Breath of Heaven…

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Its the that time of year.  It’s ushered in by little ghosts and goblins that show up at your door at dusk on October 31st asking for candy that make your ovaries quiver and your uterus ache.  It’s quickly followed by images and videos on TV and social media of little cherubs in pilgrim hats and/or brown-grocery-store-bag Indian costumes making turkey drawings from tracings of their hands and singing “Come Ye Thankful People Come”. Even before Thanksgiving can be properly observed the Christmas season is upon us

The holidays are fraught with a lot of emotional land mines for the childless and for anyone who has lived long enough to suffer loss.   Christmas is about Christ and His birth.  So, this time of year makes the childless woman feel especially barren.  While most of us would’ve never wanted Mary’s immense burden and responsibility we find ourselves, yet again, questioning our value as women.  If we are completely honest at some point in our journey we find ourselves jealous of the mother of Jesus.  I know I have at times.

I used to sing a lot at church, and wish even today that my circumstances would allow me to sing in a choir again.  One year, for a particular Christmas Cantata I was asked to sing  Breath of Heaven (Mary’s Song) originally sung by Amy Grant.  I love the song, but by that time I was many years into my infertility struggle.  On one hand it was hard to sing from the perspective of a pregnant woman.  The first verse illustrates that:

I have traveled
Many moonless night
Cold and Weary
With a babe inside
And I wonder
What I’ve done
Holy Father
You have come
And chosen me now
To carry your son

The second verse…if you forget the first verse is there…could’ve come straight my heart…

I am waiting
in a silent prayer
I am frightened
by the load i bear
In a world as cold as stone
Must I walk this path alone
Be with me now
Be with me now

Then there’s the chorus which could’ve been a continuation of my prayer….

Breath of Heaven
Hold me together
Be forever near me
Breath of Heaven

Breath of Heaven
Lighten my darkness
Pour over me, your holiness
For you are holy…Breath of Heaven

The last verse…even though it is sung from the perspective Mary, great with child…could’ve been sung from heart of a woman struggling with infertility…

Do you wonder
As you watch my face
If a wiser one, should of had my place
But I offer all I am
For the mercy-of your plan
Help me be strong
Help me be…
Help…me

It took a lot of practicing alone to get to the point where I could sing this haunting tune without completely breaking down.  I remember one day becoming so broken while practicing in the privacy of my own home that I literally fell on my face before God.  Even now, as I think back on it the tears still threaten to come.  God has helped hold me together during the holidays and during many trying years of my battle with infertility.

The good news is I was able to sing the song publicly that year without breaking down, and for several subsequent Christmases I was asked to sing it again for Christmas programs and Candlelight services.  It became a holiday anthem/prayer for me. Strange, I know…a song in which the first verse talks about being pregnant….became an anthem for me.   Mary and I (and you if you are barren) really have a lot in common.  She and I  both experienced situations where we felt like outcasts…alone and isolated in our respective cultures.

Nearly 20 years into my journey the holidays are no longer as painful as they were.  There are moments when I’m wistful and wish my husband and I could celebrate the holidays with our children and see my parents celebrate the holidays with grandchildren, but I no longer let the holidays drag me into deep depression…at least not for long.

I attribute it to the Breath of Heaven…

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5 responses »

  1. This is the first holiday season in YEARS that hasn’t brought my infertility up to the surface. I am so very grateful for that. This year I am ACTUALLY looking forward to Christmas. Not sure how this happened. I am so glad that the holidays don’t bring you the pain that they used to.

  2. I’ve never heard this song — I will have to look for it!

    Some years the holidays are harder for me than others, but generally, the pain has lessened over the years.

  3. Beautiful Vicki!! I have heard the song before, but have never stopped to really listen to the lyrics. My absolute favorite non-traditional song is Joseph’s Lullaby by MercyMe. I love that band. They also have a REALLY good song called Bring the Rain…which I feel really expresses my feelings about my infertility trial…in fact you have inspired me to go blog about that.
    Love you Vicki!! I hope someday to get to a place like you have gotten. This holiday season has already been a rough on for me, and I know its only going to get worse as I get close to January. 😦

  4. Love you, too, Tami. I continue to pray for you, and I will specifically pray that you find much-needed joy this Christmas. Feel free to message me on FB or e-mail anytime you need to talk.

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