This is truly a tough question! I want to share with you three quick stories here, that I think will help to put perspective on the situation.
(1) One lady whom I know, very much felt called to marriage. Her life circumstances (caring for a sick parent) prevented her from being in social settings that would have facilitated meeting anyone. Still, she was committed to her dying mother. After her mother died, years went by. She still never met anyone. But, she was faithful in her love for the Lord and remained chaste in her lifestyle. When she was in her late forties, she finally met someone. They married and they enjoyed nine years of true "wedded bliss" together until he died of cancer. She has now been alone again for eighteen years, since her husband’s death. But, she often says that for those nine years with the man she loved the most, it was worth the wait for the right man to come into her life . . . even if that was all the time God granted them together. Did she regret not being able to have children? I think so, in some ways. But that regret never stopped her from living out a vocation of love and spiritual motherhood for many, many children ─ nieces and nephews, and children of friends. She has blessed the lives of many.
(2) One lady whom I know is now forty-two. She felt called to marriage, and her whole life all she ever wanted was to get married and be a mommy. She struggled all through her twenties, wondering why God had not brought the right man into her life. She dated a few men, but she knew these men were not right for her. Through her thirties she began to resign herself to the fact that she was not going to ever get married. There was a deep sadness there, but a certain freedom in no longer pining for something she knew she would never have. Now in her early forties, she is still a single woman. But her whole life has been one of dedication to her faith. She has generously offered her time and talents to the Church. And she has loved many, many children and received their love and admiration in return. She is a teacher and she also has over twenty-five nieces and nephews. She has been chosen as God-mother for about ten kids. She has been a spiritual mother and a model of holiness for all who know her. Has she had a cross to bear in her life? Yes. But then again, who doesn't? But she has borne it well. Why did God place that desire on her heart and never allow it to be fulfilled? I don't know; neither does she. But God does. And maybe He did fulfill the desire of her heart, just in a way she never understood. But when she goes to heaven one day, she will see the effect of all the spiritual mothering she did in this life. Her crown of glory will be most resplendent . . . for those who live out their virginity for the sake of the Kingdom will bear much fruit and will shine with incredible glory alongside their bridegroom in heaven!
(3) One lady whom I know of, but have never met personally, was a grandmother sharing her story with a friend of mine. She told my friend that she was often asked, "Why did you have so few children?" She only had seven ─ compared to all her siblings who had over ten kids!! She would always explain that it was because she married late in life. She was forty when she got married!!! She and her husband had seven children through her forties!!! SO, all hope is not lost for you, Maria! If it is God's will for you to marry and have children, He will reveal it to you in time . . . and nothing is impossible for God!
I think the secret to joy through this whole process of waiting, discerning and waiting some more, is for you to focus your love on your bridegroom, Jesus. For until He brings someone else into your life, worthy of the love He has intended for you, then your heart rightfully belongs to Jesus alone! Even after you marry, Jesus must remain the centre of your heart. You and your husband must build your love for each other out of the love you each have for Jesus. But for now, Jesus is guarding you as His own! That's a treasured place to be, if we only have the eyes of faith to see it. Our world tells us we are nobody, unless we have somebody! Well, we do have somebody . . . we have Christ. Don't fall into the deception of Satan that that is somehow a consolation prize for those who could not marry! Being the bride of Christ is no consolation prize . . . it is the eternal reward we all hunger for in complete fulfillment!
Kimberly Hahn says, "The best way to find Mr. Right is to stop looking for him. The problem is, we tend to walk around with our hands covering our eyes, but we're trying to peek through our fingers to see if Mr. Right has shown up yet!" The truth is, though, it's not possible to miss out on your future because you went to the laundromat instead of the library. Trust God! He has a perfect plan for your life! Be patient and allow Him to fulfill the desires of your heart in His way. In the end, against the backdrop of eternity, we always discover His plan IS best. We're just so impatient.
I'm not sure if these thoughts will help you out, Maria. Be assured we are praying for you. I think I told you my twelve-year-old daughter decided to offer up a novena for you to St. Therese of Lisieux. Kids are so cool! They just get right down to it!
Blessings to you,
In His Most Holy Name,