It will be bread and not a stone

“Which of you, if your son asks for bread, will give him a stone? 10 Or if he asks for a fish, will give him a snake? 11 If you, then, though you are evil, know how to give good gifts to your children, how much more will your Father in heaven give good gifts to those who ask him!” – Matthew 7:9-11 (NIV)

For the years of our first season of infertility, this verse was posted throughout my house. It was on my fridge, above my sink, and next to my vanity. I read it when I woke and throughout my day — it stood as a call to remember the truth, and not allow my heart to swim in fear and worry about the future. To every woman walking through this struggle, the question about the future always hangs like a cloud over her head. How is this going to end? What will happen? Will we ever get a baby? Will this ever be over?

This verse bursts that bubble of mystery. Of course I cannot tell you exactly the details of how your particular story will end, but there is one thing you can know for sure: This will end with bread and not a stone. He is the Good Father. Better than your own, and better than any parent you can think of or dream of being. You are begging Him for bread now, and He will not disappoint you. I urge you to cling to that truth above all in these days – whatever the exact outcome will be, it will be bread.

This passage makes this newly classic song all the sweeter to me, so I’d like to share it with you today to listen to anew.

Advertisements

Be my strength

A perfect follow-up worship song for our last post about God giving strength to those who have none. This is a precious, peaceful song about walking through a life in which our strength comes from the Lord alone – we ask Him daily to be strong for us, and in the end we will testify that He was faithful in this.

I’ve tried to stand my ground
I’ve tried to understand
But I can’t seem to find
My faith again

Like water on the sand
Or grasping at the wind
I keep on falling short

So please be my strength
Please be my strength
‘Cause I don’t have any more
I don’t have any more Continue reading “Be my strength”

For the one who has absolutely no more strength

This has been me at times. I have laid in my bed after starting one more period (or even just on a normal day) and thought, “Lord, I do not have a single ounce of strength left for this.” I have, at times, begged Him to remove from my heart the desire to have children. I’ve wondered if He might just make us decidedly infertile through some tragic event, so we could know for sure we will never get pregnant again (shoot us out of our misery, if you will). I have found the thought of one more day or month to be truly agonizing, let alone the thought of a lifetime without getting pregnant or knowing if I will.

And a few months ago, feeling exhausted from a tragic, emergency surgery and recovering on my in-laws’ couch, while likewise wrestling with other struggles from our life and work overseas, I was reading in Isaiah (that is: scouring the Bible for any fresh word of encouragement), when this verse was given:

“He gives power to the weak, and to those who have no might He increases strength.” -Isaiah 40:2

Did you hear those words? To those who have no might He increases strength. This is very different to me than the (equally inspired, equally important, equally truth-filled) verses that call us to strengthen ourselves (“Be strong…”). This is the verse to the woman at the absolute end of her rope. When you have no power left to do this one more time (one more day, one more cycle, one more year, one more whatever) — He meets you there with strength.

I beg you to be empowered (literally!) by this hope-filled truth today. It’s only appropriate to end this post by sharing the full context of this comforting verse. I encourage you to read Isaiah 40 when you have a quiet moment today, and soak your heart in this great truth about the Strong One who has enough strength for everyone.

 

Lessons Shared from Miscarriage

I confess, I have never figured out a more attractive way to share blog posts from outside websites. If you have any insight for this, please let me know!

I saw this blog post on The Gospel Coalition website today and her 5 Lessons from miscarriage are totally on point, as far as my experience goes. I just needed to pass it on to anyone needing to hear them — and the writer, Abbey Wedgeworth, published this post this morning, just two days after learning her baby has passed away, before even fully miscarrying. I think that makes it all the more powerful for the struggling reader! I recommend some of her other recent posts on this subject, found on her own blog. For example, this one on “‘Should Be,’ ‘Would be,’ and the Hope of what ‘Will be.”

He’s in the waiting

“My heart, O God, is steadfast, my heart is steadfast;

I will sing and make music.” 

-Psalm 57:7

I read (and wrote a lot about) Tim Keller’s book Walking with God Through Pain in Suffering in the last several months of our first infertility journey. One thing among many that always stuck with me was his noting from the Psalms when the psalmist talks to himself. “Why are you downcast, O my soul?” He says in Psalm 42. Keller writes a lot about the value of this “self-talk” — it’s a skill in counseling yourself out of a real or impending emotional pit. As a Christian you already have a strong foundation of things to self-talk about. You know the truth, even if you slip away from it in despair.

This song calls that idea to mind. “Stay steadfast, my soul!,” cries the singer. And as a voice of experience (who is also fighting the pit with you), I call out with her from the next verse: “He’s in the waiting!” Be strong in this struggle, friend. If you’re wondering where God is in all of this, you have found Him. This is exactly where He is — in this struggle, in this mess, in this pain. He’s right here — in the waiting.

Slow down, take time
Breathe in He said
He’d reveal what’s to come
The thoughts in His mind
Always higher than mine
He’ll reveal all to come

Take courage, my heart
Stay steadfast, my soul
He’s in the waiting Continue reading “He’s in the waiting”

So I will not worry or fret

Another cry-fest song for me. Lately I listen to it almost every day. The quietness of the song with the reminder spoken to my soul that He is the one who holds my days and my life is so perfect.

I know you have a lot to worry about. Will this treatment work? Will this home visit go ok? Will you finally get to take home this child? Did you miss your ovulation window? But this is the truth: The great God of all the universe is holding those things in His hands. He is in control of those outcomes and you may need to breath and pass that trust to Him a hundred times a day. He knows what you’re hoping for. He is kind. He has a plan for those things. I don’t mean you can trust Him just to give you whatever you want — I mean You can trust whatever He decides to do with those situations, even if it’s not what you were hoping. What He chooses is a good plan. Release it to Him.

“Holding My World”
And this is Your world, you made it
And all of creation is breathing because You sustain it
Jesus, by your powerful word
You spoke out the earth and the heavens
Continue reading “So I will not worry or fret”

This is my confidence: You’ve never failed me yet

I need to remind you all that I live overseas in a non-Christian environment. It takes a while for new worship songs to get to us, so don’t laugh if I’m sharing stuff you heard months or years ago (cringe!). Just take it as a providential reminder from the Lord!

This song puts a lump in my throat every time I hear it. It speaks beautifully of our fertility story so far. We saw the Lord be awesomely faithful, and now we’re longing for and trusting Him to be faithful again.

“Do It Again”

Walking around these walls
I thought by now they’d fall
But You have never failed me yet
Waiting for change to come
Knowing the battle’s won
For You have never failed me yetYour promise still stands
Great is Your faithfulness, faithfulness
I’m still in Your hands
This is my confidence, You’ve never failed me yet

I know the night won’t last
Your Word will come to pass
My heart will sing Your praise again
Jesus You’re still enough
Keep me within Your love
My heart will sing Your praise again

Your promise still stands
Great is Your faithfulness, faithfulness
I’m still in Your hands
This is my confidence, You never failed

Your promise still stands
Great is Your faithfulness, faithfulness
I’m still in Your hands
This is my confidence, You never failed me yet

I’ve seen You move, You move the mountains
And I believe, I’ll see You do it again
You made a way, where there was no way
And I believe, I’ll see You do it again

 

 

 

Learning the same things all over again

Well my infertile friends, here I am again.

I keep writing and re-writing these first few lines. How personal should I get? Who even cares? But when I read blogs and things like this, knowing a little of where those words are coming from means a lot to me. This is a more personal post than usual, but I’ll keep it brief and as vague as possible. After a while of trying for baby #3, I had an ectopic pregnancy a couple months ago. It came out of no where. It ended in surgery and I lost my tube. It was a bit overwhelming. God was unimaginably faithful. And now, we wait again.

We have been reliving so many of the same lessons we walked through years back as we waited for our first child. Will we ever get pregnant? Is this it? What is God doing? What story is He writing for our family? A God-given yearning for a baby that often overwhelms and surprises me. Where did this feeling come from? Why did He give it, if He might not meet it? So many possible fears and unknowns. Two weeks to the day after my surgery some of our closest friends told us they’re expecting. We’re thrilled for them, for sure, but it was those same conflicting feelings all over again. Will that ever be us? Do they know this is painful? 

Back then hearing about “secondary infertility” often made me roll my eyes. You already have kids, I would thinkThis is not the same. And it’s true, it’s not the same. I have full arms and a full home with two sweet little boys. I have seen the Lord faithfully meet my deep longing to be a mother, in some really incredible ways. Stories we get to retell over and over of miracles and mercy. I will not tell you it’s the same at all.

But He is meeting me here, and that is the same. Continue reading “Learning the same things all over again”

Abide with me

I cherish this song. The call of Christ’s words, “Abide with me” rings so beautifully in the quiet struggle of a trial. In it, I also hear the call of a disciple crying the same thing to Him: “Oh Lord, I need you. Abide with me.”

May you seek to abide with Him every single day. It’s not a one-time choice you’ll make. It’s a choice every morning, and often several times throughout the day. And may peace overwhelm you as you know He abides with you and within you.

“Abide in me, and I in you. As the branch cannot bear fruit by itself, unless it abides in the vine, neither can you, unless you abide in me. I am the vine; you are the branches. Whoever abides in me and I in him, he it is that bears much fruit, for apart from me you can do nothing. ” –John 15:4-5

The thing about pain

The thing about pain is, it hangs over you. You carry it with you wherever you go. Sometimes it’s right out front. You can’t get out of bed. You can’t talk about anything else. You can’t think about anything else. Nothing can make you smile. You cry without extra cause. It’s just swelling over you and out of you and consuming you, no matter how hard you try (if you can try at all).

And sometimes it’s standing in the background. The awkward guest at a party — everyone sees him standing off to the side, not really doing much, but definitely there. At any silence in the conversation, at some little moment without warning, he shouts something. “Oh, right,” you think, “You’re still here.”

ps147Grief is like that. That permanent loss leaves a permanent pain that just always sort of hangs there. In the beginning everyone sees it, everyone mentions it, everyone tries to help carry it. But later it’s just yours. Sometimes you sort of overlook it — this picture on the wall that’s been there for years that you sometimes don’t even notice is part of the decor anymore. Sometimes it jumps out at you and you realize there was a lion just standing in the corner the whole time, and you kept walking past it. Sometimes it’s so heavy,  but you pretend you’re ignoring it because you don’t want to keep bothering everyone. But it’s heavy and it’s big and it’s weighing you down, and it won’t go away.
And you don’t know the solution. That’s the true worst part. Nothing will really fix it. “Is there anything I can do for you?” People ask. You have no idea. I just want you to know. I just want you to remember a few years from now that I have this weight. I just want you to carry this with me when it’s just there and there’s nothing to be “done”.

And the thing about pain is, until you’ve had your own, you don’t know what this feels like. Why is she still stuck on that? You think. That was years ago. It’s over now. She should be moving on by now. And, maybe worst of all, This isn’t that big of a deal. And then you get your own pain, and you grieve for how unsympathetic you were. You know of others with pain and you just want to walk up and say, “I know you’re dying inside right now! I know this is killing you. I know about the pain. I know.” 

The thing about Christ is, He always knew. He knew about the guy in the corner. He knew about the lion. He knew about the weight. He knew when no one else knew. He cared before anyone else could, and cared when no one did anymore. When you were wondering How can I bear this alone? How will I bear this at all? What will carry me through this? The answer was Christ. The solution when there are no solutions, is to take comfort and peace in Christ, and take it up again every day after.

“The Lord is close to the brokenhearted and saves those who are crushed in spirit.” -Psalm 34:18