Fathom Mag


A poem

Published on:
September 23, 2019
Read time:
5 min.
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Hannah had her
in cycles
infinite loops
of the same death
sentence: you
will never be a mom
are a barren stump
always period.
never a comma.
          a period.
no exclamation.
But blood led Hannah
to worship, though wordless
her life his
Apparently periods aren’t periods
in the hand of God
life soon swam inside
and Hannah’s song
echoed history’s halls
and Mary’s mouth, the Magnificat
filled the mother of Messiah
          he was a barren stump
          cut off before bloom
          no descendants, doomed
          to death sentence
          But on a bloody, barren tree
          became fruitful womb
          birthing children
          from every nation
          filling the mouths
          of would-be moms
          a more magnificent song:
“By his blood
I am the mother
of many sons and daughters
By his blood
I am honored
both child and mother

My husband and I have been trying to conceive our second child for almost a year now. The cycle of grief I go through every month when I get my period has made my heart even more empathetic to my sisters and brothers who go through this for years and years without having a child. 

My short, though genuinely heart-aching, experience has made Hannah’s experience more vivid to me as I read 1 Samuel 1–2. I keep returning to her story. I imagine that every period for Hannah was a fresh reminder of her empty womb. No one truly understood Hannah’s grief, including her husband and the leaders at the temple. No one but God. By faith she turned her inexplicable grief into true worship. God met her with grace to endure even before he met her with the provision of a child.

In my poem and in Scripture, Hannah’s prayer in 1 Samuel 2 is connected to Mary’s song (the Magnificat) found in Luke 1:46–55. Their praise is just about verbatim. Though Mary wasn’t struggling with infertility or child loss, she was faced with a massive decision to carry the Son of God in her womb. Like Hannah, Mary would be misunderstood as she obediently followed God’s plan for her life. This decision of faith would eventually leave Mary with a broken heart. With childbearing—the desire for and lack of it, the experience of it, the childrearing after it, and the unconscionable experience of a child’s death—comes multiplied pain. 

But at just the right time in history, according to God’s plan, Mary gave birth to the savior of the world. This savior would go on to live a perfectly righteous life, die an atoning death to pay for our sins, and resurrect in victory. On that cross, in what should have been the prime of his life, an unmarried Jesus was slaughtered. The prophet Isaiah predicted it hundreds of years prior: “and as for his generation, who considered that he was cut off out of the land of the living, stricken for the transgression of my people?” (Isa. 53:8). No progeny. No one to carry on his name. At least, that’s how it seemed. 

But on the third day, Jesus rose from the grave fully alive, fully thriving. Again, Isaiah predicted it: “when his soul makes an offering for guilt, he shall see his offspring; he shall prolong his days; the will of the Lord shall prosper in his hand. Out of the anguish of his soul he shall see and be satisfied” (Isa. 53:10–11, emphases mine). Jesus had no kids. So what offspring is Isaiah talking about? You. That is, when you place your trust in the savior. Jesus laid his life down and picked it up again so that sinners like us could be received as beloved children of God through faith in him. 

Not only that, Jesus made it possible for barren women to become mothers of many through the commission he gave us: “Go therefore and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, teaching them to observe all that I have commanded you. And behold, I am with you always, to the end of the age” (Matthew 28:19–20). 

Disciple-makers are fathers and mothers. Because of what Jesus has done for us, we can rejoice in our inheritance: “a monument and a name better than sons and daughters [...] that shall not be cut off” (Isaiah 56:5). Just as Paul could call Timothy his “true child in the faith,” so we can mother and father disciples of Jesus. This kind of parental bond cannot be threatened by sin or death because disciples of Christ will live forever with him.

Living by faith in Christ on this side of the cross means we can more fully appreciate and embody Isaiah’s prophecy: “‘Sing, O barren one, who did not bear; break forth into singing and cry aloud, you who have not been in labor! For the children of the desolate one will be more than the children of her who is married,’ says the Lord” (Isaiah 54:1).

Quina Aragon
Quina Aragon is an author and spoken word artist who resides in Tampa, FL with her husband Jon and three-year-old daughter. Jon and Quina are members of Living Faith Bible Fellowship where they serve as small group leaders. Her first children’s book, Love Made: A Story of God’s Overflowing, Creative Heart, releases February 5thwith Harvest House. Quina’s articles, poems, and spoken word videos have been featured on The Gospel Coalition, Risen Motherhood, Journey Women, and The Witness: BCC. She blogs at her website QuinaAragon.com

Cover photo by Abhay Vyas.

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