Dwell in Me

Seeking God in the Every Day


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A Father’s Love

There’s this song on the Christian radio station I’ve always kind of disliked. But this morning it hit me in an entirely different way.

It’s a song by Plumb called “In My Arms,” and it starts with this verse:

Your baby blues, so full of wonder
Your curly cues, your contagious smile
And as I watch, you start to grow up
All I can do is hold you tight

I find the song mildly annoying because it always stirs that little piece of discontent in my heart, that piece of me that won’t stop shouting, begging, pleading for a baby of my own. That piece of me that is always there but which I can usually keep pretty quiet.

On the surface this song is all about a parent’s love and her desperate desire to keep her child safe in a totally messed up and fallen world.

But today, as I was driving in the middle of a heavy rainstorm on I-10, it spoke something different to me.

Instead of changing the station when the song came on (yes, I normally do), I listened to the words. And in the chorus I got a mental picture I wasn’t expecting.

Knowing clouds will rage and
Storms will race in
But you will be safe in my arms
Rains will pour down
Waves will crash all around
But you will be safe
In my arms

I had a quick thought first that changed my perspective. Mothers can hope to protect their children, but no amount of holding them in their human arms will truly keep them safe. But we are safe in the arms of God. I believe that fiercely and I needed to hear it today.

As I pictured God as a loving Father, which is how Jesus encouraged us to think about God, I saw him holding me through this current storm. And I felt this great relief. An unburdening I can’t really express.

In another line in the song, she sings, “My heart is torn just in knowing / You’ll someday see / The truth from the lies.”

And I wonder–does God think that about us? Does he watch us as children, knowing yet dreading the decline of our innocence?

And he [Jesus] said, “Truly I tell you, unless you change and become like little children, you will never enter the kingdom of heaven.” (Matthew 18:2)

Does he look at the landscape that is before us and grieve over the consequences of living in a fallen world, the storms that will rage in our lives?

Woe to the world because of the things that cause people to stumble! Such things must come, but woe to the person through whom they come! (Matthew 18:7)

He knows the storms will roll in, and when, and how hard, and why. He knows that we can’t see through the darkness to the other side of it or to what glorious future he has planned for us. Does he feel sorrow over it? Over this human mess we’ve made that we’re slogging through in this world by our own choices?

Jesus wept. (John 11:35)

I’m not saying that infertility or other pain we struggle with in this life is a consequence of personal sins in our lives, as I don’t think it is. I think there are consequences to sin that are specific and affect the person who sins, but I also think there are general consequences of sin, of living in a fallen world. These consequences strike who they may.

I have told you these things, so that in me you may have peace. In this world, you will have trouble. But take heart! I have overcome the world. (John 16:33)

And as God watches, and sympathizes with us, he is also working these most painful and most challenging trials for good in our lives. Not that the bad things are themselves good. But that good will come of it. And so he gives us hope to endure the trial.

For we know that in all things God works for the good of those who love him, who are called according to his purpose. (Romans 8:28)

I love that God can speak to me even in the midst of a song that I didn’t like. And that he can use someone else’s words to give me a picture of who he is and how truly, madly, deeply he loves me as his own child. As much as I know God is indeed working through infertility in my life for my good and for his glory, I don’t think he intended or desired for me to go through this trial. But since he knew it was coming, he’s making me better for it.

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Because God Loves Me

I’ve been thinking a lot about my perspective lately. I’ve definitely been acting like it’s all about me, but of course it’s not. I have good days and bad days, days of denial and days when I can’t think about anything but our barrenness. But I think I’m gradually beginning to accept that this is who I am, who we are, and what we’re going through.

I just started reading The Explicit Gospel by Matt Chandler for our small group. I read chapter 1 yesterday. A few things stood out to me.

1. God is in control. He can affect the tiny things and the big things. Chandler even mentions that God is in control of mitosis. Those little body processes have so much to influence on our fertility, but God is bigger than that and he can fix that–if he wants to.

2. We live in a fallen world. Matt Chandler writes (and I’m paraphrasing here) that because we live in a fallen world, we shouldn’t be surprised when things go poorly. Instead, we should realize that when things actually go the way we want or the way we hope that God has done something wonderful for us.

3. I was created to worship and glorify God. My job is to glorify him, in whatever way he allows me to do that. I wasn’t created because he needed me and he doesn’t owe me anything.

I have a lot of friends on facebook whose posts I read but who I probably wouldn’t still have a relationship with otherwise. Some of them were never really friends to begin with and others just aren’t my friends now more because our circumstances or careers or locations aren’t amenable to maintaining a friendship. Yesterday my attention was drawn to a prayer request from one of the women in that latter group. Her sister, a college student, has just been diagnosed with a terrible and painful disease that takes the life of 1 out of 3 people who get it. This friend provided a link to her sister’s Caring Bridge site and I was blown away by her family’s faith. The journal articles her mom writes are so glorifying to God in the midst of this very dark time in their daughter’s life.

I was especially touched by one story the girl’s mom recorded. She said that on the day their daughter was admitted to the ICU, her husband received a text message asking why such a bad thing would happen to such a good person. The mother refuted first that her daughter was “good,” saying only Christ is good and that her daughter would say the same thing. When they asked their daughter how her dad should respond to the “why” question, she signed to them (because the disease has made it impossible for her to speak) that she was going through this “because God loves me.”

There’s something so deep and so true and so convicting in that sentiment. And there’s something that eludes me there, too. I want to have faith to believe that we’re going through this because God loves us. I want to believe that we are dealing with infertility because God loves us. I’m trying to believe it.

Romans 8:28 “For we know that in all things God works for the good of those who love him, who have been called according to his purpose.” (NIV)