In my work as a therapist, I’ve asked many patients to make a wish throughout the years. Sometimes, I simply ask. Other times, when running more creative based groups, I’ll have people make a wish via an imaginative process. For instance, using a ball, I might tell them the ball is a “magic wishing ball” and that if they say, “abra kadabra, blah, blah, blah,” they can make a wish. Or, I might tell them the ball is a crystal ball and they are to look into their future and describe a scene from it. I began to clarify this directive – i.e., “describe a future you would like to see for yourself” when a little boy told me he saw himself in jail. While this process might sound childish, people actually love it. It is also extremely diagnostic, as people’s wishes reflect their hearts. And when people can’t make a wish, refuse to make one and/or sob as they say it, I have a snap shot of people’s longings and disappointments.
I am not any different than my patients. I have my own wishes and longings and like them, there are a few that are hard to make due to severe disappointment. “Why ask, if it’s not going to come true, anyway? Why ask, if it is a set up for disappointment?” I ask the Supreme Therapist when I am prompted to pray.
In a prayer gathering I go to monthly, I keep hearing God prompt me to pray on the issue of not having a husband or child. And each time I look up and silently say, “You know God, I don’t even know if I want this.” And he keeps saying, “Pray anyway.” This time he spoke through my pastor who said, “Perhaps there is a mountain you feel won’t move. If so, pray.”
It’s funny how we resist the things closest to our hearts. We do this because it requires us to feel both the loss and longing about which we pray.
For me, I have just given up on the idea of having a family of my own. And the price for that has been high. It has resulted in a shutting down of a key aspect of my heart and femininity. So as I begin to pray about the issue, I have been shocked to see how much pain surfaces. How much sadness, vulnerability, humility – at the thought of not being loved or belonging to anyone deeply. “I’m above all that – I don’t need love. I don’t need a man,” has been my prideful mantra for many many years, as I’ve also pushed many suitors away, (God knows why).
Well, God will have none of that anymore. He grabs me and pursues me and says, “I will have you,” and I smitten, don’t know what to do. I can’t run anymore. He has captured me – in the best possible way. So as I pray and cry on this issue, I realize whether or not I marry and have a child is not the main point here. Opening to God as a bride – as a woman – is. As I feel Christ courting me, it wrecks havoc on all the barriers I’ve erected around my heart.
True, God doesn’t keep my bed warm at night or bring me breakfast in bed on a tray. But I’m convinced figuring out this relationship is the basis for how my heart will open and how my body will bear fruit – whether literarily or figuratively.
Ironically, the day after this prayer vigil, I randomly opened the bible to Isaiah 54:1-6. “Sing, barren woman, who has never had a baby. Fill the air with song, you who’ve never experienced childbirth! You’re ending up with far more children than all those childbearing women….”
God is not subtle.