In which it turns out I’m Rachel

“Give me children, or I shall die!”

This was Rachel’s (albeit irrational) plea to her husband Jacob after waiting nearly a decade to marry her love, and watching her sister bear him four sons while she stood by barren. Obviously, Jacob was helpless to fulfill his desperate wife’s demands. In frustration he replied, “Am I in the place of God, who has withheld from you the fruit of your womb?”

Like Sarah, who you may recall I have long-considered my kindred-spirit among the barren women of the Bible, Rachel takes matters into her own hands and has Jacob bear her children through her servant.

It doesn’t say the amount of time, but judging from what looks like a fairly smooth succession of Rachel’s sister Leah’s birthing several children (herself and through her own servant), I would estimate it was at least ten years of fruitlessness for Rachel before this magical verse just pops up out of no where:

“Then God remembered Rachel, and God listened to her and opened her womb.”

Rachel became pregnant and birthed Joseph. Not long after, she had Benjamin as well. What a beautiful story of waiting and hope.

But also, what’s up with that? In one verse, with no special explanation or plan like we can see more clearly for women Sarah or Elizabeth, God just decides to open Rachel’s womb. And now, apparently, she can have kids no problem. So long, infertility.

rachelThis is a verse I read right before I learned that I was pregnant with my son after years of infertility that couldn’t be explained. The lesson is unmistakeable, and one we often mention to people when we share our story — God is the One who opens and closes the womb. We trust Him with this decision. We’ve learned to stop asking “Why?” We gained so much peace and closure through this truth. I don’t know why we went through that. Everyone always tries to figure out it — to diagnose the undiagnosed and explain what is veiled. I assume this is because they want to find a way to be sure it won’t happen to them — I’m a special case, and they are probably in the clear. But I’m not a special case. Rachel wasn’t a special case. God is the God of all things — even the womb. He chooses the time when he opens it, when he closes it, and the reasons. Some of us may know these reasons now, some of us may know someday, and some never will.

It was with this peace and trust, learned after months of agony, that my husband and I read, with great astonishment, a second positive pregnancy test, just five months after our son was born. —Wait, what?!— we asked again, like we did with Rachel’s story. How can that happen? Years of toil for the first, and zero toil with the second. Could it be that I’m not just Sarah, I’m Rachel? God opened my womb in His time and for His reasons?

Yes, believe it or not (I cannot!), I am writing this post five months pregnant with our second child. This time we barely had time to pray for a child. Never in a million years did we think we would feel “surprised” by a pregnancy. We worked so hard to be content with no children, and were so overwhelmed with gratitude to just have one — we had hardly prepared our hearts for the possibility that we would have more, and with ease.

And I hope this encourages you today. I know there’s a chance it can break your heart. But I hope you can take peace in the reality that God is ultimately sovereign over your womb, and He can open it when He wants. He may not open it… but He really may. And you may never know why, but you can trust His decision, before and after.

Please Share: What verse or song is speaking to right now?

I LOVE hearing what God is teaching others in the moment. A few years ago I asked on my facebook about a worship song that is touching my friends right now — I was super blessed by the response (especially since I’m overseas and out of the loop with new songs).

Would you please comment with a verse and/or worship song that is special to you right now? I don’t even mean during this year or season or trial… just TODAY, at this moment, what is blessing your heart?

Thanks! I selfishly look forward to being blessed by your responses. 😉

How sweet is His word

honey

I know you shouldn’t really advertise when you’re fasting and such, but I’m kind of excited so I have to share.

For Lent this year I decided to give up sweets and replace them with the sweetness of the Word. To kick it off, I spent time in Psalm 119, soaking in the beautiful verses and searching for some to memorize as I fend off my sweet tooth. In the process, I found some special verses for all of you! So please allow me to share!

“My soul clings to the dust; give me life according to Your word!” 119:25

“My soul melts away for sorrow; strengthen me according to Your word!” 119:28

“Turn my eyes from looking at worthless things; and give me life in Your ways.” 119:37  (I thought of hours of destructive googling time and time spent on forums, etc.)

“This is my comfort in my affliction, that your promise gives me life.” 119:50

“At midnight I rise to praise You, because of Your righteous rules.” 119:62 (I thought of hours of sleepless nights, praying instead of worrying.)

“Let Your steadfast love comfort me according to Your promise to Your servant.” 119:76

“Great peace have those who love Your law; nothing can make them stumble.” 119:165

Also, I would love to hear if you are doing anything special during this Lent season, if you don’t mind saying!

Be truly glad!

joy

1 Peter 1:6-7 (New Living Translation)

So be truly glad. There is wonderful joy ahead, even though you must endure many trials for a little while. These trials will show that your faith is genuine. It is being tested as fire tests and purifies gold—though your faith is far more precious than mere gold. So when your faith remains strong through many trials, it will bring you much praise and glory and honor on the day when Jesus Christ is revealed to the whole world.

More on peace

I thought it would be nice to share a song to compliment my last post on peace. Unfortunately, this was the best version I could find, so I apologize for the very corny pictures. But it has the song (“Perfect Peace” by Laura Story) with lyrics, so hopefully you can overlook the corniness to let it bless your heart today.

Also, I appreciated this list of verses, if you were wanting more: 25 Encouraging Bible Verses to Give you Peace

Peace

In addition to rest, God has given us so many promises for peace. Peace seems to be an undervalued gift for many Christians, possibly because the word has become a bit cliche or even somehow outdated, so it doesn’t hold much weight. When I think peace, I think of a deep, down-to-the-soul quietness, in the midst of non-quietness. I imagine someone standing in the middle of a bustling nonstop city, loud and chaotic, but he or she stands there with a calm spirit and closed eyes.

Not to be cheesy, but here is the googled definition of peace:

peacedef

 

I like the use of the word freedom in the definition. I don’t think we always think of peace like that, but it is a freedom from or within a situation that would otherwise enslave us to fear, chaos, worry, anxiety, and/or turmoil.

One of my favorite go-to verses, which you are surely familiar with by now, speaks of God giving us a peace “which surpasses understanding” — the perfect peace in a time when others would look and say, “Peace is impossible in that situation.” The Bible says we gain this much sought-after peace by choosing not to be anxious, but instead tell the Father our concerns. 

Today I would like to share this and some other verses about peace. I invite you to meditate on them and claim them in this otherwise peace-less situation. Please feel free to add some — there are many more! 

phil4

 

peace

 

eph4

 

john16

 

ps29

Rest

One difference between Christ and all other alternative beliefs and religions is that He offers rest. Other beliefs call you to work — they provide a list of things you must do to be one of their followers. But when Jesus called people to follow Him, He declared:

“Come to me, all who labor and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you, and learn from me, for I am gentle and lowly in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. For my yoke is easy, and my burden is light.”

…Come and rest. Find rest from your work for salvation. Find rest from your burdens and weariness. This afternoon this song reminded me of this beautiful, peaceful, truth. In Christ we find rest from our burdens.