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I have never really wanted kids. Not in the same way I saw other guys want to be a dad. I often wondered what was wrong with me, was something missing or broken? Was I just not wired that way?

My wife has been incredibly gracious throughout this journey.  She’s walked with me, asked questions, challenged me, allowed time to process and think, to unpack things emotionally and work through all the reasons behind why I feel this way. And while I’ve worked through a great deal and can now say I’m not where I was, I don’t think I’ll ever get to a point where I yearn for kids like so many of dad-friends did.

A few nights ago as I was drifting off to sleep, another layer of the onion was peeled away.  And for a moment, I wasn’t 40 and married.  I was 15, at the state finals swim meet.  And instead of enjoying the memory of a great time, I was reminded of feeling like a burden. 

My father was there.  A rare occurrence.  He never came to my meets.  But because he was there, I felt like I needed somehow to provide him with a good Saturday to pay him back for his time. 

And while I lied there, I realized that I don’t think that my father ever saw us (his kids) as gifts. We were burdens. We were responsibilities. We weren’t to be treasured and cherished, we were to be taught and corrected. It’s how he was raised.

And I began to understand how much that experience colored my view of relationships. Relationships were not gifts to me. Not things to be cherished or nurtured, but burdens, responsibilities, something to be handled.

Ask my wife. She probably realized this about me 1.7 minutes after we were married. I’m not always the quickest. Quick or not, my point is the same. 

God rarely gives us a blessing that we will interpret as a burden. 

Am I saying that my issues from 25 years ago are the single cause of our infertility?  No.  I am emphatically not. 

But I am saying that what I’ve learned through all of this is that God has blessings for us, big blessings.  And those big blessings require big work. If we’ve not grown to the point where we can see these blessings as blessings, if instead we’ll see them as burdens, He may wait.

God designed relationships.  He loves them.  And He loves to put us in them.  But if we see them as burdens instead of blessings, we may find ourselves with many fewer relationships than we desire. 

God designed work.  He loves and values how we spend our time and energy. But if we see that promotion, or that new opportunity as a burden, instead of the blessing it actually is, we may not get as many opportunities in the future. 

Or, as Dave Hollis says in his book Get Out of Your Own Way, “We must risk it not being easy, for it to be better”.

If we want better, if we want the blessing, if we want relationships, or kids, or that promotion, or a better marriage, that’s good! God wants those things for us as well.

But we must be willing to change, to risk it being hard for it to be better. God desires to bless us. But some of his biggest blessings require us be mature enough to see the blessing for the blessing it is.

Don’t be afraid of hard. Because hard brings blessing.

Not because we recently moved and are still looking for a church to call home.  Not because we’re not feeling well (we feel great).  And not because it’s late and we’ll sleep in (we won’t).

Tomorrow is Mother’s Day.

For millions of people, that means a day full of cards, flowers, brunch and FaceTime or phone calls or actual face-to-face time.

For us, for my wife, that means it’s the one day we absolutely do not go to church.

Why?

Because more than anything, she wants to be a mom.

 

I don’t type those words lightly.

She has 100% of the desire.  And 0% of the results.

It’s been years.  We’re both healthy.  The doctors have no diagnosis.  The answer is just “no”.  And we don’t know why.

 

I don’t speak often of infertility.  It’s not something that most people are comfortable speaking about.  We either hear the jokes about “not doing it right” or folks already have a family.  When you’re 38, most of your friends have kids.  Lots of them.  And you’ve got a dog.

For my wife, that means she’s different, or somehow ‘less-than’ other women.  Think about it – what happens when a bunch of moms get together to hang out?  Their children rule the conversation.  When the topic is potty-training little Tommy, sharing stories about your rescue dog just makes you look weird.

So tomorrow, we don’t go to church.  We avoid social media.  We celebrate our moms and the moms in our lives, and Maple (our four-legged child) gives “Mom” a Mothers Day Card.  But we don’t go to church.

Because it hurts my wife too much.

If you know someone like my wife, someone who’s kids have fur, then take a moment tomorrow to send her a note.  Wish her a Happy Mothers Day.

You’ll never understand what it might mean.

So, tomorrow?  Tomorrow, I will love my wife.  I’ll continue to support her, to be a father to our pup, a husband to her, and I will remind her in every way she can that she is 100% a woman and 100% a mom, even if our kids have four legs.

 

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