You want a child and don’t have one yet. Another friend invites you to a baby shower. You struggle emotionally and can’t seem to feel happy for her. Is it okay to feel angry?
As one who blogs about adoption I enjoy the privilege of meeting people who have faced similar joys and sorrows, challenges and victories. Though I was not infertile, many women who have experienced infertility have been able to relate to several things I experienced during my nine-year pregnancy. We both faced the challenge of being able to rejoice with a pregnant friend or even someone else who is adopting when your friend’s journey to pregnancy, adoption, or motherhood seems to happen more quickly or easily.
If you are the one faced with attending another pregnant or adopting friend’s baby shower (or homecoming) and you wish it were your own, remember these three things:
1) Be angry, it’s okay!
Ephesians 4:26 says: “BE ANGRY, AND yet DO NOT SIN; do not let the sun go down on your anger” (NAS).
There is nothing sinful about being angry, hurt, disappointed, confused, frustrated. This clearly shows us that anger is not the sin, but that it is important to not hold onto our anger. The New Living Translation says to not let anger control you. The sin is not in how you feel, but in how you respond. Recognize that you are not really angry at your friend for the blessing in her life but at God for the lack in your life. In my book Nine Year Pregnancy, I spoke of a specific incident in which I became angry:
[I ran in to some old friends who were excited to tell me something: “Delana, we have some great news to tell you about Jill. She just adopted a little baby boy!” I should have been excited when I discovered that an abandoned baby now had a wonderful and loving family. However, my heart first turned to anger. Thankfully, God can handle our anger as evidenced by David’s Psalms:
Psalm 31:10–My life is consumed by anguish and my years by groaning; my strength fails because of my affliction, and my bones grow weak. (NIV)
“Oh God, why? Why? Jill had a passing thought about adoption, and You practically placed this baby in her lap. I have been passionately praying and longing and seeking You for a daughter to adopt, and I am greeted by closed doors. Why?”
I wanted to be happy for Jill, but my heart ached….a gnawing, raw ache in the pit of (my) stomach….My friends rebuked me for my inability to rejoice for Jill. They were right; it was wrong for me to be angry at her blessing. Yet I praised God that He loved me even through my pain and sorrow, even through my frustration and fear.]
Psalm 13:2–How long must I wrestle with my thoughts and every day have sorrow in my heart? How long will my enemy triumph over me? (NIV)
I was not truly angry that my friend received the blessing of a child. I was angry that God was not allowing me to receive the blessing in the timing and way that I thought was right. Though my friends saw it as my being unable to be happy for my friend, God knew and understood my pain for what it was. I did not respond angrily or sinfully towards my friend who was being blessed. My friends lovingly rebuked me, and this was a good thing, but they also needed to come alongside me and grieve with me for my hurt. Thankfully, some friends did come alongside me.
22 Because of the Lord’s great love we are not consumed, for his compassions never fail. 23 They are new every morning; great is your faithfulness” Lamentations 3:22-23 (NIV).
“Rejoice with those who rejoice; mourn with those who mourn” Romans 12:15 (NIV).
If you are like many of us, you love your friends and attend their joyful events (showers), bring gifts to them, and at least try to smile. Yes, inwardly you may be hurting, but outwardly you express your love towards them. You love them even through your pain.
Express your hurt and anger to God; He can handle it. But do not just stop there. Share your sorrows with your close friends (at times other than their showers or baby homecomings). Even though it may be difficult for our friends to relate to or even “hear” our difficulties, grieving with those who grieve is as important a part of a loving friendship as rejoicing with those who rejoice. Choose friends who are willing to grieve with you. Allow yourself to feel anger, sadness, frustration, confusion, hurt – allow yourself to be you!
“A friend loves at all times, and a brother is born for a time of adversity” Proverbs 17:17 (NIV).
“If one person falls, the other can reach out and help. But someone who falls alone is in real trouble” Ecclesiastes 4:10 (NLT).
It’s okay to be angry. It’s good to tell God. And it’s important to find friends to walk with you through the difficult times.
—Delana H. Stewart –“Somewhere between middle school and grown-up life, someone peeled me off the wallpaper and I began to bloom.”
Other helpful articles:
HeartSong One: Windows to the Soul (Being real with God)