After examining me, my gynecologist gently said, “Pam, I’m afraid you need to have a hysterectomy. I don’t want to let you keep bleeding like this and end up in an emergency situation.” I choked back the tears and replied, “Is there any way I could be on a different floor so I don’t have to see the new babies?” Dr. Sally said, “No, because the nurses on the other floors aren’t familiar with the postoperative care of gynecology patients. But I will make sure you have a private room as far away from the nursery as possible so you don’t hear the babies cry. The surgical staff will call you with the date.”
Upon arriving home, the tears flowed as I poured out my heart to God. I know that I am too old to have a baby at the age of 46, nor would I have the energy to run after a toddler, but I grieve for all the children I never had. My pastor has been preaching an excellent series of messages on how to handle trials, so this is my opportunity to learn all I can from this difficult exercise. He said to start by thanking God for the trial. I recited the familiar verse, “In everything give thanks, for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus concerning you.” I Thessalonians 5:18 God brought another verse to mind. “For My thoughts are not your thoughts, neither are your ways my ways, saith the Lord. For as the heavens are higher than the earth, so are My ways higher than your ways, and My thoughts than your thoughts.” Isaiah 55:8-9 (KJV)
As I continued in prayer, I asked the Lord to teach me all the lessons He could from this trial, to comfort me, and to help me to think rightly from His point of view and not my own. I decided to do a Bible word study of “barren” since that is the word the Bible uses for women who cannot have children. Over the next weeks, whenever I read an encouraging verse, I wrote it in bold black ink (so I could read it through my tears) on an index card. Every morning I read through my growing stack of “comfort verses” and hid them in my heart. The ones that encouraged me the most were Isaiah 54:1 and 5.
Sing, O barren, you who have not borne! Break forth into singing, and cry aloud, you who have not labored with child! For more are the children of the desolate than the children of the married woman, says the Lord…For your Maker is your husband, the Lord of hosts is His name, and your Redeemer is the Holy One of Israel; He is called the God of the whole earth.”
I noticed the command to the barren was to SING rather than cry, so I started singing whenever I felt like crying. God always lifted the clouds away after I sang to Him. I also noticed that there is no limit to the number of spiritual children I can have.
I just finished reading Amy Carmichael’s biography. She started an orphanage in India and became the spiritual mother to over one thousand children. I recalled how Gladys Aylward went to China as a single lady and became the mother of many orphans, leading them to safety over the mountains during World War 2. Mary Slessor adopted abandoned children in the African jungles. (see post on Mary Slessor )
This is my first time staying overnight in a hospital as a patient. I’m a little apprehensive as I’ve always heard that nurses and doctors make the worst patients. It feels strange to be the one receiving care rather than giving it. I am so thankful that my sister flew in from the Midwest to be with me. She is also a nurse and a Christian. God quieted my heart as we prayed together this morning and asked the Lord to give the doctor wisdom and to give me a good recovery.
I barely remember being rolled on the stretcher from the recovery room to my nice big private room at the end of the hallway far from the nurse’s station. They gave me a clear liquid tray for supper which promptly came back up. Yuck! What a mess… The pain isn’t too bad for which I thank God. My sister was hesitant to leave me because she wasn’t sure I could call the nurse because I was so groggy.
The night nurse woke me up this morning and said she had to put the catheter back in my bladder since I was unable to urinate. I was under anesthesia the last time they did it. I recalled how many of these I have placed inside my patients over the years.
Tonight I feel better and could eat solid food for supper, but sleep escapes me. I decided to walk down the hallway and look at the babies in the nursery. As I looked through the window at each baby, I prayed for each one to receive Christ as his Savior and for his parents to look to God for wisdom in raising him. I thank the Lord for each precious new baby.
A few months later, I was asked to share all the lessons God taught me through this exercise with ladies’ groups at several churches. A number of women who were unable to bear children came to me afterward and said my lessons blessed and encouraged them. I typed in large print all the “Comfort Verses” God gave me at this time. Since then, I have handed out hundreds of these to others.
Above is the link if you would like to print out your own copy. I carry a copy of these verses in my purse so I’m ready for the next time I encounter a difficult situation.
Since my mother died of breast cancer and my sister also had aggressive breast cancer several years ago, I decided to have the doctor remove my ovaries at the same time that she removed my uterus. The genetic counselor told me I had a 50% chance of having breast cancer. Many women who have breast cancer also have ovarian cancer.
About ten years later, I had repeat genetic counseling. They said because I had my ovaries removed, my risk of breast cancer is now only 3% and I eliminated ever getting ovarian cancer. Little did I know that I would lower my risk of cancer so much by having my ovaries removed at that time. Truly, God’s ways are higher than my ways.
My dear sister later developed ovarian cancer and the Lord took her to heaven 3 months after she retired at age 63. I miss her so much but thank the Lord her suffering is over and she is experiencing wonderful fellowship with the Lord Jesus Christ. That will be a wonderful day when we are reunited at His throne!
God has given me a number of spiritual children over the years, and I pray that He will give me many more before He calls me home to heaven. To my delight, some of them have led others to Christ and so now I even have spiritual grandchildren.