By Cally Logan, Crosswalk.com
It is a common question to ask a little girl what they dream of being when they grow up.
Many will say a doctor or a teacher, some a veterinarian or perhaps even an astronaut, but for some little girls, their dream is to be a wife and mother. For many that little girl dream has never changed, even if it has not yet come to pass.
The dream of having a family, yet not yet having one can ache the heart to its core, this is something many noble women in the Bible know all too well.
The Story of Hannah
King Solomon wisely said in Ecclesiastes that, “there is nothing new under the sun” meaning that all many of the struggles we face now are not new, they’ve been experienced or felt by many that have come before us.
The writer of Proverbs 13:12 knows this by pouring out, “Hope deferred makes the heart sick, but a longing fulfilled is a tree of life.” God does not turn a blind eye to the pain experienced in the ache that comes from longing for something as a family, yet not having one yet. This is seen vividly through the story of Hannah, mother of Samuel the Prophet.
Hannah did have a husband whom she loved very much, but she had no children. Her story is told in 1 Samuel 1-2 and shares how she went before the Lord with a raw and vulnerable heart. She made a vow that if He would bless her with her heart’s pure desire of a child, she would commit the child to Him, no strings attached.
Eli was the priest at the time, and when he heard her wails, he first thought her drunk. She responds in verses 15-17, “Not so, my lord,” Hannah replied, “I am a woman who is deeply troubled. I have not been drinking wine or beer; I was pouring out my soul to the Lord. Do not take your servant for a wicked woman; I have been praying here out of my great anguish and grief.”
Eli answered, “Go in peace, and may the God of Israel grant you what you have asked of him.” She was not drunk, far from it, she was pouring her heart out with such a fervor and anguish before the Lord for something that seemed so easily attainable to other women.
Perhaps that is part of the ache of it all, watching and seeing others easily attain what you desire most. Many women do not even want their children, or they will discount and undervalue having a husband.
An overlooked part of the pain of desiring something that you do not have is watching others take for granted that which you so earnestly long for. Yet, Hannah’s story is a reminder that God sees still.
Hannah goes home after the blessing of Eli with a hope in her heart, for she knew the Lord had heart her pleas. Verse 19 shares, “and the Lord remembered her” and she became pregnant with a son. She kept her promise to the Lord and she gave her son in service of the Lord when he was old enough.
Samuel grew to become one of the greatest prophets in all of the Bible. He was the Prophet God used to anoint David, and chapter 3 shares that he could hear the Lord with such precision that not a single word he ever spoke proved false from the Lord.
When Hannah’s hope was fulfilled by the Lord through the gift of Samuel, she breaks out into song. This song of gratitude is echoed later when Mary, mother of Jesus, sings a song of praise to the Lord with lines that mirror Hannah’s joy. Proof of Psalm 126:5, “Those who sow with tears will reap with songs of joy.”
A Long-Awaited Promise
Much like Hannah, Sarah longed for a family, yet was in her old age before she saw such a blessing. Sarah was the wife of Abraham, the one God called to leave his homeland to enter into a Promised Land God had, and to bring forth a generational line blessed by the Lord to be His chosen people.
At the time both Abraham and Sarah were elderly, both nearly one hundred years old. Genesis 17:15-16 shares, “God also said to Abraham, “As for Sarai your wife, you are no longer to call her Sarai; her name will be Sarah. I will bless her and will surely give you a son by her. I will bless her so that she will be the mother of nations; kings of peoples will come from her.”
The Bible shares that time passed awaiting the fulfillment of this promise, and Abraham kept believing, but it is evident Sarah grew discouraged. The Lord came to Abraham and told him that Sarah would have a son around a year later, and she laughed from disbelief.
The Bible shares in Genesis 18:11-12, “Abraham and Sarah were already very old, and Sarah was past the age of childbearing. So Sarah laughed to herself as she thought, 'After I am worn out and my lord is old, will I now have this pleasure?'
"Then the Lord said to Abraham, 'Why did Sarah laugh and say, ‘Will I really have a child, now that I am old?’ Is anything too hard for the Lord? I will return to you at the appointed time next year, and Sarah will have a son.'”
The Lord kept His promise and indeed Sarah did deliver a son, a son whom would carry the line of Abraham. The children to come were children of promise, and through that line King David would come, and through his line Jesus Christ.
God had a bigger plan all along, but for the ones who were called to live in faith not knowing the greater plan, the road seemed near impossible.
A Family Not of Blood Relation
The Bible does not promise that every woman who longs to be a wife and mother will be, but the Bible does share promise that God will be faithful to His people. The role of being a mother does not always come from natural-born children.
Often God will raise up women to be mothers to children they did not birth, yet a sacred and holy bond can be formed. This is evident in the story of Ruth through Naomi.
Naomi had two sons who married, but both men died early in life. Ruth was Naomi’s daughter-in-law, and had every right to return to her father’s house after the death of her husband. She chose to stay with Naomi, for she considered Naomi like a mother.
Naomi was given the gift of a daughter in Ruth, though Ruth had no blood relation to her. This bond was sacred to the Lord, and through the wisdom and guidance of Naomi to Ruth, Ruth would one day remarry. She married Boaz, and together they had a son, Obed. Obed would be the father of Jesse, father of King David in the line of Jesus.
An often-overlooked line in the final pages of the book of Ruth is Ruth 4:14-16, “The women said to Naomi: “Praise be to the Lord, who this day has not left you without a guardian-redeemer. May he become famous throughout Israel! He will renew your life and sustain you in your old age. For your daughter-in-law, who loves you and who is better to you than seven sons, has given him birth.
"Then Naomi took the child in her arms and cared for him.” The Lord gave Naomi a daughter and grandson, though technically they were of no blood relation to Naomi at all. Yet, the Lord heard the ache of her heart and responded in a beautiful gift.
Photo Credit: ©GettyImages/kieferpix
The desire to have a family is a beautiful one, one often planted by God. For many women, the desire to get married and have children has felt even more halted by quarantines and limitations unforeseen before.
The world has changed overnight it feels, but those deeply rooted hopes have not. For many, it can be even harder to see picture-perfect families on social media. Not so much a jealousy that they have such a gift, but the desire to have your own blessing. This is a fitting opportunity to share vulnerably and transparently with the Lord.
Hannah did this before the Lord, and the Lord responded to her cries with a strong and healthy son. Naomi felt this deeply within her after the loss of so much, and the Lord blessed her with something new and unexpected through Ruth and later Obed.
We cannot always understand God’s plans for us, but we can come before Him honestly with our hearts and expect Him to bring things together for His glory and our goodness (Romans 8:28).
A Personal Note
In a moment of personal empathy, I too am in a place of wanting a family and not having one. As a young girl, I dreamed of getting married young and having many children, yet at nearly thirty that dream seems so far off in an age of quarantines and pandemics.
Yet a verse the Lord graced me with recently has become the prayer of my heart, Psalm 27:13-24, “I will remain confident of this: I will see the goodness of the Lord in the land of the living. Wait for the Lord; be strong and take heart and wait for the Lord.”
I have been praying this verse daily, and I have been praying that the Lord would prepare me for what I am praying for. We can remain confident that the Lord does hear our prayers, and that He will answer them in His timing and in His way. We serve a gracious and loving Father, He is full of compassion and kindness.
He knows things we do not, and He prepares things in His perfect and precise timing. We can rest assured that we are seen, we are fully known, and that He will bring about goodness in the land of the living.
Pray with Me
We pray for those who long to have a family of their own, yet do not yet. You know the desire of their hearts. You know the genuine desire within them to love a husband, to cherish him and to embrace and encourage him to seek You. Help prepare them to be the wives their husbands will need, and to grow into the women You desire them to be.
Lord, we pray for the husbands yet to come to their wives that You would prepare them as you are preparing these precious women praying. Help them to find each other through Your Holy Spirit. Help them to grow in the knowledge and goodness of Your love, and to love each other through Your Spirit. Help them love each other even before meeting as You love the Church, help them to be obedient to Your Spirit as they trust Your timing, Your ways, and Your leading.
We pray for the women longing for a child, Lord. In Your Word, it shares that children are the heritage of the Lord, and Lord we know that You have such a dear heart for the little children. Please bless these women with children of their own. If You choose for that to be a child of natural birth, a child of adoption, or a child of fostering we pray that those relationships would be abundantly blessed and sacred.
We pray for these children yet to come that they would grow to love and serve the Lord, and that they would know how truly they were loved even before their births. Father, please give these women the opportunities to become mothers. To serve You in a new way as mothers.
In the meantime, as they pray and await Your answer, please give them peace and revelation. Please comfort them as You did Hannah through others, please assure them of Your goodness as You did Sarah, and please help them to see that You do care for them.
In Jesus name we pray,
Families are a cherished gift, yet for so many they feel so stuck in a waiting room to be called up for their time. Seeking the Lord for His heart and plan will reveal not just His answer, but it will grant the opportunity for growth in relationship with Him.
Hold firm that He will answer, and that goodness will be seen in the land of the living.
Photo Credit: ©Getty Images/Chinnapong
Cally Logan is a writer and teacher from Richmond, Virginia. She graduated from Regent University. Currently, she is a writer for Dear Sparrows Ministry site, and the Podcast, "Dear Sparrows." In her free time, she enjoys leading a high school girls’ small group, cooking, and spending time in tree houses. Her latest books, Dear Young Sparrow and Unveiled are available everywhere or at https://dearsparrows.com/.