“Rejoice, childless one, who did not give birth;
burst into song and shout,
you who have not been in labor!
For the children of the forsaken one will be more
than the children of the married woman,”
says the Lord.
I was out running the other morning and I was wrestling with my deep longing for another child. I was digging into my expectations about why I want many children. I dug into my past experiences, the role models I had, and what the culture taught me. About halfway down the big hill it came to the surface.
The Church has taught me that being a mom is the most holy of all callings a woman can take on.
I know this is not true. I know that the calling of woman is broad and diverse. But my heart tells me that my worth, per Church doctrine, is seen in child bearing and child rearing. That is my highest calling. That is where I need to be focused most intensely.
I have been working through my brain, heart, and life trying to reprogram this lie. But for some reason, I just can't seem to drop this phrase "woman's highest calling." It seems to be accurate because it is old. I've always seen this esteemed and this has always been portrayed as truth.
But then... I read Isaiah 54.1 last night. Rejoice barren woman...um...excuse me? How is barrenness a happy state? When a doctor sits down to explain why you can't get pregnant or how your body is broken beyond repair, singing and shouts of joy don't just fall out of your heart. At least this isn't my experience. And what exactly does it mean for the children of an infertile woman will be more? More what? More as in twins/triplets, more as in achievements and skills, or more as in daily life of dirty laundry and dishes??
I completely admit that I do not understand the fullness of this verse.
However I do understand that this verse is telling me that motherhood isn't my heart's highest aspiration or my souls ultimate calling. I believe it is saying that the Church reordered some of it's values. Also I firmly believe that as a woman my "highest calling" should be something more akin to this: "Love the Lord your God with all your heart, with all your soul, and with all your strength."