This post is a talk that I gave back in 2002 to our MOPS group. I am posting it today because it shares one of the bigger lessons learned in my life while waiting and wanting a baby. My daughter, Anne, is that baby that the Lord did give us and she turns 10 years old today. I rejoice both in the fact that she is a part of our lives, but also in the fact that in the midst of life, the Lord is gracious, loving, and always teaching us what it means to depend on Him.
When you look back at you childhood, do you remember wanting something so badly that you had to have it “now”? How about your children, when they want something they want it immediately, don’t they. Even as an adult there are times that we are very impatient and we do our best to make something happen when we want it to. And when we do that, sometimes we mess things up or get angry and it doesn’t work out our way anyway. [Here] I am going to share some of my experiences in learning to wait, learning to trust, learning to be content and most of all learning what faith is.
I guess I should give you some background info on me. I am the oldest of 3 girls and for the majority of my life was raised in a Christian home. My parents took us to church and taught us about Jesus. At age 4, I asked Jesus into my heart. When you are 4, you don’t question, you just know that Jesus will live in your heart and that’s that. And that’s pretty much how I lived my life, read my Bible, did the things I should and trusted that God would take care of me, or basically, give me whatever I asked for, within reason.
The first time I actually remember thinking that maybe he didn’t always do that was after a friend had me listen to a song by Garth Brooks called “Unanswered Prayers.” The chorus to that song says, “Sometimes I thank God for unanswered prayers. Remember when you’re talking to the man upstairs, that just because he may not answer, doesn’t mean he don’t care. Some of God’s greatest gifts, are unanswered prayers.” It was a wow moment for me to think in those terms, but with no life application, that’s about the extent of it. I was in high school, how deep could I be? And for the most part I still had that child-like faith in God. I had no reason not to trust Him.
I have been reading a book entitled, “Calm My Anxious Heart” by Linda Dillow. There is a story in it about two monks. It kind of puts the issue of trust in God into perspective.
“I need oil,” said an ancient monk, so he planted an olive sapling. “Lord,” he prayed, “it needs rain that its tender roots may drink and swell. Send gentle showers.” And the Lord sent gentle showers. “Lord,” prayed the monk, “my tree needs sun. Send sun, I pray thee.” And the sun shone, gilding the dripping clouds. “Now frost, my Lord, to brace its tissues,” cried the monk. And behold, the little tree stood sparkling with frost, but at evening it died. Then the monk sought the cell of a brother monk, and told his strange experience. “I, too, planted a little tree,” he said, “and see! It thrives well. But I entrust my tree to its God. He who made it knows better what it needs than a man like me. I laid no condition. I fixed not ways or means. ‘Lord, send what it needs,’ I prayed, ‘storm or sunshine, wind, rain, or frost. Thou hast made it and Thou dost know.’”
Faith is accepting the fact that God knows better than I do what is ultimately good for me.
My freshman year of college, we had a “floor verse.” That verse was Jeremiah 29:11: For I know the plans I have for you declares the Lord, plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future. This verse stayed with me all through college. Even when I was living MY life and doing MY things.
Faith is reliance on the certainty that God has a pattern for my life when everything seems meaningless.
After college, my husband and I were married and lo and behold, about a year later we decided, well, planner that I am, I decided with Mike’s agreement that we should start trying to start a family. That was the end of August and in my mind I assumed I would be pregnant by December or January. Well, my time frame came and went and still no baby. I kept praying and begging God for a baby and after a year, decided that it was time to put it in the doctor’s hands since God wasn’t giving me what I wanted. After 1 doctor visit and one blood test, they decided that my body needed a kick start and they put me on a fairly regularly used fertility drug. They told me in 2-3 months I should be pregnant. All this time I am still praying for a baby. And every month I am dropping into a deep depression when it doesn’t happen. That would sometimes even mean screaming at God and asking, “Why me? What am I supposed to be learning from this? I don’t understand.” And then doing it all over again the next month. It got to the point that I was so angry with God for not giving me the only thing I had ever wanted, when I wanted it, that I couldn’t even go to church.
In another story from “Calm My Anxious Heart,” the author tells a story about her own life. She says,
I had become a Christian as a college student and was excited about rearing my children in a Christian home. I had the mistaken perspective that if I pumped all the “right” things (God, His Word) into my children, they would automatically love and obey God. When it looked like my plan wasn’t working, my heart was anxious and I became depressed. When I told a friend about my fears, she observed, “Linda, you like control, and there are too many ‘uncontrollables’ in your life.” At the time, I didn’t understand what she meant. After all, I trusted God. I was a missionary—I was paid to trust God. What did she mean, “You like control”? Looking back, I realize I did desire to trust God, but sometimes He was very slow. When he was moving at what I thought was a snail’s pace, I unconsciously decided He needed my help. I know that sounds blasphemous. God doesn’t need our help. Yet when I stepped into massage (the truer word is manipulate, but massage sounds better!) the circumstances or to organize the people, my actions were saying, “God, You’re not doing what I think needs to be done, so I’ll help You out.” It’s our “helping God out” that leads to an anxious heart. When we take over and try to control what happens, we take our focus off the One who is in control and put our eyes on our circumstances.”
Faith is recognizing that God is the Lord of time when my idea of timing doesn’t agree with His.
After 5 months on the medication, the doctor started doing some other, fairly costly, tests, and couldn’t find any reason that I wasn’t getting pregnant. He was even ready to suggest in vitro. And if the stresses from that weren’t enough, money was becoming an issue. I had been working on my MBA and paying for that, and even though we had insurance through Mike’s work, it was on an individual plan and they aren’t required to pay for infertility treatments. That only added to my depression and worry.
Faith is confidence in God when money is rolling out, not rolling in.
The next month I was late – and so hopeful – but my hopes were again shattered.
Faith is thanking God when I am left with shattered plans that He has better plans.
It took me about a week to recover and then something strange happened. I was laying in bed one night after my monthly bout with God and I realized it was time to let it go, to hand it over to God. Time to truly give Him my worry, my frustration, my anger, my agenda, my sadness and my hard heart. You see, He has promised me that He is the one in control of my life, not me. He has known all along. In Ps. 139:1-16 it says,
“O Lord, you have searched me and you know me. You know when I sit and when I rise, you perceive my thoughts from afar, You discern my going out and my lying down; you are familiar with all my ways. Before a word is on my tongue you know it completely, O Lord. You hem me in – behind and before; you have laid your hand upon me. Such knowledge is too wonderful for me, too lofty for me to attain. Where can I go from your Spirit? Where can I flee from your presence? If I go up to the heavens, you are there; If I make my bed in the depths, you are there. If I rise on the wings of the dawn, if I settle on the far side of the sea, even there your hand will guide me, your right hand will hold me fast. If I say, ‘Surely the darkness will hide me and the light become night around me, even the darkness will not be dark to you; the night will shine like the day, for darkness is as light to you. For you created my inmost being, you knit me together in my mother’s womb. I praise you because I am fearfully and wonderfully made; your works are wonderful, I know that full well. My frame was not hidden from you when I was made in the secret place. When I was woven together in the depths of the earth, you eyes saw my unformed body. All the days ordained for me were written in your book before one of them came to be.”
When I handed it all over to God, it allowed me to see that Faith is ceasing to worry, leaving the future to the God who controls the future.
I remember rolling over and telling Mike that I was done. No more drugs, no more fretting about getting pregnant. It was God’s now. Not mine anymore.
Faith is resisting the temptation to take back into my own hands that which I have given to God to control.
Within in the next week, I was pregnant. About 4 weeks later I was sick enough that I let myself take a pregnancy test. Oh, the joy I felt. And not just about finally getting a baby, but that God indeed had a lesson to teach me, that His timing is not always my timing and that life is so much easier when I am depending on Him to take care of me instead of trying to take care of myself. That takes so much pressure off of me.
Then I got to learn that Faith is the dependence of a newborn.
I am not saying that it is easy. He reminds me of these truths on a regular basis. When I was pregnant and looking for a job, but nothing came for nearly 4 months, He reminded me that His timing is not always my timing. When I want[ed] my husband to look for a new job, NOW, but he [wasn’t] ready, He reminds me to trust Him and He will take care of it. And the list goes on and on.
Trusting God and waiting on His timing rather than mine is much more productive in my life.
For I know the plans I have for you declares the Lord, plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future.
Faith is the handle by which I take God’s promises and apply them to my particular problems, and Faith is the conviction the Promiser keeps His promises.