My Desperate Need For God During Pregnancy

It was New Year’s Eve, and I had no idea. Even as we drank our special drinks, and counted down, and cheered, and kissed–I had no idea.

I had no idea I was pregnant. 

And I had no idea how hard this year was going to be. 

I didn’t know that my world was about to flip upside-down for the third time. 

But God did. 

 

I knew how, several years ago, my struggle with infertility had led me away into a desert place. I knew how my barren womb, led me to also have a barren soul. To a place where I was so thirsty and dry inside, it felt like my soul had become a wasteland.

 

But what I didn’t know, until this year, is that pregnancy can lead you into the desert as well. 

I didn’t know that you can have a pregnant womb, and a barren soul–at the same time.

But now I know you can.

Because, I did. 

In early January, I found out I was pregnant with our third miracle. This came as a great surprise, just as it has every single time. We were shocked, excited, and praised God for this tiny miracle we did not see coming.

A few weeks into pregnancy, all the pregnancy symptoms began: the exhaustion, fatigue, nausea, bloating, digestion “issues”–which I will spare you the details, and just a general feeling of “blah” all the time.

Now, I had experienced “pregnancy sickness” in my other two pregancies, but this time, it just felt so much worse. 

Maybe it was because I now had two children to care for, or perhaps that I’m older than I was before–but for whatever reason: I did not handle it well. 

I just remember, so many mornings, I was so tired, I could barely crawl downstairs to pour Selah and Jesse a bowl of cereal, or pop their frozen waffles into the toaster.

I just remember being in the bathroom a lot–so much that my 6-year-old was sliding me notes under the door. 

And I just remember feeling so sick and tired–all the time, and putting on movies for my kids, and crying in my bed, wishing there was someone to come clean my house, and cook my family dinner. 

This lasted for several months, and I wish I could say that I handled it all like a super-Christian. But I didn’t. 

Somehow, my physical state pushed into my spiritual one–and it pushed hard. It pushed me hard–all the way to that desert place, that I had thought only existed during infertility.

That I thought I overcame. 

But here I was again, in the wilderness.

Feeling dry, and thirsty, and so desperate inside. 

“What is happening to me?”

I’m telling you this, because, if I don’t, you won’t get the full picture. You know how on Facebook, and Instagram it can seem like some people live impossibly happy, easy lives all the time? Well…

No one needs to see how great my life is. 

What people need to see, is how when I am in a total wilderness, how great my God is.

(And that’s why I’m talking about this, and not just skipping over it like it didn’t happen.) 

I’m telling you, I was in a low place. 

January, February, and March…which are usually difficult months for me anyway–were especially hard this year. 

Those three months felt like three years. When my pregnancy sickness finally began to lift, I spent the next month sick with other illnesses. I got the stomach flu, then the actual flu, colds, viruses, sinus infections. I was beginning to wonder if there was some spiritual attack happening to me?

I don’t know. But somehow how I felt physically, really affected how I felt spiritually. 

I felt like I lost myself somewhere.

I felt like I couldn’t hear God, I couldn’t think, I couldn’t write, and I had nothing to offer anyone. I was just trying to survive. And this is why my blog was so quiet for months.

My cup not only felt empty, but bone dry. 

I know some people are really good at sharing their struggles while they are going through them. But I am not one of them. 

I couldn’t even find a language for it. 

 

One day, I wrote in my journal, that had been blank for so many months…

 

“I’ve never felt more barren…than now.”

 

And I meant it. With tears. 

 

I want you to hear this: 

Seven years ago, infertility led me to realize my desperate need for God. 

But this year, pregnancy led me to realize my desperate need for God. All over again. 

And I say this with tears–

the truth is, whether my womb is empty, or full–

I desperately need Jesus. 

My soul thirsts for him, my body longs for Him. 

In a dry and weary land, where there is no water. (Psalm 63:1)

 

My soul is barren apart from Him. In every possible way. 

 

You see, I knew this, in my head. But this year, I learned it in my heart. 

 

All of us have barren souls apart from Jesus. Our souls are a barren wasteland–dry, cracked earth, where nothing can grow–until God comes. Until Jesus comes. Until the Living Water comes and pours out His Spirit on us. 

And we are all desperate for Him. 

There is no fountain, but Him.

There is no River, but Him.

And He is the only one in all Creation who makes us alive. 

On the inside. 

 

Infertility, pregnancy, post-partum, motherhood, marriage–all of these things can cause us, at times, enter into wilderness seasons and desert places. 

The good news is this:

Jesus is not afraid to enter desserts. And He is called the “Living Water.” And He comes, at the weakest cry. 

I know, because, 

He came at mine.

And He will come at yours. 

 

This is His promise, not mine, and can be trusted:

“Remember not the former things,

nor consider the things of old.

Behold, I am doing a new thing;

now it springs forth, do you not perceive it?

I will make a way in the wilderness

and rivers in the desert.” (Isaiah 43:18-19)

 

He makes a way…in the wilderness.

He sends rivers…in the desert. Even the driest desert of our souls. 

He invites all who are thirsty to His fountain. He doesn’t require money, or status, or fame. He only requires one thing: thirst

 

“Come, everyone who thirsts,

come to the waters;

and he who has no money,

come, buy and eat!

Come, buy wine and milk

without money and without price.

Why do you spend your money for that

which is not bread,

and your labor for that which does not

satisfy?

Listen diligently to Me, and eat what is good,

and delight yourselves in rich food.

Incline your ear, and come to Me;

hear, that your soul may live;

and I will make with you an everlasting

covenant,

my steadfast, sure love for David.” (Isaiah 55:1-3)

Are you thirsty? Are you striving? Are you carrying a heavy burden?

He invites you, to come to His fountain. 

He will satisfy you. 

His word says, “Draw near to God, and He will draw near to you.” (James 4:8a) This is a promise. 

During those “months of despair” I experienced this winter, our pastor reminded us one Sunday to immerse ourselves in God’s word. It was so simple, and yet felt extremely challenging. I knew right away, the Lord was talking to me through this challenge. And I needed to stop waiting until I felt better to start reading my Bible again. I needed it now. While I was feeling awful.

So I began opening it again. And then again. And again. And, sometimes my mind was too foggy or tired to hear it. But other times, His word pierced through all my fatigue, and touched my spirit. And just for a moment, I felt alive. 

Little by little, He watered me, with His word. He held me up. He held my hand through the wilderness. And He was so gentle with me. 

He led me to His quiet waters, where my soul could drink again in Him. 

He brought my body back to health and strength again, and He brought my soul from barren to beautiful, again.

Not because of me, but because of Him. 

And I need Him to do it again, every day. To open my blind eyes, to who He is, to see His beauty. To kneel at His stream, and drink His water. 

So if you’re thirsty…whether it’s because of infertility, or pregnancy, or post-partum, or motherhood, or loss, or grief, or marriage, or any other thing–He knows. And He invites you again to His fountain. 

So come dear one, come,

and crash down at His stream,

and drink.

Drink it, drink it down, cold, until your bones tingle.

Until every dry crack is filled with His water.

Until you overflow.

Come, drink as much as you want,

as often as you want,

until your soul is satisfied, 

in Him. 

 

Photo by Joey Thompson on Unsplash

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Keristan’s Secondary Infertility Testimony

“Be still before the Lord and wait patiently for him…” Psalm 37:7

This was our verse for my secondary infertility journey. In April 2014, my husband and I were blessed with a wonderful daughter. Shortly before her we had a miscarriage and we were so thankful to have her. We both hoped for her to have a sibling so we started trying for another baby after she turned 1. This turned into several years of waiting. I made a wooden sign with the verse from Psalm 37 as a daily reminder to wait on Jesus.

It was a hard season, but it was such a time of growth for me as I dug into God’s word, searching for comfort in him, and as I cried out to him. Daily, I had to surrender my pain, jealousy, dreams, and my desires for my life. Looking back over my prayer journal these are some of the things that God has taught me:

He has a bigger plan than I can imagine and I don’t have to try to figure it out. I just need to live for him.

Jesus is my greatest joy in all circumstances.

I learned to praise him more.

Faith isn’t asking for what I want and waiting for it to happen; it is trusting in his will.

It was such a teaching opportunity for our first daughter. She would long for and shed tears for a sibling. All we could do as parents was to encourage her to pray and teach her that Jesus would be her forever friend no matter whether we were blessed with another child or not.

During this journey I did the “Yet I Will Rejoice” study (written by Kristy at Organic Christian Living) with the Barren to Beautiful Community Facebook group. It was so encouraging and such a blessing to be a part of. Around the time of doing this study both my husband and I felt God speaking to us of a promise of another child. We didn’t know what this would look like exactly, but we were trying to trust him.

Last Christmas 2017, was a pivotal point in our journey. We had decided to pursue some fertility treatments with a sense of peace from God that this was the right step for us. After two failed IUI’s I was very low during Christmas. I went for a walk in the snow in order to be alone with Jesus. I sang, read my Bible, and cried many tears to him.

On that cold day in the stillness Jesus spoke to me and asked me to trust him and wait on Him.

In that moment I felt a peace that I cannot explain. Nothing in my circumstances had changed, but Jesus was there telling me to just rest in Him.

We had one more IUI that was planned and after praying, both my husband and I decided that if this didn’t work, then we were done with doing any more treatments (it was very stressful & emotional, etc). It felt like we were giving it all to him and I felt peace with the possibility of only being blessed with one child and that God knows what’s best. We did the IUI and then we went on a pastor/spouse retreat (my husband is in ministry). During the retreat I was praying and reading my Bible when this verse came up next in my reading:

“We will tell the next generation the praise worthy deeds of the Lord, his power and the wonders he has done…so the next generation would know them, even the children yet to be born, and they in turn would tell their children” (Psalm 78:4-6).

After reading this I thought, “Whoa! What are you saying Lord?” I felt that God was giving me hope of his promise to us.

A few weeks later, my husband found out the devastating news that the lead pastor of our church, that he was working under, was diagnosed with terminal cancer. That was the same day we found out that I was pregnant. It was a season of both joy and sorrow, but this new life gave us and others, hope in the midst of the sadness and loss. God’s timing is perfect.

I will never forget the look on our daughter’s face when we told her that God had answered her prayers for a sibling. To this day, she still often says how thankful she is for her sister. This whole experience has deepened her faith greatly.

In October 2018, we welcomed another sweet baby girl into our family. God is so faithful. No matter what happens, he never changes. He knows what is best and he has truly given me the desires of my heart. I hope my story encourages you to draw close to Jesus and trust in his perfect love no matter what his plan is.

[Photo by Azrul Aziz on Unsplash]

Thank you so much for sharing your testimony Keristan! We praise God for the miracle He has done in your family. And we share in the hope that Jesus is with each one of us, and wants us to rest in Him, no matter what His plan is. Thank you for the reminder that He is good, and can be trusted.

If you read this testimony and thought, “Hey, I’d like to read that infertility Bible reading plan she mentioned!” You can! Head over to OrganicChristianLiving.com and click on the “Yet I Will Rejoice: Infertility Bible Reading Plan.” Our friend Kristy has developed a wonderful plan (and many others) to read through, which we did as a community in the Barren to Beautiful Community Facebook group. You can join our closed community of women as well for personal encouragement and hope.

Much love, Rebekah

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A Third Miracle On the Way

There was a time, a long time ago, when I sat on the bathroom floor and wept for just one child.

I didn’t know what would happen. I prayed God would give us a child, but I never “claimed” that He would. How could I know the mystery of God?

And yet, several years later, God answered my cries. He gave us a precious baby girl, we named her Selah. (Which is from the Psalms, and means “pause, and reflect on this”.) You can read Why We Named Her Selah.

When Selah was four, we had been experiencing about three years of secondary infertility, and weren’t sure if I would ever be able to have another child. (We were still so thankful to even have one!) But during that time, we prayed about it and felt led to get certified to become foster parents. We were so excited that we could open our hearts and home to a child who would be desperate for our love and protection.

But the week before we finished our 90-Day certification process, and were supposed to receive our first foster child, and we had set up the nursery, and I had washed all our baby things in Dreft—I found out I was pregnant. (You can’t make this stuff up!) We were so shocked at this turn of events, and humbled to tears that the nursery we were preparing was actually to be for our own child, who was already growing inside of me.

And 9 months later, I gave birth to a big, beautiful baby boy, we named Jesse. (Which means “gift.”)

And the last couple years, my days have been so full of these precious children, who need all of me, all the time. Getting to raise these miracles takes everything I have, and more. It takes total dependency on Christ–and becoming increasingly aware that I need more of Him, every day. And so do they.

As exhausting as motherhood is–infertility leaves a mark on you. You simply can’t forget the nights you’ve wept for the ones who are now yours. You can’t forget how you’ve prayed for them, and how it wasn’t long ago that your arms ached to do what you are doing now.

Infertility changes you—in many ways for the better. For one, it makes you loosen the grip you thought you had on your life. It helps you realize that your life is not your own–it’s for the glory of God, however He chooses. It helps you realize that you are not your own, your body is from God and you are at His mercy. Only He can open the womb, or open the doors to whatever destiny He has for you, whether it’s bearing children, or rescuing them from orphanages (through adoption), or abusive families (through foster care).

That’s why, when people ask you questions like, “Do you want to have kids?” or, “Do you want to have more kids?” You aren’t quite sure how to respond.

Or, you will hear people tell you an exact number of kids they want. And something twists in you.

Because those are sacred things. Those, are often wrapped up in the mystery of God–only to be revealed in His time.

When you’ve struggled with infertility, you simply learn to open your arms. And keep them open, to whatever plan He has–knowing He will absolutely bring it about in His time.

Like the song, “Control,” by Tenth Avenue North, you say:

“I take my hands off of my life,

And give You control,

I give you control.”

I honestly didn’t know if we would have more children, I was content not to know. My husband and I agreed, “If God wants to give us more, than He will.”  So, we just surrendered it over to Him, thankful that He had already blessed us with two precious children.

But, He had more plans. And, I did not see them coming at all.

This January, I was actually in a place where I felt like I was finally feeling “normal again.” Jesse was two now, the baby stage was behind us, my body had finally gone back to normal, more importantly, my hormones felt back to normal–after pregnancy, postpartum, nursing, post-weaning–and ALL the craziness it brought me–I finally felt like I was back to my old self again!

I was actually feeling thankful that I was in a place I could just enjoy our season of life with our two kids. 

I had big plans to write my book, work on my writing goals, give more attention to this blog, and about a hundred other things on my to-do list. 

And I have a feeling God was smiling the whole time, as I was filling out all those big January goal sheets.

Because about a week into January, I realized my period was a day late. So, I took a test. And the two faintest lines appeared. 

I had to hold it in pure sunlight streaming in from the window to be sure. 

The faintest second line was there. 

And I dropped to my knees on the bathroom floor. 

“God, am I pregnant?

Is there life in me?” I whispered.

I could not believe it. 

When my husband got home, I told him the news and he was just as shocked as I was. 

We hugged, and laughed, and stared at each other in disbelief. And we thanked God for this little life that He made. 

I am 12 weeks pregnant now, and my hands tremble to write these words. I am in awe that God would give us this unexpected blessing, and we are praising God for this life. 

However, I really wrestled with how to share this news with you, because I know that you might be trying to get pregnant right now. And I know how pregnancy announcements can sting. I know how they can knock the wind out of you. 

I know how they can feel like it’s so easy for everybody else, but you. 

I’ve felt all of these things before, too. 

The reason I share this news, is not to hurt you. But simply to give testimony to God–and tell of His works. 

Psalms 105: 2-3 says,

“Sing to him, sing praises to him;
    tell of all his wondrous works!
Glory in his holy name;
    let the hearts of those who seek the Lord rejoice!”

I have to believe that when we tell of what God has done, and how He is moving, it gives Him glory and strengthens the hearts of His people. This is why I share women’s testimonies on my blog–because whether it’s a miracle of the womb, or a miracle of the soul–both are the wonderful works of God. 

For those of you who are hurting right now—I wish I could heal your pain, I wish I could take it away, but I can’t. And there is only One who can, Jesus. 

I am praying that you walk with Him during this season. Because when I had a barren womb, it wasn’t just my womb that was barren, it was my soul. I looked put together on the outside–but inside of me was a dry, barren land. My soul was so thirsty for God–and I didn’t even know it. 

But God met me in that desert I was living in—not by giving me a baby. But by giving me Himself. He showed me that HE was the one I was longing for all along–and the only one who could satisfy me, and water me, and give me life. (And He did this before I ever got pregnant.)

If you aren’t familiar with my story, I encourage you to read When God Takes You From Barren to Beautiful.

I believe that Jesus wants to water every thirsty woman who finds herself with a barren soul, (whether struggling with infertility, or not). That’s why He is called the Living Water.

I know I can’t promise anyone a baby, but I can promise you a River. His name is Jesus Christ. And if you drink of Him, you shall never thirst again. 

And I pray He waters you more than you ever thought possible. I pray that He brings your soul from a place of being barren and dry, to a place of being  watered and filled with His beauty and life. 

Lastly, I come to you as your sister and friend. Thank you for allowing me to walk this journey with you, and thank you for walking with me. Personally,  I have been very sick these past few months due to the pregnancy. (And this is why I haven’t been posting as much.) Would you please pray for me, and pray for this little one within? I would love it if you could. 

My soul is so thirsty for Him right now. I pray yours is, too. Because I know He will come to water us. 

“For I will pour water on the thirsty land, and streams on the dry ground; I will pour my Spirit upon your offspring, and my blessing on your descendants.” Isaiah 44:3

Let it be so. 

You are precious and deeply loved. 

Much Love, 

Rebekah

 

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Paige’s Testimony

I was never one to have a strong desire for a “career.”   In the loosest sense of the term, I wanted my “worldly” priorities to be a wife, and once I was married, a mother.   My husband did not feel as ready as I did, so we waited for 2 years before he began to confidently consider being a father.  It was decided I was going to quit my job to become a full-time housewife and eventually, stay-at-home mom.   A lot of stress had been placed on us the past 2 years and we were going to cherish this short time together before we were to have a child.

I knew it was a possibility we may not conceive right away.  My sister is almost 12 years older than me—because that’s how long it took my parents to finally have me.  But my husband and I were healthy, with no known medical concerns. And losing my job was not much to me; I knew from the statistics that it would likely happen within 6-9 months. I had just turned 27 and didn’t feel concerned.

Fast forward a year later and our life had quickly turned from cherishing this time together, to facing anxiety about what we didn’t yet have.   

Fast forward a year later and our life had quickly turned from cherishing this time together, to facing anxiety about what we didn’t yet have.   

My husband and I are beginning the ominous twelfth month of trying to conceive.  Although I know it cannot compare to those who have been waiting and praying for years, I already feel how the process has begun slowly breaking my spirit month after month.

We are what I call the “in-between” stage.  Looking at the statistics at this point makes me want to cry, fearing the worst for us.  Reading success stories reminds me there is lots of hope.  We have our first doctor’s appointment next month.  The unknown terrifies me, while the prospect of modern medicine reassures me.  But God’s word says, “A double minded man is unstable in all his ways” (James 1:8) and this constant mind battle is tiring.

If anything has come from this so far, it has been for my husband and I, type A planners, to relinquish control to God.  I used OPKs (ovulation predictor kits) the first few months before I realized the stress they placed on us.  I charted my temperatures for the first 10 months before realizing I was consistent, and it didn’t matter how perfectly “timed” we were month after month. 

Up until this point in life, I feel I’ve had at least some control over most major decisions: choosing my college degree, saying “yes” to my future spouse, finding a church to be a part of.  But in this matter of creating life, only God can allow sperm and egg to meet.  On this blog, I read someone say they realized they were “living their life for someone’s whose time was not yet appointed.”  That convicted me.  I felt ashamed for thinking I could make this happen and I cried out to God for an attitude of thankfulness and contentment for what I currently have.  I have wrestled with God enough to know that His will, and not mine, will be done. 

Up until this point in life, I feel I’ve had at least some control over most major decisions: choosing my college degree, saying “yes” to my future spouse, finding a church to be a part of.  But in this matter of creating life, only God can allow sperm and egg to meet.  On this blog, I read someone say they realized they were, “Living their life for someone’s whose time was not yet appointed.”  That convicted me.  I felt ashamed for thinking I could make this happen and I cried out to God for an attitude of thankfulness and contentment for what I currently have. 

I have wrestled with God enough to know that His will, and not mine, will be done. 

I don’t know what our future holds.  Though I am still asking God to bless us with a child, my prayers are more centered on peace and direction.  I want the peace and joy that Paul describes in Philippians 4:10-13,

“I rejoiced greatly that you have revived your concern for me and that you were concerned, but you had no opportunity. Not that I speak of being in need. For I have learned in whatever situation I am to be content. I know how to be abased and I know how to abound in any and every circumstance. I have learned the secret of facing plenty and hunger, abundance and need. I can do all things through him who strengthens me.”

Phillipians 4:10-13

I am still learning to fully trust.  My sweet husband made the analogy that if God can multiply five loaves and two fishes to feed thousands, than he can turn one of his sperm and one of my eggs into millions of cells to form a child, if he so chooses – no matter the obstacle.  He is able, but he is also sovereign in his decisions, and I have to trust in that.  His ways and thoughts are higher than mine (Isaiah 55:9).  

As I allow God to fulfill His purpose in me, I know that I am growing and He is filling my barren heart with more of Him.


Thank you Paige for bravely sharing your testimony. You trust in the Lord is both beautiful and contagious in this community. May the Lord continue to bless you with peace and purpose, as you wait on Him. 

Love, Rebekah

Photo credit: Photo by Katie Drazdauskaite on Unsplash


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His Ways Are Not Like Ours: (And This is Good)

My hands tremble as I write these words. Because I don’t know what it will mean in my life.

I tremble at the thought of grief–where I never expected it. But also I tremble at the thought of joy.

Where I never expected it.

Because,

His ways are not like ours.

I read it in Isaiah 55 this week:

“For my thoughts are not your thoughts,

neither are your ways my ways, declares the LORD.

For as the heavens are higher than the earth, so are my ways higher than your ways and my thoughts than your thoughts.”

Isaiah 55:8-9

I’ve read this passage many times. I’ve often wondered at it, tried to stare into it’s mystery. Trying to see more of it. Like the way I stare into the sky to see the stars that look so small. My eyes cannot behold what they really are, in their full blazing beauty, with all the hazy miles between us.

And so it is with Him.

His ways are not like ours.

And this is good.

It’s good in a way I can’t always wrap my head around, or heart around–here. On earth.

To say His ways are good doesn’t mean they are easy or they make sense to us. To say His ways are good–is to speak in faith.

Our eyes can’t always see the goodness here on earth. But our hearts can believe that one day, when we stand before His throne in heaven–when the stars are no longer distant specks in the sky, but feel as warm and close as sisters, and when angels’ voices we hear, and saints and elders and nations bow low before His throne, in the posture of worship before the King–that on that day–when the wisdom of God is at last revealed in all it’s fullness–we will say with warm and happy tears,

“Yes, Lord, yes. All your ways were good.”

I don’t pretend to know what it will be like. But knowing His character, and His kindness I can only imagine the deep healing (the healing of the nations) that will take place in heaven. The deep soothing, and consoling work of Christ, who took all our suffering and grief upon Himself–how much deeper will that healing go, when we are together, face to face?

How will it feel to be wrapped in His arms and His warm thumb is wiping the tears away from your cheeks, slowly, and gently, and He is speaking something into your ears (too mysterious for you to have understood on earth), then the healing will go deep down into you, and taste sweet like honey.

I can only imagine this. And it will be better than what I can imagine.

I have to keep an eternal perspective, I have to imagine what it will be like in the end, in heaven–otherwise, I simply cannot bear it. All the grief. That is here.

Not only from my own life, but in my friends. In people I scroll through on Instagram. Not just the evil in the world. But the stories of people dying. The emails I get from so many grieving women. Some who could never concieve, many who miscarried, and others who gave birth to stillborn babies. Grief that is so deep, I cannot even begin to wrap my mind or heart around it.

What can I say? How can I respond? Except to grieve. Grieve with them.

I do this. And I pray.

I bow my knees on the cold floor and bow my face low. And when I pause before Him, I realize how exalted He is.

I am before the LORD. The maker of heaven and earth.

I don’t know what to pray, and yet I tremble before the one who made the stars, who opens wombs, who breathes life into babies, who heals the body, who rules the nations.

And whose ways…are not like mine.

He openly declares this. (Isaiah 55:8-9.)

And recently, I realized that God is offering deep comfort in this passage, one I had not seen before.

“For as the rain and the snow come down from heaven and do not return there but water the earth,

making it bring forth and sprout,

giving seed to the sower and bread to the eater,

so shall my word be that goes out from my mouth;

it shall not return to me empty,

but it shall accomplish that which I purpose,

and shall succeed in the thing for which I sent it.”

Isaiah 55:10-11

I’ve often heard this scripture in the context of sharing the gospel with people. I’ve heard street evangelists say to just hold signs up with God’s Word on them, and unbelievers will read those words, and they will have to have some effect, because “God’s word never returns void!” (And I’m not dissing that interpretation.) But, I saw something different, something more,

when I read it on my knees.

When I read it thinking of all the grief of my friends, and loved ones. All the prayers I am petitioning on behalf of other people. All the questions and confusion and mystery and sorrow–that I don’t have answers for–that cannot be revealed until heaven. It didn’t sound the way I read it before. It sounded different to me. It sounded altogether comforting.

Because I don’t know how God will answer my prayers, but the God I’m praying to, says this:

So shall my word be that goes out from my mouth,

it shall not return to me empty,

but it shall accomplish that which I purpose,

and shall succeed in the thing for which I sent it.”

Isaiah 55:11

Let that sink in.

His word does not return to Him empty.

It accomplishes exactly what He purposes. Every day.

Nothing in this life will be able to steal His purpose or His glory. He absolutely will carry it out in full perfection. He is God.

Every single rain drop that falls from the sky, goes where He sends it.

Every snowflake.

Every sperm and egg that meet and grow into life, are in His command.

Every person is breathed out by Him, and formed in His hands, whether they only live to be as small as a grain of rice, or as large as a full grown NBA player.

None of His commands return to Him empty. But each one, as large as the mountains, or as small as a grain of sand–accomplish the purpose for which He desires.

I don’t know what the future holds. I have many times tried to brace myself for all my fearful imaginations of what “could” happen. And it’s not helpful. And it’s not faith. Imagining every worst case scenario and trying to prepare yourself is not faith–it’s fear. And fear is something we are not called to live in.

“For God has not given us a spirit of fear, but of power and of love and of a sound mind.” 2 Timothy 1:7

So there are two things going on here. There is the grief I feel for people who are suffering. And there is fear of my own suffering and grief I will have to endure in this life.

Both are crippling. Both are very real and legitimate responses though, for living in a broken, fallen world. Because there is so much pain here.

So there is grief that it happened to them.

And fear it will happen to you.

How are we to go on living?

We can spend ourselves in sorrow and tears.

We can waste our years, entangled in fears.

But, is that really living?

I don’t know the future. I don’t know what is ahead in my life, or my kids, or those I love.

But I know this, and here is where I find my comfort and solace:

The word that goes out from His mouth–will not return to Him empty.

Long life or short. Pleasure or grief. His word (what He says, ordains, speaks into existance) will not return to Him empty.

But will accomplish that which He purposes.

And shall succeed in the thing for which He sent it.

I recently heard author Nancy Guthrie speak on the Risen Motherhood podcast. She spoke about her children that were born with a rare metabolic disease and lived only a short time.

But then she said something that brought me weeping to my knees.

She said she had to trust that “God’s purpose would be completely accomplished in her daughter Hope’s life in the number of days that he gave to her.”

And that amount was 199 days.

It makes me weep. And this is not my story, and I don’t pretend to know the pain of parents who have endured this. But from this woman who has been there, I can hear the comfort in her knowing, that as unimaginable as it must have been, she was able to rest in that God had given her the exact amount of days to accomplish His purpose.

(You can hear that incredible episode here at Risen Motherhood. )

And I have to find comfort here. Because I don’t know the number of days I have, or my children have, or my husband, or anyone else I love.

But I can know this:

His word will not return to Him empty.

It shall accomplish His purpose.

And succeed in the thing for which He sent it.

Maybe you are filled with grief. Or, maybe you are filled with fear. Or, maybe both?

If you are staring down the valleys of the shadows of death, if you are fearing all sorts of evil or pain…

Know that you have a Good Shepherd who watches over His word. Who watches over you.

And He promises that just like the rain and snow fall from heaven, and water the earth, making it flourish and bud—

He says, “so shall my word be that goes out from my mouth,

it shall not return to me empty,

but it shall accomplish that which I purpose,

and shall succeed in the thing for which I sent it.” Isaiah 55:11

And this gives us great hope, and great peace.

He has told us His ways are not like ours, that they are higher than the heavens are above the earth. And we can stare into the sky and see the little specks of stars.

They look small and dim.

But one day, we will see them as they are. Bigger than the sun, and blazing in all their beauty.

And one day, we will see Him as He is.

In all His glory.

In all His goodness.

Until then…Let us not live with a spirit of fear. But with great abounding peace, knowing:

His word will not return to Him empty,

but He will accomplish that which He purposes,

and succeed in the thing for which He sent it.

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