I wrote last Sunday about how the sermon that week had really spoke to me. The same is true for today's sermon. Pastor Steve talked about the Israelites time in the desert. The thing that moved me the most was when Steve pointed out "the entire time they wandered, all they prayed for was deliverance". He then compared that to Jesus' time right before the cross, about how Christ knew what was coming, and He asked God "Father, if you are willing, take this cup from me; yet not my will, but yours be done" (Luke 22:42) Scripture goes on to say "And being in anguish, he prayed more earnestly, and his sweat was like drops of blood falling to the ground"(Luke 22:44). I mention that so we can truly appreciate His feelings at that time. This was real. He was in anguish.
Jesus was both man and God. He felt the anguish there of a man. Being also God, He had the ability to make the choice to side step the cross. But out of His Amazing Love for us, He did not.
But He did ask God to take the cup, if it was His will.
Our sermon spoke about how it is ok to ask certain trials to be removed from our lives. Jesus did. But, we need to follow Christ's prayer fully. Yet not my will, but yours be done.
Pastor Steve also talked about how God didn't intend for the Israelites to wander forever. He DID want them to get to the promised land. It's easy for me today, sitting here knowing how the story ends, to look at the Israelites and think "what a bunch of whiners!!". But really, how different am I? How many times has God delivered me from a trial in my life, and I turn right around and complain about something and doubt His goodness?
Steve encouraged us to ask God "If it is not in your will to remove this cup from me, what do you want to show me while I am here? What can I do for You while I am here? What lesson can be learned during this time?", instead of just constantly asking to be removed from the situation.
It can be difficult to see the Grace of God answer our prayers when we are only allowing Him one option to be considered an "answer".
It bears mentioning that we shouldn't just ask those questions listed above simply to be removed from the desert. Earnestly seek what God is wanting to show you, to teach you. I firmly believe if you truly ask Christ to reveal, in His time, He will.
I don't know who all reads this, but I do know I have found an amazing network of blogging women who are walking the same road I am. Waiting for God to bless us with a baby. And these women have poured their hearts out, and it has blessed me beyond words. I mentioned before, it has been like therapy to me. They have put words to feelings that I could never fully articulate until I read their stories, and I am grateful for the insight I have gained from them.
A desert, a season, a time of trial, pruning season....call it whatever you want. This has been a difficult time in my life. The last 2 years have included a lifetime's worth of emotions. I have asked countless times for this cup to be removed from my life. Very few times have I added the "not my will, but yours."
I read other women's stories and they write about lessons Christ has taught them during this journey, or things He has asked them. It has inspired me. This summer I really began asking Christ what He was wanting me to learn, what He was wanting from me. Instead of constantly telling Him what I wanted from Him. He is moving in my heart...
I don't know how many of you out there have struggled to get pregnant, but if you have, you understand the complete obsession it can become. Some people handle it better than others, but for me, as the weeks became months, and months became years, it became all consuming. It had really taken a toll on my faith and walk with Christ as well. I kept asking God to bless us. For me, it has never been a struggle of doubting God is able. I read other women's stories about how they just wish they had more faith that God can do this in their lives. My faith struggle is no better or worse, just different. I believe the Bible to be true. Every word. I believe that God created a pregnancy in Mary while she was still a virgin. If God can do that, He can certainly bless me. I know He is able, I don't doubt that. This, has almost made my struggle more difficult in a way though, because it seems cruel that He can, He just doesn't. I have dealt with anger and sadness wondering why He doesn't. I have begged Him to just hurry up and teach me whatever it is that I am lacking so that I can get my prize.
This is not what God desires of me. That is not a heart of willingness and trust.
This summer I finally asked God what His will for me right now is. For a long time I had been struggling with properly identifying what things He had put in my life as walls to be broken down - trials to persevere through, and what things were doors He was closing. I needed answers. So I set aside some time, I humbled myself, and worshiped Him, and He spoke to me. He asked me -quite clearly- to let go. I argued (He loves me anyways! You know you argue with Him too sometimes!!) and said "But God, I can't!!" And I really felt Him say "Not forever Kendra, just for now". I love it when He calls me by name. In 27 years I have only felt it a handful of times, but it is a something beautiful I treasure when it occurs.
So I began a season of letting go. For awhile now I have sensed this battle is not a physical one. Due to the fact that we have gotten pregnant once before, and the limited testing we have had done has all come back just fine. I have sensed it is more a timing problem. I felt the Lord say "Now is simply not the right time. How are you going to choose to spend it instead?". I am ashamed to admit that most often my time was spent trying to control the situation anyways and being bitter and complaining during the wait. I am working on letting Him help me change that...I do not want my time in the desert to be in vain. I am not seeking His will simply so I can be led into the promised land, but so that I can truly please Him during my time in the desert.
Let me be clear. I do not think my desire to be a Momma is unGodly. Quite the opposite in fact. I believe He is the one who placed these desires in me for as far back as I can remember. What I have let these desires become however, well, that is unGodly for sure.
A blogger I read recently wrote about how she had let her desire become an idol in her life. That resonated deep within me. In my new Beth Moore biblestudy she talks about the same thing, how we can let something consume our thoughts, let something take over our lives and become obsessive thinking, and Satan uses it to distract us from the Kingdom.
I have listened to and read countless stories from women who have struggled with fertility issues. Some still struggling, and some on the other side. One thing that has intrigued me is that most of the women on the other side of it have some "point" to their story. Some specific thing God was teaching them or trying to make them see in their life. One blogger writes about how God asked her "Am I enough for you?" while she was waiting for children. As I mentioned above, other women have said they felt God ask "Do you have faith I can do this?". I recently started really listening to what God was asking of my heart...
"Do you trust me Kendra?" Well, sure I do!! Instantly I start to think about great praise songs that sing about trusting Jesus, or start quoting scripture about trust... "I mean, really trust me. Trust me with your life? With your hearts desires?". I humbly admit today the answer has been a meek no. I haven't. I haven't really believed with all my heart that He knows what's best for me. That He knows my needs better than I do. That He loves me so much more than my earthly father (and that's a whole lot -Hi Dad!) and wants to bless me, wants to bless my life. I have held this desire with such a tight grip because I have been so scared that if I really just let Him have it, He will decide that it is not in fact what is best for me, and if that is the case, then He must be wrong, so I better just hold on to it tightly... so ridiculous. Like I have ever really been in control. Like my God is ever wrong about what is best for me.
Jesus wants my heart. My whole heart. Yes, I asked Him to come into my heart two decades ago one summer at Camp Tadmor, but now as an adult, and in the desert, He asks me for it again. I have to give Him my whole life, all of my heart, and every hope and dream. As another blogger so perfectly put it: Not because He is my genie and if I do so I will get what I want, but simply because He is worthy of it. He wants more for me than just my desires to be granted. He wants me to know Him better. He wants my relationship with Him to be more intimate. I am learning to be so grateful for this desert, because when I finally let Him, He shows me so much about myself, life and Him while I am here. He is teaching me a reliance on Him that I need, that I want. This journey in time will make me a better mother- one way or another- because I will, by His grace, be able to show my children what submission and reverence to Christ really means, to really walk with Jesus and trust Him with my life. Because He is teaching me the blessing of living life in this manner.
Thank you Lord, for wanting more for me than I do.
So, for anyone out there walking in the desert, either the same one as me, or a different one, I urge you today to change your prayers. Instead of constantly begging for deliverance to the promised land, ask God to allow His grace to be sufficient for you while you are there. Ask Him to show you what you can be taught while you are there. And let your hunger not be a distraction, but a driving force to the foot of the cross.
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