Welcome to the blog of author Marlo Schalesky!

Sunday, May 3, 2009

TV Appearances & On Being Childless on Mother's Day

Hi Friends,

As you probably know, I'll be headed out this week to appear on 100 Huntley Street and The Harvest Show, as well as Moody Midday (that one's radio). I'll be talking about infertility as we approach Mother's Day. If you don't get the shows on your TV system, you can always watch online at http://www.harvest-tv.com/ and http://www.100huntley.com/. I'll be on The Harvest Show on Wednesday and 100 Huntley Street (their Full Circle program) on Friday.

So, I'm posting some thoughts early this week on being childless on Mother's Day. Below is the story of how I learned to face Mother's Day when I was childless and hoping so much for a baby.

On Being Childless on Mother’s Day:

It was the Sunday I dreaded most of the whole year. I almost stayed home. I almost pleaded sickness. I almost rolled over in bed and pulled the covers over my head. But I didn’t. And now I wished I had.

I clutched my Bible to my chest and stepped into the church sanctuary. Gauzy dresses and scrubbed-pink children met my gaze. Snippets of muted conversation mixed with the quiet notes of “Great is Thy Faithfulness.” In front, a banner proclaimed Happy Mother’s Day, and below it, a vase brimmed with delicate roses. Their velvety petals shimmered with tiny drops of dew beneath the church’s incandescent lights. The sight was beautiful, and I hated it. Dozens of perfectly formed roses - one for every mother in the congregation. But not for me.

I was childless. Month after month, year after year, I’d planned and waited and hoped. And still Mother’s Day came along and left me sitting here, with a hollow feeling in my gut and a tissue gripped tightly in my fist. I didn’t think this year would be any different.

I rubbed my hand over my suddenly-chilled skin. Thou changest not, Thy compassions they fail not . . . came the voice of our music director.

Compassion, Lord? You know what’s going to happen. It’s the same every year. The pastor will call all the mothers up front, and all the women will go, smiles wreathing their faces, some with babies in their arms. And I’ll be left sitting out here in the pews, the only woman among a horde of men and children. I can’t bear it again. I just can’t.

Too soon, the service began and the part came that I dreaded most. The Pastor stepped to the pulpit with a huge grin on his face. “Can I have all the mothers come up front, please?”

I lifted my chin and tried to keep it from trembling as dozens of flowered dresses rose from their seats and swayed toward the altar. Then, as I feared, it was only me, the men, the children, and . . . wait a minute!

To my right and three rows from the front, a little old lady with white hair still sat. Dora. Why hadn’t I noticed that she never went up on Mother’s Day before? Could it be that she, too, was childless?

From where I sat, I could see that her shoulders, though rounded now with age, didn’t tremble as the Pastor handed a rose to each mother. Her eyes weren’t watery like mine, and her mouth wasn’t turned down. Even as the women came back down the aisle, their roses in hand, Dora was smiling. Really smiling, not just that “I-need-to-try-to-look-pleasant-so-no-one-suspects” type of smile. Her whole face was a-bloom with contentment and joy. Joy - even though she never had children. How did she manage it, especially on Mother’s Day?

When the time came to stand up and greet one another, I hurried toward Dora. She turned and smiled at me, her hand extended.

“How do you do it?” I asked.

Her smile broadened, as if she knew just what I meant. “It will always be hard, dear,” she said and patted my arm with one thin hand. “You never get over the wishing.” Her voice softened.

“But for today, just today, let God be enough.”

“Enough of what?”

Dora paused and looked me directly in the eye. “Enough to love.”

Enough to love. As I pondered those three simple words throughout the day, I discovered in them the secret to surviving Mother’s Day, to surviving every day where wishing and disappointment clashed in my heart. Despite the pain, despite the longing, I needed to remember God’s love for me, and mine for Him. I needed to look beyond my ache for a child, and focus on telling Jesus that I loved Him, even now when my arms were empty, even on the hardest day of the year. And if I could do that, perhaps, just perhaps, I too would find the joy that was more beautiful than any dew-tipped rose.



Anonymous said...

Marlo, I read your book Empty Womb, Aching Heart months ago and have followed your blog. It is so nice to know other people who share in the same struggle.

My husband and I have struggled with infertility for nine years and we just had to share with you this wonderful testimony of God's power, grace and mercy.

After years of infertility and saving for IVF this summer, we've studied the book Christ the Healer by F.F.Bosworth. In studying our eyes were opened to God's amazing mercy for us through his healing. Healing is also a gift provided for us through the atonement. We've struggled with understanding it for a long time and this book really helped us study it. We recommend reading the book for a complete understanding of what we have learned about the awesome power of salvation and provision God has for us.

It got into our heart and over break we were annointed(as instructed in James) and prayed for complete healing that would allow our bodies to work as God designed them too. In essence, we prayed that we would be healed and be able to get pregnant naturally.

I just found out, I am pregnant! We serve a mighty God. Please join us in glorifying God and praising God. What a mighty God we serve who works all things together for good to those that are called according to his purposes. We are so blessed!

Anonymous said...

How come it seems like you are the only one who has ever been through infertility. I went several years where I purposely missed Mother's Day Sunday services and would spend the day crying in bed. I never did bear a child naturally but was able to adopt a wonderful little boy. I've come full circle now as I am singing the special music on Mother's Day Sunday at church. Although the hurt of never bearing a child will never completely go away, I have been able to talk about it and plan to give my testimony about it before I sing. So many people don't know what it is like to go throught that especially on these holidays. Thanks so much for your ministry. I wish I had known of your ministry when I was in the depths of the pain, but I actually just heard about you for the first time on Midday Connection.

Marlo Schalesky said...

To Topher & Kole:

Whoo Hoo! CONGRATULATIONS! That's just wonderful news. Thanks so much for sharing. I'm definitely rejoicing with you, and thanking God for His blessings in your life.

:-) Marlo

Marlo Schalesky said...

To Anonymous:

Oh, what a neat story of how God has brought you full circle. Did you share your testimony yesterday? I love your plan to do that. It's so neat when we can hear stories of hope and God's work in the lives of others who have infertility.

And I know what you mean about it seeming like you're the only one who's facing infertility. I could hardly believe years ago when I discovered one in six couples face the same thing. I think we just all are hush-hush about it so that others don't know the journey we're on. That's another reason it's so great when you can share your story like you were planning on doing yesterday. It lets others know they aren't alone.

Oh, and please feel free to point any others you find going through infertility to my books, and to the Resources page on my website.