The Box

There are some things in life that are so painful that we wrap them up in a tight box and put them away on a shelf at the very back of our hearts.  We get cluttered in our minds and in our lives — and, to some degree the more cluttered things are, the easier it is to cope with everyday life because the groaning contained in the tiny box is drowned out by the clamor of busyness.

Since I began homeschooling seven years ago, I’ve held on to every scrap of curriculum I ever bought.  I passed up opportunities to sell it at homeschool used curriculum book fairs and on EBay.  While it is true that I am reluctant to let go of any book, my grip on these tomes of curriculum has been exceptionally tight.  There was always that slim chance that one day I would use it again.

But now that I have had my hysterectomy, that slim chance has vanished.  Yesterday I began weeding through all the old curriculum books, thinking I would pass them on to a needy family or sell them if I could find a buyer.  Then when I pulled out my daughter’s second grade Saxon math materials I was surprised to find myself suddenly weeping at what will never be.

Never again will I carry a baby in my womb.  Never again will I inhale the sweet fragrance of a baby and rejoice with the knowledge that this little one is a part of me.  Never again will I have this mothering experience that is accelerating all too soon — my daughter is a young woman now, and her separation from me has already begun. Never again will I guide little hands in holding a fork, holding a pencil, writing a name, painting a rainbow.

When I had my surgery I did not know that I would grieve in this way.  I’ve tied up all the pain of past miscarriages and failures to conceive and now the loss of my womb into a tiny box and placed it high on a shelf where I wouldn’t have to face it…but when I took out that math book, the box opened.

I had to put the weeding through task aside for today as I process some of these emotions and come to terms with what is, and with what will never be.  In my pain I cried out to the Holy Spirit to pray for me, because I felt so lost and overwhelmed with emotion that I didn’t even have words.  Then I sat down to write this post.  And gently, God brought another mom to my memory.


At 100 years old, Sarah had her one and only child.  Not just any child, either.  God gave her Isaac.  The name means laughter.  After a hundred years of aching arms, she finally locked eyes on her one and only child, and laughed with joy.

Isaac’s only child status did not hinder God’s plans for him.  In fact, it may be he was their only on purpose. God’s purpose. Fulfilled.

In fact…my only child status is perhaps also…on purpose. God’s purpose, for something only He can see, that I must cling to by faith in His goodness.

The grief is still with me, but now I carry with me hope that our family circumstances will only serve to forward God’s purposes in our lives.  I don’t have to put the tiny box back up on the shelf.  Rather, I can embrace the unique character of our family and be grateful for the privilege of mothering this amazing teen well on her way to building her own life, for God’s purposes.

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