I held one child in my arms, year after year — he grew — and month after month, I grieved. 48 months, 48 “No’s.” Desolation snowballed into a downward spiral that drained me physically, emotionally, spiritually.
Secondary infertility was my diagnosis: the inability to conceive after the first child. Sarah, Rebekkah, Elizabeth, Rachael, Hannah, the barren woman — they became my soul sisters. I understood their cry — and I rejoiced in their answered prayers. I sat at their feet, looking for behavior solutions in their stories.
Sarah and Abraham encouraged accountability in their relationship — story after story of each enabling the other’s weakness drove that home. That the only time Isaac is shown taking his problems directly to God was when he asked God for Rebekkah to conceive shows the mighty power of a praying husband. Hannah unabashedly spilled her heart out in front of everyone, so passionate was she in emptying it for her God. Elizabeth, having grown reconciled to her barrenness, showed us how to rejoice in God’s surprises. Rachael cried out for a child to make her look good. Leah wanted to win her husband’s love by giving him sons — and found God’s mighty, fulfilling love. And, the barren woman’s house was filled, probably because she opened herself up to love more others than she could ever possibly conceive.
I mined these stories for clues to solve my problem. Because God had not given me what I asked for, I assumed it was a conditional behavior issue. God was waiting for me to behave a certain way before He would grant my request. I was like the mouse trying to find the magic button that releases the cheese — and none of the buttons I pushed released my cheese.
To compound that, I was an obsessive thinker, constantly searching for solutions. Obsessive thinking starts on the outside — can I work harder, eat healthier, study more, be skinnier, find a new theory, a new treatment — all the solutions are outside based. Outside solution failure turns the obsessive thinker inside — maybe I am not good enough, do not pray enough, believe enough, or am not important enough to God.
But God does not work like that. God does not love conditionally. I am not the mouse to his cheese. God wants a heart connection. Those bible stories? Meaningless without a God relationship. I knew what I thought I wanted, but without relationship with my Father, I could not know what He wanted for me. I had to take my mind off the plot and seek to know the author.
“Commit your way to the Lord, and trust in him, and he will do it.” (Psalm 25: 5, New Advent Bible)
A Christian friend, who was more intimate with God at that time, during a particular moment of emotional crisis advised me, “Ask Him to take the desire away if having another child is not His will.” I had to everything off the table, so to speak — my dream, my desire.
“Father, if you are willing, take this cup from me; yet not my will, but yours be done.” (Luke 22:42)
And, I did — I asked my Father to take the desire away — if this dream was not His dream for my life. Like Abraham’s willingness to give up Isaac, I needed to be more committed to His plan for my life, than my plan, my desire, my dream. Though at that time I did not realize how much He loved me, who I really was to Him, I gave Him my heart’s desire.
And He gave it back — abundantly.
There have been big dreams and little dreams in my life — that I have asked God to help me fulfill. Sometimes my plan is not His plan — and I let go. Sometimes, His plan unfolds in His time, not my time — so there is a lot of waiting. Sometimes, I just need more experience so that I have what it takes to handle what I have asked for.
“The angel of the LORD called to Abraham from heaven a second time 16 and said, “I swear by myself, declares the LORD, that because you have done this and have not withheld your son, your only son, 17 I will surely bless you.”(Genesis 22:15-17)
When a big dream bursts into a heart’s desire, instead of dashing off to grasp it — I whisper to my Father, “If it’s not what you want, please take away the desire to do it.”
And, He does.