By Rodetta Cook

Rodetta Cook has been a pastor’s wife for over 40 years. She and her husband, Ron, have actively served the Lord together in ministry during the entire time and are co-founders of Care for Pastors. She understands the expectations, loneliness and how hard it is to find balance in ministry as a pastor’s wife. Rodetta also leads the pastor’s wives initiative at Care for Pastors called The Confidante and ministers to hundreds of wives each week. She strives to share blogs with other pastors’ wives that will help them in their ministry walk.

    Mother’s Day with Empty Arms

    Monday, May 08, 2017

    With Mother’s Day coming up next Sunday, I asked a pastor’s wife to share her journey in dealing with “empty arms” and I pray it will bless you.

    As human beings, we go many days overlooking different things we have- we may even take them for granted without knowing. We go about our lives filling our schedules, following a routine- most of which we do without a second thought.

    The alarm goes off, wake the kids up and get them going as you try to get ready yourself without being late or forgetting something important- especially not last night’s homework or your coffee! Fulfill your eight hour day at work, then off to pick up the kids, get dinner done while juggling homework. Playtime, bubble baths, teeth brushed, prayers said all before 9pm. Everyone is in bed, fast asleep, all without a hitch or a hiccup. You can only wish it was that smooth, am I right?

    So how does this next scenario play out…

    Alarm goes off, hit the snooze button once or twice. Up and ready, you and hubby head to work. Your day went smoothly, you come home to a couple of chores; eat dinner together, go over each other’s day, maybe out for a walk, then you catch up on your favorite shows each night. Then to bed you go, just to start the same story tomorrow.

    Sounds nice, more like a dream. That’s what some may imagine what their day would be like without children. For some of you, I’m sure there are days you would give anything to have one day look like that. I wish I could say that’s what it looks like, but it very rarely is.

    Many days, you think about the young girl who said she would someday have three children- 1 boy and two girls. You even had their names picked out. Alexandra would be your first born. She would have long, black hair pulled back in two long braids; beautiful olive complexion and bright green eyes. And you cry yourself to sleep. Alone. Empty. You ask yourself where you went wrong? What did you do? Is your hubby disappointed? “God’s plans are perfect” they say; “He knows what He’s doing.” As you nod and silently agree you think: “I understand that, I KNOW that. But it still hurts. It hurts a lot.”

    It has been 13 Mother’s Days so far in which my arms have been bare. And although both my husband and myself are fully accepting and waiting on God’s perfect will for our lives, some days are harder than others.

    As I look back on the past 13 years, tears roll down my cheeks and I smile. Strange, I know.

    My tears are for the many appointments both of us went to in order to achieve that one dream. That one beautiful, black haired baby. But, I smile as I remember all of the jokes we made in light of an awkward situation.

    My tears are for that one positive pregnancy test, but I smile as I remember how his face lit up like never before, standing in the parking lot where he met me after work and he said, “I’m going be a daddy!”

    My tears are for that young woman whose heart literally broke when she heard those awful words, “I’m sorry, we can’t find a heartbeat.” But, I smile when I remember how those closest to me, never left my side.

    I smile when I look back and understand why that baby left us too soon. As I was lying in the ICU for 5 weeks, uncertain if I would even live to see another day; my Lord knew that caring for a three month old from the hospital was not in His plans for us.

    I may cry, but I also can smile whole heartedly. There may be many ‘dark areas’ in my life and, although I may never understand why, I know my God has never left my side. I trust in Him completely and He is not done with me yet. He is the Artist of perfection and in His painting, which is my life, you will see black was used; but any artist knows, a good painting must have dark areas. Those areas make the brighter tones stand out. He is so good, all the time, He never misses any of the details.

    We are on a new chapter in our lives as He is guiding us down a new path- the path of adoption. It has been three long years, with many ups and downs and patience is definitely a virtue one must possess when on this road, that is for sure. They don’t call it ‘paper pregnancy’ for nothing!

    It has been a road of pain and of triumph. We have been introduced to many, many children who have gone through an unimaginable amount of pain that no human being should ever endure, especially not a child. And they are hurting, they are scarred. Everything in me, all of my maternal instincts, cry out wanting to hold those children and never let go. I can protect them…I can change their world, show them the meaning of a loving family. But I don’t have peace. Over and over, I hear God speak to my heart saying, “No, this is not the one I have for you. Wait on Me.” I must let go of that child, and trust me, saying no to a caseworker goes against every mothering instinct I have; but deep inside, beyond the pain, I know He will watch over them always.

    The day then comes when I found complete peace upon seeing that one little girl… MY little girl. Sure, I’ll admit, I was a little hesitant. In three years, we had to turn down well over 20 cases; one in particular in which we were SO close to the end. Was I ready to put my heart out there again?

    Then I turned the question around. This little one had been in multiple foster homes, and two failed adoptions…. Was she ready to put her heart and trust on the line again? She has lost everything she knows to be normal, once and again. Her mother, her siblings, her own bed, her puppy, her toys…gone. What could she take with her? Only what could fit in a black garbage bag. Will her toys fit? Probably not. Can she take her happy memories with her? Maybe, if they don’t get lost on the way. Everything she knew as normal, reduced to a black bag. She’s all alone. She’s scared.

    I could never fathom what she has been through; what her secrets are or her biggest fears. But there is one thing I know for sure, the Lord has led us to this child. Why her? He knows, and that’s enough. Why us? He knows and that’s enough. His ways are perfect; He has never failed us, nor will He ever.

    Two weeks until we first meet her. Two weeks and a whole new chapter will begin. We are happy, nervous and a little scared…I wonder what she feels right now. On my knees beside her bed, I pray for Him to give her the peace that passes all understanding, to guard and heal her heart. I pray we may be the parents she needs us to be. The parents He wants us to be.

    Remember the little girl with long black hair, pulled back in two braids; who had olive complexion? I found her, and soon she will be my daughter.

    Lord willing, this Mother’s Day will not be spent with empty arms. We have our daughter….

    My childhood dreams came true, and I smiled.

    So whether you find yourself with “empty arms” or “full arms” during Mother’s Day, I pray you will rejoice as Amanda has that God has a plan and even when we don’t understand we can trust Him!

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