In April 2017, my husband and I miscarried our second baby, Lil Bit. That sweet baby was due in November and we spent a great deal of time trying to figure out how to “mark” Lil Bit’s due date. After much discussion, we decided to head out of town to see a Broadway-style show called “The Miracle of Christmas.” Just as it sounds, the show was all about Jesus’ birth.
The show opened with the betrothal ceremony for Mary and Joseph. After the ceremony, Zachariah and Elizabeth were walking back to their home, and Zechariah asked Elizabeth if her heart was ok. Elizabeth was quick to say yes but then explained that her heart was a little heavy watching Mary and Joseph. As happy as she was for her cousin Mary, she wished she had children of her own to marry off. The discussion was quick, and the scene ended with Elizabeth being thankful for all God had done over the years in her life.
During that scene, tears streamed down my face. I relate to Elizabeth’s heartache. During our marriage, I have watched so many of my friends start and also finish their families. Yes, I am very content with my life. I am blessed beyond measure, but I would be lying if I said my heart never got a little heavy when I think about what could be. As the scene finished, I couldn’t help but wonder, “Why did we pick a story where two women get pregnant to “celebrate” what should have been our due date?”
I don’t know exactly when it hit me, but at some point, during the show, I realized the Christmas story is the ultimate fertility story! Not only did Elizabeth get pregnant in her old age, but Mary got pregnant as a virgin! Both are stories of God doing the impossible. I left the theater with an encouraged heart, with renewed hope that God is a God of the 1%.
After the show, I couldn’t stop thinking of Elizabeth, so I did a little research into her story. Did you know Elizabeth is only mentioned in nine verses in the bible? She is only mentioned in Luke 1. Her name isn’t mentioned anywhere else in the bible, and honestly, we don’t know much of her story.
We know Elizabeth followed all the Lord’s commandments and regulations blamelessly. This doesn’t mean she was sinless or perfect, it means that she had a pure heart. Her obedience and her desire to be close to the Lord made her guiltless in His eyes. We also know that Elizabeth was barren and was past her childbearing years.
Do you know what Scripture doesn’t say? Scripture doesn’t say that angels had promised Elizabeth a child, like Sarah in the Old Testament. There is no record of how many times Elizabeth prayed for a baby. No record of how many doctors she saw or how many special supplements she tried. There is no record of how many times she cried herself to sleep or how many sleepless nights she had. No record of how many friends she celebrated. No record of the babies she loved that weren’t her own.
What I find so powerful in all of this, Elizabeth was past her childbearing years. While scripture doesn’t specifically tell us this, I believe she had to have come to terms with the fact that motherhood would look different in her life. She wasn’t going to bear children of her own. I am sure there were many prayers prayed, many tears cried and probably several angry fists thrown at God. However, the Bible tells us the Lord found her blameless. That means, in all the ugly… she had found joy. She had grieved well.
Hear me, I am not suggesting that my husband and I should stop asking God for the desires of our hearts and just get content with not having children. I am also not suggesting the reason my husband and I haven’t carried babies to term is because we are sinful. What I am saying is that God hasn’t forgotten us. He has heard every single one of my prayers. He has seen every one of my tears. He sees my husband and me, He hears us, and more importantly, He cares for us. He hasn’t forgotten our deep desire to be parents. Elizabeth’s story is proof that my husband and I should continue to search our hearts and follow obediently where the Lord leads regardless of our circumstances.
Elizabeth gave birth to John the Baptist. The man who paved the way for Jesus. I have always believed that my future babies will be put on this earth, just as John the Baptist, to prepare the way for Jesus in the hearts of others. I don’t know what it will look like, but I believe my babies will be world changers. But it wasn’t until days after watching the show that I realized something big. God chose Elizabeth to mother John the Baptist. Out of all the women, God prepared Elizabeth’s heart to mother John exactly the way he needed to be mothered. God gave her the wisdom and the tools (and the personality) to help guide John to be the man that God called him to be. One day God will bless my husband and me with children to raise. God will put those specific hearts in our home for a reason. There is no one on earth that will be able to raise the children placed in our home like my husband and I. He will give us the wisdom and the tools to help raise those children to be the men and women God has called them to be.
Christmas can be hard. When families are focused on being together, it’s easy to see only what is missing. However, the miracle of Christmas is full of hope. God chose Elizabeth, when all odds seemed impossible, to birth the man who would pave the way for Jesus. If your heart is heavy this season, I pray you will remember the hope found in Elizabeth’s story. God hasn’t forgotten you. Keep being steadfast in your walk. Keep chasing God’s heart and being obedient to his word. Your answer may be one prayer away.
This is an updated edition of a post originally published on borderless.blog/.
Featured Image by Kelly Sikkema