Dwell in Me

Seeking God in the Every Day


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Choosing God over His Promises

Well, so much for getting back to posting several times a week! I miss it so much though. And there are so many things I want to write. And today I realized that we are three days from the next action and there are things I want to write about before that happens. I don’t know if I’ll get to say all the things I’ve been wanting to say in the next few days. The fact is that my to do list before we go to my parents’ house for Christmas is very long and I don’t know where I’m going to find the time. But know that this is where I want to be. And I’ll be here when I can!

I have things I want to write about before the next steps because I know that whatever happens on Thursday is going to affect my perspective. And I want to be clear that I am saying that whatever happens on Thursday, I’m trusting God with this. If it was worth doing or if it wasn’t. If something happens that I can’t or haven’t yet imagined. If anything, in every scenario, I’m trusting God with this.

And this is why: Because I don’t have the answers, but he does. Because my ways are not his ways, but his ways are higher than mine. And because, at the end of the day, I want to know God and give him the glory more than I want anything–and I’m willing to give him the child that I hope for and that I desire. Because if God doesn’t want me to be a parent, I’m sure it’s because that is best for me. BEST. Not an acceptable outcome or something I’ll learn to deal with, but absolutely God’s best, his most excellent for me. Because I trust that he is working all things for my good. And because only he knows what is coming up and where we’re going.

So, God, I’m saying to you right now: Take it. Take all of it. I will not withhold from you even the dream of a child. I don’t have a living child to offer to you, but I give you the dream.

There’s this story in the Bible–a completely heart-wrenching, heart-aching, heart-breaking story in the Bible. God decides to test Abraham. The test he gives Abraham–the exact test–is not replicated in the Bible except by God himself. God asks Abraham to sacrifice his son Isaac. The only other time in scripture that God requires a father to sacrifice his son, God is the Father.

It’s in Genesis 22:1-19. God comes to Abraham and tells him to take Isaac to a place he will show Abraham and sacrifice him as a burnt offering. A few chapters earlier, when God told Abraham that he was about to destroy Sodom and Gomorrah, Abraham interceded for the towns, asking God to spare them if there were as few as 10 righteous people present. And God agreed to do that. He didn’t show any displeasure with Abraham for asking. But here, when God tells Abraham to sacrifice his son, Abraham doesn’t argue. He doesn’t beg. He doesn’t ask for a reprieve. He just does it.

He wakes early the next morning and takes all that he needs for the sacrifice, including the wood, the boy, and two servants and a donkey to carry his provisions. There are parallels throughout this account to the sacrifice Jesus makes on the cross. I was especially struck by the fact that the Genesis account is largely shown through Abraham’s perspective–giving us a sense, perhaps, for how God himself suffered to see his own son hung on a cross. The parallel of Jesus at Gethsemane and to the crucifixion is more from Jesus’ perspective. I encourage you, if you’re interested, read the scriptures and pay attention to the parallels.*

And Abraham comes so very close to sacrificing his son. He has Isaac on the proper mountain, bound and laying on the wood. As he holds the knife and extends his hand over Isaac to finish the task, he is interrupted by God. The Lord speaks to him and stays his hand. Isaac is, symbolically, resurrected, and God alerts Abraham to a ram trapped in a nearby bush. The ram is sacrificed in Isaac’s place.

Here’s the thing: God promised Abraham he would have Isaac. He promised Abraham that Isaac would have many offspring, and that through Isaac, Abraham would have so many descendants they couldn’t be counted. In other words, without Isaac, there was no promise. There was no heritage. There could not be more descendants than stars in the sky or more descendants than sand on the seashore. To sacrifice Isaac was to say to God, thanks for the promises you offer, but if I need to choose between you or your glory and the promises, I choose YOU.

I think it’s amazing that Abraham takes the test and he doesn’t seem to resent it when it’s over. And I was touched at the idea that God is using this test of Abraham both to refine and strengthen Abraham and to share with him something about himself. Abraham dies long before Jesus’ is born on this earth, of course, but it is as if God is reaching down and including Abraham in this story and giving him a glimpse of the sorrow, the struggle. But as Abraham shows God that he truly does love God more than anything–and that he would choose to have God even if it meant losing the promises God had made him–God showed us through Christ’s sacrifice that he loves us more than anything. He loves us so much that he did not withhold even his son, his only son, from us, but instead gave him as a sacrifice to pay for our sins.

And it is because he loves us so much, and because he is who he is, that we can trust him with this.

In truth, there is no choosing between God and God’s promises. For when we are faithless, God is faithful, for he cannot deny himself (2 Tim. 2:13). It goes against his character for God to break a promise. It cannot happen. But what do you choose?

I choose God. And his glory. And I don’t know if he’s promised me children, but I’m willing to give them up. I’ll give it all up. Because I want God’s best for me more than I want my best for me. I just don’t trust my own judgment. I trust God’s.

Whatever happens next–whatever outcome–this is in God’s hands. Thanks be to God for whatever he has planned for us. I can’t wait to live out this excellent life for his glory.

*Look, for example, at the length of the journey, carrying wood, a donkey, the substitute, a crown of thorns . . . There are other things that parallel but that is a good start.

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Five-Minute Friday: She

Every Friday, Lisa-Jo Baker provides a prompt for “Five-Minute Friday“: Write for five minutes only–no editing, no rewriting. This week’s prompt is “She.” Here goes . . .

~~~

She wants what she wants when she wants it. She wants to follow God’s plan.

She tries to listen to the will of the Father. And she tries to tell him the way things should go.

She’s learning to trust, learning to take a new step forward after backsliding two, or three, or four.

She isn’t willing to let go of what she thought she’d be. She yearns to be willing to sacrifice everything to God.

She knows these contradict, but she wants to have it both ways.

Coffee Love

It’s never quite what we’ve planned. Never quite where we thought we’d be or thought we’d go. It seems easy to believe when things are going well–but she remembers, it’s easy to lose track then, too. It’s easy to start relying on yourself. It’s easy to think you’ve got it all under control.

Oh, she still wants that control. Wants it badly. Argues for it. Fights for it. Won’t. Let. Go.

And yet, he gently coaxes, gently teaches, gently guides. She is encouraged, uplifted, reminded who she is. She is a child of the King. She is a sinner who relies on, needs, breathes in only because of, wants, and rests her hope on Grace.

She doesn’t have it figured out, but she still thinks she does. Thinks she knows what’s best for her. Thinks she’s the only one who could possibly know what’s best for her.

She’s party to a battle that goes on and on. When she thinks she’s surrendered her all and truly looked to Him to be the everything she needs in her life–then she finds herself once again wrestling for control.

She knows, in her head, that these new paths, these plans that weren’t hers, are good. That they are right and exactly where she needs to be. But her heart takes more convincing, more prodding, more reaching down deep and falling on knees and asking for help. More digging down to the bottom and finding Love.

And she has a lot to learn.

TIME

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Don’t Call Me Infertile

I’m not an infertile anymore.

My circumstances have not changed. What’s changed is my emphasis. From the day of our diagnosis to a few months ago, my life revolved around and centered on infertility. If you asked me how I was doing, my first thought was about infertility and how it was ruining my life. My smiles were fake and plastered on when that was an appropriate response, but on the inside I couldn’t overcome my pain. I stopped wearing mascara to church because the praise and worship songs we sang would bring tears to my eyes–often out of despair and a feeling that God wasn’t extending his might and power and wonder to my situation.

More than anything, I wanted God to take this burden of infertility. I meant, of course, that I wanted him to reach down into our lives, heal us, make me pregnant. I wanted it to all go away. I still want our infertility to end, but God did take the burden. He took the burden of infertility and gave me peace in my circumstances. He let me know, in my gut, that he is in control and that his plan is better. He answered that prayer.

And that peace has been life-changing and life-giving. I wasn’t really living when I kept myself trapped in this negative, despairing world of infertility. Infertile isn’t exactly an inaccurate word to describe me, but it’s also not the word to describe me. And knowing that? It has made a huge difference in my feeling of self-worth, in my experience of true joy, and in my ability to give of myself to others. Praise God for this new freedom from the negative words I was using to keep myself down.

And I’m able to see that there have been ways infertility has blessed my life. Infertility has challenged me to deepen my trust in God and to give up on fear and worry. Because of infertility, my relationship with my husband has grown deeper. He has become a stronger spiritual leader, and I have learned to lean on him more. We have made (and are making) lifestyle changes that will make our home a better, healthier environment for us and any future children. We’ve learned a lot about how we handle extreme stress. And we’ve put our priorities in order. We have become more empathetic and compassionate for others. We still have a long way to go, and I still hope we will have biological children–even without needing ART–but there is no question we have grown from infertility.

When you ask me now how I am, infertility might not be the first thing that comes to mind. When you tell me that you’re pregnant, I can smile and feel genuinely happy about the new life growing inside you. (Okay, full disclosure: when you complain about your pregnancy–well, I’m still working on an appropriate response to that.) And when I’m singing worship songs I may still tear up–but it’s more likely out of joy and awe of my great God than despair.

So who am I? I’m a Christ-follower. I’m a woman. I’m a wife. I’m {hopefully} a future mom. I’m a blogger and a copyeditor. I’m a small group leader. I’m a child of the one true King.

And I love this song by Matthew West that reminds me of what’s true.


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Couldn’t We at Least Have a Good Football Season?

I had a bad day. I’m not going to lie–I was having a pretty good day until TCU lost to Oklahoma State. We played terribly. I know that shouldn’t affect me on such an emotional level. And maybe the fact that it does means I should quit watching football. But then I’d miss out on the good games, too.

I guess losing the game was just another ugly reminder that, no, things aren’t going the way I’d planned in this life. And, yes, I find that devastating.

I want to be positive and upbeat and trusting and patient and joyful. But I’m not right now. I’m on this mad crazy roller coaster and sometimes it drops suddenly.

When it drops I have a strong urge to punch a hole in the wall. I haven’t done it yet. I keep telling DH I want to do it. This is the conversation we had a few hours ago:

Me: I just want to punch a wall.

DH: Don’t. Punch a pillow.

Me: No. I want to put a hole in the wall.

DH: You won’t. You’ll just break your hand.

Me: Well, that would be nice. It would be nice to have something that could be fixed.

Pathetic, I know. But true.

This whole stepping away and recognizing I don’t have the ability to control even one tiny facet of what’s going to happen with our ability to have kids is so hard. I didn’t know I was so attached to the illusion that I could be in control of my life until that illusion was shattered so dramatically. I wish it had been shattered over something else. Almost anything else.

Praying for trust. And peace. Praying for joy. And, always, for healing. For us, and for you.

And, next time I post, I’ll try to post something a little more upbeat. I promise I’ll try.

PS 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.