A little fact you may not know about me: I enjoy looking for pictures of things that look like letters and putting them together to form a word (Alphabet Art, a.k.a Word Art). I was in the basement a couple days ago putting together a Word Art order of the word “Serenity,” and I thought, how ironic. My inner being was in major turmoil and I was staring at the word “serenity” for about 30 minutes.
It took the greater part of that 30 minutes before the irony hit, but once it did, I began giving my heart and thoughts, in all their pathetic misery, over to the Lord.
This month has been the most emotionally trying month I have had in a while when it comes to wrestling the pregnancy/infertility issue. Maybe the end of the year approaching is causing reflection. Maybe the challenge has come from trying to write our yearly Christmas letter. In last year’s letter I had hoped to be able to announce a new member of our family this year.
There is no glaring external reason that warrants this as a tougher month, therefore, I think the issue is internal. I am pretty sure that I have been wallowing in the muck of self-pity because I have let one or two unhelpful thoughts hang around for too long. Thoughts like Am I going to get pregnant again? and Why has this been a part of our journey? have knocked on the door of my heart, and I have let them in.
Gradually and subtly, more of these hopeless questions and thoughts came to stay, and I found myself just plain sad. I was sad over the fact that I may never hold another baby of my own. I was sad over the fact that I have to continue on in the unknown, knowing that I am barraged by these faithless thoughts on a daily basis.
Maybe I was weary of the battle, and thus, I let a couple crappy thoughts through and those thoughts set up a little barricade in my heart, hoping to overturn the whole army of goodness the Lord has set up in the camp of my heart. Thankfully, my General always wins.
Asking questions like “Am I going to get pregnant again?” are completely normal and not necessarily damaging. It is the subtle messages that these types of questions imply that can cause the upheaval. Peace is derailed by the untruth that is suggested by our wonderings. In other words, I have a curiosity about whether or not I will have another child from my womb, but really, my inner wrestle is in wondering why God would choose to say “no” to me and “yes” to others. These are the unhelpful thoughts. They imply that God might love or like others more than me. Otherwise, wouldn’t he treat me the same?
He does treat me the same. He treats us all from a place of goodness. He wants our good and his heart toward us is loving and good. Sometimes it feels like some people have more of his favor than us, but the reality is that God does not play favorites (Romans 2:11).
In the same breathe, though, I say God can not treat us all the same. We have different stories and God has different purposes that he needs to work out in each of us. We all make choices and God carefully works with those choices to craft the masterpiece he calls our story.
At the end of the day, we have a choice. Will we push forward, trying to blaze the path that includes all our plans, or will we choose to begin traveling the path that God has already laid out for us? Will we embrace his path, his purposes, and his plans?
There is a huge part of me that sees the freedom that comes from walking the path God has laid out. A tiny part of me still wants to keep walking on my path (with my plans) and see what happens. There are a few of my plans that I do not seem to want to give up on – having another child being at the top of that list.
Now hear me: I do not think God is asking me (or you) to give up the desire for a child, but he is asking me to surrender it. I still want another child, and that is okay. Surrender is what enables me to walk on God’s path instead of my own. God just wants me to surrender my desires the same way an army would surrender their lives to their opponent. (This is not a perfect analogy because God is not my opponent.) They choose to stop fighting and they hand their lives over to the one they have been fighting. They hope that their enemy will have mercy on them for surrendering and their life will be spared. In this case, surrendering to the Lord is cake. We know that we will be treated well and taken care of if we surrender, if we stop fighting. The fight will be over, the future is handed to the One we choose to surrender to.
So as I sat there staring at the word, “Serenity,” the famous Serenity Prayer came to mind:
“God grant me the serenity
to accept the things I cannot change;
courage to change the things I can;
and wisdom to know the difference.”
Accept the things I cannot change. Acceptance. Surrender control.
I have been spending a good chunk of time and energy focused on all the things I can not change, all the things I wish were different. I am sure you have a list, too. There are some things we have the power to change. There are some things in which God has called us to partner with Him so that we can see change. There are some things that we just plain need to surrender.
God, grant me the serenity to accept that pregnancy, whether it happens or not, is in your hands. Free me from thoughts that turn my gaze inward. Give me the eyes to see where you are working around me so that I may jump on board with you and your plans instead of trying to blaze my own path. Free me from selfishness, that I may be able to love those around me. At the end of the day, I really do trust you, Lord. Please help me to trust you all day, not just at the end…