I remember staring at the dining room table. and I didn’t want to say the words. I didn’t even want to write the words. A notebook lay open next to me, and my hand trembled.
But that day, the Holy Spirit had spoken to me. He had told me that He didn’t want me to simply “accept” God’s plan for my life–He wanted me to thank Him for it. But it hurt. There was a sharp pain when I thought about His plan (so far) was that I couldn’t get pregnant, and maybe, I would never have kids? Thank Him for that? For this? This life that didn’t have the baby I was praying for? This life that was just a big empty wasteland of broken dreams, and dissapointments? This life where it seemed everyone had what they wanted–but me? This life that had become an empty barren desert where nothing ever grew?
Or, was it?
That day, was the day everything changed. Because, it was the day the Lord showed me, He didn’t want me to simply “tolerate” His plan for my life, He wanted me to embrace it.
He didn’t want me to simply “tolerate” His plan for my life, He wanted me to embrace it.
And I knew, to do this, I needed to thank Him. For what He was doing. For what He was allowing. For what He had given me.
The words, “Thank you,” seemed impossible.
I didn’t want to say them. I know I didn’t mean them. But I said them.
I literally forced them out like baby birds who didn’t want to leave the nest, but somehow in the air, they learned to fly.
I remember writing them in that flimsy notebook in pen,
“Thank you, God, for this infertility.”
It seemed crazy. But this was how I embraced it. With both arms.
My heart burned, as I stared at the words. Tears blurred my view.
But then I began writing. Feverishly.
I wrote down everything “good” I could think of about not being able to get pregnant.
“Thank you God, that I don’t have to experience morning sickness..”
“Or put on baby weight…”
“Or go through painful labor…”
“Thank you that I don’t have to get a flabby stomach, or flabby arms, or vericose veins that run in my family (all due to pregnancy)..”
(The things I wrote that day, I wish I had a picture of to show you. Because yes, they were vain, and laughable…yet strangely, sincere. And I meant them. And that’s all that matters in this kind of work.)
As surface level as my list was, it was the very first time I ever thanked God for anything in the midst of my infertility. It was the first time I ever looked for anything good about my infertility And it was the beginning of something. It was the beginning of a breakthrough to joy.
There was nothing magical about the words I said, and certainly nothing eloquent, or praise-worthy. (I mean, who thanks God for not having vericose veins? Yeah, I’m that girl.)
And yet, it was a completely new experience for me, and it began to transform me.
In that desert place of longing, and waiting, and searching for answers to just stop and say,
“Thank you God. Thank you God, for this, right here.”
It was the beginning of seeing something I had never seen before.
Because, I had thought my life was empty, and bare, and meaningless. But gratitude opened my eyes to see a thousand gifts He had already surrounded me with.
And the more I chose to thank God for little things in my life, (like time with my husband, and being able to sleep through the night)–the more gifts I discovered. As I thanked God for one thing, He’d just remind me of another, and another and, my list just kept growing, because my eyes kept opening wider, and wider. Soon I was thanking God for all kinds of things I had never even thought about before.
And I began marveling at His goodness in my life, and seeing that my life was not the empty wasteland I imagined it to be. Rather, my life was full, and beautiful, and bursting with purpose. And finally I could see–His beauty was surrounding me–already. In a thousand little ways.
These were the blooms in the desert.
The beauty of God, emerging and bursting forth where you do not expect it. But there it is.
Isaiah 35:1-2a says,
“The desert and the parched land will be glad; the wilderness will rejoice and blossom.
Like the crocus, it will burst into bloom;
it will rejoice greatly and shout for joy.”
It will burst into bloom.
It will rejoice greatly, and shout for joy.
As you know, the journey of infertility is often refered to as the “wilderness.” And there’s a reason for that–because it really does feel like you are wandering around aimlessly in a hot desert place, with no clear path to follow, or way out. But what if, rather than cursing the ground on which we walk, we began to look for the beauty? We began to notice the little blooms? We began to see God?
I believe that gratitude opens our eyes.
Breathing out thanks to God is the wind before the rain.
The rain that will come and quench our barren souls.
Saying “Thank you,” is so simple, and yet so hard.
And we absolutely need the Holy Spirit to help us to do this. To help us, “..give thanks in all circumstances; for this is God’s will for you in Christ Jesus.” (1 Thessalonians 5:8)
That’s why I’ve created this FREE Gratitude Journal for you to download and start today! It’s called, “Blooms in the Desert: A gratitude journal to help you find the beauty of God right where you are.” It’s a simple way to begin the practice of thanking God for the little things in your life–especially if you are in a difficult season, and aren’t sure how to start.
If you’re like me, I plan to be thankful in my mind. But often stress, anxiety and busyness cloud my mind like a heavy weight. Pausing to jot down just one or two things I am thanking God for “today,” even if it’s my favorite coffee creamer, or new socks, or feeling a gentle breeze on my skin, actually grounds me and helps me see the good gifts God has given me. Practicing this gratitude in the “little” areas, prepares my heart to trust God in the “bigger” areas, like my health, or relationships, or actual fears I have.
Psalm 46 says that God is an “ever-present help in times of trouble.” While that’s true, writing down a gratitude list helps me actually see and feel and believe that He is near. And I want you to experience His nearness this way.
In this download, you will recieve a note called “Choosig to See the Beauty,” a prayer called, “A Prayer to See,” 3 journal pages, and 2 printable Scriptures, which are all black and white and printer friendly! Fill out the form below to get yours today!
Just fill out the form above, and you will recieve an email with downloads for this gratitude journal “Blooms in the Desert,” and also my infertility devotional “Watered in the Wilderness.” (Be sure to check your “Promotions” folder if you don’t see it!) If you have any issues, you can also sign up here.
My prayer is that the Spirit of God will rest on you, and that He will open your eyes to see the beauty of God which surrounds you–right where you are. Today.
May you discover the blooms in the desert.
May you burst into bloom, and shout for joy.
For wherever God is, there is beauty, and there is life.
And He is here.
Join our Barren to Beautiful Community Facebook Group as we begin to go through this gratitude journal together! (For women only.) There is also a giveaway happening for all who participate in this gratitude challenge!