Not second best

Bringing a spiritual perspective to daily life

Once again I found myself thinking about whether it was right for me, a single woman, to adopt a child. I'm in the habit of praying for answers because I find that prayer to God gives me the direction I need. So, I asked God for guidance. I received an answer pretty quickly - it was no.

This answer made sense since I had recently begun a new career that I loved, and it was taking much of my time and energy. But even though the answer seemed logical and right, I still felt empty and dissatisfied. I didn't feel this answer spoke to my deep love for children and my yearning to be with them.

Then I remembered what a friend had told me when I confided in her about the situation. She said that God would give me an answer that was consistent with my soul. To me this meant God would provide an answer that was specifically designed for me, one that I would understand and one that had to be satisfying and that supported, rather than suppressed, my individuality.

I thought about this verse from the Bible: "The blessing of the Lord, it maketh rich, and he addeth no sorrow with it" (Prov. 10:22). In his version of the Bible, "The Message," Eugene Peterson puts it this way: "God's blessing makes life rich; nothing we do can improve on God." This struck a chord with me. I could see that since I couldn't improve on God's answer, perhaps I needed to embrace and love it more fully, really trust His answer and take it more seriously.

So that's what I did. I started trusting that the answer God had given me was consistent with who I am. I began to feel peaceful.

An important question came to mind: "Do you have to have a child of your own in order to participate in God's love for children?" I thought of my friend Dylan, who is a year old. He's a neighbor who lives above me, and we've gotten to be good friends. I know the love we have for one another is genuine. Then I heard a message from God I'll never forget: "It's not second best."

I could see that the love in my friendship with Dylan isn't second best, because it's from God. And the love created by God is always real, fulfilling, satisfying. It's not a consolation prize. It's not something I have to settle for because I can't have the "real thing" by being a mother.

In the past, I'd had a subtle thought that if I couldn't be a mother and have my own child, then perhaps I would just have to settle for being just good friends with children. God's message completely eradicated that viewpoint and said, "Look again. You don't have to settle for second best because I'm giving you the best."

Mary Baker Eddy, the Discoverer of Christian Science, wrote in her book "Science and Health with Key to the Scriptures": "Love [God] is impartial and universal in its adaptation and bestowals. It is the open fount which cries, 'Ho, every one that thirsteth, come ye to the waters' " (pg. 13).

I saw that God is loving me completely, fully, not halfheartedly. He has given me just as much love to participate in and enjoy as any of my friends who have children. Our roles are different, but the love expressed in our lives is all from God, and His love is beautiful, tender, satisfying. I could accept this and be grateful for it.

God doesn't rate His love and say that one expression of it is better, more real, than another expression. So if God isn't rating us, why do we sometimes feel as if we're fulfilled in certain parts of our lives and deprived in others? It's because the human mind labels and categorizes us, and then insists that we can experience only certain amounts of satisfaction and fulfillment based on our situation.

But that's not what God is saying, and that's why we don't have to accept that view. Love, God, is telling us that right this moment He is giving us infinite love and possibilities to love. This love, being from Him, is vibrant, alive, joyful. Participating in it doesn't depend on whether we're married or single, rich or poor, parents or not. God loves each one of us completely and gives us the best. We only have to open our hearts to receive His love.

My message that the love in my life is not second best has shown me that I'm never relegated to standing on the sidelines. Nor am I waiting for the big moment. I'm learning more and more that the big moment is now because God, Love, is here.

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