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What Could Have Been

What Could Have Been

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Category: Just for Women

Let us throw off everything that hinders and the sin that so easily entangles, and let us run with perseverance the race marked out for us (Hebrews 12:1-3 NIV).


"Honey, look at that precious little girl." The blonde haired three-year-old girl twirled around the aisle in her frilly pink skirt. Everyone in the restaurant chuckled.

"Yes, she's adorable," my husband replied and gave me a questioning glance.

"I am fine. You know how I am. I just get a little sad when I see such an adorable baby girl." My eyes watered up a little bit, and I turned my head away from him.

Driving home from the restaurant my husband asked, "What are you thinking about? You're awfully quiet."

"I hate to even start up this conversation." I looked out the window at the passing lights and began to cry.

"What, honey, what is it?" my husband asked.

"It's just that little girl from the restaurant tonight. It always gets me to thinking, you know." I was feeling the old familiar pain of mixed emotions.

"I know. I have the same feelings. For a moment there, I wished we had a little girl, too," he said. I could see the muscles in his jaw tighten as he tried to figure out what to say to me, knowing there was no way to solve anything. There was nothing to solve, just a lot of ambivalent feelings.

"I know, sweetie. It is just hard to not think about 'what if?'" I wanted to talk about the subject, but at the same time, I didn't. We had covered this ground so many times.

"'What if?' is a dangerous place. We can't just make a u-turn and go back in time. We did what we believed God was telling us to do. We have to trust Him." My husband sounded tired and sad. "It makes me feel so bad when you talk like you have regrets. I feel responsible somehow."

"You're not solely responsible; it was our joint decision. I know at forty-four the option to have our own child doesn't exist. That ship has sailed." I was speaking the truth about the situation, but the truth of my heart was I did sometimes blame him. I didn't want to trust God had given us direction; I wanted to blame somebody because I was hurting.

"We prayed about having a child for so many years, and neither one of us ever felt like God was leading us to have one," he said.

"I know." The silence between us filled up the car.

"What do you want to do? I don't understand what you need in these moments. Other times you tell me you are so clear about the subject, and you're glad we didn't have a child." My husband voice was breaking up by now.

"I know it is difficult to understand. It confuses me too when these feelings just pop-up out of nowhere. Most of the time I am so clear about God's will and plan for and then ..." I didn't know what else to say.

"What, then what? Please tell me what happens. What makes it unclear?" he asked.

After a long pause, I said, "FEAR. That is what happens. I get afraid." The tears began to run down my face because I had hit the real source of pain: fear. I knew fear was my greatest enemy, my ongoing foe.

"Afraid of what, sweetheart?" he asked.

"Afraid I won't be loved." I sobbed.

We pulled into the driveway. He reached over and held me in his arms. "Not loved? What are you talking about? Precious, everyone loves you," he said. His shirt became soaked with my tears.

"But nobody will ever love me like a child would, and someday, I might be alone without you and my parents - the people who truly love me." I felt so selfish saying these words, but they were how I felt.

"What about Philip?" my husband asked.

"I love him dearly, and I know he loves me, but he is YOUR son. I didn't give birth to him. He had another mother. He will always love her even though she is dead."

"And the girls?" He knew how much my nieces meant to me.

"I love them, of course, and I know they love me, but ..." I was crying so hard by now I couldn't finish my sentence.

While lying in bed that night, I silently prayed, God, I need peace and clarity about having a child. I know I can't physically have a child now, but if it is your will for us to have a child through any other means, please make it clear to me. My husband rolled over and put his arms around me.

"Sweetie, I know you are hurting. Let's continue to pray and ask God to make it clear to us about a child," he said.

"I just did." I smiled and drifted off to sleep.

The next morning I got up and hadn't thought about the previous night's conversation. After making myself a cup of tea, I turned on my phone. Someone had left me a text message.

"I love you and was just thinking about you." My niece had written. Tears streamed down my face as I read the message over and over. I began to get dressed for work as her love continued to fill up my heart.

Just as I was about to leave, Philip showed up at the backdoor.

"Hey, what are you up to?" I asked.

"I had to pick up something for Dad, but I was wondering if we could all get together for lunch this weekend?" he asked.

"Sure, honey, that sounds great," I said. My heart was beaming with joy.

"I better run. Dad is waiting for me." He hugged me tight for longer than usual. "I love you," he said still holding me tight.

"I love you, too, sweetie." Tears ran down my cheeks. "I love you, too." He grabbed the toolkit from the kitchen counter and quickly dashed out the door, waving goodbye.

I dropped into the kitchen chair and began to praise God. "Thank you, Lord, for your goodness, for your love just when I need it. I am LOVED. Thank you for all the love in my life and your beautiful provisions."

On my way to work, I called my husband. "Hey, Honey, I am driving down the road."

"That's good. You're on your way to work?" He was at peace, as if last night's conversation never happened.

"Yep, I'm headed straight down this road," I said, "I don't see any detours or u-turns ahead."

About the Author

Dr. Rebecca Dowden
Dr. Rebecca Dowden is an assistant professor of English and writing at Houston Baptist University. She is also a writer and licensed professional counselor. Her articles have appeared in several Christian publications. She lives in Houston with her husband and extended family.

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