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.

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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”

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.

All your hopes and fears are met in Him tonight

I know Christmastime can be a really challenging time for couples who are waiting for their baby. It’s a family time, a time for keeping traditions and making memories. For many people it’s a time for seeing relatives who may ask prying questions or tease too much. It’s a time of year when we often reflect on the last twelve months and how much things have changed. For those whose lives feel like they are measured by the month, that can be a truly painful thing. And even if we managed not to think too much about it all year, it becomes glaringly obvious that, once again, “this time next year” didn’t happen, and who knows if it will “this time next year.”

This original Christmas song by Sara Groves points to the meaning of Christmas that should give us more comfort than hurt this holiday. Christ came to calm our fears and bring true hope — hope for now and the time to come. He offers true peace, even in the worst times, and, most importantly, for eternal times.

Perhaps you will want to hide it in your heart for those evenings when you’re sitting with your family watching little kids run around and your heart is aching. Perhaps you’ll want to hold on to it for when you’re around the dinner table and aunt so-and-so asks when you two are finally going to start your family. Perhaps you’ll just want to treasure it today as a reminder of the Source of your true peace.

Ok so I really want to share this song but I can’t find the original online! The only version available is this sweet girl performing it (and it sounds great)! But I HAVE to share it with you… so I’m including this video, and a LINK to go buy the song, and the lyrics under the video. I’m sorry for this kind of anti-climatic ending! Go treat yourself for Christmas and buy the single, if not the whole beautiful album

Peace, peace, it’s hard to find
Trouble comes like wrecking ball
To your peace of mind
And all that worry you can’t leave behind you

All your hopes and fears
All your hopes and fears, oh
All your hopes and fears
Are met in Him tonight

Peace, peace, it’s hard to find
Doubt comes like a tiny voice that’s so unkind
And all your fears
They conspire to unwind you

And all your hopes and fears
All your hopes and fears, oh
All your hopes and fears
Are met in Him

And in your dark street shines
An everlasting light
And all your hopes and fears
Are met in Him tonight

And all your hopes and fears
All your hopes and fears, oh
All your hopes and fears
Are met in Him tonight

Peace, peace
Peace, peace
Peace, peace

Click to buy this beautiful Christmas album from Amazon. I get no compensation -- I just love the album!
Click to buy this beautiful Christmas album from Amazon.

If Elisabeth Elliot were writing this blog…

Wise words from a wise woman.
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Throwback Thursday: What if God never says “Yes”?

As days turn into months and then years, it’s the question that starts lurking in the back of your mind but you’re afraid to really ask out loud. What if God never says “yes”? The Psalmist asked it, in Psalm 77: “Will the Lord reject forever? Will He never show His favor again?” It’s a fair question, but one with tough answers. On the one hand, you hear people say statistics about how high of a percentage (67?) of people who get help for infertility eventually get a baby. And a friend read in a book that a man who has worked in the adoption field for decades said he has never seen a couple who is praying for a child eventually not somehow get a child. Even Psalm 77 answers its own question by citing all the miraculous and faithful things God has done in the past, presumably awarding trust that God will surely do them again.

And these things may be true. But I’m a realist, and do you know what else is true? There are surely people in the world and in all of history that have waited and tried everything and waited more, and they never became parents. And I could be one of them. If we’re honest, deep down every fertility-challenged woman is, somewhere inside, freaking out at least a little that she could be one of those women. And then what?

Then this is what: God is still good and faithful and trustworthy. He does not disappoint. He is still loving and almighty and worthy of all praise. We have still been blessed from the first day to the last. His grace upon grace is overwhelming and sufficient, and He has never failed. We will still serve and worship Him until our dying day and forevermore. As we’ve said in the valley and will say on the mountain, God’s goodness is not dependent on the things we get; moreover, our hope for joy in life and our greatest treasure is not found in children, or money, or things, or safety, or whatever else we are seeking. Our hope is in Christ, and when we have Him, all other things are but a dim shadow compared to knowing and serving and loving Him. So praise be to God, even if He never says “yes” to this one thing. And praise be to God that we knew this truth in the valley, so we did not waste our lives working and waiting and putting everything into this one thing that never came to be. Instead we put our everything into eternal things that will never be destroyed. If God says “no” forever — and He might — praise be to God, forever and ever.

I would like to invite you to read one of my all-time favorite Bible stories, in Daniel 3. This is a true story of three noble servants of God who were going to be thrown into an oven for refusing to worship other gods. When given a chance to change their minds, they proudly proclaimed that they know God can save them and believe He will, “but even if He does not, we still won’t worship your gods” — and the BUT IF NOT is where the rubber meets the road, so to speak, in your faith. May God daily give you and me a heart like those men.

daniel 3

Reposted from September 13, 2013

A prayer for the disappointed

Rachel Wojo posted this prayer recently, and I know disappointment is one of the major emotions that presents itself in infertility. Perhaps today, or in the coming days, you will be able to pray this rich prayer.

wojo

Encouragement from the Psalms

Some quiet words of encouragement from the book of Psalms. Click each picture to read the full Psalm.

psalm 2

psalm 3

psalm1

psalm4

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.

 

No ear has heard and no eye has seen a God like You

For since the world began,
no ear has heard
and no eye has seen a God like you,
who works for those who wait for him! -Isaiah 64:4 [NLT]

I have been thinking of this verse a lot lately. There is so much depth to it, and so much joy, and so much hope! I can really relate to Isaiah marveling at this… I, too, live among people who worship another god (actually, most of you do, too, but your people don’t admit it). The god they worship is invented, dead, not real. But they still worship it, and it’s painful to watch. I am overwhelmed when I think of our God compared to this — Jehovah, the living, acting, real and true God of the universe. When they pray to their gods, the gods are still and nothing happens. But our God –the one, true God– has always stood in stark contrast to this. When we pray to Him, He acts. He is active. He is faithful when we wait for Him.

May you revel in this truth, and not grow weary in your waiting for Him!

This verse also brought to mind this song, which at first I couldn’t even remember how I knew it. I had to google the verses until it came up. But it’s perfectly taken from this verse and you’ll really appreciate it.