Against all the protestations of shame, your past does not define you.
What you have been is not coterminous with who you are. Or will be.
This, at least, is YHWH’s promise to his despondent exiles in Babylon.
‘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 ESV)
If there is a greater shame than childlessness in the Bible’s Old Testament, it is difficult to say what that should be. Perhaps only having borne children and lost them could compete with never having children at all, so deep does this feature of the cultural realia reach into the Bible’s sacred literature.
In the turn-tables book of Isaiah, YHWH is having none of it.
She who has not split the air with the shrieks of childbirth will find recompense in shouts of joy, late coming.
All of human experience argues that only what has been shall ever be. Again, YHWH is having none of this curiously persuasive logic. He is the Creator of new things, things unspoken, things unimagined, deepest longings too savage and powerful for words. He meets them, satisfies them, creates them, endorses them, then liberates his own to become them.
The Bible’s ‘religion’ is no tame creed.
It is wild, counterintuitive, impossible, then real. Life with YHWH knows no bounds save those that loving providence establishes.
As the barren woman restored in a moment to fecundity finds children streaming to her that she did not bear, so YHWH’s future comes in spades from angles never contemplated. Yet her children are hers, his gift, stomped down, compressed, overflowing.
She forgets to miss the biological progeny of her dashed dream, so occupied with this tumbling, laughing harvest of children unforeseen. They laugh nosily. Only her delight is louder.