- Maggie Wallem Rowe
You’ve Prayed for So Long: Is it Ever Going to Happen?
On a yellow sticky note inside a kitchen cabinet door I open daily, I’ve written the names of younger women – friends or daughters of close friends – who have been longing for a child.
The ink is starting to fade in some places.
As these dear ones wrestle with infertility, miscarriage, surrogacy, or adoptive issues, I have been waiting with them, crying out their names to the Lord as if my prayers could serve as spiritual midwifery for the child they ache to hold in their arms. Even though I know the power of prayer resides in the One to whom we pray - not in the prayers themselves - my supplications feel worn and weary, threadbare with overuse.
You’ll understand why, then, my soul has been drawn like a magnet to a modern-day psalm written by a beloved friend, bestselling children’s author Deb Gruelle.
Deb is the author of Aching for a Child: Emotional, Spiritual, and Ethical Insights for Women Struggling with Infertility or Miscarriage. She has experienced firsthand the agony of infertility and is graciously allowing me to share the cries of her heart – taken from Scripture – with you here.
Surely you, too, know someone who is caught between a long-held desire and the long-delayed fulfillment. Someone who needs these words today. Maybe they are waiting for healing from serious illness, for a relationship to be reconciled, or for a child to stop making destructive choices.
Or maybe the one who is desperately waiting is you.
A Psalm of the Desperately Waiting
How long, Lord?
How long will my tears drench my pillow?
How long will you keep silent when I pray to you?
I cry out to you day and night from the very depths of my soul,
but you don’t answer.
Don’t you care about this anguish that touches every aspect of my life?
With one word, you could miraculously fix this brokenness.
Why do you hold back?
Where is your compassion?
I search the Scriptures for answers, but there are no promises of this miracle for me.
Have I committed a great sin against you that made you turn your back on me?
Just show me what it is.
I’m willing to change anything.
I’ve confessed each sin you’ve brought to my mind.
I still struggle to do right, but it’s now because I love you,
not because I’m afraid of you.
I’ve searched my heart and stand open to you.
Yet I watch people who don’t even want your miracle gifts receive them,
Am I not sincere enough in my asking?
Am I not praying hard enough, or long enough, or fasting?
Father, you promise to hear when I pray.
Why won’t you answer?
Help me to remember your compassion for me
and that you cry along with me in this painful situation.
I remember that you also cried at the death of Lazarus.
Restore my heart to you. Let us be intimate once more.
Replace my anger with knowledge of your love and an unshakable trust in you.
Father, help me to walk so closely entwined with you
that I’ll recall the many gifts you’ve given me
and miracles you’ve done for me in other areas of my life
even while I still continue to wait for this one.
Bring them to mind when I forget and feel once again that you’ve forgotten me.
If what I’m praying for isn’t in your plan for my life,
then take away the intense desire that breaks my heart.
Replace it with a desire for whatever is in your unique purpose for my life.
Turn me away from wanting any other plan but yours.
In the midst of this turmoil I wrestle with in my heart and mind,
while I’m still waiting for answers to my questions,
while I still don’t understand why,
while I continue to quake under this refining process of waiting,
help me not to cause another to stumble.
Help me to react with love when others say hurtful things
about this, my softest spot, knowing they don’t know what they’re saying.
Help me to reach out through my pain to comfort others.
And the hardest of all, Father,
because it reminds me you haven’t chosen this miracle for me yet,
help me rejoice with hope when someone else is given the miracle I long for.
You’ve promised to hear and listen to my prayers.
I’m choosing to trust you with my life and dreams.
I know I’ll again have reason to praise you
when I’ve traveled far enough to look back on this waiting
through your eyes instead of mine.
(Based on Psalms 69:3, 77:1–4, 88:1–3, 93:7, 37:4, 40:1–3, 56:8, 77:11, 112:7, 119:37.)
Friends, we have hope!
As I typed this post today, a text came from my Illinois friend Terry, whose daughter-in-law Erika was one of the first names on my list. Erika has grieved the loss of four babies, but the photo Terry sent is of a beautiful young mama now at 24 weeks.
Another text came from longtime friend Lynne, whose daughter-in-law Melissa delivered healthy twin girls this week after the agony of miscarriage.
I am giddy with joy for these families, because 10-20 % of known pregnancies end in miscarriage. In 1988 I was part of that statistic.
Whether you lose a child within the womb or without, you don’t ever get over the loss. We can't take away another's pain. What we can do, though, is empathize, grieve, and come alongside others in expectant hope.
In the Spirit-inspired words of my friend Deb, we know we’ll have reasons again to praise God when we’ve traveled far enough to look back on this waiting through his eyes instead of our own.
- Maggie Wallem Rowe
To purchase a copy of Aching for a Child or to access free resources on infertility, miscarriage, stillbirth, and grief, connect with Deb here: