Have you ever been forced into a situation that was out of your control? Have you ever done someone a favor and have him or her despise you for it? Have you ever been abused at the hands of a barren and bitter woman?
Scripture tells us about lots of women who acted ugly. One of the saddest involves two wounded women who repeatedly took out their pain on each other.
For years, Sarah listened to her husband, Abraham, tell about a miraculous encounter with God during which He promised Abraham would have a son and be a father of nations, with numerous descendants. Although Sarah was beautiful, wealthy and loved by her husband, she was barren. Sarah could not bear children in her physical body.
The word barren is so harsh. When we are barren, physically, emotionally or spiritually, we struggle with a barrage of negative emotions. Often we will feel not only sad or angry, but also inadequate. We interpret our inability to conceive as a character flaw or, worse, a consequence of sin. We blame ourselves and possibly even conclude that we have failed those we love. We might even think God doesn't want us to be a mother or a life-giver in any sense.
These are all lies.
It is God's desire that you and I be life-givers, physically and spiritually. I don't understand why God's will doesn't always come to pass in the natural during our lifetime, but I'm not confused about His heart. God would not have placed wombs in our bodies if He did not desire for those wombs to give life.
God has unlimited grace and hope for those who find themselves in this situation. There is an amazing promise to barren women found in Isaiah 54:1-3.
In this passage, God makes a significant promise. He says in the places where we are barren, He will bring forth spiritual children. Even if your natural womb is not functionally properly, that does mean you can't be what God has called you to be. As a matter of fact, a woman who is physically barren often feels the call to be a mother more passionately than a woman with a child in her arms. You see, often in our place of lack there is deep desire. Your desire is amplified and empowered because it reflects a God-given capacity meant to produce fruit.
Most of us could identify someone who has struggled with the pain of infertility. But if we could see one another's spiritual wombs, I think we could be shocked. Many women are walking around with wombs empty and dormant. This need not be the case. Our spiritual wombs are not hampered by our age, monthly cycles or disease. They are always open and ready to receive what God is ready to impart.
The fruit of our spiritual wombs is so powerful it can take back desolate places and even restore entire families. If we make the choice to rejoice, even in our pain, and then stretch beyond our limitations, we will see descendants everywhere.
As Sarah faced her barrenness and aged far beyond her childbearing years, she found it more and more difficult to believe Abraham's promise of numerous children could possibly apply to her. Sarah gave up on waiting to see if the call God had placed on Abraham would include her and willingly abdicated her position. More than that, she forced another woman to fulfill a promise that was meant for Sarah.
This story grieves me in many ways. I hate that women are sometimes barren. I hate that we are often so desperate to bring about a prophetic promise we take the situation into our own hands. I hate that we draft other people into service for our own agendas. I hate that women war against their gender and grow to despise one another.
Many of us are trapped in the aftereffects of war. We've experienced such horrific wounds and seen such massive damage in relationships we suffer from a form of post-traumatic stress disorder.
To overcome this pattern of pain, you and I have to lay down our carnal weapons of fear, self-defense and hate and pick up some righteous weapons that are effective for overcoming the lies and wounds of our true enemy (2 Cor. 10:3-5).
If you've been deeply hurt by another woman, you may find it extremely difficult to imagine how you could ever move beyond the pain of your past. Maybe you don't even really want to. Maybe you have no desire for healthy female relationships. But let me encourage you to let your pain be a catalyst for change.
If you find yourself a "wounded warrior," there is grace and hope for you. Let's take those wounded places to God and allow Him to speak life where there has been death.
Adapted from Women at War by Jan Greenwood, copyright 2015 by Gateway Create Publishing, partnering with Charisma House for distribution. This book will help you embrace the gift of being a woman, bring healing in female relationships and give you tools and tips to turn difficult relationships into powerful ones. To order your copy click here.
Prayer Power for the Week of Jan. 17, 2016
This week, forgive all those who have caused you pain and disappointment. Ask the Lord to heal the deep wounds and help you walk in freedom and trust again. Thank Him that His provision is available to you no matter how difficult your circumstances. Pray for those who hurt you and bless them in the process. Continue to lift up our nation and its leaders, especially now as we face upcoming elections. Pray for the persecuted church and ask the Lord to send more laborers into His harvest fields. Ask the Lord to increase your hunger for Him and ignite revival fires in your heart, church and community. Thank Him for His Word and declare it boldly as you pray (Is. 54:1-3; 2 Cor. 10:3-5).