Infertility - refinding womanhood or masculinity
I feel like my brain is being re-wired. Actually, whenever I read God's word I feel the fresh breath of the Spirit's wind cleansing out my mental cobwebs and giving me new clarity of thought. But, today I have to admit a courage-giving movement of the Word in my life. I return to what I knew, but with greater buy-in and more depth of understanding.
Infertility can strike the core of one's gender identity. Doesn't matter if you are a man or a woman - there is a part of your femininity or masculinity that is attacked. Part of the healing process is a restoration or a new creation of that identity. What does it mean to be a woman whose womb doesn't seem to work? What does it mean to be a man whose arrows miss the target?
Our culture is over sexualized. I think that is one reason that homosexuality gets so much attention - we care a little to much about our gender as it is related to our sexuality. We overemphasize this character trait to the compromise of others. We look at a person and first identify that person as "man" or "woman." The next stage for many, I would not say all, is to identify a person by the color of their skin.
But what if as a culture we began to think differently - we first looked at a person and saw their emotions. We first saw their joy, their hurt, their anger. Now, living this way, I must admit, it can get you in trouble if other people aren't living this way - because it surprises them. People aren't use to being paid attention to in such a personal manner. Or what if instead we first saw a person by what they were doing. "Could you describe Joe to me?" "Well, when we first met he was helping his neighbor grocery shop." How would that change our relationships with one another?
But that isn't the point of this post. I of late have been encouraged by the stories of the women in the Bible. There are a lot of women in the Bible who do courageous, profound, and faithful things. There are women in the Bible from all walks of life. They are young and mature in age. They are single, married, childless, mothers, widows, divorcees, and much more! Some are very devout and righteous, while others are in a whole heap of self-made mess. Yet, they are strong and beautiful and they each have a story to tell.
And so often we just skim over their stories as if they do not exist. When someone points them out to us, we re-read the story and we are amazed that they are there and have a story to tell that we can learn from. The Bible contains many stories of many amazing women. Jesus was an equal opportunity employer who enjoyed throwing rocks at the glass ceiling.
So, what does this have to do with infertility? I encourage anyone struggling with infertility to go and re-read the stories of the men and/or women of your faith and hear what lessons they have to teach you about being a man or a woman. I think you'll be surprised to find that their witness to gender identity is not what you thought.