Tuesday, May 20, 2014

A Wishful Father’s Pain on Mother's Day

Pendant by Lisa Leonard Designs

(At the beginning of this year God made it very clear that I was to share the part of my story that I had kept secret from this online space. I wasn't sure how that would come about but I was surprised that one way was through my husband, Jason. I'm so glad. Today he shares more beautifully and bravely than I ever could.)

Every year as we move near Mother’s Day I anticipate sadness, pain and heartache. I see the woman I love reminded yet again that her desire to be a mother is an as-yet-to-be fulfilled reality that is instead filled with raised hopes and dashed dreams. That she feels like an outsider in the Church where being a mother is held in such high esteem and yet she is unable to check that box to fit in with everyone else. And where all the well-intentioned words fall flat on a heart that is overflowing with grief and despair.

And yet, as this Mother’s Day has now come and gone, I see a woman who has given her grief over to her Savior and exchanged it for a hopeful mourning that does not exchange the real feelings of sadness for a fake show of happiness but instead places her trust and dreams in the hands of a God who loves her more deeply than we can even know. I rejoice as the healing love of Christ rests on my wife and sanctifies her life even more through the trials and tribulations of this life.

But even as I see her being transformed through this all I feel my own pain growing through the most unexpected events. You see, in our five plus years of marriage we have struggled through infertility, two miscarriages and a failed adoption of two little boys that already had my heart, but it is the bright spot in all of this that has caused my desire to be a daddy to sting all the more.

Two years ago, we hosted an eleven year old international orphan for three weeks over the Christmas season in the hopes of finding him a forever home. Those three weeks were an amazing time of seeing a little boy blossom from a shy kid who seemed more at home in his quiet shell into a kid who won the hearts of everyone he came into contact with. Those weeks were filled with laughter, memories and prayers that this beautiful kid would find a family who would love him as we had grown to love him.

When he left, our hearts were saddened because he was gone and we weren’t sure if we would ever see him again. But through God’s amazing plan he has a family who is in the process of adopting him into their family to reflect the beauty of God’s own adoption of us as His children. And in an even more amazing turn of events, my wife was able to meet and spend time with the family who is adopting him.

After that visit, the mother sent us an email recounting another beautiful part of this story. As a part of his adoption, the boy went through a series of interviews with his government to make sure he was ready to be adopted. At one of those conversations he mentioned that it was during his three weeks with us where he learned how to love and be loved. My heart leapt for joy when I read those words and I know that feeling will never leave me as long as my heart beats.

But the odd tension I experience is that now that I have seen what the unconditional love of a father figure can do in the life of a child it makes me ache for that even more with my own children. I feel as though God has affirmed the desire in my heart to be a father while still reminding me that His timing is perfect and I must find peace in the not yet.

If I am honest, I hate that answer, and I hate the feelings I get when I find myself not trusting the very God who gave His own son so that I might call him Daddy. So, I cling to the “yes” that comes when I ask God if He loves me. And I cling to the hope of what may come in the future, always trusting that the sovereign God of the universe does everything for my good and His glory even if that means heartache, pain and unmet desires in the present.

Dedicated to Benjamin & June (our babies in Heaven), William & Hunter (the boys we loved but were not able to bring home) and JC (the orphan who came into our home and forever changed our lives).




  1. I love the names Benjamin and June and am grateful you have shared this part of your story. I have no words to comfort you in your loss of them that you haven't heard before but i do offer my prayers as you continue to grow in your faith through these experiences.

  2. Jennifer, thank you, thank you, thank you. Your words are just perfect.

  3. Lyli, thank you so much for sharing this bit of your story openly. Your encouragement means so much to me!

  4. Oh, Joy - I wish I could just reach through my computer and give you such a big hug. Thank you for your bravery in sharing your story so openly. I am sure your husband's kind words have given hope and courage to others facing similar circumstances!

  5. Thank you so much, Amy. You kindness and care mean so much to me.

  6. Jason and Joy, one thing shines bright and clear through all the years of pain and sadness, heartache and hopes dashed ~ you have never lost faith in becoming all that God desires you to be and have already exercised your parental skills to bear fruit in the life of a child. You are both such an inspiration! Praying for you and the 'family to come', whether they be children of your own, children sent to care for, or ones you act as mother and father to spiritually. No matter what, they will benefit and be greatly blessed to have you in their lives.

  7. Joy, thank you so much for you're prayers and kind words. We are trusting God for the future.

  8. "So, I cling to the “yes” that comes when I ask God if He loves me."
    THAT. That right THERE.