We are reading “Hannah’s Hope” by Jennifer Saake this summer and reviewing the book chapter by chapter. Last week we read Chapter 1: Family Ties. In this first chapter the author provides a little history on the biblical character of Hannah. Hannah’s struggles to conceive is one of the most memorable in the Bible but it is preceded by other women, Sarah, Rebekah, Rachel, who also struggled to have children. All of these women’s hearts ached to have children. It defined who they wanted to be. Even after all these years I believe it is the same. Author Jennifer points out that she always knew she wanted to be a mother and that motherhood was the career of choice for her. She also acknowledges that some women don’t feel the desire to have children until later in life. The goal is still the same.
In comparing Hannah’s life to her own struggles the similarities are many. We often define ourselves by what we do and who our family is. If our family is not what we hoped it to be we feel a loss. We feel judged, we feel less than what we hoped for. Hannah had a lower status in her society, although that has changed we may feel like we don’t measure up to our friends/family who also have children.
I was inspired by her honesty when she wrote:
“While He may indeed plan to add children to your life, I honestly do not believe that every couple seeking hard after God’s heart is guaranteed a child.”
I think too often, especially in the Christian circles we hear, “Oh it will happen for you, just be patient!” Or “If you just pray enough or long enough God will answer your prayers!”
I think people are turned off by that and really do want to hear the truth. The comfort she does offer is that although God may not give everyone a child He does have the power to heal your heart and give you a new passion. Personally I have seen this in two different couples that I know.
I loved how the chapter ends with three sections that will help us process what we have read, in an effort to process what we are going through. Ms. Saake ends the chapter with a “For Further Thought” (a question to think about, discuss or share), Heart Treasures (further Bible reading brings us back to what God has said on the matter) and Burden Bearers (tips for friends/family that may be reading this in an effort to help support someone going through infertility.)
For Chapter 1 the Further Thought question she poses is:
“How do you define family? Does you current family circumstance meet your definition? Does your definition agree with God’s definition?”
Personally I struggled with secondary infertility, so having only one child was not the family I saw myself with. I could not imagine having only one child, that wasn’t an option. Then it began to be a few years that we struggled to have our second living child so my concept of having children that were years apart was nagging at me. I didn’t see that as “my” family either. What kind of sibling bonding could occur if my kids were 5 years apart. How could my son grow up without a brother/sister? That is how I felt at the time. I had a hard time trusting that God knew what He wanted my family to look like and that it was part of His plan.
Read Chapter 2 for next week but feel free to share your thoughts here, “How do you define family?”
Take time to visit the author’s blog and Facebook page at: