Dwell in Me

Seeking God in the Every Day


Serving the Lord Best

From my Bible study this morning:

“I want you to be free from the concerns of this life. An unmarried man can spend his time doing the Lord’s work and thinking how to please him. But a married man has to think about his earthly responsibilities and how to please his wife. His interests are divided. In the same way, a woman who is no longer married or has never been married can be devoted to the Lord and holy in body and in spirit. But a married woman has to think about her earthly responsibilities and how to please her husband. I am saying this for your benefit, not to place restrictions on you. I want you to do whatever will help you serve the Lord best, with as few distractions as possible.” (I Corinthians 7: 32-35)

This is Paul talking. I was reading it and wondering a few things that aren’t relevant to this post (such as, is this a message that applies today or was Paul speaking in the context of persecution or something?). I am so very happy to be married (and married to my wonderful DH–who I wouldn’t trade for anything), so I have always kind of glossed over this part. And Paul states clearly that the notion not to marry is not a commandment, just something that might make things better or simpler for the believers. And, as we see in this passage, not marrying might free a person to better serve the Lord.

I think there is truth in this for the married person as well as the unmarried person. I am sure I have distractions in my life that prevent me from serving God as well as I could. As a Christ-follower, I should strive to eliminate these distractions where I can. Is TV keeping me from serving God? I can turn it off. Am I so caught up in a flurry of activities I don’t have time to get in the Word? I should cut things out. And so on.

That doesn’t extend to my husband–and I don’t think he’s a distraction in my service to God. He’s there to help spur me on and encourage me to serve the Lord according to my calling. And I hope I am able to encourage him in the same way.

But maybe it can frame where I am now. As I continue to wait for children, are there ways I can serve God that will be more difficult or “impossible” when I do have children?

Lately I’ve been seeing a lot of ways infertility has caused me to look at things like health/nutrition in a new way, which should make me a better parent. But I’m also beginning to consider how God might use me now, while I’m waiting.

I’ve talked about going to seminary for a long time. It’s something I feel called to at least apply for, but I’ve been putting it off. I envisioned going to seminary someday in the far off future. Definitely after we had kids. And I think I figured if I put it off long enough I wouldn’t end up going. I was okay with that.

Lately it has been made clear to me that I need to apply to seminary and I need to do it soon. So no more excuses. If I have this time of childlessness and waiting, I need to use it for God’s glory. Wednesday I’m going to talk to my pastor about the process and see if he will be able to write me a recommendation. The application isn’t due until April, and a lot can change between now and then, but I’m doing what I need to do. This is one way to serve the Lord best in the situation I’m in. A way to be fruitful in my year of fruitfulness, even without multiplying.


2013: The Year of Fruitfulness

I didn’t send a Christmas letter this year. How could I when the main theme of 2012 has been that we can’t get pregnant? The year 2012 is best summarized by what we said about TCU football all season: better luck next year.

We enter 2013 full of hope. Hope that this year we will get pregnant. Hope that we’ll move forward with treatments and that they will work for us on the first try. We can still hope for these things because they haven’t let us down yet. I hope they don’t.

But we also enter 2013 differently than we entered 2012. We’ve changed, and our expectations of life have changed. In the beginning of 2012, DH had just started a new job (which, thankfully, he still loves), we’d been TTC for four months and had no reason to think anything was wrong, and we were going house hunting.

In February we got a puppy (Melville) in the hope that he and our other dog (Cutter) would become good friends so Cutter wouldn’t feel too left out when we had a baby. He’s a doll, and I’m glad we have him. But he still represents a decision we made based on the expectations we had for our family.

In June we moved into a house that we got to build. It’s semi-custom, so we picked a floorplan and then chose things like the tile and granite and cabinets. It’s lovely. It’s also in a suburb of Houston known for family-friendliness and excellent schools. We built our house right behind the elementary school so our kids would be able to walk to school.

And in July, in the midst of the unpacking and getting settled, we found out our diagnosis. I figured all was fine and suspected the reason we’d been unsuccessful was because we’d moved three times in less than a year and we had a lot of stress associated with that. When we found out how dire our fertility outlook really was, I couldn’t believe it.

So we spent the rest of 2012 adjusting to our new reality, or trying to anyway. And wondering why we put ourselves in the suburbs with two dogs and excellent schools just in time to find out we won’t be having children naturally, and likely not the 4 to 6 kids we’d always planned to have.

This past year has been a difficult one and a lonely one. We have struggled to make friends as a couple married 5 years (which is apparently a long time in Texas to not have children) because we fall between social circles: we’re not new marrieds anymore and we don’t have a family. I think this would have been hard but not so lonely in DC, where our friendships were already established. It may also have been easier if we lived in downtown Houston instead of living in a far suburb.

Lately we’ve been asking God a lot about why we are here. We believed we were stepping out in faith for our family when we moved to a good school district early so we would be able to join a church for the long run. We thought we were stepping out in faith for our family when I left my office job to start my own business so that I could stay home and work if I wanted. We have made so many decisions–big and small–based on the expectation that we would center our lives around raising children. And now we don’t really know where we are.

I hope 2013 will bring clarity about God’s purpose for us. I hope it will bring us children, or at least closer to having children. And I hope we can serve God even in the midst of our heartbreak, our fears, and our pain.

One of the bloggers I follow wrote that she likes to christen each new year with one word. I really liked that idea. And I’ve been praying that God would make 2013 a year of fruitfulness for us. I hope we will have a fruitful year in the “be fruitful and multiply” way, but also in serving the Lord, in bearing fruit where we are planted, and in doing God’s will throughout the year.

Happy New Year. I wish you all prosperity, a renewing of your hope, and fruitfulness in 2013 wherever you are planted.  I wish for you that your trials will lead to perseverance. Blessings and peace to you.

“Peace I leave with you; my peace I give you. I do not give to you as the world gives. Do not let your hearts be troubled and do not be afraid.” John 14:27