I meant to post this before Christmas, but you know how that goes. Anyway, I found this old draft of a letter I’d sent to a friend right after Callie was born (eight years ago). She was feeling down about her singleness & this was what I sent her for encouragement. I know so many friends out there waiting for God’s best. Another holiday of waiting is hard to take! Facing yet another year with that dream still allusive. This is a long post, but I hope it brings encouragement. It’s what I plan on sharing with our children if/when God calls them to wait…
This morning, after our phone conversation, I awoke at 4am & couldn’t sleep. So, I got up, took a hot bath, read Oswald Chambers, & the Lord brought to mind some things I should’ve shared last night but didn’t think of. So, I thought I’d write them down & share them in a letter.
In thinking back to Keith & me, the critical point for me was when I gave him up “as my Isaac”. Let me explain. There was a point when I knew I loved him & was pretty sure he loved me, but he didn’t know it (women usually know before men i find!). This was about the time I had signed up to go teach in Korea & he was all “excited for me”, remember? Well, that Sunday, after wrestling with all this over a very long weekend, I decided to give him up to the Lord. And not just him, but any & all relationships with guys. My heart’s desire was to be married & have/raise godly children, & God knew that – I felt he gave me that desire. But I had to (as Abraham) literally place that whole desire on the alter, give it up to God by walking up front at TRBC that night, & leaving it all on the prayer steps before the Lord. I told Him that I would give Him my dreams of a family & if He chose to give it back to me, great. But if not, I would be happier with Him alone! And I had to really let that dream die. I think at that point, I was able to make the right decisions about Keith – as far as not writing him, totally letting him go & leaving it up to God to bring him back to me if that’s what was best for me & Keith, etc. & not get “mopey”.
It doesn’t end with marriage. God brought me to a similar “test” later – just last year. We got pregnant right away with Nate & I just assumed we’d be able to “control” & “decide” when we had our kids. Boy, did God show me Who’s in control & teach me through this one! (And I’m so glad He’s in control & not me!!) We “decided it was time” for another child in our family when Nate was a year & a half, but God wanted to teach us something about Himself instead. We prayed – no baby. After over a year, I was really sad about it & (of course) everyone around me was having a baby. There was a time I even prayed for twins thinking, “Well, Lord, since there’s this gap here, maybe You could make use of the extra time between kids & ‘double our money’.” : )
Then Keith’s cousin got pregnant with twins! I struggled with that one. The twins were born & I was still not pregnant & very sad. A week later, while taking a meal to a friend who’d just given birth to her 8th baby, I finally came to the end of the struggle. I had to again totally give my dreams to the Lord & say, “Lord, this is not my life, it’s Yours. You are the Master planner & You have a master plan with my best interest in mind. If Your will is for us to raise one child, I will raise that child happily with all my heart. I will not waste any more of the precious time You have blessed me with all sad about something that obviously isn’t best because You haven’t given it to me & if it was for my best, You would give it to me. You know what’s best for all involved & I trust you. Thank You for being trust worthy!” And I left the dream of any more children totally with God, not to worry about it again but to instead rest in Him & thank Him for this time in my life. A week later, the twins were found to have CP & one almost died. That family went through so much. I was able to pray for them a lot through that because I felt a “connection” to them having prayed for twins & all & feeling that if God had let me “have my way”, that could’ve been me sort of thing. They came to mind very often through all that. Anyway, long story longer, a year later (note: we found out Callie was on the way literally the next month after I gave it all to the Lord!) the twins have been healed completely – no sign of CP now – it “disappeared”! We have a beautiful baby girl! And again, I’ve learned Who’s in control & knows best. It was not until I totally died to my dreams & gave them completely to God that my dreams were fulfilled – as with my relationship with Keith. But I couldn’t lay my dreams on the alter to “manipulate” God into giving me my heart’s desire – I had to just die to them & rest/trust in Him PERIOD.
The other part of that was to find JOY in my dead dreams & to really believe this was all for good. This is where real faith comes in. With Keith, it was going & teaching in Korea – pouring my heart into ministry. I did that before I met Keith, too – teaching Sunday School with all my heart, and I loved it. I really miss not being able/having the time to teach SS like that now! I loved it! I really felt God was using me to make a difference in those kids’ lives. With waiting for Callie, it was praying more for others focusedly (is that a word? Cuz I just used it.) Like, praying for pregnant women, for barren couples, for the abortion issue, etc. I am now much more keenly aware of infertile couples & their pain – I was clueless as to that before! Now I can pray with knowledge for them. I can also testify to God’s perfect timing & encourage them (as with you & relationships) that God does have a plan & His timing is perfect – REST in the mean time! Concentrate on your relationship with the Lord through it all. he is bringing these things into your life & using these circumstances in your life to make you into the person He wants you to be, which is where you will be most fulfilled as His child.
Matthew 6:25-33 = “…don’t worry about everyday life…Look at the birds…your heavenly Father feeds them. And you are far more valuable to Him than they are. Can all your worries add to a single moment to your life? Of course not…why worry…if God cares so wonderfully for the flowers that are here today & gone tomorrow, won’t He more surely care for you?… So don’t worry…your heavenly Father already knows all your needs, & He will give you all you need… if you live for Him & make the kingdom of God your primary concern.”
Oswald chambers wrote, “Pay attention to the Source, & out of you will flow rivers of living water (John 7:38). We cannot discover the source of our natural life through common sense & reasoning, & Jesus is teaching here that growth in our spiritual life comes not from focusing directly on it, but from concentrating on our Father in Heaven. Our Father knows our circumstances, & if we will stay focused on him, instead of our circumstances, we will grow spiritually – just as the lilies of the field.”
That really struck me this morning. Isn’t that ultimately what life is all about? We are here to glorify God. PERIOD. God uses life circumstances to shape us into glorifiers (is THAT a word? cuz I just used it!) give us His character so the world may see Him through us & know him. His whole theme throughout the OT & NT & on to Revelation is to “make Himself known”. Psalm 59:13b says, “Then the whole world will know that God reigns…” If I can do that best single, than let it be so, Lord! If I can best do that married, let it be. Best with no children, one child, many children…Your will, not mine! Let me be like Mary & sit at Your feet, learning from You, loving You; rather than getting so caught up in life around me like Martha.
In conclusion, as I was flipping through Psalms to find a verse (they are all over if not looking for them, but not as obvious when you are looking!) about God’s aim of “letting the world know I am God”, these popped out at me & I’ll just list them – you can look them up. I have the NLT which is what I was reading when I found these. Hope they bring the needed encouragement…
Psalm 84:5-7/10-12 Psalm 81:10b/16 Psalm 73:25-28 Psalm 71:5-7 Psalm 66:5,7,9,12b,19,20 Psalm 63:1-8 Psalm 62:1,2,5,8 Psalm 56:3,8,9b Psalm 46:1-3,7,10 Psalm 43:4,5 Psalm 42 Psalm 40:1-3,10,16,17 Psalm 37:3-5,7b,16,18,25,34 Psalm 34:1-19 Psalm 31:5a,14,15a,19,23,24 Psalm 30:5b,11,12 Psalm 27:1,4,8,10,13,14 Psalm 16:2,5,6,8,11 Psalm 4:3,7,8 Psalm 5:3,12
Your sister, Leigh Ann”
2009 Update: The girl I sent this letter to is now married with two sweet boys, God has given us two more children so far, & the twins are still healthy! Saw them over Christmas up in MN – cute. Until I read this letter again, I had totally forgotten they ever had CP. Oh, and God continues to teach me He has a great plan even in the twists & turns. It always turns out better when you lay your plans in His hands!