Today, after evening mass, I stayed back for my society’s meeting. One of the prayer requests raised during the meeting was for Mrs. Roseline*, who has been trying with her husband to have a baby for about eight years…so we proceeded to pray for her. During that brief minute of prayer, I actually found myself praying for the Holy Spirit to give Mrs. Roseline direction and wisdom in her situation, while others probably prayed for God to open her womb and grant her children. No, I am not faithless, and yes, I do believe in miracles, but I also believe in the verse of the bible that says Wisdom is profitable to direct (Ecc 10:10). I believe some of the things we try to twist God’s arm about can easily be resolved with wisdom and insight.
I have known Mrs. Roseline for about six years, and I know first hand how much she believes in God. She inspires me with her hold on God’s words and His promises. The best thing about her is her wonderful personality. Despite not having any children of her own yet, she was actively involved in the children’s welfare. Every Sunday, she brings juice and biscuits for the children at Sunday School. During the children and youth harvest, you are sure to see her participating actively and sponsoring some events. She attends naming ceremonies and birthday parties of Parishioners’ children. In fact, the day my daughter was baptized, I saw her as a godmother of another parishioner’s baby boy. That day, she joked about the baby boy being her fifth god-child. Her infectious smile and endearing personality easily made everyone fall in love with her. Countless occasions, anonymous parishioners booked Mass on her behalf, praying for her womb to bear children.
It is therefore disheartening to me that Mrs. Roseline is still on the TTC journey. Not like anyone deserves to try hard before having a baby, but Mrs. Roseline was easily one of those people that even TTC sisters say “Lord, grant Mrs. Roseline her heart desires”. I can’t imagine what it must be like for her, having to face such a struggle in the eye of the church. I wonder if she ever breaks down, overwhelmed by the love that the entire religious community showered her. One evening, about three years ago, when I was not yet pregnant, I had a chat with Mrs. Roseline about what and what I was doing to increase my conception chances. I told her about the tests I had gone for, the supplements DH and I were on, and the lifestyle changes we had to make. After a long monologue that basically had her nodding pitifully at me, I asked her what she was doing and if she was considering fertility treatments, and she said No oh, she doesn’t believe in such things. Huh? I asked her what she meant and she laughed first.
“Your faith has to be unwavering Sister Ify” she started. “You can’t pray to God one minute for a baby, then stand up and go help yourself out. You have to wait on Him.”
“Ha, Sister Roseline, I am not trying to sound all religious oh, but remember God said in the Bible, that His people perished for lack of knowledge? (Hosea 4:6) We can’t just pray and sit around, waiting for God. James said in his book that Faith without works is dead.” (James 2:26)
“That is Saint James, my sister, but Our Lord Jesus Christ Himself said He that has faith as small as a mustard seed is able to move mountains (Luke 17:6), and that when we ask, we should believe that it is done, and it has being done (Mark 11:24).“
I could almost see the devil hovering around us and whispering “So how is that working out for you both? You with mountain-moving faith, and you that combines faith with works”. I quickly added “God help us” before changing the topic and complimenting the beautiful flowers that were used to decorate the altar that evening. That was another thing Mrs. Roseline sponsored; the decoration of the altar with beautiful real flowers.
For a long time after our conversation, I was confused about who was right. Did my taking supplements and reading up ways to boost fertility undermine my faith in God? Mrs. Roseline is about a decade older than I, and probably more serious in her walk in God than I am, so really, the foundation of what I thought was right got tested. I decided to search the Bible more and what I discovered put my heart at rest. In the Old Testament, God gave His people plants for herbs, and also had instructions for how some ailments were cured. For example, in 2 Kings5:10, Prophet Elisha gave Naaman instructions to go wash himself in the River Jordan for his leprosy to be cured. In Jeremiah 46:11, Egypt was urged to go get healing balm from Gilead. There were even times when Jesus Christ opened blind eyes by first mixing his spittle in sand, making a paste and rubbing the blind eyes with them. Why did He have to do that?
At the risk of sounding like a preacher, I better stop here with all the bible quotes. My point though is that, in our fertility journeys, we have to strike a balance between faith and works. Personally, I believe that every child is a gift from God, and truly, the laborer labours in vain if the Lord of Host doesn’t build, but the laborer’s got to labour still. Our faith concerning fertility matters should be equivalent to our faith in other issues. No one sits at home and waits on God to bring food to our doorsteps, we pray in the morning for His grace and favour, and then go out and put in work. It should be the same here, pray in the morning before we leave for the hospital appointment, and pray again at night as we swallow pills or take our injections. Our faith, if anything, should be strengthened by this journey as we look up to God for instructions, insight, grace and favor. Everything would be futile without him, but praying without doing anything proactive is not wise either. God help Mrs. Roseline and every one of us still waiting on Him.
Baby dust to all!
Join the conversation with any of our TTC and Pregnancy Groups here.
- Ibiyinka Alao (courtesy of http://wiki.cultured.com/people/Ibiyinka_Alao/)