Can We Talk About New Year’s Resolutions and Shame?

Most years, I spend the final days leading up to New Year’s Eve in reflection of the past year.

I eagerly begin making my resolutions, and sharpening my focus for the year to come.

But not this year.

I just didn’t want to reflect on my past year. I didn’t want to think about what worked well, and what didn’t.

Because as I looked back on my past year all I felt was: shame.

Tears fill my eyes, even now when I think about it.

I didn’t accomplish what I wanted to accomplish. 

You see, this will be the first time I talk about it, but, I attempted to write a book this summer.

For a while, I had really felt God calling me turn Barren to Beautiful into a book.

I felt that barren women, all over the world needed something more tangible than single blog posts. They needed a book. Something they could hold in their hands, while their hands long for a baby. All the truth written down for them to soak in during the barren desert of infertility.

God gave me a clear vision for the book. 

I had a team of 10 people praying for me. Our church graciously let me use their office. My husband graciously watched the kids for a few hours several days a week.

It was a good hard run to the finish line.

And you know what?

I didn’t make it.

I didn’t finish. 

And Satan whispers to me,

“I knew you couldn’t do it. Even with all that support. Why do you even try?

When summer ended, I cried. I literally got up early before the whole house one morning, and just met with the Lord, and broke down crying, because I didn’t finish. And I knew the school year wouldn’t allow me much time to work on it–because God had additionally called me to homeschool Selah this year–which would only give me LESS time to write. And then in November, Selah broke her leg sled-riding. And the darling girl has been in a full leg cast for six weeks. (Thankfully, she just got out of the cast, and is learning to walk again.) But everything has slowed.

And while the reasons are legitimate for not reaching my goal…

I still feel a deep, nagging sense of shame.

And the reason I am writing this post, is because I wonder if maybe I’m not the only one who feels shame going into the new year?

Maybe you set out to do something–and you couldn’t do it.

Maybe you really tried to get pregnant last year–and you never did. Or you did, but only to miscarry. And you hold your face in your hands, and let the tears slip through your fingers.

Maybe you tried to get in great shape–but got an injury instead.

Maybe there was some high and lofty goal–you tried to reach–and you couldn’t.

 

And maybe all you see on Instagram and Facebook, and in your email inbox is people who MET their goals. People who were strong enough. Good enough. Diligent enough. 

Just plain old: Enough.

And you feel like you are not enough.

And everyone else…is.

(If you are a mom who feels she is not enough, read this.)

For me, it’s not just the book I feel shame about it.

It’s the house.

It’s not keeping things tidy enough.

It’s this blog–that I wish I could offer more to.

It’s homeschooling–that I don’t feel I’ve planned enough for.

It’s the workout plan–that didn’t happen.

All of those things–and more, make me not want to reflect on the past year.

Because all I see is:

failure. 

 

 

“But that’s not what I see,” says the Lord. “That’s not what I see.” 

 

 

Tears fill my eyes as I remember one thing.

Jesus.

Shame doesn’t come from Jesus. 

And this was something I realized today as I listened to the Journeywomen Podcast with Hunter Beless and Abbey Wedgeworth Ep. 60.

She said that,

“In the life, death, and resurrection of Jesus we see that God is faithful to us because of his love. Not because we’re worthy. So he loves us not because we’re lovable, but we are made lovely because he sets his love on us. He makes us beautiful. In exchange for our shame he offers acceptance, honor, worth, and even glory.”

Jesus doesn’t love us because of what we have done–but because of what He has done. 

This life is not about what we accomplish–but what Christ has accomplished. And will accomplish.

 

So…

Instead of setting my hope on myself (which will always fail), I will set my hope on the only one who never fails: Jesus Christ. 

And often, it’s not my accomplishments that He shines through, but my brokenness. It’s the desperate need I have for Him, where He comes and pours out His mercy in my life.

His grace is sufficient for me. And if it’s sufficient for me, then it is definitely sufficient for you.

Because though we all stumble in many ways, He welcomes us with grace.

And I’m taking comfort today that

at His table, there is a place for people like me. Click To Tweet

He prepares a table before me, in the presence of my enemies.

(Even the enemy of my soul, Satan.)

And He invites all His children, to come and dine with Him. He invites me. And He invites you.

He takes your big planner, and your calendar, and your accomplishments, and your phone, and tosses them into the fire. And He stares at you, like a groom, stares at his bride coming down the aisle.

He’s beaming. And you are beautiful in His sight.

Because you are His Bride. 

He says:

Come, all you who are thirsty,
    come to the waters;
and you who have no money,
    come, buy and eat!
Come, buy wine and milk
    without money and without cost.
 Why spend money on what is not bread,
    and your labor on what does not satisfy?
Listen, listen to me, and eat what is good,
    and you will delight in the richest of fare.

Give ear and come to me;
    listen, that you may live.

Isaiah 55:1-3a

This is a beautiful invitation to lay down all the striving, lay down all the expectations we have for ourselves, that others have for us, to lay down our desires, our longings, even our idols, all at Jesus feet. And He invites us to come, drink of Him.

To come and drink, of the only River who can satisfy us.

I don’t discourage you from making goals and resolutions. Proverbs remind us that without vision, the people perish.

Intentional living is so good and important. And I look forward to the vision He will give me for the year ahead. But there was something blocking that vision for me. 

And it was shame. 

And I had to deal with that first, before I could go forward.

And if you, too, dear one, are feeling shame for something you didn’t do, or didn’t accomplish, I just encourage you to bring it honestly before Jesus.

For He is the Light that reveals all our darkness.

He is the Love that heals our wounds. 

He is the Righteousness, that covers all our nakedness, and shame. 

And New Year’s isn’t the only time we can “reset.”

Because His word says,

His mercies are new every morning. 

“The steadfast love of the Lord never ceases;
    his mercies never come to an end;
they are new every morning;
    great is your faithfulness.”

Lamentations 3:22-23

 

I pray that God covers your shame today. He takes it away in Jesus Christ. And His blood cleanses us from all unrighteousness.

And whatever New Year’s Resolutions you set for this year, whatever goals you chase–I pray you will be free from shame. 

For there is no shame in Jesus Christ.

“There is therefore now no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus.” (Romans 8:1) (Reading the full chapter brings deeper understanding to this.)

 

As for me, before I start making lists, and calendars, and running the race,

I first need to run to the cross.

I first need to run to Jesus, who takes away my shame. 

And who loves me, not because I am worthy, but because He has made me so.

(I may be 80 years old when my book is finally published. But that doesn’t matter. Because it’s not about me. It’s about Jesus. And if that’s what His timing is, then it will be more powerful when I am 80 years old, than it would have been at 31.)

His timing is perfect, and His ways are good.

And in His presence, is deep, abiding love.

So come, toss your shame into the fire. And watch it burn.

 

He will give you the vision. He will give you the strength. He will give you the grace–so that His power is made perfect in your weakness.

It’s a new year. It’s a new day.

And whether or not you crush your goals–don’t crush yourself, or your family trying to reach them.

Because life does not thrive on deadlines.

But lifelines.

And that lifeline is Jesus.

So, I pray your year, and your days, are full of Him.

That you see His face beaming at you at the end of the aisle.

For He loves you deeply.

And His mercies are new every morning.

 

 

 

 

Photo Credit

If Your Christmas Miracle Didn’t Come, Don’t Forget the One That Did

For some reason Christmas was the hardest, when I wanted to have a baby, and couldn’t. There was just something so magical, and warm, and bright–that made me feel like I should be pregnant. By now.

Maybe it was all the hope, or the wonder, that seemed to stir the longing just a little bit more.

I still remember the time I was decorating for Christmas, and felt something in my Christmas stocking…I reached in thinking it must be a stray Snicker’s bar from last year. But what I pulled out wasn’t candy–it was a little baby stocking. I don’t even know how it got in there. But I held it in my hand, and felt the fabric in with my fingers. And all the tears came then, and all the Christmas lights blurred. And I sat on the couch and wept. No words were needed when my husband saw it in my hand. He came over and cradled me in his arms, brushing away my tears with his fingers.

What I had to remember in those days, as I longed for a miracle, was that there was a miracle. 

Even if there was not one in my womb.

There was a miracle.

He was born in a barn, in a stable, in the straw, two thousand years ago. His teenage mama pushed out his warm slippery body, and held him on her chest in the moonlight. Skin to skin, breath to breath. The Son of God had come.

His name was Jesus. Immanuel.

God with us. 

I know it hurts right now. I know other people may be announcing their “Christmas miracles.” You might have a sister, or sister-in-law, or cousin do a BIG, extravagant pregnancy announcement. And when they do, your head will swirl, and your heart will feel like it’s been stabbed. And you will smile and cheer. But later, in the bathroom, you will probably cry.

That’s okay.

It’s okay to cry, big, hot tears that smear off all your make-up.

It’s okay when all the brokenness wells up inside of you, that it overflows.

Because that brokenness is why Jesus came.

That brokenness is what separated us from God forever.

And that brokenness, will be healed in the life to come.

And this is a miracle. 

As you long for a baby, don’t forget the Baby.

Because He came for desperate people, who desperately needed to be rescued. We would have literally had to spend our eternity in hell, separated from God, forever, if He didn’t come. And this is more haunting, than any one of us can even ever imagine.

But His coming, as a baby, made a way, for biggest miracle of all–your salvation. The biggest battle of all–the battle for your soul–was fought and won, when Jesus died on the cross for your sins. And He rose in victory–that one day you would rise with Him. And reign with Him forever.

God won you back from the grip of sin and death and hell.

He paid a high price for you, the highest price He could pay

–His only Son. Jesus Christ.

Because He was the ONLY one who could break your bondage, break your chains. And He did. He does. Even now…as you turn to Him.

If the Father did not send Jesus to die for us, it would not matter how good our lives were, or if we got everything we wanted, and had all the beautiful babies we wanted, and had all the careers we wanted, and houses we wanted, and dreams we ever had come true.

Because however long and wonderful our life was–it wouldn’t matter. If Jesus didn’t come:

We would die in our sins. 

We would spend eternity separated from God, under His wrath, as enemies of God.

The Scriptures are precious, they are not cliche, they are the truth, they are God’s words, and one of the only things that will stand forever. And they say,

“For God so loved the world, that he gave his only Son, that whoever believes in him should not perish but have eternal life.” (John 3:16)

And this is what Christmas is really about.

It’s about Jesus.

It’s about desperately needing Jesus and Him coming–as a baby.

He is the miracle you need this Christmas. 

Let Him be the one you most long for.

Because this Baby is coming back. 

But He’s not coming back as a baby, but as a King. King of Kings and Lord of Lords. With all the armies of heaven riding in behind Him. And He will be exalted and glorious. With fire in His eyes, and a sword upon his side, and his face will shine like the sun in all it’s strength–and His voice…His voice will be like many rushing waters. (See Revelations 1:12-16)

That’s a picture of the Jesus that’s coming back for you. And I’m telling you–you want to be on His side. You want to fight on His side of the battle. Because He is the King. Risen and Victorious. The Kingdom is His, and the power is His, and the glory is His–forever and ever.

And all the nations will bow before Him. And every knee will bow, and every tongue will confess that Jesus Christ is Lord.

And there is a beautiful promise,

“But to all who did receive him, who believed in his name, he gave the right to become children of God, who were born, not of blood nor of the will of the flesh nor of the will of man, but of God.” (John 1:12-13)

Just pause and behold this miracle:

“And the Word became flesh and dwelt among us, and we have seen his glory, glory as of the only Son from the Father, full of grace and truth.” (John 1:14)

This is the Christmas miracle you’ve been longing for.

It’s Jesus.

He did come. And He is coming back–as King. And one day, we will be with Him–Immanuel. God will be with us, and we will be with God. It will be better than a thousand Christmas mornings. And our hearts will leap with wild joy. And He Himself will be with us. And He will wipe every tear from your eyes. And death will be swallowed up forever.

And He will make all things new. (See Revelations 21, and the book of Revelations for full context.)

 

So this Christmas, as you long for a baby, don’t forget the Baby–

who is coming back as King.

And as you deeply long for a Christmas miracle, I pray you long deeper still for Jesus Christ.

He is worthy of all your longing, all your expectation, all your hope–throw them onto Him. For He will not fail.

And He is worthy of all your adoration, all your trust, and all your deep worship.

He is the River you thirst for. And He invites you to come and drink of Him this Christmas. Come pour out your heart to Him, and let Him pour out His water on you. Let Him pour out His Spirit into your dry, and barren places–for He will. He will take you from barren to beautiful–on the inside, in your soul. He offers Living Water, that you may not thirst anymore, and that it may become in you a spring of Living Water, flowing from your soul.

And He invites all who are thirsty, to come, and drink. Incline your ear to Him, listen to Him, and eat what is good.

And if the miracle you hoped for, didn’t come. Take heart. Claim Him as your Christmas miracle. Because, He is. Over, and over, over again.

And He is coming soon, and one day, you will see Him. The King, exalted and glorious.

And you will hear a voice, like the sound of many rushing waters.

Robin’s Testimony

[Before you read this testimony, you need to know, Robin is a personal friend of mine. While she was experiencing infertility, I had asked her if she would be willing to help me format the testimonies that so many women were submitting to Barren to Beautiful. The crazy part is, she was the person who was handling all the testimonies of miracles–while waiting for a miracle of her own. God was faithful to her, and I am honored today for her to at last share her very own testimony.] <3

Do you ever feel like writing? I’m not someone who journals or keeps a diary, but there are days where I could just write a book on Facebook, or pull up my Gmail, and write each of my family members an email detailing how much I really love them, and how they’ve affected me. I used to write into poetry contests as a kid, because I really do enjoy getting my thoughts out on paper, but as I grew up and went through college, I found myself busier, and with my downtime, I never really pulled out my journals to write…I wish I had. Anyhow, I feel like God uses us through writing, and so today, I want to share my story. I hope some of you can relate.

Alright, let’s all say a prayer that I get my thoughts organized here and that I can portray them in an organized and neat manner. I can be very scatterbrained sometimes.

I met my husband back in 2013 (isn’t it funny how I’m only referring to 5 years ago, but still I’m like “back in the day”?) One of the first things that drew me to him was his sense of humor and his laid back spirit. We took time to get to know one another before meeting each others families or making it “official,” but when he did finally invite me to travel with him to meet his family, I was able to see how he was so intertwined with his family and how he really truly had a place in his heart for his nieces and his nephew. He played with them and joked with them; he told me stories about when they used to stay with him for a weekend and he would take them out to breakfast. I always knew I wanted kids in my future, but wasn’t sure if it would be part of the future God had planned for me.

After we got married, we decided that we would wait a couple years before starting a family, and I never even considered the possibility that it might be a difficult thing to do. I definitely just walked into marriage thinking, “Well, when we want kids, it will just happen.”

We took time to ourselves, traveled to Cozumel a few times, (if you’ve never been, I highly suggest it!) We made some updates to our home, traveled to Washington D.C. to visit my parents, fostered a pit bull who became part of our family (and, we still miss that guy.) And then, we started to actually “try.” Each month, we would try. Remember when I said I thought it would “just happen?”

Now, have you ever been so deep in the trenches of infertility? Or not even “infertility,” but maybe you’re praying without ceasing for a cure or healing from illness, you’re patiently waiting, but you’re running out of patience. Perhaps it is for God to step into your situation with pregnancy though, if you’ve been praying for that one “Christmas Gift”, or have been waiting to announce to your family, that this year for your birthday, you get to make the announcement you’ve wanted to make for years…. Or maybe you have the “Pinterest Perfect” fall announcement picked out for if you’re pregnant by the fall, with a pumpkin, inside of a pumpkin, sharing the exciting news of your pregnancy.

That was me. I had the ideas flowing for if we were pregnant by my birthday, or maybe an “egg-celent” idea for if we found out by Easter! Then it was time for ideas more centered around July 4th and fireworks, followed by pumpkins/leaves/turkeys. I was a Pinterest “expert” when we were trying. But it was more than that. I became obsessed.

My husband and I grew very stressed around the topic of pregnancy, and each time I suggested we try again, I was only reminded of how obsessed I had become around calendars, ovulation, timing, age, and everything except for Gods hand in all of it. It is so easy to become fixed on things like marriage, pregnancy, our health/fitness, and finances, and to dive into Google, or to search on Pinterest, different books, and try to find resources to help fix, or improve these areas of our lives, and put God on the back-burner,—and I fell into that trap.

God was right there with me, holding me, I know he was, because he gave me Rebekah Fox (the author of this page, Barren to Beautiful) and through her, I began to help her format the testimonies that many women shared. I know God was right next to me because through following this Barren to Beautiful Facebook page, I walked through the, “Yet I Will Rejoice: Infertility Bible Reading Plan,” (written by Kristy Iskander from Organic Christian Living) in November 2017 with the Barren to Beautiful community of women, and the bible verses that were shared and that I read through that plan were so life changing and so refreshing to me.

My attitude took a 180-degree shift through doing that plan. I remember my thoughts were more about how God wasn’t helping us to get pregnant, and I began to feel open to the possibility of fostering or adoption, and I remember the next month I was going to look into more information on both of those resources in our area. But over the holidays when I read that Infertility Bible Reading plan, my mindset became more of a thankful and praise-filled attitude, than a “Why won’t you? Where are you? When will this happen for us?” attitude. John 14:27 says, “Peace I leave with you; my peace I give to you. Not as the world gives do I give to you. Let not your hearts be troubled, neither let them be afraid.”

I remember on New Year’s Eve, my husband and I were at a celebration, and I think we came home before the ball dropped so we could celebrate by ourselves and then hit the hay before it got too late. (When did I get soo old?!) We took a picture that night, and I will always treasure that picture of the two of us, because little did we know it, but our little baby girl was just beginning to form inside of my body and inside of our hearts at that moment.

I had been feeling queasy over the Christmas spent with family, and I remember asking my mom to help me fix my hair when I was at her house because I felt so nauseous. I think I had even turned some of my favorite foods down, and thought to myself how odd it was that I had done that…numerous times. I love food. So anyway, I went to bed on the night of New Year’s Eve, and prayed again that “this year” would be “our year” to have another little person join our family, and right as I prayed that, I thought to make sure I took a test that week. So, two days later, and six “I think it’s positive” pregnancy tests later, I went out to buy one of the more expensive and accurate tests to help me out.

So, seven positive pregnancy tests later, and many anxious Google searches, texts, thoughts and prayers, I finally told my husband I was pregnant–and he was thrilled! We immediately made an appointment to confirm the pregnancy “once again,” because we had been trying for long enough, that I really didn’t believe anyone telling me that I was pregnant. It was truly a miracle. Our God is a God of miracles, he can deliver us from any selfish attitude we may be dealing with, and He is the Ultimate Creator of all beautiful life.

Just in the last few days, as I decorate our home for Everleigh’s (my 3 month-old, PRAISE JESUS!) first Christmas, I ponder the months that I spent wondering where God was, and now I know: God was beside me the entire time. He was walking with Chris and I, even when we didn’t feel Him in our marriage, He was right there, just waiting for us to lean into Him and hold His hand to get through. Now, when I watch as my daughter lights up at the sight of twinkly lights on the Christmas tree, I think, Jesus probably wants us to light up and get JUST AS EXCITED about Him, as a child gets excited about twinkly lights.


If you would like to join the Barren to Beautiful Facebook page, or the Barren to Beautiful Community (a closed Facebook group) please click on the links to join! Also, please feel free to check out the “Yet I Will Rejoice: Bible Reading Plan” from Organic Christian Living! Also, check out many other testimonies of other women under the “Testimony” tab, or you can read my own testimonies of infertility here. 

–Rebekah <3

You Are Chosen, Not Forsaken

 

The candle flickered in the dark as I sat at on the bathroom floor, crying. I leaned against the wall, pressing my face on my knees, wiping away tears and questions. It was late, my husband was asleep. But I was there, whispering to God through the darkness.

“Why can everyone have a baby…

except us?”

 

Tears rolled down my cheeks. 

 

“Do you hear me, God?”

“Do you see me, God?”

 

 

I didn’t know it then, but He was closer, in that very moment, than I could possibly have known.

Orchestrating every detail ahead of time. Preparing everything.

He saw me, He heard me…and more than that,

He loved me.

Even then, He was loving me.

 

But I couldn’t see Him, or feel Him, and all I saw was the darkness.

The nothing-ness.

I felt forgotten. 

And over-looked.

Because all of my friends had babies. Easily.

(Even the teenagers were pushing strollers past my house.)

But not me.

I felt forsaken.

And I wept. Like a drunken woman, like Hannah wept at the altar.

 

But what I didn’t know, was that God had not forgotten me. 

He had chosen me. 

He had actually chosen me. I say this with tears.

He set me apart. For a unique purpose He had.

He took a broken vessel like me, and said, “I’m going to make My glory shine through her.”

“I’m going to take her weakness, her brokenness…I’m going to take her barrenness, and shine My glory through it.”

He had a purpose in my barrenness.

Because He always has a purpose. 

Through my “infertility,” God wanted to show me something I couldn’t have seen any other way.

Himself.

I knew I had a barren womb, but what God wanted to show me, was that I also had a barren soul. 

I had a barren soul. 

My soul was like dry, barren wasteland, where there was no water. Maybe it was from the months of trying (to get pregnant) and failing, maybe it was from the hope that was deferred over and over again, maybe it was from all the anger and sorrow that I didn’t know how to express, so tightly knotted up inside, trying to make myself numb to hope, and numb to hurt, month after month.

Either way, my soul had become barren. I was alive on the outside, but dead on the inside.

But God met me in that barren wasteland. He met me on the inside, He entered into my barren soul.

He came like a rushing river. He came like a torrential downpour and quenched the deepest parts of me.

The One who gives Living Water, who is Living Water, came to me, and watered me, with Himself.

[You can read About My Barrenness, and When God Takes You From Barren to Beautiful to learn more about my story.]

But He showed me how to worship Him when my womb was still barren, and my hands were still empty. He showed me that I didn’t have to wait until I was pregnant, to start worshipping Him.I didn’t have to wait until I was pregnant, to start thanking Him, or to be filled with His joy. And peace.

He wanted to show a barren woman like me, that I could be deeply satisfied in Him, alone, during the barrenness. And that even if He never gave me a baby, He would give me the greatest gift of all, Himself. And that was enough. He was enough. Because He was worthy of my worship, even if my arms were empty, and my womb was barren.

And I could trust Him. I could surrender completely to Him. With my arms open wide, embracing whatever He had for me. With deep joy.

***

I want you to know, God did heal my barren womb. He gave me two incredibly precious babies. Naturally. And miraculously. (Our daughter is now 5, and our son is 1.)  And they are more than I could ever ask for, or deserve, in a million lifetimes. And, I praise God for them every single day.

But what I want you to know is that the joy (of the Lord) came before I was ever pregnant. It came before the babies. (I think it’s easy to believe that “once you get pregnant,” or “once you have a baby,” then you can have joy, and peace, and that satisfaction you long for. But that’s not true.)

Babies do bring joy. They are gifts from God, and I don’t say that lightly.

But God is the one who brings joy, lasting joy. The kind of joy that lasts and stays even when your entire world is flipped upside-down.

Sadly, I have met many mothers who lack this joy. I have met many mothers who are miserable, who are not drawing strength, or joy, or peace from God. (You’d think that God blessed them with a child, they should be happy, right?)

But, it just shows that babies don’t satisfy your SOUL, the way Jesus does. They are wonderful gifts, but your soul was not made to be satisfied by a baby, your soul was made to be satisfied by God. Alone.

That’s why I feel it’s vital to share this message with you. 

Because whether you are a mom, or struggling with infertility, all of us are barren inside, apart from Jesus Christ. He is the only one that brings the life, and peace, and satisfaction we all long for.

And I can’t promise anyone a baby, but I can promise you Jesus. And if you drink of Him, you will never thirst again.

***

He changed me in the wilderness. He came and ministered to me there.

So if you are in a dry place, in a desert place, if you are thirsty–then you are in a perfect place for Him to come water you like never before.

And as for those nights I spent on the bathroom floor, weeping before Him… I wouldn’t trade them for anything. Because those are some of my most precious, intimate memories with Him.

In the dark. When I couldn’t see.

 

And He was my only light. 

 

As far away as He seemed. As forgotten as I felt…

He did not forget me.

He chose me.

Do you know why?

For you.

For you. Right now, at this moment. 

He comforted me in my affliction, so that I could comfort you in yours, with the same comfort I recieved from Him (2 Corinthians 1:4). For He longs to satisfy your deepest thirst.

He says,

“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 43:19)

He wants to water your barren places, and make you more alive than you ever imagined.

And something else, He has a beautiful purpose for your life. 

You are not here by mistake. And your barren womb is not a roadblock to His plan for you. Perhaps, it’s a catalyst to bring the fullness of His plan in your life.

Maybe He’s doing more than you think He is, and maybe His plan for you is greater than your plan for you. 

Did you know that every “barren woman” in the Bible was “chosen” by God for some special role in the coming of (our Rescuer) Jesus Christ, or for the advancement of the Kingdom of God?

First of all, Sarah was barren, but God chose Sarah, a barren woman in her nineties, to give birth not only to a baby, but to give birth to a nation, His people. (See Genesis 17:15-21, 21:1-7, Romans 4:18-20)

Rebekah was barren, but God opened her womb and she gave birth to twins, Jacob and Esau. (Genesis 25:19-26) (Jacob whose name would be changed to Israel.)

Rachel was barren, but God opened her womb and she gave birth to Joseph and Benjamin. (See Genesis 35:16-18)

Samson’s mother was barren, but God opened her womb and she gave birth to Samson. (See Judges 13. This story gave me chills.)

Hannah was barren, but God opened her womb and she gave birth to Samuel. (See Samuel 1-2:21)

Elizabeth was barren, but God opened her womb and she gave birth to John the Baptist. (Who prepared the way for the coming Messaiah, Jesus.) (See Luke 1:5-25)

In their ancient culture, these women not only felt forgotten, but utterly forsaken by God. 

But you know what?

Each one of these women was chosen by God. 

To raise a world-changer. To prepare the way for Christ.

For a specific time, a specific purpose, in His story.

 

I don’t know His exact purpose for you in your barrenness. But I know He has chosen you for something.

I don’t know if He will heal your womb, but I know that He wants to heal you of a barren soul. And take you from a place of being barren to beautiful, on the inside. 

And I believe He has a purpose for you in this. And that He has not forgotten you.

And just because you can’t see what He’s doing,

doesn’t mean He’s not doing something. 

When I first heard this song, “Who You Say I Am,” by Hillsong, I laid my head down and wept. Because I felt the weight of these words, the truth in them, the power they hold to destroy self-pity, depression, and despair. (Click the link to hear it.–>)

“Who You Say I Am,” by Hillsong.

The words of the bridge are:

“I am chosen,

not forsaken,

I am who You say I am,

 

You are for me not against me,

I am who You say I am”

 

I pray that you can sing this (because the darkness trembles When the Barren Sing  and that you can declare it over your life, over your home. Because it’s true. And Satan wants you to believe that God has forgotten you–but He hasn’t. Quite the opposite. Instead He has set His gaze on you, and said,

“I am going to take her brokeness, her weakness…I am going to take her barrenness,

and make My glory shine through her.” 

He shines through broken vessels.

And you don’t have to keep beating yourself up for not having enough faith. All you have to do is kneel, and surrender. To all He has for you, to who He is. To whatever He has for you. Knowing He has chosen you. And He will fulfill His purpose for you.

And when God chooses you, it doesn’t mean He’s going to make your name great. It means He’s going to make His name great through you. And when He sets you apart, its not because He’s building your kingdom, it’s because He’s going to build His kingdom through you. 

More than you can imagine.

And in the end, you fall to your knees, whether your arms remain empty, or full, and realize it was all only ever about Him anyway. This life, whether long, or short, is about Jesus.

And one day, every eye will see.

He brings the joy, the life, the peace. He brings the rivers into the wastelands. And if you find yourself standing in a barren wasteland today, or if you find yourself simply kneeling on a bathroom floor tonight, in the dark,

I pray you can speak these words, even if only in a whisper,

“I am chosen,

not forsaken,

I am who You say I am.”

Because He is right there with you, even in the darkness, orchestrating every detail, and preparing to shine His glory through you.


Why It’s Okay To Just Be Broken

“Isn’t it about time for you two to start having kids?” came the question. I looked up from fixing my coffee at church, while the man waited for a response. I forced a smile, as hard as I could, “Oh, I don’t know!” I tried to let out a little laugh, like the thought had never even occurred to me. Like I hadn’t just taken a pregnancy test that morning, or cried before church.

Sometimes, it just catches you off guard. 

All of our friends had kids and babies. But our arms were empty.

They were all trading in their sports cars for big SUVs and minivans. And changing their offices and guest rooms into cute little nurseries, but our house stayed the same.

I remember going to baby showers. Holding the gift I had wrapped, that I so carefully picked out at Babies R’ Us or Target, studying the registry, careful to match up the numbers of the right bottles or crib sheets. I’d fumble through the Baby section of stores with a registry printed out on blue paper in my hands, feeling like a foreigner with a map in this seemingly forbidden world of motherhood, which I so longed to be a part of, but feared I’d never belong.

And I’d sit at the shower, sipping on punch and trying to fill out the Baby Bingo card, unsure of what to even put in the blank spaces, and feeling a blank space inside of me, wondering, if I would ever get to have my own baby shower? Wondering, as I heard all the “oohs” and “aahs” over all the little tiny gifts, if I would ever have my own little, tiny gifts to open?

I feared I never would.

Because no matter how much I wanted to be a mom, no matter how much I wanted to have a baby, I couldn’t. We couldn’t.

Sometimes, it felt like the whole world was rushing past us. But we were just staying still, frozen in time. Everyone else’s life was changing, and growing, and expanding. But ours stayed the same, like a big rock in a river, where the water keeps rushing past, but it cannot move.  

I used to watch teenage moms from my second story window, push their strollers past our house. And they were smoking. Their poor baby’s lungs breathing in a cloud of smoke. And I wanted to scream at them. I wanted to raise their baby for them.

And I couldn’t understand why God gave them a baby, and not me.

I couldn’t understand why it seemed like He gave everyone else a baby, but us.

And when night came, I’d go in the bathroom and sit on the floor and cry.

“Why God?”

“Why can’t I…have a baby?”

And I would pause for a long time. My arms wrapped around my bent knees.

“Why can everyone else have a baby—but us?”

“Do you see me, God?”

“Do you hear me?”

There in the dark, in the quiet, in the flickering candlelight, He was with me. My soul stretched out, right there on the bathroom floor, tears rolling down my cheeks.

I was broken.

And I felt it.

My body was broken. It didn’t work the way bodies are supposed to work.

My heart was broken. In a way I did not know how to piece back together.

What can you do when you have a broken body?

And you have a broken heart?

All you can do is one thing: be broken before Him.

Be broken.

So this is what I did. I would just lay on the bathroom floor, and the closet floor, and living room floor, and weep before Him. Like a drunken woman. Like Hannah.

I would just “be broken.”

And He did not despise me for it.

 

Nor, will He despise you for it.

 

And I say this with tears, I would not trade those moments with Him, for anything. 

So, weep before Him, dear one. Be broken before Him, and do not be ashamed, for He says, 

 

“The sacrifices of God are a broken spirit;

a broken and contrite heart,

O God, you will not despise.” Psalm 51:17

 

So just,

Be broken.

 

And as you are, remember the One, who was broken for you.

Whose body, and spirit, and heart was broken for you, on the cross. 

 

That by His wounds, we are healed.


Photo Credit: Photo by Alex Boyd on Unsplash

For more of my story, read about my journey from Barren to Beautiful. Or, follow me on Facebook.