Apr 14, 2017

Call Me Mara

By Leah Sherman

I watched my husband holding newborn life. I watched as he quietly hummed the songs of faith, cradling and rocking the baby who slept soundly in his arms. I watched as he bounced him, patted him, and made faces at him when he woke. After seven years, I had forgotten how my husband looked holding an infant. I had forgotten the music, the consoling, and the mimicry. Once before, I had watched him marvel at the tiny child in his arms--our child, our son. Now, when this infant’s cries of hunger would cause him to pass the child to his mother, he would not bring the babe to me as he once had done, for this son was not ours. Instead, he would pass to another set of arms, and ours would be empty again. And so, I cried. I wept for the joy we have not known, and the emptiness our hearts have held.

Sometimes, this grief I bear is all-consuming. The sadness sprouts deep within, and grows into a mighty chasm that swallows the stomach, and devours the flesh. It renders my body helpless and my heart hopeless. This was that grief.

Like Hannah before Eli at the temple, I prayed in my grief as one seemingly drunk--mouth moving, but forming no words. Like Rachel, I cried out to my God that he might open my womb again and let me bear life. Like Naomi, I called myself Mara, for God has made my life bitter.

This Holy Week, I am reminded that Christ is no stranger to bitterness. Hanging on the cross, suffering for my sin and brokenness, His work became as bitter as the gall he was offered to drink. From depths of woe, He cried out to his Father and yet was forsaken, so that I would not be. My sin devoured His flesh, and the grave swallowed Him, so that I would not be. Christ’s bitter death became a glorious rising on Easter morning, so that mine may as well.

My arms may be empty, and my heart may grieve, but my life will not be bitter. This Easter morning, I will stand beside the mother of this new child as she and her husband bring him to the Baptismal font. The death Christ died will become his death, so that he will not be forsaken by his Father. Christ’s resurrection will become his resurrection, so that he will not be swallowed by the grave. I will pledge to pray for him, support him in his faith, and encourage him toward the faithful reception of the Lord’s Supper. I will pledge to be, at all times, an example to him of the holy life of faith in Christ and love for his neighbor. In this way, this child will become mine, if not my own.
Whatever weeping I may have in the night, God will turn to joy with the morning, that I may sing with David,

“You have turned for me my mourning into dancing; you have loosed my sackcloth and clothed me with gladness, that my glory may sing your praise and not be silent. O Lord my God, I will give thanks to you forever.” (Ps. 30:12)


Leah Sherman is a pastor's wife and homeschooling mother.  She and her husband have struggled with secondary infertility, but are constantly reminded of God's great blessings through their son. She lives in Gordon, Nebraska, and enjoys reading, gardening, and sewing.


  1. Thank you for sharing this! So powerful and I have been there, waiting,hoping, hoping against hope then 5 long years later He answered my prayers. Praying He will do the same for you.


Please note: Comments are moderated and will appear on the blog once we've had a chance to approve them.

Thanks for joining the conversation!