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Living Well With Unfulfilled Longings

Not too long ago, my pastor spoke on the importance of children and family ministry — ironic, considering the unrelenting baby fever sparked by the cute child peeking over her mother’s shoulder only a couple rows ahead.

“This message isn’t just for those of you with kids,” Pastor Billy remarked (Okay, I’m listening), “We’re all a part of the body of Christ, and the body of Christ is a family. When we talk about raising the kids of this church, it applies to us all.”

At my not-so-great-but-certainly-more-honest moments, I don’t want to hear that spiritual mothers can be such an influential part of discipling and raising up the next generation. You see, I’ve felt a desire to be a mom for as long as I can remember, and I don’t particularly love the idea of letting that desire go. I want actual children, not just spiritual children (which sounds kind of funny anyway).

But that morning at church was different. As I sat, oriented toward the cross centered at the front of the sanctuary, I felt myself longing to accept and appreciate the reality that the Church is a family. At that moment, I wasn’t annoyed by the idea; I was grateful.

The reality exists that I may never get married. I may not be able to get pregnant. I may never have kids to call my own. And despite that sobering truth, a part of me is comforted that when the Church reaches beyond the neat family units and into the lives of those who are single and childless, it does provide a glimpse of what I desire — family. The opportunity to mentor and be mentored. People to welcome into my home and around my table.

It’s not the same as sharing a name with a husband and children of my own. Far from it, really. But it reminds me to step back and consider…

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