Several years ago there was a popular country and western song titled “Unanswered Prayers”. The singer was thanking God for not answering his prayer as a teenager and giving him his first love as a wife. Well, as Christians we know that there is no such thing as unanswered prayers. God always answers our prayers. We may not like the answer, but we always get one. But for the purpose of this article, I will say “I thank God for unanswered prayers”.
“Jesus went out as usual to the Mount of Olives and His disciples followed Him. On reaching the place, He said to them, “Pray that you will not fall into temptation.” He withdrew about a stone’s throw beyond them, knelt down and prayed, “Father, if you are willing, take this cup from me; yet not my will but yours be done.” An angel from heaven appeared to Him and strengthened him. And being in anguish, He prayed more earnestly, and His sweat was like blood falling to the ground. Luke 22: 39-44
As you can see by this scripture, Jesus prayed for something (and it says He prayed earnestly) and did not receive the answer He preferred. Have you ever prayed so hard for something that your sweat on your brow was like blood? I know I haven’t; yet that is exactly what the Bible says Jesus did.
When I was a teenager I had a dream. It was not to become a doctor or a teacher or to even be rich and famous—it was simply to become a mother. I used to go into my room, close the door and pretend I was pregnant. I would put a pillow under my shirt and sit there and just imagine and sometimes my imagination was so strong that I could almost feel a baby move. Yes, I was a child and this was a childish act—but the desire to be a mother was that strong. Because of my impatience to become a mother, I did not wait for God to show me the man He had chosen for me; instead I accepted the first proposal I had. I was so excited when 6 months later I discovered I was pregnant, only to be devastated a week later when I miscarried. After 16 months of trying to get pregnant and several times thinking I could be because of symptoms but finding out I wasn’t, I finally became pregnant again only to miscarry this one as well. I have been asked “Weren’t you angry?” “Didn’t you ever question God?” Of course, I was angry! I wanted to know WHY? Why wouldn’t God answer my one desire—my one prayer—to become a mother?
Unfortunately, my marriage fell apart, but when it did I was able to look back and say, “If we had had children it would have been so much harder”. This did not mean that I didn’t still miss my babies, because I did, but I could see that God had a master plan. I just thought, well maybe I will still be a mother someday, when it is right in God’s timing.
Several years later, the Lord led me to a church where I met and married Tom. I wanted to be sure that he knew from the very first that we might never be able to have children “of our own”. But you know, as usual, God is sooo good— after testing, we found that the infertility problem was not just mine; it was a problem that we both shared. We were told that it was “humanly impossible” for us to have a child together. Because it was a shared problem, we couldn’t say to each other “it’s your fault” or “if it weren’t for you…” we had equal responsibility in it, and it became a shared burden.
So we started looking into the possibility of adoption. Are you aware of how expensive it is to adopt through an agency? You are looking at spending between 15 and 30 thousand dollars. There was no way we could afford that, so we started checking into the possibility of a private adoption. We let everyone we could think of know that we were wanting to adopt. Twice we started working with birth moms only to have them change their minds before the baby was born. Then there was Joseph. We were so excited about him. I was so involved with the pregnancy; I went to all the doctor’s appointments, saw the sonograms and heard the heartbeat. I connected with him before he was even born. I was at the hospital when he was born and the bond between us was instantaneous. I could never love a child “of my own” more than I loved and still love him.
When the adoption fell through and we had to give him back to his birth parents when he was 11 months old, I thought I would die. It was as if he had died, yet in a way it was worse, because we knew he was out there and we had no control. We did not know how he was. Was he safe? Was he warm? Did he eat for them? Did he cry for us? It was one of the hardest times of my life. Was I angry with God? Yes, I ranted and raved, I asked God “Why?” I even spent a short time blaming God for taking my “Angel Baby” (as I called him) away from me. I just wanted to understand why God would allow such a thing to happen. Was I such an awful person? Was He punishing me? I would pray daily that God would give me some answers, that He would protect my boy and that He would give me a forgiving heart so that I would be able to forgive my brother for the pain he had caused me by taking my baby away from me.
During this time, I found a book on tape that I started listening to. I know that God led me to that tape so that I could find some answers. The name of it is “How To Keep The Faith-When God Doesn’t Make Sense”. Through this book I was able to look at my experience in a different way. I had prayed for years that God would let me be a mother—well, God answered that prayer. He allowed me 11 precious months of being a mother to Joseph. I was able to enjoy all the things that mothers enjoy. You know, the sleepless nights, 2 am feedings, colic, teething, first smiles, first words, having a child call you “mama”. I never specified to God that He was to let me be a mother forever, just that I wanted to be a mother. Luckily, by the GRACE of GOD, he is back in our lives, only he is now called Korey and I am his Aunt and not his mother. It was more than we had expected for a while, and it was and is enough, thanks to God’s leading and direction in our lives.
After the experience with the adoption, we were, to say the least, leery and scared of trying to adopt again. Some would say that our faith was not very strong at that point, and they would be right. I don’t think God blamed us for being scared, but I did not feel that we could go through any of that again. So we started checking into infertility treatments again. With my insurance at work I was able to try artificial insemination. After several tries, I became pregnant again, only to miscarry on Mother’s day 1998. I had a journal that I was writing in at that time, and on the day of my third miscarriage, I asked God why he would not let me experience a longer-term pregnancy. All I had ever dreamed of was to actually know what it was like to be pregnant. Again, you could say that I ranted and raved at God. I know that He understands and does not blame us when we are angry.
I was determined that I would never put myself or my family through the pain of another loss. I again started checking into adoption, but the cost of adopting through an agency was just so high. And I just couldn’t bring myself to face private adoption again. I became discouraged and finally decided that I would just have to accept the fact that I would never give birth to a child and I would never again be a mother.
But you know God moves in such mysterious ways. Several months later we found out that I was getting new insurance at work and miracle of miracles it covered invetro. No insurance that I had ever heard of covered this. Everyone I spoke with that had endured infertility was shocked. I felt that the Lord was telling me to try again. So we did.
When I found out I was pregnant with the twins, I was so excited, but I was so very scared. Each day felt like a month. I was not sure I could endure it and wanted it to hurry up, yet I also wanted to savor every single experience. I did spend most of my pregnancy having to “take it easy” and “keep my feet up”, but as each day passed I felt more and more secure. I had the morning sickness, the tiredness, the indigestion, I heard the heartbeats, I saw them on sonograms, I watched my stomach grow as the month’s passed, and such joy-I felt them move. Then on July 12th, during a sonogram they discovered my cervix was dialated and they rushed me into surgery. They told me that I would have to remain on total bed rest until they came, but that was ok with me. I would do WHAT EVER I had to, as long as I could keep my babies safe. I prayed so hard for God to make everything all right. That I would hold on until 24 or 25 weeks. But then on August 3rd I began to get the feeling that God had a different plan for me. I still prayed fervently that I would finally become a mother, but I knew in my heart that something was happening. When I realized I was in labor, I actually felt calm. My water broke about 4 in the morning on August 4th and for the first time I really started praying earnestly for God’s Will to be done for my babies. I felt such a peace come over me. I prayed that God would give me the strength to handle whatever came my way. And He did. While everyone was rushing around trying to get everything ready to send me back to Dallas, I felt as if I was in the eye of a hurricane. I felt so calm and so at peace inside. I knew that no matter what, I would be ok. It was as if God had spoken to me in actual words and said “Jodi, I let you have the morning sickness, I let you hear the heartbeat, I let you see the sonograms, I let you feel the movements, and now I am going to let you give birth. I have answered your prayer. Now I have another plan for you and for the lives of your babies.”
I knew before I ever left Tyler, that I would not be bringing my babies back home with me. But as I said, I had that sweet peace that only God can give, a peace that passes all understanding. You know to the world, I have a lot of “unanswered prayers”, but I know that God answered every one of them. He allowed me to experience all the discomforts and joys of pregnancy long enough to the point of giving birth. I know now what each of those things feel like. I held in my hands the answer to all my prayers and they were so beautiful.
God gave me such a blessing the day my boys were born. A blessing that I will never forget. He has allowed Tom and I to use the experiences He has given us to minister to others. I have heard so many times “you are so strong” or “you are the strongest person I know”. I do not hesitate to tell them that I am not strong at all. I am very weak. But my God is strong. I truly feel that He will use the lives of all three of my boys, as well as the other three babies that I lost, to continue to minister to others. If only one life is enriched and strengthened in their relationship with God, then the death of my babies will be glorified, but I know that a lot more than one life will be touched.
So again I want to say, I thank God for “unanswered prayers” because if it had not been for them, my life would have been so much poorer. I still pray that someday we will be able to be parents “for the long haul” so to speak. I know that I will never again experience a pregnancy, because I have had to have a hysterectomy, but we are still pursuing adoption. I know that if it is not in God’s will for us to parent a child again, that He has so many more riches planned for us than we could never begin to imagine. And my prayer is that I can continue to give GOD all the praise and glory for my Faith, my Strength, and my LIFE!!
Glory Babies Group: Tyler