Following the very transformation of my heart, I certainly believed that accepting the call to parent meant one thing: I’d be pregnant. Probably the very next day. I was certain. The thought was a bit terrifying, but I was ready for it.
Unfortunately, it didn’t happen quite that way…
Weeks passed. Tests were negative. More weeks passed. More negatives. I was the furthest thing from pregnant. I was honestly never worried that I couldn’t or wouldn’t get pregnant, but I definitely began to shift my eyes towards God with raised eyebrows, “Um, excuse me? What’s the deal here?”
As the weeks grew to months my surprise turned to confusion, then frustration, then all out anger. It felt like Divine cruelty.
I knew well it wasn’t His character. But that emotion, that I-desperately-want-a-baby-that-seems-beyond-my-grasp emotion, is intense. Bearing children is what a woman is put on this earth by her Creator to do. Not understanding why it isn’t happening is infuriating and terrifying. Doesn’t matter if she knows better. That particular emotion is easily powerful enough to cause her to lay false charge against Him. And for me, it wasn’t just that I wanted a baby. I was confident that He, that the very God of the universe had wanted this baby first, this specific, particular little life. If He wanted it, why was He withholding it?
Half the reason I had never wanted to be pregnant before was because I hadn’t wanted to feel this. I had never wanted to want something so infinitely out of my control. I’d never wanted that switch to flip. One thing I cannot do, ever, is create life. Only He can do that. I began to feel as if He’d made me want something I’d successfully held at bay all my life. I’d never wanted a child. He had caused me to want one. And now He seemed to be refusing to release the very promise He’d made to me, the promise that had changed my mind, my heart. Cruel. Cruel was the only word that effectively described it.
But what happened next was a series of events that could only have been orchestrated by God.
We were headed to Europe for a trip with Josh’s little brother and sister. I welcomed the distraction of travel on the one hand, but was also flirting with the idea of how great it would be to find out that I was expecting while abroad. Perhaps that’s why it hadn’t happened yet… perhaps this was going to be an unforgettable story to share with our friends and family and child someday, how we discovered we were finally pregnant while on the most amazing trip to Europe… I was downright convinced that would be our story. It had to be.
But then, remember my meltdown in France?? What I didn’t tell you before was that it happened the day after I’d realized, yet again, that I wasn’t pregnant. I’d been certain that I was. And that was the last blow, I snapped.
It was a supernatural domino effect. Like a cork popping from a champagne bottle, the building fear and frustration I’d felt for months spewed out of me. Tears, accusations, anger. No matter how I tried I couldn’t get the lid back on. It just. Kept. Coming.
I cried from Paris to Pisa and Pisa to Florence. I had planned to stay 10 days with Erin exploring Italy, my favorite country on earth with one of my favorite girls. But by the end of our first evening together my frustration had turned to sheer panic and all I knew for certain was that I had to get home. It cost me a small fortune and half my sanity. Why in the world couldn’t I pull it together?! I was in Italy, with Erin! It made absolutely no sense. Walking the cobblestone streets of Florence, tears dripping from my chin, I looked to heaven and declared that God had abandoned me. He’d made a promise never to forsake me. But He had. He certainly wasn’t with me in this, whatever it was. I remember one distinct moment of thinking, this is exactly what it feels like to be separated from God. This is hell. And the only thing I knew for certain was that I was very, very alone in Italy.
Despite my accusation, I was being moved by a force much bigger than me. He knows me all too well. Had I sensed Him in the midst of my pain, I never would have come home. Though He was intimately near, He allowed me to feel alone, far from Him, unseen. That distinct feeling of abandonment was precisely what tipped the scales. I panicked. I’d never in my life felt the sensation of being without Him. Entirely confused and terrified, I booked a ticket home. It was the only thing I knew to do.
What I didn't know, was that He was using it to usher me home for a very, very specific purpose.
48 hours later I was sound asleep in my own bed exhausted beyond description, when at 3am my eyes literally popped open. It was as if an angelic being had tapped me on the shoulder. I immediately sat up, straining my eyes in the darkness. A calm yet probing Presence filled the room. I got up instinctively and wandered thru the house… looking… searching… with no idea what for. After about an hour I climbed in bed and gently roused my husband. He sat up instinctively as well, sensing immediately that something was happening. And then, suddenly, right there in our bedroom… the Lord began to speak, to reveal, to expose. Issues in our hearts we’d ignored for years, issues we’d never addressed, never shared with one another, things we’d been hiding, grave, life-altering mistakes we were on the verge of making that very week. We both knew instantaneously that this was precisely the reason I’d come home early. A day later would have been too late. It was a supernatural intervention.
Sin. He exposed our sin.
And we were devastated.
Sometimes you don’t realize just how ugly something is until you bring it out into the light.
The next two days were dark. I was crushed. Josh was broken. Neither of us knew how to move forward. So we didn’t. We laid in bed with the curtains drawn and wept, sleeping on and off, waking up to emptiness and hopelessness again and again.
God broke us. And He let us feel the pain of it deeply, what it means to disobey, to choose life apart from Him. That choice also means we live with consequences He never desired for us. I knew it. And I was terrified of them, the consequences I knew were coming. I honestly didn’t believe I could live through them. I couldn’t. It was my worst nightmare come to life. I wanted to go to sleep and never wake up.
But then, beyond my wildest dreams, He spared us. And we experienced a miracle.
The miracle came with one specific element that made all the difference: deliverance. Deliverance we’d never even thought we’d needed. Oh, but we did. And God would not release or entrust a child of purpose to our care until we had it, until we walked in the authentic, powerful freedom He’d purposed for us. Our pastors said it best when Josh and I sat broken at their feet. They had been among those who’d powerfully prophesied this very child months before and had waited expectantly for the news that we were expecting. After a beautiful time of confession and prayer, healing and deliverance, Pastor looked at us and spoke words that will never leave me, “Thank God you haven’t conceived yet. That’s the difference in birthing an Ishmael and an Issac. One is born in bondage, the other in freedom. Now… you’ll conceive.”
And we did, within a number of days I can count on one hand.
I say again, this child isn’t about us. This child is about the plan and purpose of God. And God would not release him until everything in us was first in proper order. It’s a stunning realization to me, to think that God first broke our will regarding having children in the first place, then used it to literally transform our lives, our world. It’s never been about us, but God has certainly used it to bless us beyond belief. It’s one of the mysteries that most takes my breath away, how the plans and purposes and ways of God are so richly layered. In doing one thing, He does a thousand things. It’s breath-taking.
So here we stand today. Changed. Humbled. Overwhelmed with gratitude. Experiencing life and marriage in ways we’ve never known before. I can’t say exactly what’s to come, but I can say I have a calm expectancy. My prayer is forever that He not relent in His pursuit of me, His loving discipline, His refusal to let me stay the same thus effectively forfeiting my destiny. Father, don’t relent. Don’t let me settle. Even when it’s painful, I know it’s for my good, always. When it comes to understanding Your love for us, having a baby is just the tip of the iceberg, a drop of water to the ocean. I embrace it. I relish it. Do what You will. I trust You, because this baby has already changed our very lives for the better in more ways than I can count. I can only dream of what's to come.
Don't you see that children are God's best gift?
the fruit of the womb his generous legacy?
Like a warrior's fistful of arrows
are the children of a vigorous youth.
Oh, how blessed are you parents,
with your quivers full of children!
Your enemies don't stand a chance against you;
you'll sweep them right off your doorstep. -Psalm 127: 3-5