I want to be content, but I don’t (Or, On “Jinxing It”)

…I shared the other day about my realization that this trial isn’t going to end with a baby. It could end later, if I let it, or it could end sooner. It’s all about my heart and what God is doing there.

So if that’s true, what is God doing there? Where do I need to be to feel like we’re past this?

God has surely done a lot in these years of barrenness… many lessons have come and gone, but some deep ones always press. For me, it’s peace with God’s plan for my life, even if I don’t always like it. It’s being content with not having kids and “the dream.” It’s in the What if He always says “No”? It’s resting in the chance to have a spiritual legacy, even if I don’t get an earthly one. It’s the chance to be spiritually fruitful for the Kingdom, even if we can’t be physically fruitful on earth (blog post to come!). I haven’t decided yet, but it may be about accepting God’s will for us to grow our family through adoption instead.

Your things may be different, and my list may keep growing. But right now, I know I can generally answer the question of, “What could I do to end this trial?” with the things I just said. So the real question is: Why don’t I end it?

And the awful answer I keep discovering in my heart is a solid mixture of I just don’t want to (aka… I haven’t in fact learned those things yet), and, much worse, an invented idea that if I do find that peace and accept those plans, I will surely be “giving in” and God will see that I’m content without a baby and I’ll lose all hope of getting one.

If I keep kicking and screaming, He won’t forget me. He’ll see how bad I want it.

But if He thinks I’m content, He’ll leave me this way.

This is the cousin of “jinxing it” … an animistic idea that we’ve invented, that if we do or think or say certain things, it will spoil our chance at something else. As if those words or actions or thoughts have any real power, let alone more power than God.

So we don’t Pin baby things on Pinterest. And we don’t daydream about baby names. And we don’t let ourselves talk in the definite about having kids in the future. And we don’t get our hopes up.

And we don’t let ourselves learn or accept contentment.

Because what if we lose our chance?

But those are complete lies. Why do I know that, but struggle to let it go? Doesn’t God know my heart? (Yes.) Doesn’t He know my deepest longings? (Yes.) Doesn’t He care? (Yes.) Don’t I trust Him? (Yes.) Don’t I want to be more like Him? (Yes.) Don’t I want to learn that contentment?

Not really. But I want to want to. I think I want to, until times like this when the rubber meets the road and it’s time to put my money where my mouth is. “Didn’t you say you want to be more like Christ?” I hear myself say. Yes, but I didn’t consider the cost. Sometimes it hurts, really badly.

And I don’t know how this blog post ends. It’s one of the questions that keeps me up at night. This is where I always land. I should let my heart move forward, still hopeful, yet content. Content to be childless forever, if God wills. Content to adopt, if God wills. Content to whatever, if God wills. I should, and I want to be willing, but I’m still holding out just a little bit for the best of both worlds. And I know it’s the recipe for disaster that you see in a movie and start yelling at the screen. And I’ll kick myself later. But today, I land here again, waiting for God to keep working in my heart and my life. Grateful that at least His mercies are new every morning, and I get to try again tomorrow at this sanctification thing. 

Advertisements

It’s not about the baby

I have long said that this infertility is not about the baby. It’s not about my body or my ticking biological clock (though I hear it). Trying to conceive started out as about the baby — we’ve dreamed of having a big family, and for years we carefully weighed the decision in wisdom. At first I wasn’t ready at all, then we were ready but felt the Lord saying to wait for other reasons. When we finally felt peace about the go-ahead, we were so excited to finally start our big happy dream family. Actually at first I remember thinking I really didn’t care if we got pregnant — it was fun just to start the new chapter and see what God did.

That got harder to say as the months fell away.

But still deep in my heart, the pain that crept in wasn’t the pain of wanting a baby. It’s not that I don’t want a baby — it’s just that the real issue here is between me and the Lord. From Why aren’t You granting this request? to Where are You? and How could you let this happen to us?, as well as every topic you’ve seen in this blog, and a hundred more personal ones. It’s not about the baby.

So I should’ve seen it coming when, a few months ago I was toiling again in the agony of When is this finally going to be over? and I felt this voice in my heart reply, It’s over when you say it’s over. 

And I should’ve known that sooner.

If the trial isn’t about the baby, then it doesn’t end with the baby.

If I really believe this is about my relationship with God (and my husband’s relationship with God), what He’s teaching us, how He’s refining us, then the trial can surely end without a baby.

What a hard thing to acknowledge, but true nonetheless.

Because a baby could come, and the refining continues. I could get what I want, but still be aching inside. Don’t you agree? Haven’t you seen this happen before? It might be a baby, or a husband, or a whatever. If I could just get ________, I would be ok. But the Christian knows that the real issue isn’t in the “_________,” it’s in the heart.

So this is the really hard question to ask yourself… what really needs to be done, in your heart, to end this trial? I don’t even really have an answer — I’m still asking myself the question. I will continue this post in a few days, with the current (wrong) “answer” I keep getting…

Your life doesn’t begin at your next milestone

Someone posted this article on facebook today, and it goes perfectly with my post from two days ago! Life begins today, my friends! Click to read.

Relevant2

The Most Precious Treasures are in the Most Difficult Things (Repost)

By Jon Bloom (DesiringGod.org)

Now faith is the assurance of things hoped for, the conviction of things not seen. For by it the people of old received their commendation (Hebrews 11:1–2).

Hebrews 11 is in the Bible to remind us that God hides his most precious treasures for his saints in their most difficult and painful experiences.

When we read this chapter we are supposed to stop and reflect more deeply on this strange motif because it’s just a brief summary (“And what more shall I say, for time will fail me to tell of…” (Hebrews 11:32).

logoThink of how Abraham and Sarah agonized with infertility, then waited 25 years for God to fulfill his promise of Isaac. Think of how Isaac and Rebekah agonized over the treacherous and nearly murderous rivalry between their twin sons. Think of how Jacob agonized for years in grief over the belief that wild beasts had killed Joseph. Think of how Moses agonized for 40 years in the Midian wilderness over his lost opportunity to deliver his enslaved people. Think of how David agonized for years as Saul hunted him like an animal.

Now think of what each agony eventually resulted in.

The motif of agony giving birth to the greatest blessings … Click Here to continue this encouraging article. It was written neither by nor for me. I liked it, so I shared it with you. 

Glory in Suffering – Sermon Jam (Britt Merrick)

Be blessed by these words of truth about suffering. I know many people struggle more during the holidays, so I hope this is the reminder of truth that you need today. Merry Christmas!

You cannot be destroyed (Beth Moore)

A short clip with some truth from Beth Moore, on being indestructible in Christ…

Also, this little reminder from scripture about your hope in the storm…

Just a note: I know there are some Christians who are iffy about Beth Moore (mainly, that she sometimes teaches men, I think?). However, most of my readers are women, and in the past I have done some of her studies and have found them totally biblical and useful to my spiritual life. There is a major deficit of truth-filled biblical teachers for Christian women, so I’m grateful for her and am including her. 

Waiting Here for You… and waiting, and waiting, and waiting

wait on the lordIt’s only to be expected that you will get tired of waiting for the Lord to act or answer during this time. You know you’re being sanctified, learning patience, but it doesn’t always calm the mystery inside of why God is taking so long “up there.” There are so many biblical reasons for this.

In an article titled Why Won’t God Hurry Up?, Relevant Magazine writer Eric Speir sites at least four reasons he realized while he was waiting four years for the Lord to bless Him with a ministry job. His first reason is that you aren’t ready for the size of what will come. This is an interesting thought. We cringe at it, but it’s fair to consider that maybe God is still preparing you and/or your spouse to be parents. My husband and I have considered this in times of fighting or stress. I know that’s a hard pill to swallow when you see teenagers or other immature people “accidentally” becoming parents, but I encourage you to keep your eyes on Christ and your journey, and not let your eyes wander to assess other peoples’ journeys and what God does in their lives. The second reason Speir provides is that you are unlearning improper worship — in other words, has a baby become an idol to you? It may not be a real “golden calf,” but is it the most important thing in your world? It shouldn’t be. God will probably want to strip you of that before blessing you further. The article also mentions two other reasons we’ve discussed a bit in his blog: learning dependence on God, and being used for other things in this time. Learning dependence of God is probably the sweetest reason for waiting, in my opinion. What a better response from God than to ask for your attention and to grow closer to you before giving you another potential (and likely) distraction? Continue reading “Waiting Here for You… and waiting, and waiting, and waiting”

The point of it all

We’ve talked a lot about what can be gained from this trial and the value, the necessity, of not wasting it. My biggest fear for you is probably that you will just wait it out, grin and bear it, and when it’s over you’ll look back on it as a nearly meaningless time of torture. My friend, I have to tell you, for the Christian, that just cannot be so.

The verse I probably cling to the most in this, deep to my core, is Paul’s words to Christians in trial like 2,000 years ago. They are 100% true today, and they are spoken to you. They are your hope, and the reason you must refuse not to waste these days, months and years of pain, waiting, loss, and fear.

2 Corinthians 4:17

For our light and momentary troubles are achieving for us an eternal glory that far outweighs them all.

Oh, thank God! There IS a point to it all: to work in me things of value more important than any troubles, and thank God that this is definitely light and momentary. Oh, thank God! If you don’t memorize any other verse, please memorize that one and repeat it to yourself a hundred times a day if you have to. There is a point to this whole thing, and you better not let yourself miss it!james 1.12

The whole passage is just as awesome and encouraging. Print it out, put it where you’ll see it, and read it as much as you need.

Therefore we do not lose heart. Though outwardly we are wasting away, yet inwardly we are being renewed day by day. For our light and momentary troubles are achieving for us an eternal glory that far outweighs them all. So we fix our eyes not on what is seen, but on what is unseen, since what is seen is temporary, but what is unseen is eternal.

Several weeks ago I posted a song called Though You Slay Me, and the version features a powerful quote by Pastor John Piper on suffering and the temptation to feel that it’s meaningless. It’s based on this passage. Here’s the whole thing…

“Not only is all your affliction momentary, not only is all your affliction light in comparison to eternity and the glory there. But all of it is totally meaningful. Every millisecond of your pain, from the fallen nature or fallen man, every millisecond of your misery in the path of obedience is producing a peculiar glory you will get because of that.

I don’t care if it was cancer or criticism. I don’t care if it was slander or sickness. It wasn’t meaningless. It’s doing something! It’s not meaningless. Of course you can’t see what it’s doing. Don’t look to what is seen.

When your mom dies, when your kid dies, when you’ve got cancer at 40, when a car careens into the sidewalk and takes her out, don’t say, “That’s meaningless!” It’s not. It’s working for you an eternal weight of glory.

Therefore, therefore, do not lose heart. But take these truths and day by day focus on them. Preach them to yourself every morning. Get alone with God and preach his word into your mind until your heart sings with confidence that you are new and cared for.”

Again, I just have to thank God for this truth. This is not meaningless. Paul tells other brethren […] Continue reading “The point of it all”