Unexpected help for the silent stress

Charlie and I have been working through an Advent reading plan on our Bible app.  I love this time of year as we anticipate celebrating Christ’s arrival in human form and remember again that He is Emmanuel “God with us.”

This time of year is all about celebrating as we decorate our home, make more time for friends and family and find ways to enjoy the festive spirit.  Our devotions each night have helped us stay focused on preparing our hearts as well.

I’ve been surprised to realize, though, that I can’t read Scripture these days without the lens of our infertility.  Everything I read somehow speaks to that part of my heart.  Maybe it’s because it’s hard to contain those emotions in a nice small corner at this point.  We don’t think about it ALL the time, but we do think about it in some form several times a day.

God used two ideas in our devotions this week to encourage me to keep His perspective on our journey.:

“The question is not what God can do, but what He wills to do.”

When something doesn’t happen (a treatment doesn’t work, etc.), it’s not reason to question God’s ability.  It’s a cause to remember to submit to His good will.  I’ve realized that I have been wanting God to desire the same things I do.  I want His will to match our own desires so we can get what we want.  This reminds me to pray each day that my desires will bend to match His will, so that I’m not disappointed in anything He does.  His will is best, and if I can let go of my desired outcome, I can better see the beauty of whatever He gives us.

“Do not think, because you experience adversity, that the hand of the Lord is shortened. It is not our prosperity but our holiness that He seeks with all His heart. And to that end, He rules the world.”

We want to obtain something — a child in our family.  We want to prosper in that way.  We long for something to be added to us.   Yet I also have to remember that I shouldn’t focus more on gaining what I hope for than I do on gaining holiness, becoming more Christ-like.  God’s ultimate desire for me is to resemble His righteousness.  The things He blesses us with here on earth, even children, are an added bonus to that.  He rules the world, controls our circumstances, withholds and gives, in a divine plan to bring us into the fullness of righteousness.  Whatever He does or does not give us, it is part of a design to make us holy.  That’s almost impossible for me to grasp as I think of how badly we want a child.  But I know I must work to be most focused on what He is most focused on — transforming us into His likeness.  Whatever I gain or lose in that process is well lost or gained for His desired outcome.  (Ouch — that one hurt to write!)

I’ve been surprised that, even in this Advent season, most of what I read is filtering through my infertility lens.  Yet I’m also extremely grateful.  I think the Lord knows that even when we’re not thinking of it, even when we’re taking a break, we carry the stress with us in some form every day.  I think He gives us these little encouragements in random places because He knows the pain and worry can silently grow until it suddenly overwhelms us.  He is giving us tools to fight it back before it overcomes us.

Once again, He knows just what we need before we ask.  And why shouldn’t He?  He is literally “God with us.”

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