DISCLAIMER: My true identity (and yours!) is BELOVED CHILD OF CHRIST, so in that sense, I cannot be termed a loser at all. But in contrast with other important writers and ministers who try to explain God’s grace to you, I am the biggest loser.
I want you to trust what I say about God’s grace because I am a loser like you. Let me give you my bona fides. So you can trust that I am not some beautiful, successful person who has never been on the losing side.
How big of a loser am I?
My very humble dream for my life was to become a wife and mother, and have a cool car with a nice sound system and a home by the water (and really the car and home didn’t matter that much — the family was the main thing). My plan failed pretty spectacularly. I didn’t marry until I was 36 years old. My husband already had two lovely children and after we were married told me he didn’t want any more. If you are a childless woman who always supposed she would have children, you can understand the kind of sucker punch this is. I decided not to take my husband’s decision lying down (as it were). Rather, I would take my friend Big Gay Luke’s advice.
“Oh, just get pregnant anyway. What’s the worst that can happen? James sits down in a lawn chair in the front yard, smokes cigarettes and drinks beer for the next 20 years.” This was the modus operandi for reluctant fathers in the neighborhood where Luke and I grew up.
The flaw in the plan? I never got pregnant and my husband wouldn’t hear of adopting. Here’s what all this did to me, psychologically, based on my failure to realize I was the beloved of Christ:
It convinced me there was something wrong with me because my husband loved his first wife enough to have two babies with her, but he would not have a single one with me.
My doctor told me some reasons why I was infertile, but there was nothing to be done for it because my husband didn’t care. He was glad! Then, when I was 42 or so, my doctor told me due to nasty tumors I had better have a hysterectomy. All chance of ever conceiving a child, dead, dead, dead.
This is how much of a loser I was! Dumpy, childless and facing a freaking hysterectomy at 42.
My husband traveled for his living. He was on the road all the time. I went with him a lot of the time, but he was gone when I got this news from my doctor about these tumors. He called to ask about my doctor visit, but he was on his way out with clients … and I knew when he called back he would be tired and tipsy and no real help to me. Especially because he didn’t care whether or not I had a uterus!
So here I was, home alone with this devastating news, overweight, childless for life, with no hope for the future at all. I could see many long years of not being a mother unfolding before me. I did what any woman in my position would do that night. I ran a hot bath, drank a bottle of wine and ate half a dozen soft, frosted sugar cookies.
And look here, I was a Christian. I had been a Christian from the time I was a child. I knew the Gospel as my church preached it: perfect God can’t be in the presence of sin, but all people are sinners, so God sent His perfect Son to die as a sacrifice for my sins. He rose again and thus made a way for me to be reunited with God, avoid hell and have heaven in my future. What this Gospel meant to me at this moment was: I have at least 30, maybe 40 or even 50 long years of non-motherhood to get through, with no particular hope, until I can finally be with Jesus.
Bring on the damned sugar cookies!
See? Big, big loser. The one thing that other women fall into by accident or pop out like clockwork, I could not do at all — in part because my husband didn’t love me as much as he loved his first wife! What a freaking loser!
Maybe your story is far different, but you still feel like a loser on some level.
I don’t know what your loser story is. Maybe it’s much worse than mine. Maybe it’s not half as bad. My point is, I am not a great Christian leader who grew up in a fine family, married the perfect Christian spouse and experienced every blessing of God … I got hurt a lot, kicked around by circumstances, and worst of all: caused a lot of my own problems. I understand pain. Maybe not your particular pain, but the pain of being a loser. I get that. For sure.
And yet I can say … In Christ I am strong, I am rich, I am joyful, and I am loved, loved, loved. And SO ARE YOU.
More on that in the days ahead.