I wonder if she sat staring out her window on warm summer days. I wonder if sorrow clutched at her throat at the sight of yet another soon-to-be mother walking by, hand gently caressing her swollen abdomen. I wonder if the quietness of her house was broken only by the creaking of her chair as she reached for another tissue to wipe her tears.
How many times did Elizabeth stare at the reflection in her dishwater contemplating her situation? Did she struggle with self-worth? Did she doubt her value as a woman? As the wife of a priest?
In the day and age when a woman’s highest calling, her greatest achievement, was to bear children, and yet Elizabeth had failed! For years, she had suffered the harsh reality of a barren womb.
Did she whisper, “What’s the point?” to herself as she set about to prepare yet another meal for two… only two.
What days were hardest for her? Birthdays? Holidays? Did she question each twinge within her body, hoping against hope that this month would be different? Was there a box tucked away somewhere in her house where tiny clothes were kept – yet never worn?
Elizabeth is a woman to whom I’ve been able to relate. I too, dealt with years of infertility. How well I remember the days I spent longing for another child. From the moment Tyler had been born, that had been my prayer – to have another baby, but year after year went by, and no babies. Worse still, were the signs within my body telling me that something was wrong.
I’ll never forget the moment sitting on the cold examining table as a 25-year-old woman hearing my doctor suggest for the first time a hysterectomy.
I was devastated!
Today, nearly ten years later (gulp), my life is a far cry from it was back then. My table is full at night and the laundry pile is never ending! I got my miracle…er… miracles! God saw fit to heal me in what I consider to be a miraculous way!
Elizabeth got her miracle as well!
Still, I know beyond the shadow of a doubt that had God’s answer to Elizabeth’s prayers… and mine… been “no”, it wouldn’t have lessened her value, or mine, in His eyes.
What I see in the life of Elizabeth is God’s redeeming love. Something within redemption that I love so much is finding God’s perfect plan.For me, it’s so hard to wait patiently for the desires of my heart! It’s those longings that capture my time and attention and become my sole focus in life.
I can’t help but feel that despite the ache within Elizabeth’s heart, there must have been a trust that God still had a plan for her. Despite her barrenness, despite her age, she still had value! I believe God delighted in granting her the desires of her heart – a miracle child, who would become the great man we call John the Baptist.
And though Elizabeth couldn’t have known from where she stood, today we can see it with much clarity. John the Baptist was a man who needed a special mother and father - people who knew the importance of trust. Had God given Elizabeth what she wanted right when she wanted it, “trust” would have been harder to learn.
Our value does not come by who we are or what we have or have not accomplished. True worth is found when we gaze deeply into the eyes of the One who loves us more than life itself. There, you will find all the love and value you could ever want or need.
The Devil’s most popular conversation with women, I believe, deals with their self-worth. Refuse to listen to his lies. Remember the life of Elizabeth, how God created life in a barren womb. Remind yourself of the value God saw within a woman whom many considered “too old” and trust in this fact – just as God had a plan for Elizabeth, He has a plan for your life as well!