It is such an honor to share another guest post from a dear friend of mine. She has previously posted before and I am so grateful for her second post. You guys, she has a new baby and wrote this beautiful piece. My friend is a warrior, a learner and an encourager through and through. I am always comforted by what she has to share and I hope you feel the same.
Sometimes, God chooses to take us by way of the desert into the Promised Land, just as He did the Israelites. Sometimes God has to break us before He can reshape us to see and reflect more of Him. Over the last five years, I have seen God do this in my own life. He needed to break me of my false sense of control so that I could truly understand and see His kindness.
Five years ago, I desperately wanted to be a mom. Instead, I began two long years of infertility treatment. Despite all the miracles of modern medicine, nothing I or the doctor did could control the situation and guarantee a child. When medicine didn’t provide a quick answer, I pursued other solutions too, seeking to convince my husband to just adopt from the foster care system or overseas orphanages. During this desert season, I wrestled daily with God, and like Jacob, I learned that ultimately God wins the wrestling match (Gen 32:22-32). I learned to make Psalm 90:14 the prayer of my heart each day: “Satisfy me in the morning, O Lord, with your unfailing love that I may sing for joy all of my day.” Daily seeking total satisfaction in Christ’s love had to be enough, and it was. It didn’t take away the pain, but it enabled me to keep moving forward, one step at a time.
After two years, God did chose to answer my prayers with a “yes,” just as He eventually chose to bless Hannah with a child (1 Samuel 1:27). However, at 20 weeks gestation, we learned our daughter would have heart complications and bilateral club feet. God used that season of infertility to prepare me for the news. He kept me in perfect peace as I fixed my eyes on Him (Isaiah 26:3). Regardless the outcome, I had supernatural confidence that He had divinely chosen this child for our family. Like Hannah, I could worship Him saying, “For this child I have prayed, and the Lord has heard my prayer....My heart rejoices in the Lord; in the Lord my horn is lifted high” (1 Samuel 1:27, 2:1).
The next three years were good years, but full of medical challenges for our daughter, Grace. Through them, I learned to slow down. I learned to appreciate the small steps of developmental progress; often I could not even see them, but Grace’s therapists would point them out to me. I learned I am not in control; pursuing perfectionism cannot guarantee a perfect outcome. I learned to respond in prayer and empathetic listening, vice offering suggestions, when confronted with the heartache of others.
After bringing me through these challenges, God has finally been able to teach me to truly see his kindness. We recently had our second daughter, Joy. God kindly allowed me to enjoy and appreciate pregnancy, despite often unpleasant symptoms. God kindly allowed Joy to arrive full-term and healthy. God graciously allowed Joy, at only one week old, to consistently sleep in four-hour chunks at night, blessing me with refreshing sleep. God enabled Grace to adjust relatively well to being a big sister. In addition to all this, God enabled me to see how Grace is now thriving amongst her peers, despite her previous medical challenges. God is enabling my husband and me to consistently have effective (if not easy) communication with one another, as we work through the challenges of this new season.
If Joy had been my first child, I probably would have missed God’s kindness. I would have viewed the blessings as largely a result of my efforts, not God’s mercy. God knew he needed to drive out the idols of control and perfectionism first. He knew I couldn’t handle the Promise Land of His blessings all at once. Just as Moses told the Israelites, “The Lord your God will drive out those nations [in the Promise Land], little by little. You will not be allowed to eliminate them all at once, or the wild animals will multiply around you” (Deut 22:7).
God is kind, compassionately controlling my circumstances to compel me to trust Him. I pray that I can remember these lessons when the next trial comes. May I view my circumstances through the lenses of His kind character, knowing He is teaching me to trust Him. Like Mary, who extravagantly displayed gratitude by anointing Christ’s feet with her expensive perfume, going forward, I pray my life is marked by extravagant gratitude, no matter the circumstances (John 12:1-8).