Thursday, August 9, 2018

In Their Own Words: For This Child I Prayed


I heard this song for the first time over the weekend and knew I wanted to share it. Then I heard the story behind it and knew I wanted to share. Kelly beautifully captures the heart of hopeful parents and wrote a song based on Hannah's prayer in 1 Samuel. I love how it speaks to God's faithfulness for families in the wait.



Infertility.

Multiple miscarriages.

Failed adoption plans. 

We grow up thinking that those words will never be part of our narrative or our friends’ narratives, that we’ll never suffer the agony of longing for a child that still hasn’t come, but all too many sit in the harrowing, ugly, silent pain of that desolate darkness.

Maybe you're one of those precious souls sitting in that darkness.

No tiny onesies to buy, no bonding during late-night feedings, no abundance of baby snuggles — none of the joys of parenting are currently part of your story. Instead, there’s soul-crushing silence.

And while that deafening silence swirls around you like a constant storm that won’t let up, you may be feeling like there’s an even greater silence from God.

No sounds of baby coos or the pitter-patter of little feet running down the hallway; no heartwarming calls for “mama” or “dada”; no “I love you’s” as you breathe in the scent of freshly shampooed hair from the little one who is curled up in your lap before bedtime.

Just. Silence. 

The kind of sorrow that sneaks up on you in the dark as you try to fall asleep. The kind of sorrow that makes its way inside of your chest and quickly builds until it rises to take residence as a lump in your throat… Which eventually gives way to your devastating grief manifesting itself through heavy tears, guttural cries, and convulsive gasps that leave you breathless.

You’ve prayed, begged, and pleaded with God, and yet there’s waiting, waiting, and more waiting. Three months, six months, a year, two years, five years… The longer you wait, the more hopeless you feel, and the wait has induced a type of gut-wrenching sorrow that you never knew existed until now.

As you bring your knees to your chest and hug them tightly, you wonder how this will ever change.

It’s scary to hope. It requires trust. It requires faith – faith that things will get better, even though we don’t know when or how.

As the tears soak your neckline and the grief mercilessly sucks the air out of your lungs, you wonder how much more of this you can endure. “Where is God in all of this? If He’s the Giver of good gifts, why am I drowning in a sea of sorrow? Am I doing something wrong?...”

As you question your circumstances, your life, and maybe even your faith, you wonder if it’s worth it to keep persevering in prayer. You hear people telling you that you need to hold onto hope, but you know all too well now that ‘hope’ is often a four-letter word.

While I’ve never experienced this particular sorrow myself, I’ve witnessed it closely firsthand, and have had the honor of walking beside two of my dearest friends through each step of this arduous journey. After years of waiting, they finally have their beautiful bundle of joy, but the hardship that they endured to get there was heart-rending.

It forces us to break down the walls around our hearts – the ones that we’ve carefully and strategically built in order to protect ourselves from the pain. You know that if you choose hope as you continue to fight this draining infertility battle, you’ll have to continue to face the harsh reality of grief head-on, and that feels like too much to bear.

It’s overwhelming, exhausting, and terrifying, and my heart breaks for you.

After witnessing the immense pain that came from loss after loss; the deep sorrow, anguish, and unimaginable grief; the difficult conversations they had with God and with each other; the words from their hand-written letters to their future little one whom they hoped they would meet someday; the days filled with hope and the days filled with mind-numbing devastation…

The song is called “For This Child I Prayed,” and was also inspired by Hannah’s prayer of gratitude after struggling through years of infertility. After years of waiting, she finally received her precious baby boy, Samuel, and dedicated him to the Lord.

And then finally being able to celebrate the impending arrival of their sweet baby girl, a song was placed on my heart.

It’s a song that chronicles their suffering and loss, their longing and angst, their confusion and hope, their sorrow and faith, their prayers and pleas, and ultimately, their indescribable joy. It’s meant to capture the heartache of the valley, as well as a type of mountaintop joy that can only be born out of the depths of great sorrow.

While a six-minute song could never fully capture the highs and lows of walking through infertility, I hope that this song still resonates in your heart if you’ve been on (or are currently on) that same journey.

After holding her beloved son for the first time, she went to the tabernacle, offered a sacrifice of gratitude to the Lord, and proclaimed, “For this child I prayed, and the Lord has granted me what I have asked of Him.” (1 Samuel 1:27)

I know so many couples and families who have been affected by infertility, and if you’re one of them, my prayer is that this song will bring much-needed hope. If you’re courageously fighting this battle, I pray that you feel acknowledged, heard, and understood after listening to it.

If you've been trying to start a family, and are still waiting, this song is for you. 
If you’ve been trying to expand your family, and are still waiting, this song is for you. 
If you have gone through this journey, and are now on the other side of it, this song is for you.
If you’ve been trying for a long time, and are in the deepest part of the valley and wonder if your prayers will ever be answered, this song is for you.
If you’ve never gone through this journey, but are hurting for someone you love who IS going through it, this song is for you.
If you’re just starting out on this journey, and are at the beginning stages of fertility treatments or adoption plans, this song is for you.
If you’re nearing the end of this journey, and your answered prayer is going to arrive any day now, this song is for you.
If you’ve suffered a miscarriage or multiple miscarriages, and are grieving the loss of those angels as you bravely keep fighting this battle, this song is for you.
If you feel like no one understands what you’re going through, and it’s hard to describe the depths of your pain, this song is for you.
If you haven’t told anyone about this harrowing journey, and you and your spouse are living with this secret pain, this song is for you.
If your heart is grieving due to adoption plans that suddenly fell apart, this song is for you.
If it’s too hard to go to the baby shower, the birthday party, or the church service, and you can’t bring yourself to even get out of bed on those days, this song is for you.
If you’ve suffered heartache due to unsuccessful IVF treatments, and are grieving the loss of those angels as you bravely keep soldiering on, this song is for you.
If you go to a baby shower, a 1-year-old’s birthday party, or a Mother’s Day or Father’s Day church service with a smile on your face, but sob alone in your car on the way home, this song is for you.

The Lord is on your side, sweet friend. Even if you’re at the point where you can’t stomach the word “hope,” the Lord is still fighting for you.

If you have a mama heart or a daddy heart, and are struggling to cling to hope when it seems as though everyone around you has had their desires fulfilled, and you haven’t… This song is for you.

Hold on, dear one. Miracles are possible. When you allow yourself to grieve while simultaneously clinging to hope, even if your grip is slipping and you’re barely hanging on, the fear will eventually start to crumble and light will break through the cracks.

When you feel alone in your mourning or you feel like giving up, remember that there is One who hears, who understands, who comforts. My dear friend, when you weep, Jesus weeps with you. You can lay your broken dreams, your grief, your pain at His feet.

Keep persevering. Keep praying. Keep trying. You won’t be in this place forever. I don’t know how or when your precious one will arrive, but I do know this – GOD WILL NOT LEAVE YOU HERE.

He can do more than you could ever think to ask or imagine. You are loved. You are treasured. You are held by the Father. While I can’t claim to understand God’s timing and why some couples have to wait longer than others, I do know that there’s purpose in the pain, and that you are not alone.

Give Him your sadness, your anger, your confusion, your tears. He is waiting to embrace you, to mourn with you, to comfort you.

And while I’ve witnessed the depths of despair that infertility brings, I’ve also witnessed the height of the mountaintop joy that can come from that sorrow, and I am praying that soon you will experience that glorious mountaintop.

Even when your grief smothers the words that you desperately want to pray, and you bring nothing but tears before Him, know that those tears are not in vain. Those cries are ushered into heaven as precious prayers and broken hallelujahs, and the Holy Spirit is interceding on your behalf when all you can offer is a collection of teardrops in the palms of your hands.

Not only does Jesus grieve with you, but I do too. While I can’t say that I know the exact pain of infertility, I’ve witnessed it so closely in the lives of many who are precious to me, that I’ve almost felt as though I was going through it too.

Whether you’re praying for finalized adoption plans or a long-awaited pregnancy, there is hope, dear friend. There is always hope. I am hoping with you and for you, along with so many others. May we cling to this hope together, as we anticipate the joy that is to come.

“Weeping may last through the night, but joy comes in the morning… And let us hold unswervingly to the hope that we profess, for He who promised is faithful.” – Psalm 30:5b, Hebrews 10:23


Kelly O’Roark is freelance marketer, song writer, and musician from Louisville, Kentucky, and is a graduate of the State University of New York at Geneseo. She’s been playing the piano since the age of 10, and started writing lyrics and composing music at the age of 17. While she creates music as a hobby, she uses it as a ministry to bring hope, love, and encouragement to others in various seasons of life. 

She also has a passion for creative writing, and hopes to start a blog someday where she can share her faith and life experiences through both music and writing. She enjoys spending time with her family and friends, and is excited about her new, upcoming role as a first-time aunt!

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