If you haven't read my past blogs, my husband and I have gone through infertility for 9 years. So, we can defineitly relate to Elkanah and Hannah's story...except for the part about my husband having two wives (wink,wink).
If you haven't read the story, I'll fill you in a little, but I highly recommend you read it for yourself in 1st Samuel Chapter 1. Hannah had been trying to conceive for many years, but wasn't able to. Her husband's 2nd wife, Peninnah, had been able to conceive multiple times. The bible says, that Elkanah loved Hannah. The Bible refers to Hannah as Peninnah's "rival". I think out of jealousy because Peninnah knew Elkanah loved Hannah even though Hannah couldn't give him children, Peninnah would tease, and taunt Hannah about her not being able to get pregnant. In Bible times it was a huge deal to give your husband offspring...especially a son to carry on his name, and to receive his father's inheritance. Also, if a woman was not able to get pregnant she was looked at as being cursed by God.
Every year Elkanah would take both of his wives and children to Shiloh to make a yearly sacrifice to the Lord. The Bible says, every year Elkanah would give a double portion for Hannah "for he loved Hannah, although the Lord had closed her womb."
On this particular year, Hannah was very upset, she didn't want to eat, or celebrate at the feast. I'm sure it was very upsetting to Hannah that another year had gone by where she hadn't been able to conceive, and her "sister wife" was not going to let her forget it. This is the part in the story I've really been thinking about. Elkanah looked at Hannah and asked her, "Why do you weep? Why do you not eat? And why is your heart grieved? Am I not better to you than ten sons?"
When I read this part of the story after a couple years of trying to have a baby, and felt the grief of not being able to do what I felt I was created to do, and the greif of watching so many women around me, so easily it seemed, get pregnant I felt angry. How dare Elkanah ask Hannah aren't I better. After all Elkanah had a second wife, and that second wife could give him a child seemingly without any difficulty. How dare Elkanah ask Hannah "am I not better" when from 1st glance it might seem that Hannah wasn't better for him.
After 10 years of marriage, 9 years of infertility, and many ups and downs along the way, I am finally able to see this story in a different light.
My husband has been nothing but supportive through out our entire marriage. Anthony, has never once made me feel bad because I haven't been able to get pregnant. Most every time I've needed to cry, complain, or curse (I'm just being real) because I still haven't gotten pregnant, or because someone else has, Anthony has always listened to me, and tried to be supportive to the best of his ability. I hate to admit, but I haven't always been appriciative of him for his support. I haven't always received his support as a blessing. Anthony has always felt like "it's going to happen." He doesn't know when, or how exactly (naturally or with the help of doctors), but Anthony has always believed that I will get pregnant. Anthony, has also, many times over the years told me that I am enough for him, that he didn't marry me to have children... he married me because he loved/s me. Yes, he assumed we'd have the 4 or 5 children we discussed before we got married easily, but he didn't marry me to have children.
Because I was so hard on myself, and because I wasn't enough for myself, I didn't believe I was enough for Anthony. I didn't believe he really trusted that I can get pregnant. I thought Anthony was trying to make me feel better, and he was tired of me being so upset all the time. I pushed away from him. I stopped telling Anthony how I felt, and how I was tormenting myself because of my inability to conceive. I didn't need a sister wife to tear me down, I did all that on my own. I accepted, and believed the lies I told myself, and the ones Satan whispered in my ear. Satan has taken every opportunity over the years to try, and convince me that "I am less than a woman because I can't get pregnant, that I can't give my husband natural offspring, and that I can't give my husband a son to carry on his name."
I can totally relate to Hannah, and what she was feeling. But, I couldn't see past my disappointment and anger to see what Elkanah really meant. Even though in Bible times, Hannah was considered cursed, Elkanah still loved her. Hannah's inability to give Elkanah children not only didn't change his love for her, but his love wasn't based on her abilities. Elkanah loved Hannah for Hannah. When Elkanah asked Hannah "Am I not better to you than 10 sons?" I think what Elkanah was really asking Hannah, "you mean more to me than ten sons, don't I mean more to you than 10 sons?" Elkanah didn't need anything from Hannah except her love, Hannah was enough for him.
That is what has become so clear to me. Anthony never needed, or needs me to give him biological children. In fact, Anthony really doesn't need anything from me except for me to love and respect him. Anthony married me because he loves me for me no matter what I do, or don't do.
This summer Anthony and I sat down together, and talked about both of us still wanting to have more children biologically, and by adoption. I finally opened up to him once again about my fears, and disappointments. Anthony, once again did like Elkanah, he let me know I am enough for him. Anthony, also let me know he is still trusting in the Lord that the Lord is able to do exceedingly abundantly more that we could ever ask or think (Eph 3:20).
This has also made me think about God's love, that His love is unconditional, and nothing can seperate me from His love. God's love isn't based on my abilities, and more importantly my inabilites (Romans 8:35-39).
As 2014 draws to a close I pray you know that you are enough for the Lord, and His love for you is never ending. I pray if you do not know the Lord that you would except Jesus as your personal Lord and Savior, and know that nothing you have done can separate you from the love of Jesus Christ.
Happy New Year.
In His Grip,