I felt the breeze tonight as I walked through the neighborhood, pushing baby Zion in her stroller.
The sky was gray, and the leaves were rustling and turning backwards.
This is my favorite kind of breeze.
The warm breeze before a big rain.
As I pushed the stroller up the big hill, the words of Psalm 46 sank into my spirit, and I whispered the words under my breath,
“There is is a river,” I said so softly no one could hear.
“There is a river,
whose streams make glad the city of God,
the holy place, where the most high dwells.” (Psalms 46:4)
The treese continued rustling in the breeze, and I remembered when I first learned this verse.
I was in 6th grade, laying on my pink and white plaid comforter in my second-story bedroom in Ellwood City. I shared a room with Hannah, my blonde little sister, and we had pale pink walls, and a rose pink carpet, and I used to flop my big, heavy Kid’s Bible with purple edges and a sparkly cover onto my bed, and creak it open, almost daily.
And I’d soak the pages in highlighter yellow.
But my favorite, was Psalm 46.
I wrote it in swirly letters in my first black and white Composition notebook that my Sunday School teacher Jill gave me, when she said, “You can talk to God this way.” And she handed out pens and clean notebooks to every one of us.
That was the beginning.
And somewhere between the thin pages of my bible, and the thinly lined pages of my journal—I fell in love.
I fell in love with God.
I entered the secret garden,
of His love for me.
I read the tiny words in black and red ink of Scripture, and I poured out every color of my 12-year-old heart in gel penned ink, tattooed all over the pages.
Never underestimate a 12-year-old’s ability to hear God’s voice. Nor a 3-year-old’s for that matter. Sometimes, they can hear more clearly than we can. Unhindered. And never underestimate a frilly looking Kid’s Bible, or cutesy girl pens.
Because that’s where my life began.
I say that with tears.
And these are the words He has been singing over me, whispering over me since my childhood bedroom, and now, as a 33 year old woman–these words come out like breaths, as I push our baby girl up the big hill, the breeze gently blows, like the breath of God. Zion raises her bare toes in the air to feel the wind. And I whisper to her now,
“There is a river…
whose streams make glad the city of God…
the holy place, where the most high dwells.”
The breeze captivates me, and Zion looks back at me with her hazel, mysterious eyes, and I smile at her. And I remember when my womb was barren, and my hands were empty.
And I remember how I grieved my infertility.
I grieved my very life.
It’s not that I wanted to die, I didn’t. It’s just that I wanted to live a different life than the one I had been given.
Isn’t that how it always begins?
There is a very thin line between dreams and discontentment–when you can’t obtain what you want.
And this my friends, is the very heart of discontentment. This longing for a different life–
It’s a robber, the theif of joy. And it will drain you, until you are emptier than empty. Until you are bone dry.
Because when you grieve your own life—when you see it all as barren, and desolate—you yourself become barren and desolate within your soul.
I remember the way I struggled. The way I tried to overcome my pain in my own strength. The way I tried to just “accept” that my womb was closed. I tried to “tolerate” it like someone limping around on a broken leg.
And I thought I was doing well.
Perhaps by the world’s standards, I was.
But Christ did not come to help us ignore our pain–He came to heal it.
And I don’t mean that he always heals the body–because sometimes, in His wisdom, He doesn’t. But He always heals the soul, He works wonders in the soul.
And there was somewhere further He was calling me, somewhere higher He wanted me to climb–so I could be free.
In my soul.
He was calling me somewhere my feet couldn’t take me. He was calling me somewhere only He could carry me.
He was asking me to do something I couldn’t myself do. Something I lacked the power to do.
Do you know what He wanted me to do?
He wanted me to stop simply “accepting” my infertility.
And He was asking me to start “thanking” Him for it.
You read that right.
He was calling me to embrace it, to embrace Him, to embrace the life He had crafted me (however wild, however rocky, whatever it looked like) with both arms–and to embrace it with JOY.
And I didn’t want to.
Because my heart was like a stone.
My heart was a barren, desolate wasteland, with dry, cracked earth. And I didn’t know how. I was thirsty and parched, and I was dying of thirst.
But it was in the wilderness that He found me.
He carried me.
And He helped me say the words, “Thank you God for infertility.”
Lean in and hear this with your spirit,
“Before the rains came,
the wind came.”
And the wind was like this–it was saying, “Thank you.”
It was learning to thank Him while my womb was barren and my arms were empty, not by my power, but through the power of His Spirit.
His Spirit was calling me, to thank Him, to praise Him, to worship Him.
His Spirit moves like the wind, before the rain.
And I believe that gratitude is the wind, before the rain.
Ann Voskamp says, “Thanksgiving–always precedes the miracle.”
And she is absolutley right.
There is a reason we are told to,“Rejoice always, pray without ceasing, give thanks in all circumstances; for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus for you.” (1 Thes. 5:16-18)
Because as we thank God for what He has already abundantly given, we see and remember what He has already given us. And we see that He is enough. He does something in our hearts. He prepares us to receive His rain.
And as I breathed out thanks to Him–the rains came, like a heavy, summer downpour–quenching, and satisfying all the deepest, cracked places of my barren heart.
And He longs to do this for you as well.
No one can water you like Jesus. In fact, no one can water you at all–except Jesus.
Your husband can’t water you.
Your friends can’t water you.
Your kids can’t water you.
Your popularity, or success, or accomplishments can’t water you.
Because only Jesus can.
Because He is the Living Water. He is the mighty, rushing River of Life. He gives drink to the thirsty, and increases the power of the weak.
And you and I were made with a thirst, a deep burning thirst within our souls. It’s constant. And it’s only satisfied in Jesus.
But to experience that quenching, that downpour–there is often a wind before the rain.
And the wind is simply breathing.
Breathing out your thanks.
It’s real breath, and real thanks, for real things.
And I felt that wind again tonight. As I thanked Him—for everything in my life. I felt the wind, the gentle prelude before the rain—I’m desperate for.
And you’re desperate for.
We’re all desperate for.
So, I invite you, to read Psalm 46.
And to walk out in the breeze. Let it blow in your face.
Whether you are pushing a baby stroller, or empty handed.
I invite you to breathe.
To breathe out thanks for everything He’s given you.
For all He’s done.
For all He’s going to do.
Marveling at the breeze, captivated by the Spirit.
Because this is the wind,
before the rain.
And the rain is coming.
The River is coming,
His name is Jesus.
And if you drink of Him, you will never thirst again.