Are there any phrases from the Bible that are stuck in your head? Not necessarily entire verses you’ve memorized, but phrases?
“slow to speak”
“… and it was very good.”
“naked and unashamed”
“singing over us”
“wait for the Lord”
“root of bitterness”
That last one has popped into my head a lot recently. Sometimes, it arrives like a soft breeze kissing my cheek. Others, it feels more like a piece of hail pelting my eye. Either way, it’s convicting.
Some of my sins are pretty obvious to anyone who knows me: Lack of self-control (ahem, food tastes too good, especially when it’s convenient). Laziness (darn auto play feature on Netflix). Overly critical spirit (sorry, babe).
Others are a little easier to mask. The top two for me are jealousy and bitterness, sins I’ve struggled with since probably around third or fourth grade, when I realized I was chubby and it clicked that my parents were divorced (I can be a little slow sometimes). I was jealous because my pretty friends had boyfriends, but I didn’t (that lasted from elementary school until I met Joseph when I was 27), bitter because I couldn’t go to Disney World with my brother and sister when our spring breaks were different weeks. I was jealous because someone else got a part I wanted in the school play, bitter because I didn’t have a “normal” family. Jealous AND bitter because I never seemed to fit in where I wanted to, both with my family and socially.
Since we’ve been on the journey to trying to become parents, the things I’ve had to fight the most, even more than impatience with the waiting, are jealousy and bitterness. And boy are they sneaky! I’ll be doing great until – BAM – a pregnancy announcement on Facebook or a shower invitation in the mail or the cutest little family walks by in Target. Sometimes, it’s just a twinge that I can take captive. Others, it’s a flood of emotions complete with tears and snot.
There have been A LOT of tears and a whole lot of snot lately.
Sometimes (less often than I care to admit), I try to determine the root of these sins. I’ve identified two today:
1) I feel entitled to have a baby. I do. It’s part of the American dream. It’s why I went to college and studied Christian Studies. Well, I didn’t go to college so I’d have a baby … more like so I’d be prepared to be an awesome, biblical wife and mother one day (because, you know, college degrees in Christian Studies produce much more Christlike wives and mothers, in case you haven’t heard). (If you didn’t know I was being a bit sarcastic just now, I promise I was.) Being a mother has been one of my top desires for YEARS. I love Jesus, so He should give me a baby, right?
There isn’t a verse in the Bible that says, “And Jesus promised Rachelle Adams a baby. A girl baby. Or maybe twins.”
Unless there is and I’m just searching the wrong translation on biblegateway.com, but I don’t think that’s the issue.
Just because one of my greatest desires is to be a mother does not mean God is going to do that in my life, at least not right away or exactly how I wrote in my life plan in middle school. When I cling tightly to my sense of entitlement for a baby, I find myself shaking my fist when I see other people who have what I think I’m supposed to have, and I don’t experience joy and contentment with the life God has given me, which leads me to the second root.
2) I focus on MY story rather than God’s story. I get so wrapped up in my own little world that I miss what God is doing. I stop looking for the big picture. I don’t stop to consider that God has a purpose for this season of my life, however long it may be. I spend so much time begging God to give me what I want that I don’t ask Him what He has planned.
God has a very good plan, and I’m just a piece of it, not the whole of it. I’m such a tiny piece that it’s humbling to stop and think about it.
I was encouraged by these verses in Psalm 103 this week:
“The Lord is merciful and gracious,
slow to anger and abounding in steadfast love.
He will not always chide,
nor will He keep His anger forever.
He does not deal with us according to our sins,
nor repay us according to our iniquities.
For as high as the heavens are above the earth,
so great is His steadfast love toward those who fear Him;
as far as the east is from the west,
so far does He remove our transgressions from us.
As a father shows compassion to His children,
so the Lord shows compassion to those who fear Him.
For He knows our frame;
He remembers that we are dust.
As for man, His days are like grass;
he flourishes like a flower of the field;
for the wind passes over it, and it is gone,
and its place knows it no more.
But the steadfast love of the Lord is from everlasting to everlasting on those who fear Him,
and His righteousness to children’s children,
to those who keep His covenant
and remember to do His commandments.
The Lord has established His throne in the heavens,
and His kingdom rules over all.”
Psalm 103:8-19, emphasis mine
He remembers I’m dust. He knows I’m weak. He knows the sin in my heart. He knows my pain and grief. He knows my desires.
He knows they’re all temporary, and He knows where they all fit into His plan.
Today, I’m asking, yet again, for His help with my jealousy and bitterness. I’m asking Him to help me see what He’s doing, even if it isn’t what I want to see. I’m asking Him to give me a compassionate heart toward others and a spirit of joy and peace.
What about you? Where do you struggle? What are you asking God for today?
Today, we received an email I dreaded, an email informing us that a set of birth parents had chosen another couple to parent their baby girl. While we rejoice that the parents chose life and that this baby girl is going to be a part of a (presumably) loving family, our hearts are broken.
How could our hearts break over a baby we’ve never met, over a baby who was never ours? How do we experience joy and hope and sorrow all at once?
Part of me is angry with myself and wants to shout that I’ll never get my hopes up again. I want to sink into a dark place that includes lots of Netflix watching and junk food eating. I want to be mad at God.
Isn’t that interesting? I’m not mad at God. I WANT to be mad at Him.
I’m not mad at Him because I know Him.
I know He is good. I know He loves me with a “never stopping, never giving up, unbreaking, always and forever love” (The Jesus Storybook Bible). I know He is wise. I know He has a plan. I know He knows me, and I know He knows our children.
I know He knows she wasn’t ours.
As much as I let myself hope, as much as I let myself daydream, as much as I let myself peek into the baby sections at Walmart and Target, this baby girl was not, is not, ours.
So, though the tears haven’t stopped yet, I will hope. I will put my trust in the God who flung the stars into space and knit me together in my mother’s womb and redeemed me with the blood of His own Son. The God who has seen every tear that has rushed down my cheeks today (and all the days before) and knows my pain better than I do.
I love Him, and I pray this baby girl will one day, too.