A week ago I joined a Bible Study, one that is familiar -the people, the place- and also new in the word. In the Fall a group of women and I gather to study together, this year we are studying Discerning the Voice of God by Priscilla Shirer. Today I did my first two days of homework and was moved to tears.
During day one Priscilla asks how we approach God; What are your feelings about hearing God’s voice? I said:
I doubt my own worthiness to hear from God and in doing so do not expect Him to speak to me.
I approach God with a doubtful heart instead of the expectant confident heart He wants me to have.
Day two struck a nerve. We are reminded of the story of Abraham and Sarah from Genesis 18:9-18 where God promises them a son at the appointed time. If you know the story you might also know that in their doubt Abraham and Sarah used Sarah’s maid to bring about a child instead of trusting and waiting on God’s promise. Priscilla writes: “While the righteous man trusts God to fulfill His Word, the proud man (self-reliant) depends on himself to bring things to pass.”
It was here my heart started pounding. Did I do that? Did I pray and wait on God or did I move without Him? Are we doing the right thing?
You might be thinking -uh, Steph, I think eight years is a good ‘waiting on God’ time period. If you know me you will know that during this infertility struggle we’ve prayed and asked and begged and tried to move and not felt right and changed our minds. You will know I struggled with how far to go into treatment, is choosing IVF not trusting God?
All of those fears rose up within me today. Have I done something wrong? And, so not knowing what else to do in my panic, I prayed. Father, is this what I’m supposed to be doing? Did I lack enough patience? Did I not wait on you? Is this bound to failure because I’m going about it all wrong? Tears were falling, heart was pounding, fear and doubt were building…and then I heard Look.
“Look…Observe! Be astonished! Wonder! Because I am doing something in your days…” – Habakkuk 1:5
So I did. I took a deep breath and I looked back over the unfolding of this story and I saw the God has guided our family even in my doubts and fears. He has stilled my rush to move when it needed to be stilled, and He has opened doors to move us forward when it was time to go. God has provided a way for us to do IVF; financially, emotionally, physically.
He has provided a doctor and nurses I adore and wouldn’t want to go through this without. There’s no one else but them for our journey, they are important.
He has provided a supportive and encouraging community to surround us. Would we have had these people through other routes to children? Of course, but it’s not a coincidence I have several science/medicine loving friends who are all in to talk about the process we’re doing. They’re interested, fascinated, want to be a part of this difficult journey. That’s a God thing.
I have sisters and brothers in infertility walking the road with me. Some up ahead who have their miracle babies and are cheering telling us don’t give up. Some right along side crying the same tears when it gets hard, and moaning the same moans as we trudge on. I’m not in any moment of this alone and that is possibly the most important part of the journey.
God made us for community and connection and through the last eight years He has steadily built mine. I married into the family He knew I needed. I found a church with leaders He knew I needed. Within that church I found a circle of friends that are irreplaceable. His hand moved when I met my best friend’s husband on new-member class day (in a room full of people he sat down next to me), and it moved again when I joined a Bible Study and found her sitting across from me (only later realizing the connection). His hand moved each time from one friend I met another, and another, and another. As our stories unfold together and we have a million Me too! moments, God is there knowing these are the people I needed for the journey. He’s been building the village our children will grow up in slowly, steadily, faithfully. He’s given us to one another for a reason.
What I learned today, what has the tears streaming down my face as I write this, is that I am not unworthy. Those doubts, those fears, those moments when I question my faith, my hope, my trust, my belief -that is not God. That is the enemy trying to break what God is building, trying to blind me to the blessings in the struggle, the glory in the journey. I must come back to Him in those moments and remember that He asks me to look.
Look and see what He has done, do not doubt what He is doing.