My soul has not been pierced with the sword of barrenness. I cannot and will not pretend to understand that pain. The sword that pierces my own soul goes by a different name. Nonetheless, fruitful or barren, young or old, sensible or ridiculous, every woman knows pain. We’re designed for it, and our personalities grow out of it. In He Remembers the Barren, Mrs. Schuermann calls a blade a blade. How refreshing to find a Christian author who knows a cross when she sees it, and who knows the only responsible thing to do with a cross is to carry it.
And, behold how pleasant it is when sisters dwell together in unity. Mrs. Schuermann writes, “No one really wants to know what it is like to be barren.” Of course, she is right. But I am humbled by knowing and honored to know what it is like for her to be barren. I am blessed to meet, via this book, sister after sister who is intimate with the pain of barrenness. I am glad to be made to understand the smallest fraction of their suffering, that I might better love them as women carrying the crosses God has given them in faith, in dignity, and in hope.
Also, while I am not barren, I found balm to a pain I bear in my heart in Chapter Fourteen, “What if God says No?” As I near the end of my fertility, I find myself begging God to give me even one more child. Seven living children fill my house, and still my heart aches for another. I see younger women, those sensible creatures, tie up their packages in tidy knots and retire themselves early from their childbearing years. I hear elder women, honestly sensible, encourage a gentle going into the good night of age-induced infertility. But I lack sense. Ridiculous, laughable, foolish, I cannot stop praying and hoping as I ever did, and dreading the day when I know for certain that I have died to childbearing forever.
To me, Mrs. Schuermann writes, “As we learn from our brother Job, Satan can only deliver punches…that God allows. And though Satan means it for evil, God means it all for our good. Does this comfort you? It comforts me….I may be slogging through the valley of the shadow of death, but I will fear no evil for the Good Shepherd is with me.” Amen. And thanks be to God for beholding us and giving us to one other, a rich consolation under the crosses we carry as we wait His return in glory.
-Mrs. Dawn Gaunt, pastor’s wife and mother of seven living children