Dwell in Me

Seeking God in the Every Day


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Giving Thanks

Thanksgiving. I have so much to be thankful for. It takes effort to remember that today while cramps pulse through my body, a constant physical reminder this day of what I don’t have.

I am trying to praise. To praise the God who is outside of time, the God who sees the whole story, the God who knows where we are going and how we will serve him. The God who satisfies the longing soul.

And part of me wants to beg and plead for immediate answer to our prayers, to complain about the road we’re on, to demand that if he loved me, he would do what I want him to do.

What a petulant child. Who am I to question the God whose plan is perfect and whose ways are not my ways?

I do not know the why. I do not have the answers. But my God surely does. And he promises that all things work for the good of those who love him, who have been called according to his purpose (Romans 8:28).

So today, while I am thinking about Thanksgiving and feeling the physical pain and the emotional heartache of what I don’t have, today I am thankful. I am thankful for infertility.

Not because I feel like it has made me better in any way.

Not because I would ever have chosen this for myself.

Not because I can even fathom how this could possibly be for good.

I am thankful for infertility because I choose to believe what God has said. I believe this is for my good. I am thankful because it is God’s best for me. Because God is using it for good and for his glory, albeit in some way I cannot now understand.

Thanks be to the God who sees, the God who provides, the God who heals. Thanks be to God.


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The Head Knowledge-Gut Faith Disconnect

Yesterday was a wrestling day. I feel like I spent a lot of the day in prayer and half-sleep (which is not to suggest that I think it is good to pray while half sleeping, but hey, it happens). At the end of the day I was doing my homework for my Bible study. (Yes, I should have done a little each day all week. No, I didn’t do that. I did the whole thing last night.) As I was looking at the questions thoughts just kept coming to me and I think some things kind of came together. I tried to explain it all to DH. He listened sympathetically and mostly helped me realize that what I was saying was lacking any continuity. So apologies now if this doesn’t make sense.

At the crux of it all, I think, was the question of joy. In my last post, I wrote:

I know joy is supposed to be unaffected by emotion and that I should be joyful even when I am sad. I’m having trouble with that in practice. I’m working on it.

I guess my subconscious has been mulling that over for the past few days. And I have come to a few conclusions about this. I’ll start here with one epiphany that I think is helping me open the door to true faith in my life.

I have a lot of head knowledge. I know the Bible pretty well and I can quote it to myself. I can’t tell you how many of my recent journal entries have said things like,

“God, I know you say that ‘all things work for the good of those who love you, who are called according to your purpose’ (Romans 8:28) but how is this (our infertility) for good?”

and

“I know you tell me that you have plans ‘to prosper me and not to harm me, to give me a hope and a future’ (Jeremiah 29:11) but I am struggling to believe this is true.”

And, my favorite,

“God, I believe. Surely I have faith the size of a mustard seed!! You said, ‘Truly I tell you, if you have faith as small as a mustard seed, you can say to this mountain, “Move from here to there,” and it will move. Nothing will be impossible for you’ (Matthew 17:20). So why isn’t this mountain moving yet?

I have head knowledge (which often undermines me by turning to pride, but that’s a story for a different day), but I am coming to see that I am lacking in true faith–gut faith. (It is sad really; at the end of the day all that knowledge is wasted if it keeps me from truly knowing and trusting my savior with my life.) If I stepped out of that boat onto the water to be with Jesus as Peter did (Matthew 14:29), I’d be telling myself all the while that surely I could stand on the water. It wouldn’t matter, though. Because I am lacking this real, honest, gut faith, those empty words would do me no good. I’d almost certainly find myself swimming.

I’m beginning to understand that this head knowledge – gut faith disconnect is a serious problem. It is keeping me from having real joy. It is also keeping me from being able to trust completely in the Lord in this crisis of my life.

So I’ve been praying for the Holy Spirit to move in me, to give me that gut faith. And my head knowledge says it will happen: God says, “You will seek me and  find me when you seek me with all your heart” (Jeremiah 29:13).

And I am praying this not in an effort to manipulate God into giving me what I really want (to be a mom to a baby or 5), but in the hopes that he will transform the desires of my heart such that I want him and that I want to be with him and in his presence and to serve him, above all other things–even the things that seem good and fulfilling, like being a mother.

(As an aside: I’ve tried the praying with an eye toward tricking God into giving me what I want. It doesn’t work. I think he’s on to me.)

If knowing is half the battle, is actually believing the other half?


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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)