I have felt the need to be silent for the past several months. Be still. Listen. Wait upon the Lord. Seek Him and find. Call to Him so He would answer me and tell me great and unsearchable things I do not know. What He has shown me was not at all what I had expected. It has been tremendously difficult…but perhaps my story will encourage another? Keeping silent may have been necessary for a time while He was leading me along this path…but now I feel led to share…hard as it may be. So this is where I begin again…my ongoing story…rather…His ongoing story…in me.
I hit my low point in the early morning hours of Sunday, January 18. After months of God faithfully leading our every step I was anticipating a long-awaited appointment with a specialist. Late that Saturday night I had a long conversation with Nathan and after God graciously told me in my heart that the continued deterioration of my health was leading up to what I had dreaded…a hysterectomy (later confirmed by the specialist on February 1)…I cried out to Him. My words were not angry, but for perhaps the first time my heart was angry…not with my circumstances, not with myself or with someone else or with sin…but with God.
I’ve been told that anger is always a 2nd emotion…stemming from another. My 1st emotion was hurt…my heart was crushed. I boldly prayed that I needed God to show up during our church service that morning and give me hope…show me His plan for me…speak to me. But my broken heart was questioning…”Why…with all I have been through….the ONE thing You used that got me out of darkness…the ONE thing that worked the way it is supposed to in my body…the ONE thing You used to actually make me feel physically well and create life…oh such blessed, vibrant life…You won’t heal it?…You’re taking it away!? I’m 32!?” (as if He didn’t know that already, right-?) My words told Him He could have my uterus…my heart said…”but I want more! I’ve begged You to take this desire for more away and You haven’t. Why?! If this is what you have planned…there has to be more. This cannot be the end. I can’t stay here. I won’t! You better show up!”. I believed with all my heart He would.
This is God we’re talking about. God! Almighty Creator, Sustainer, Sovereign Lord. I look back and I am so ashamed. How dare I question Him? How dare I demand such a thing after all He has done for me…after all He has so graciously given me that I don’t deserve an ounce of…let alone the mercies I can’t even fathom? That morning in church as I eagerly awaited to hear from the Lord the moment a woman from our congregation got up to share her testimony I thought surely she wasn’t going to talk about her adoption…that would be too obvious an answer. Tears poured out of my eyes the entire time. Bitter anger instantly turned to passionate worship as she spoke of their unexpected, unlikely adoption story…something I never thought was really ‘for us’. She spoke of the 165 million children worldwide who need families…and here I was feeling sorry for myself…mourning the fact that God wasn’t going to grow mine biologically. How selfish of me! For someone whose life has been made so wonderful through the blessing of my own adoption
you would think I could’ve been able to foresee what God was going to tell me. What Nathan has frankly said many times (though I dismissed as facetious)…”God is going to have to bring us one in a basket, baby. It’s just not going to happen any other way.” Maybe I need to give up what I have been stubbornly holding onto…waiting in agony all the while…to receive the blessings He has in store for me…or rather…so He can bless others through me. How can I grasp anything else with my hands so tightly clenched onto what I have? God didn’t just hear my cries…He most certainly didn’t have to answer them…but oh my heavens…He so graciously did…immeasurably more than I could have asked or imagined. With my eyes fixed on Him I was able to finally see clearly, even if just a tiny glimpse. He purified my heart. I felt renewed in spirit and in strength and able to willingly accept and embrace the news of what I had been dreading a few weeks later.
Wilderness! Ugh! If I haven’t been in the wilderness I don’t know what else to call this. I think Satan wants me to think I will be here forever…and sometimes it really feels that way. Pain piled on top of pain year after year gets old and when relief doesn’t come it just wears on you. It’s easy to shut down…stay inside and not share your heart…get caught in the day-after-day grueling drudgery of it all. But God has given me such hope. Such peace for this exhausting, difficult road home. Such comfort for this grieving period of losing what has been so precious to me…too precious to me in fact. I simply must take this step of faith…worship the Giver of every good and perfect gift…not the gifts themselves. He alone is more than enough…and He alone will get me out!
A few weeks ago my amazing husband came up with the idea to surprise our kids with a trip to Chicago over their winter break. Our ever inquisitive and always one-step-ahead Emalynn knew something was up and just would not stop asking questions. The night before we left I finally said “Just trust me…you will love what we have planned…I promise!”
Did she ever! The Shedd Aquarium and the American Girl store were so much more than the Grand Rapids Public Museum outing she was expecting. I really believe that is what God is telling me. “Just trust Me! You will love what I have planned…I promise!” Just like our Em, will I ever! He made me. He knows my deepest thoughts, desires and dreams. He knows what is best for me. Why do I doubt? He has never let me down. I can’t see what’s ahead…I don’t know the who…what…when…where and how. I can only trust Him. He is so faithfully guiding us down this path, our Good Shepherd. I can see His gracious leading, preparing and healing.
I have a difficult path ahead these next few months…filled with uncertainty, pain, emotions (not to mention Pandora’s box of hormones!) I can’t even begin to understand, patience in waiting on God’s timing, and I must deal with the heartbreak of losing a part of my life that God has used to heal me from so many things while honoring Him in the midst of it. I know Who goes before me. I know Who never leaves me or forsakes me. This did not surprise Him. This was His plan all along.
I don’t know all that you are facing. Just like the unique way God intimately made each one of us, not one has a path exactly the same. Like me, you have a story God is unfolding in your life. It may not be at all what you expected…I pray that it is so much better! Will you join me in trusting Him to guide you? After all, it’s His story…not ours.
Trust in the Lord with all your heart
and lean not on your own understanding;
in all your ways submit to him,
and he will make your paths straight.