Last week, I opened my Bible to Luke and read a few passages, not really sure why I was there.  The passage that my eyes rested on was the one mentioning Zechariah and Elizabeth.  How they were upright citizens and had no children because Elizabeth was barren.  Barren.  This is the word that stuck in my mind.  What does it mean to be barren?

Well, most us know that way back then, women who were barren were considered to be “less than,” unable to produce heirs.  Something must be wrong with them, right?  Can you imagine how it must have felt not to be able to do the one thing that brought your family worth?  I really can relate, to a certain extent, to how Elizabeth must have felt.  For over 3 years, I was one of those “barren” women.  My husband and I tried and tried to start our family only to be met with period after period each month.  I felt empty and alone.  At 30 years old, everyone around me seemed to be knee-deep in diapers and stories about their children.  I was not fulfilled in my career and all I wanted at that time was to become pregnant.  That’s not too much to ask, right?

Well, to this day, I don’t think that God actually caused this long period of infertility, but I do know that He used this barren time in my life to enrich the soil of my soul.  You see, up until this point, I pretty much thought that I had control over most things in my life.  If I wanted a new career, I would go back to school.  If I wanted good grades, I studied hard.  But this one thing, this wanting a child, I could not make it happen on my own efforts and it was devastating!

But God, he’s a wise old fellow. He knew that I needed to turn over the soil in my heart before I would be ready to take-on this parenting thing.  So, I quit my job as a guidance counselor, the one that I had just finished earning a Master’s degree for, and I faced this barren road in front of me, head-on.  And, I can tell you, that the years before actually becoming pregnant were some of the most crucial years of growth in my life.  For the first time, I gave-up control.  I no longer had the identity of teacher/counselor, I was just me and it was okay!  Not only did I start writing for the first-time since college, but I worked as a temp in a variety of offices and then went on to start a home organizing business which I ran until I became PREGNANT with my first child.  I learned how to be okay with the not knowing.  I learned how to share my deepest feelings with those I would not normally share for fear of looking weak.  I learned to take risks.  I learned about being my authentic self.  What better gift to give my children?

So, I want to encourage you, dear ladies, if you are going through a barren time in your life, it will not last forever.  God will use this time to draw you close as you work to turn over the dusty soil around you.  And one day, probably when you least expect it, you will bear fruit again.  Beautiful, juicy, luscious fruit!