‘date night’ for us and said I had something to tell him. But, as always, he was incredibly supportive and understanding, listening to me while holding me close and giving me lots of hugs, not to mention buying me flowers and chocolate.
For two or three weeks I was very emotional. Sometimes I felt like throwing the Lifeshapers’ journal across the room and other days I couldn’t face doing the study at all. I refused to let anyone pray with me apart from Judy because I was terrified of what was buried. It was deep, and I wasn’t sure what was down there.
During that period, every church meeting I attended seemed to mention barrenness or babies in some way. On one particular Sunday, I went to pray with a lady during the ministry time and when she turned around I saw that she had a baby in her arms. Oh well, I decided I could ignore the baby. But no, the lady wanted me to pray for her little one. I hesitated, feeling that I couldn’t face it. For years I’d felt threatened by babies and would do almost anything to avoid them. But as I looked into this little girl’s big dark eyes, I suddenly saw her as a person and I remembered how Jesus welcomed little children and blessed them. He wanted my hands to represent His as I laid them on her and blessed her in His name.
My healing process had begun.