Raspberries

The God of the Harvest strikes again!  The first spring after we moved into our “Promised Land,” I bought two small, precious raspberry bushes to plant.  I could not wait for them to grow and spread so we could enjoy their fruit every year.  I imagined picking berries with my kids and maybe even making jam one day.

As I planted the bushes, I prayed that God would help them grow abundantly.  Yes, I prayed over my new bushes.  I believe God desires to bless us and I know he is the only one who can make things grow (1 Corinthians 3:7).  I planted my bushes and faithfully watered them, but moles decided that the freshly tilled soil was a good place to hang out and they killed my precious bushes.

I was disappointed.  My well thought plans did not work out.  I figured I would try again, but I was fearful of wasting more money on bushes, only to have them die again.  Then the end of June came…

We discovered that the entire west side of our property was lined with raspberry bushes.  LINED with them!  I’m telling you, the entire side of our property is lush with black raspberry bushes.  And there is a large patch of RED raspberry bushes, too!

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I have to imagine that as I sat and prayed over my store-bought raspberry bushes with hopeful expectation, the God of the Universe was hearing my prayer and smiling.  He knew that my plans would not succeed, but he had every intention to fulfill the desire of my heart.

“In their hearts humans plan their course, but the Lord establishes their steps” (Proverbs 16:9).

Last weekend, I came face to face with the reality that the course Todd and I planned would not lead us to the fulfillment of our desire.  We were on our last month of trying to get pregnant using fertility treatments.  We had reached the end of the road, yet our efforts had not produced a pregnancy as we had hoped.  I was disappointed.

I am still disappointed, if I am honest.  A little over a year ago, when we embarked on the fertility journey for the second time around, I assumed we would eventually get pregnant.  We got pregnant with our second child, Joshua, using fertility treatments, so I just assumed we would be able to get pregnant again in the same way.  Without realizing it, my hope was resting in medicine, and not firmly planted in the God who is behind the medicine, making it work.

I listened to a sermon this week that defined “hope” as “the joyful expectation for God to act.”  This definition of hope captured me for several reasons.  For one, the word “joy” stood out.  When we are forced to wait, whether it is waiting in a line at a store or waiting for a deep desire to be fulfilled, joy is not usually the primary emotion we feel.  Annoyance?  Yes.  Weariness?  Yes.  But joy?  Not so much.

Then I was struck by “for God to act.”  As we wait in hopeful expectation, it is easy to wait with a specific outcome in mind.  I realized this week that, despite God’s loving instruction the first time around (on the fertility journey), I was still hopeful that God was going to act in a specific way.  Proof that good truth can be embraced, but it often takes time to be transformed by the truth.  I am in process.

God does not want us to sit around and wait for him to fulfill our desires in the way that we think best.  He wants us to truly believe, deep in our core, that HE knows what is best.  He wants our trust.  He wants us to genuinely believe that his plans are best so we are able to release our desires into his hands.  In doing so, we are able to wait with joyful expectation for God to act.

We do not sit around and wait for God to do __________.  Instead, we actively push aside every answer that we would fill in the blank with and instead, we wait with joyful amusement and expectation to see what GOD comes up with.

So that is where the journey has currently brought me.  I want another child.  I deeply desire for our family to grow.  I do not know how God is going to fulfill that desire, but I am committed to waiting with joyful expectation as I look for what God does.  I expect him to do something.  I just do not know what it will be or how he will do it.  I do not want to settle for a store-bought fulfillment of my desire.  I want the God-sized outcome.

“Satisfy us in the morning with your unfailing love, that we may sing for joy and be glad all our days” (Psalm 90:14).

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