In the RevGals Wednesday Festival, EarthenSoul was mourning that, at this point in her life, she would never have children. I am unable to have children due to health problems. Like EarthenSoul and Her Mate, My Hubby and I have decided not to adopt due to how old we will be when we get the kids off to college! Sally posted the wonderful prayer below in the comments on the post. It spoke to me and resonated in my heart. In the past few years, I have come to realize that just because I cannot have children does not mean I cannot nurture and love others and give birth to new ideas, books, and projects for the Kingdom of God. In fact, as a pastor I get to do one of the most incredible things there is: I get to love, nurture, and lead people into an intimate relationship with God. If that’s not mothering, I don’t know what is! I take my example from Deborah, who is called “a mother in Isreal” (Judges 5:6). Deborah is not called a mother because of her biological children. She is a mother for leading and defending the people of Israel, which were her children. Here is the prayer that Sally left for earthsoul and the rest of us who are unable to have children. It is from Nicola Slee’s “Praying like a woman.”
Though this belly has never been swollen with the burden of a baby, let me grow big with the longing for justice which will be for all of the children of God.
Though these breasts have never suckled an infant, let my largess of love nurture those who are hungry for the feast of life.
Though these arms have never cradled my own child, let them reach out tenderly to those who pine for a mothers love.
Though these lips have never spoken my own babies name, let me croon blessing and balm and healing on many a charmless unlullabied life.
Though this mind cannot truly imagine my own childs life, may I dream dreams for children whose prospects are pitiful and whose hopes are slender.
And though I have wept over my unborn child’s unfulfilled possibilities,
may I never be so absorbed in my own small griefs that I have not compassion to weep with the motherless child, and the childless mother, to grieve the abandoned infant and to rage over the still born babe.To sorrow over the squandered life and to lament over each uncherished son and daughter.
May I offer these arms,
Open this heart,
proffer this body,
to each baby screaming for justice,
each child reaching for love
each neighbour longing for mercy
each mother mourning the useless spilling of blood.
Childless and childbearing we belong together
We are each offspring of the body of God.