I’ve realized I’m entering one of those seasons when I can sense change coming, but I don’t know yet what’s going to be different.
I’ve had the feeling for a while that I should be holding everything loosely — my time, my priorities, my commitments, my family, our things, our money, our dreams… All of it. Everything that consumes my thoughts, requires my effort, and fills my days so full, so quickly that they seem to melt into one another and move past me in waves. I’m supposed to let go of all of it and wait for a clear sense of what’s next.
Honestly, I’m not sure what that might be. A new book to write? A new group to lead? A completely new assignment from the God who’s kept me very busy for the past few years? Or, is it simply time to rest? To do less, and (just) be more? I don’t know, but it’s time to find out.
The only thing that’s clear to me right now is that I need to quiet my inner voice, so that I can hear God’s more clearly. I need to carve out some Sabbath time to listen, and try to be more patient than I am naturally as I wait for clearer understanding: Now what?
In the meantime, I’ll re-run some of the most popular (i.e. widely-read) posts from the past year. Even if you read them the first time I posted them, I encourage you to ask God to show you something new and to draw you deeper into a trusting, peace-giving relationship with Him.
For starters, here’s a post from last spring….
In a recent study of 200 women, a high correlation was found between those who said they were religious and those with low rates of anxiety/depression during fertility treatment. Lower rates of depression and anxiety correlate to higher pregnancy rates. So, it stands to reason that spiritual women should have more pregnancies.
In the beginning, when couples walk through the door to the infertility Bible study, the men look apprehensive, and the women, fragile to the point of tears. But that changes. Over the course of the study, they come to realize the wisdom of letting go of (the illusion of) control. They learn the value of being still and listening for God. And with that understanding comes peace in the midst of uncertainty.
I can literally see the change occur. Body language goes from self-protective – arms crossed, gazes averted, huddled close to their spouse – to open, relaxed, and receptive. The real change is occurring in the spirit, but it is reflected in the unspoken language of the body. That change indicates God’s growing presence, which creates new possibilities.
So, is the study right in its prediction that these increasingly spiritual women have more pregnancies? I’d have to say, yes. And no. Yes, because experience has shown me—again and again and again—that those who see infertility as an invitation to draw nearer to God, and who respond to that invitation, are likely to become parents. But no, because sometimes the result is not a pregnancy; sometimes, it is an adoption.
Here’s the important thing: that is no less a miracle.
I don’t say that as a Pollyanna. I’m not advocating, “be happy about failure,” or “suck it up and compromise.” I’m saying, make a paradigm shift. Recognize that, sometimes, God calls couples to steward a soul who comes into their life in a different way than they might have expected. That’s not defeat; that’s a different plan for victory. And it is no less a gift.
Are those couples disappointed? Truthfully?
“Alumni” couples often return to the Bible study to talk to current participants about their experiences. One entire class is devoted to hearing from adoptive parents. They speak with conviction about their certainty that their particular child belongs with them: “God chose him for us,” “We knew as soon as we held her that she was meant to be our daughter.” In some cases, they also share stories of the effect the adoption had on the birth parent(s).
With loving grace, I suggest to you: let go of your vision of how this story will unfold, and when. Give God as much room as possible to work in your story. He wants to give you His very best. He wants to create a pinwheel of blessing, and it may touch souls you don’t even know.
Will you make way for that possibility?