Finally, brothers, whatever is true, whatever is honorable, whatever is just, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is commendable, if there is any excellence, if there is anything worthy of praise, think about these things.
It might sound kind cheesy, but one way I try to practice this verse is by imagining, every so often, what it will be like when this has all passed. One of my favorite ways to do this is to imagine how it will really feel to have a positive pregnancy test, and how we will react, and how it will really feel to be pregnant, and how it will be to really have a one-year-old and looking back on this time as something in the past. At first I didn’t like doing this, I guess because I was afraid of getting my hopes up and being let down, but now that I actually do it (and not like, every moment, mind you) I feel it leads to more feelings of healthy hope and optimism. Also, if any of you doesn’t do this because you’re afraid of “jinxing it,” you need to drop that lie right now, my friend. It’s just not truth, so quit it!
The song I want to share today always makes me think of those future days. I often feel almost afraid that if — ahem, when — we get pregnant, I won’t be able to handle the joy. I feel like I’m just going to be overwhelmed with joy and gratitude forever, unable to pray for anything else ever again. Fortunately, I know the truth — I have a wandering heart, and, just like the Israelites so many years ago, I expect with each passing year I’ll think of this time and that mercy a little less each day. I’ll keep being grateful inside, but life will take over, new burdens will come, and the joy will be overshadowed little by little.
By those Israelites, I’m talking about Deuteronomy 8, after the Israelites left the wilderness, and were told,
Remember the whole way that the Lord your God has led you these forty years in the wilderness, that He might humble you, testing you to know what was in your heart, whether you would keep His commandments or not.
You read that and think, “Of course they will remember! How could they ever forget!” God rescued them from slavery, led them forty years in the wilderness and cared for them the whole way. The rest of the chapter recaps for them all the things He’d done for them to that point. Big things. Unforgettable things.
Except. Over and over again through the rest of the Old Testament, we read verses like this,
And the people of Israel did what was evil in the sight of the LORD. They forgot the LORD their God and served the [other gods] Baals and the Asheroth.
They exchanged their glorious God
for an image of a bull, which eats grass.
They forgot the God who saved them,
who had done great things in Egypt,
miracles in the land of Ham
and awesome deeds by the Red Sea.
What?? How could they forget? The same way you’ll probably forget.
I remember when I got my driver’s license (ok, this is a drop in the bucket compared to infertility, but stick with me). Confession time: it took me six tries to pass my driving test. Yes, you read that right. (No, I’m not an idiot.) It was months of prayer and begging God to just shoot me out of my misery and let me pass. It was so important to me. I promised myself (and Him) at one point, if I ever passed, I would never stop thanking Him. When I finally did, about two years from when I started, I was so filled with joy I could not stop thinking about that blessing and how God had answered my prayers. For the next couple years (literally), every time I got behind the wheel, I would thank God out loud for letting me have that license. I was sure I would never stop doing that. Well, guess what? I did stop doing that. I graduated college, acquired a really long commute to work, drove more than I ever wanted, and stopped thinking about how grateful I was for it. Every now and then I would remember and thank Him, but it wasn’t the same uncontrollable pouring out I had in the beginning. [P.S. This story is really ironic, because in my current life I live in a place/situation where I can’t drive. Ha! Good one, God!]
It’s hard to imagine now that the same ebbing of gratitude and joy will eventually happen after we have a baby. I want to do everything I can to avoid it, while not spending an unhealthy amount of my life always obsessing over one trial that happened years ago. I don’t know yet how that balance works.
Ok, this got a little ramble-y. I really just wanted to share this Matt Redman song, “Never Once,” that always moves me to tears. It could be about your life journey, or any difficult journey God brings you through. I love the perspective of looking back (as “we,” too) and remembering what God has done and His faithfulness. I encourage you to use this song to dwell on (see Phil. 4:8) what has been good, what is good — and what will be good.