Monthly Archives: March 2012

Risk Listening to God

One of the hardest questions infertile couples face is deciding whether to give God control.  I got an email yesterday from a woman expressing a deep desire to conceive – and to have God’s help conceiving.  And yet, she admitted, a part of her resists praying for a baby, “Because what if God says, ‘No’?”

The fear of hearing God speak words we don’t want to hear keeps many of us separated from the very One who can alter our path’s course.  The only One who always knows what (or who) to bring into our lives to transform our journey from endless wandering to forward progress.  The only One who always knows how to transform our heart’s desire from unsatisfied longing to joy.

Sooner or later, each of us must decide whether to maintain the (illusion of) control that enables us to believe we can will a heartbeat into the womb, or the alternative:  humbly acknowledging that we already would have if we could.

The truth is, we need help.

Who can we trust?

Too often, we conclude:  That depends….

What is God’s plan?  How can we know?  If we knew, it would be SO much easier to trust Him.  Will He tell us anything encouraging if we risk entrusting Him with our hopes and fears?  And what if He does say, “No”?  Does that mean we will never realize our dream?  If so, will refusing to hear Him speak prevent the dream from dying?  This is the crazy-making loop we get caught in – and it prevents us from being still and listening to the voice of the only One who has the answers.

Recently, a friend gave me a copy of God Guides.  This small book reveals the extraordinary peace and power that are available to those who learn to be still and listen to the God who longs to be known, revealed, and trusted.

Mary Geegh, the author, was a missionary to India.  She discovered that, despite enormous effort on her part, she had very little impact on those she meant to be helping.  Then, another missionary came to the same village.  Within a week, the lives of the villagers were transformed.  She humbled herself enough to ask, “How do you do it?”

Her fellow missionary responded, “The first step is to ‘wait’… ‘be still’… and ‘listen.’  Then… write down the things the Holy Spirit speaks to your mind, [and] determine to obey.”

Motivated to succeed, she took the advice.  Her ministry became one of patiently waiting on God’s word alongside those who were struggling.  “He has the answer for every problem,” she promised.  Her fellow listeners discovered it was the truth.  Her book is filled with stories of incredible outcomes for those who listened and obeyed.

At one point, Mary writes, “We were given two ears and one mouth because we should listen in prayer  twice as much as we speak.”  As we listen, we must be ready to hear the truth — because the Lord cannot be other than completely truthful.  If we are unwilling to hear the truth, and yet we pretend to “listen” for Him, we will hear a resounding silence.  Why?  Because we have hardened our hearts to His message.  We have turned away from Him – choosing autonomy and (the illusion of) control over trust.  Although we will always be permitted to choose this path, it will never lead to His best for us.

So, must we risk listening with open minds and hearts?

It is not as fear-inducing as it sounds.  Scripture is full of promises of God’s love for His people, His faithfulness, and His deep desire to bless.  Wouldn’t you like to be on the receiving end of unlimited grace and power?  Wouldn’t you like to experience the incredibly abundant goodness of God?

If so… be still.  Rest in the knowledge that He is for you.  Trust that He intends to make you a victor, not a victim.  Listen for His reassurances.  Wait patiently for His guidance.  Write down and follow His instructions.  This is the path to abundant joy.

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Want more inspiration and cause for hope?  Read Pregnant With Hope: Good News for Infertile Couples.  Here’s a link to order your copy now.

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Filed under Control, Hope, Humility, Peace, Trust

Worth the Journey

My husband pointed out something interesting in scripture yesterday, and I realized there’s a parallel in the infertility journey.

As the Israelites were heading toward the Jordan River and into the Promised Land, Moses reminded them that there would be specific geographic boundaries for this new homeland.  It would be bordered by certain rivers, seas, gorges and hill country.  It wouldn’t be just anywhere — someplace they’d call good enough.  “Your territory will extend from the desert to Lebanon,” he told them, “and from the Euphrates River to the western sea. “

What’s so interesting about that?

God’s people were being led to a specific destination, a particular future chosen for them by the God who’d planned and overseen every step of their journey.

How is that like the infertility journey?

You may not feel as if you’re headed anywhere specific.  You may not sense yourself making forward progress at all.  But there is a precise destination, already seen clearly by the God who guides your steps, out there on your life’s horizon.  Of course, you can choose to quit traveling any time.  You can choose to pitch a tent at any point on your journey and announce, “I’ve had it.  This is it for me.  I’m stopping here.”

But, that’s not where God’s leading you.  And His very best won’t be waiting there.

In fact, if you choose a stopping point outside the parameters of His perfect will for you, you may end up settling somewhere that was never meant to be your future.  Of couse, God won’t stop you from making a life for yourself there.  Some of the Israelites chose not to cross the Jordan – even though they were a stone’s throw from their promised future.  Just like them, you have free will.  So, it’s your choice.  But, He’s definitely leading you to a very specific destination.  A very best future.

Moses told God’s people, “… the eyes of the Lord your God are continually on it from the beginning of the year to its end.”  It was their destination.  He wanted to remind the weary travelers that their journey would end in abundant blessings – but only if they followed God’s lead and made a life for themselves within the boundaries of His perfect plan.

The same holds true for you.

This journey may be nothing like what you expected.  It may seem as if you’ve been wandering in the wilderness, searching for the future you thought God had planned for you, forever.  It may seem as if you’re further and further from the dream that your heart has clung to — as if it’s past time to take charge of this endless journey and bring it to a close.  You can… but I hope you won’t.

You are not lost to God.  He has been guiding your steps all along, leading you toward the future He planned for you.  Don’t insist on following your preconceived ideas about how long this should take, or which route will get you where you want to go.  Trust that God knows what He’s doing – and why – and that He’s working in and through your circumstances, even now.

Don’t let impatience keep you from His very best for you.  The Promised Land of parenthood is not as far off as you think.  More importantly, the Lord knows exactly where it is — and exactly when you’ll get there.   Trust Him enough to keep pressing on, anticipating the joy of reaching the destination He’s always had in mind for you.

When you reach your Promised Land — when years’ worth of effort, and countless hours worth of worry, finally come to an end — you will know it was worth trusting God’s perfect plan.

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For more encouragement and cause for hope, read Pregnant With Hope: Good News for Infertile Couples.  Click this link to order a copy today.

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Filed under Control, Hope, Perspective

The Best Defense…

It doesn’t happen often, but when someone willfully violates my boundaries and I am struggling to respond constructively (or just to hold my ground), it takes a heavy toll on me – and my body pays the price.

I’ve learned recently that many of us absorb our feelings deep into our bodies.  Rather than resolving issues that may require us to confront people we’d love to avoid, we push the hurt down, away from our thoughts to a place deep in our spirits, and we tell ourselves that we’re handling it well.

But we’re not.

A book I’m reading now makes clear that our health (and fertility) is profoundly affected by our thoughts and feelings.  When we feel helpless and hopeless – or when we push our emotions so far from our consciousness, we can’t even say what we feel – negative physical consequences often result.

How?  Research has shown that anxious, worried, stressed, frustrated, anguished, hostile thoughts and feelings have the power to alter our immune systems, making it hard to fight off sickness.  They can undermine our sleep, making it harder to recover through rest.  They can affect our concentration, making it difficult to think clearly and make good choices.  And much, much more.

Bottom line, they can become the enemy within.

Literally.

That was the epiphany for me.

I’ve realized that when I allow negative thoughts and feelings to dwell in my spirit, I open the door to all sorts of bad consequences.  The chain reaction starts off simply enough.  My skin breaks out, or my shoulders ache.  I narrowly avoid an accident or somehow provoke an argument because I’m tired and distracted.  I’m not hungry, so I don’t eat.  Without the energy to exercise, I skimp on that, too.  Soon, good self-care falls by the wayside.  And before you know it, I look bad and I feel worse.

Without realizing it, my dark mood – and all the negative thoughts and feelings it procreates — propels me toward poor choices that reinforce my sense that everything’s coming against me.  It becomes self-fulfilling:  Bad leads to worse, and worse, and even worse….  Then, someone says, “Are you sick?  You don’t look good.”  The vicious cycle accelerates and within hours – or even minutes — my perception is altered without my realizing it and it affects my ability to see things clearly.

An emotional death spiral begins – and soon, it becomes a spiritual one, too.  God feels very far away.

Sound at all familiar?

It doesn’t have to be this way.

The enemy is always seeking a stronghold in our spirits – a place of anger, fear or self-pity that will enable him to set up camp and attack us from within.  It is an opportunistic assault launched when we feel vulnerable (helpless, hopeless) and alone.

We opened the door.  And we can close it.

How?  By asking God to fight our battles.

That’s what I did recently.  I affirmed my right to healthy boundaries, backed away from the person who set off my downward spiral, and asked the Lord to work in his spirit – to convinct him, show him the damage he’d done, and free me from the burden of either defending myself or engaging in an unwelcome “battle” over whether he did me wrong.

I’m confident my body will thank me… as soon as my hands stop shaking.

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Filed under Battles, Peace, Perspective, Speaking Up