A simple prayer for you…

ps20a

 

 

But a true friend would also pray that, if it’s the best thing for you — if it makes you holier and brings God more glory in your life — may He also grant you waiting, and sorrow, and maybe a little pain, and some heartbreak. May you know mercy and grace to the fullest extent, if He sees fit, and may it bring you closer to Christ and make you more like Him.

 

I will call upon Your name and keep my eyes above the waves

Guys, I just discovered this song. I know I’m late, but by now you know I’m way out of the loop over here on the other side of the universe. Be blessed by these perfect words!!

Sermon – How have You loved us? (Mark Driscoll)

My husband and I watched this sermon today and it was SO perfect! It’s not really supposed to be about infertility, though he mentions it. I could go on forever (ask my husband — I went on forever after we finished it) about all the applications in my life right now. A need for a legacy (blog post to follow!); a need to hear that God HAS been gracious and loving to us, even without a baby (What a line! “God is greater than you feel, you are worse than you fear.”); having a right attitude for circumstances, even if they don’t change.

Anyway, please take the time to listen to or watch it soon! Click the link below!

http://marshill.com/media/malachi-living-for-a-legacy/how-have-you-loved-us

Oh what peace we often forfeit!

O what peace we often forfeit,

O what needless pain we bear,

All because we do not carry everything to God in prayer!

This is a classic hymn with a heavy message of truth. If you don’t already, would begin to cultivate the habit of coming to God before anything else? When you’re grieved, burdened, angry, not sure what to do next, feeling alone, tempted, or depressed. When you’re anxious, worried, afraid, or doubtful. Let your first response be to come to the Lord. Don’t pray a pre-written prayer, don’t try to wax poetic. Just lay your heart out, and ask Him to cover your needs with grace. He can change your mood, your feelings, your weaknesses. We have the great, unique “privilege to carry everything to the Lord in prayer” — don’t waste it!

Have we trials and temptations? Is there trouble anywhere?
We should never be discouraged; take it to the Lord in prayer.
Can we find a friend so faithful who will all our sorrows share?
Jesus knows our every weakness; take it to the Lord in prayer.

friend

When you pass through the waters I will be with you

For those days when you are desperately wondering where God is in all of this, He says this to His people in Isaiah 43:2…

When you pass through the waters, I will be with you;
and through the rivers, they shall not overwhelm you;
when you walk through fire you shall not be burned,
and the flame shall not consume you.

Where is He? He’s right there with you.

waters

An Isaac, not an Ishmael

You may remember that while back I shared about how my infertility has grown for me an appreciation for and kinship with Sarah [as in, the Sarah, from Genesis]. I read a little quick line in a book recently that really jumped at my heart.

heb11.1The book has nothing to do with infertility. It’s called Unveiling Grace: The Story of How we Found our Way out of the Mormon Church, by Lynn Wilder. [Side note: I am nearing the end of this book, and it has been fascinating. If you want to read something interesting and different, I highly recommend it. It’s about a Mormon family, the mother of which was a BYU professor, who little by little found their way to the biblical Jesus and the biblical gospel.]

At one point, she’s telling of how she suffered multiple miscarriages and a difficult pregnancy before finally conceiving their four children. When she thought she was losing her third child in her sixteenth week, she was prayed over by church elders, who basically just prayed that she would have enough faith to make God bless her — it was all in her power. She soon determined to put her faith in God’s power instead, saying,

This child would be a product of grace, not works. An Isaac, not an Ishmael.

This is actually not even a big part of the book, but that line was so loud to me when I read it, it stopped me in my tracks. What a powerful resolution — I will not be Sarah #1, doing all I can to get what I want, in spite of God’s promise to work for my good. No, I’ll be Sarah #2 — having faith that He will do what He said and leaving it there. You may get a baby either way, like Sarah did, but which way do you really want to get him?

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…After I wrote everything above, within a couple days I had a chance to put it into practice. I was in bed unable to sleep (yes, if you’ve been reading for a while you may realize sleeplessness is a theme of my life), and I started worry about the baby situation (sleepless worry is an even greater theme). Mainly, tmi, I started worrying about if we had missed ovulation that week. I was crunching numbers, symptoms and days in my head, trying to assure myself that we didn’t miss it. Then I entered into a brief tug-of-war with my body, wanting to jump up and check my fertility calendar online for comfort. That’s when an inner voice called to me, “An Isaac, not an Ishmael.” I repeated these words to myself, asking God to lift this burden to control and seek hope in things other than Him. I don’t want to be Sarah, freaking out and running to Hagar to get the baby God had promised her. I want to be the other Sarah, waiting on the Lord and receiving His promise by His hand. Soon I fell asleep, and in the morning I awoke with great peace on my heart — yes, this baby, whenever he comes, will be an Isaac, not an Ishmael. 

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Here’s a suggested Bible Study on Abraham and Sarah’s faith: https://bible.org/seriespage/lesson-4-abraham-and-sarah-couple-who-believed-god-impossible

On complaining, being inconsolable, and being sensitive

Warning: This is going to be another post that probably won’t get a lot of likes or go viral, but it is truth and needs to be said.

Take a moment and read with me from Philippians 2:14-16

Do all things without grumbling or complaining, that you may be blameless and innocent, children of God without blemish in the midst of a crooked and twisted generation, among whom you shine as lights in the world, holding fast to the word of life, so that in the day of Christ I may be proud that I did not run in vain or labor in vain.

I used to teach in public schools, and this verse was close to my heart each day. It tells one clear way you can stand out as a follower of Christ while living among the world: do everything without grumbling and complaining. Back then, for me, that meant not whining about standardized testing and after school meetings. Today, it comes to mind when thinking about my “lot” in life of infertility. As I read through blogs, forums, and magazines and listen to other women talk, I am overcome by a tidal wave of complaints. And what’s worse is, because we’re suffering something sad and beyond our control, we feel we deserve to be complaining. So no one stops us, and we don’t question ourselves.

So it goes with what I see are two other sin issues of infertility and trial in general: being inconsolable, and being too sensitive. We allow and excuse these behaviors in ourselves and others because we feel we deserve to act this way, given the struggles we are facing. We think it’s natural, normal, and merited. But God commands us to be holy as He is holy without condition. We aren’t exempt from being sinful simply because we are in a hard situation. Why are these choices sinful, you may ask? You already see above that we are commanded not to grumble or complain, so that’s obvious. Here are some reasons I’ve thought of (you may have some to add, and please do!):

  1. Not having a submissive attitude to God’s will – If you are sitting in a pit, whining about your life and refusing to try and improve, you have a heart issue, dear friend. It may not be easy every day, but you are commanded to submit to the Lord in all things, even in infertility. Attitudes like this show a refusal to submit — just as a disobedient child will slam down with his arms crossed and head shaking, so am I when I complain about my situation or refuse to feel better or take consolation or advice.holy
  2. Not choosing joy – We are commanded to be joyful people, even (especially?) in trial. If you refuse to be joyful, you are in direct disobedience to this command, and that’s sin. There’s not much more I can say about that!
  3. Being touchy is not loving – We are commanded to be loving (God is love, after all). 1 Corinthians 13, everyone’s favorite passage since A Walk to Remember, tells us that “love is not easily angered;” in a looser, modern interpretation, it says “love is not touchy.” When I get easily offended by everything others say, I’m choosing not to be loving. (Yes, I know you’re thinking about how others need to be more sensitive to be loving, but that is not a condition for my love.) Continue reading “On complaining, being inconsolable, and being sensitive”

A call to all the dead and disappointed

I hope God uses this song to remind you that you ARE alive in Him today!

This is a call to all the dead and disappointed, 
The ones who feel like they are done.
This is a word to all the ones who feel forgotten, 
But you are not, 
Oh you are not.

Prone to wander, Lord, I feel it

I know I’ve been sharing a lot of songs lately, which I didn’t want to overdo, but I guess that’s what God is giving me these days, so it’s what I’m passing on to you.

Yesterday I shared about a verse that brought my wandering heart back to the Lord on a daily basis. This song speaks of the same concept (I quoted it yesterday), so I wanted to share it to further your reflection. It’s a new recording of the old hymn, “Come Thou Fount of Every Blessing,” with the lyrics included in the video.

My Wandering Heart

I want to share with you a verse that really carried me for a little while in a darker time of my infertility. I was going through a more depressed time, and I felt that my mind would constantly wander to places that were more destructive than strengthening, and I would just fall deeper into a pit. In the pit I would find discontentment, anxiety, worry, anger, disappointment, bitterness, fear. These things are in complete contrast to the fruit of the Spirit that should be produced in me — love, joy, peace, patience, goodness, kindness, and self-control. It would bring my heart lower, cause me to cry over and over, and keep me from so much joy. At first I would try to pray through it, “God get me out of this… Lord, give me joy… Father, please distract me.” It helped, but I realized I was only being a passive recipient and not an active warrior against this struggle. I asked God to show me a better way to get control of my mind and, in turn, my heart. He showed me this verse, which I immediately claimed as my own:

Psalm 119:10

With my whole heart I seek you; let me not wander from your commandments!

wanderingI memorized it (obviously, that was the easy part) and wrote it on cards to stick in obvious places all over my house. I put it above my sink, next to my dresser, on my bathroom mirror. I made it my computer background and saved it on my phone for when I wasn’t home. I realized I had to take back my mind for the Lord, and I have to actively do this, not just passively ask God to do all the work. I knew that God’s word has real power in the world. Whenever my mind would start to wander to those dark, harmful places, I would repeat this verse (out loud or in my head). I would repeat it until those thoughts fled. It had momentary effects, but do you know what else happened? As the days passed, I had fewer and fewer times of my mind accidentally wandering to sinful thoughts. By pushing myself to meditate on godly things when my mind didn’t naturally want it, I started to train it and flush out those inclinations, until it was my default to meditate on heavenly things, like we’re told to do in Colossians 3:

Set your mind on things above, not on earthly things.

That verse, Psalm 119:10, reminds me of some lines from the old hymn “Come Thou Fount of Every Blessing,”

“Oh to grace, how great a debtor, daily I’m constrained to be,

Let Thy goodness, like a fetter, bind my wandering heart to Thee.

Prone to wander, Lord, I feel it, prone to leave the God I love,

Here’s my heart, Lord, take and seal it, seal it for Thy courts above.” 

Our sinful hearts are prone to wander, but God has given us tools to stand up under that temptation and return our hearts to Him.