Special Women in the Bible…

FeetSarah, Rebecca, Rachel, Elizabeth, Hannah and Monoah’s wife (unnamed).  What do these women all have in common? They all suffered from infertility. However, they were all healed and later gave birth to great men that in their own way changed the world.

I find it very telling in the scriptures that many of these infertile women were the favorite or most loved wife of their husbands. It makes me smile to think that even though these women could not do what women were “suppose to do” that their husbands treasured them and loved them dearly. During these times childless women were looked down upon. Even though others thought of them as “less then” they were the favorites among the wives, which I am sure caused much pain and jealousy to the others wives.

These women handled the problem of  being infertile in different ways. Some of them found “substitute wives” to bear children for their husbands. While others of them prayed and begged God for children. The husbands also handled it differently.  Some of them accepted the “substitute wife”, others prayed, and while others loved their barren wives more than anyone could imagine.

God had the same answer for all of these women– in time. Each of these women were finally given the child that they so desperately wanted. Each of these children made an impact on the world.  Maybe this is why I expect great things from my child. Having suffered infertility and finally having a son of my own I know how these women felt when while going through the struggle and then finally having a much wanted child.

Sarah gave birth to Isaac in her old age. Sarah got impatient and took matters into her own hands suggesting that Abraham take her salve as a wife in order to have a child. Sarah became jealous when Hagar did conceive.  It is hard to not be jealous of others when you want to have a baby more than anything else. It is hard to keep the pain and hurt locked up inside. I remember telling David that maybe he should find another wife if he ever wanted to have children. I am so thankful that he continued to love me and need me even though I felt like I was not good enough for him. He loved me despite my being jealous of others. He loved me even when I felt I did not deserve his love.

Rebecca and Isaac had been married for twenty years and had no children.  All through this time Isaac never took another wife. This was quite odd to me since it was very common during these times for men to have more than one wife. Isaac prayed that Rebecca would have children and God answered that prayer by blessing them with twins, Jacob and Esau.  I am glad that my husband loved me with a love like Isaac  had for Rebecca. I am so glad that he prayed for me during these difficult times.

Rachel and Jacob have a beautiful love story. After working for 7 years to earn the right to marry Rachel, Jacob was tricked into marrying her sister Leah. However, he was also able to marry Rachel after agreeing to work another 7 years. The Bible says that this time did not seem long to Jacob, his love for Rachel kept him going. He loved Rachel more than Leah and Leah knew this. How it must have hurt Leah to know that she was not Jacobs choice, but rather forced upon him. How jealous Rachel must have been watching her sister Leah have child after child. However, Rachel did finally have children the Bible says, “God remembered Rachel” and she gave birth to Joseph.

Manoah’s wife gave birth to Samson after many years of being childless. An angel of the Lord appear to let them know that they would be having a child and gave her a set of rules to follow while she was expecting and rules to follow after the child’s birth.  Samson became a great warrior. God used him against the Philistines.

Hannah lived with the pain of being unable to have children and in addition to this pain she lived with the never ending taunting of Peninnah (another wife of her husband) who had children. While I did not have another wife to contend with, I did have people that bragged about being able to have kids, and hurt me by not being very compassionate about my plight. The Bible says that Hannah was the favorite wife of Elkanah. She cried out to God and promised that if she had a child she would give him back to the Lord. After weaning her son, she gave him back to God. How hard it must have been for her to give up her long wanted child.  Samuel grew to became the last and greatest judge of Israel.

Elizabeth was so old that when her husband was told by an angel that she would have a child he laughed and did not believe. He was then stuck “dumb” unable to speak until the birth of John. John became a great influence on many people.

Infertility is not fun. It is painful for both the woman and her husband. I would not wish infertility on my worse enemy. Not all couples are able to overcome this burden. Not all marriages survive infertility. It takes a strong couple to work through these issues. It takes years to ease the pain that comes with years of being unable to have children. I still have not fully worked through these issues. I will be honest, it still upsets me to see abusive people having child after child. It still upsets me to see people that don’t want children becoming pregnant.

I am thankful that like these women God also heard my prayers and gave me Caleb through birth, and Madilyn through adoption. I feel very blessed to be able to call these two my children. God absolutely knew what he was doing when he put our family on this path. I believe infertility made David and I  a stronger more loving and understanding couple. I  believe infertility has made us better parents. Because of everything we went through to have our kids we know that they are precious gifts. I know that our kids know for 100% that we love them and that they were very much wanted and loved. We went through so much to have both of them, that there is no way we would have gone through what we went through if we did not truly want them. They both know that they were not “accidents.”  I very much dislike the term accident to describe the conception of a child, however that is a post for another day.

When I read the stories of these women, I see that I am in good company. I am also reminded that in everything God has a plan.

Photo by Donna (Madi's feet)

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