My friend, Stacey gave me a sweet gift for Christmas in 2012. She stamped the words, faith and hope on both sides of a cute little ceramic bird. She made it herself and enclosed it with the sweetest note!! I couldn't bear to pack it away with all the other Christmas decorations. So, I hung it on my bathroom cabinet...I looked at it everyday and was reminded of the faith and hope that we were receiving in our walk through infertility. Even now, after a few moves, the birds hangs from my lamp in my office.
If you look at this photo closely, you can see her fingerprints in the clay. Sweet. I was reminded of the Steven Curtis Chapman song...an oldie but a goodie, "The Fingerprints of God." The song is about how we can have an accurate and a healthy self worth, because God created us!! He created ME! He created YOU! We are all made in God's image.
But, then I started thinking a little bit further.
Were the fingerprints of God on our whole journey of infertility? Yes.
Was there pain, disappointment, and tears? Yes to all of the above.
But, there were so many sweet confirmations knowing that God's fingerprints have been all over it! There were answers to prayer, there was provision financially from God to cover medical costs, there was growth spiritually and emotionally, and the prayer/support that unfolded was absolutely amazing.
Yes, we saw the fingerprints of God.
A few years back I was reading in the devotional, Jesus Calling and the verse, Psm. 37:3 was one of the verses I meditated on this morning in particular.
"Trust in the LORD and do good;
dwell in the land and enjoy safe pasture."
ENJOY SAFE PASTURE.
Over the years, we had kept our spare bedroom downstairs pretty much empty....
Sure, it's had a sewing machine in it at one time, my grandma's antique tea cart, and of course, the bags of clothing to go to goodwill...but we've never set it up as a 'guest bedroom.’
...never a bed, never hung much on the walls, just leaving it empty in hopes of one day filling it up with a sweet little baby.
But, we had been thinking about it on that particular day and we thought we may be ready to set it up as a guest bedroom. It was time to. Our hearts desire was to have a baby of our own and we continued praying for the Lord's guidance on the timing of fertility treatments.
I was at lunch the Saturday after reading that scripture with a sweet friend from school. My friend, Erika is always bright and cheery...from her laid back FUN personality to the clothes she wears. We have a BALL together! She laughs at all my jokes...even when they are borderline unfunny. #truefriend
I was talking to my mom on the phone while I was with my friend and mom knew we were looking for a bed for the guest room. She had found a great antique bed with brand new mattresses and box springs and it was a super great deal, but she was out of town and needed to know if she should buy it for us. Back then, I still had that twinge of a thought about...but, what if we get pregnant this month? What will we do with the bed? Should we just keep it empty? All of these thoughts, (shallow thoughts I might add) came bombarding me.. I thought...no, we are going to live in the present...the right now. It's the same feeling I felt when I pulled out our nice flatware that we got for wedding presents... Why aren’t we using this?
And, so I thought, why not? Why would I leave an empty bedroom as a constant reminder that our arms are not full of what we desire? Why not fill that room with a bed, flowers, and beautiful pictures on the wall, so our family can come and stay with us?.....Why not dwell and enjoy safe pasture?
On that specific day, Erika even said...”you don't even know how God can use you to bless someone who can come to stay with you in that room?”
So, that week, back in 2011, I cleaned out the room...moved things out and organized things. God provided an awesome price on the bed and that empty room was filled with a double bed and mattress that visitors could enjoy and we could as well.
Yes, that was it. That is what we did. We would dwell...resting..residing...staying where God is...right here and now...not the past...not the future...not of what might be...we were dwelling in the place God has placed us. I was looking to filling up that room with beauty and joy.
That room was a symbol of dwelling, resting, and staying where God had placed us at that time. 10 months later, we were able to welcome our baby boy and transform that meaningful guest room into a nursery. God calls us to dwell, rest, to enjoy safe pasture in Him, not when your prayers are answered, but in the waiting, in the growing, in the ‘when your prayers are not answered in the timing you thought’, not in anything else than Him. And, I’m so grateful for God who has gifted us LIFE and to experience LIFE to the full!
“The thief comes only to steal and kill and destroy. I came that they may have life and have it abundantly.” John 10:10
One August afternoon, when I was teaching Kindergarten, I was standing at a carpool cone ready to help a little munchkin get into their car after their day,. I had to do a double take when I looked at the SUV who pulled up to the cone in front of mine.. The blue rectangular bumper sticker caught my eye when it said, "God's delay is not God's denial"
What you need to know is during the time of walking through infertility in 2011, I taught at a Christian school, and the teachers and faculty worked closely together and friendships budded throughout my time there. Every morning during our daily prayer time, we encouraged each other, shared with each other, and we would pray for each other. The principal at the time had been very well acquainted with my story and someone I count as a personal friend. I shared with her what I had seen on that bumper sticker. It was a specific word from the Lord to me and I knew it.
A couple of weeks go by and after going to the doctor one Monday morning, we had received a not so great update after doing a fertility treatment that cycle. I head to work, crying. And, hubby heads to work and texts me this quote: God's delay is not God's denial. I'm like, "oh, how sweet...he is repeating that cool quote I told him about (from the other day) to encourage me!..he really does listen to me even when I seem to talk on and on and on!
HOWEVER, two days later, hubby and i get home from church and I told him I was happy to get his text about the meaningful quote. I went on to say how neat it was that he had written the quote down after I had shared it with him the other day after seeing in carpool. But, he said that I had never shared the quote with him...he had seen it on an SUV as he was leaving the dr.'s office the previous monday.
Also what you need to know about my husband is how close he pays attention to details.
He said, the bumper sticker was on a white Toyota Forerunner, right?
I said, yes, blue bumper sticker with white writing?
he said, yep.
God had placed the same car with that bumper sticker to speak to hubby that day on the road in East Memphis and then to me hours later in the carpool line.
Dear friend, take heart. God's delay is NOT God's denial. Not in your life, not in mine. He cares for you, he loves you and He sees what you are walking through today.
Isn’t that how we are sometimes? To know we are loved, to feel noticed and want the recognition we all desire from others?
A few years back I was talking to my coworker friend about our identity in Christ and we were super honest with each other and said if we got down to it, we are really still insecure like a young girl trying to get approval from our friends. Not secure in who God made us to be, not secure in who God says we are. I remember it as being such a raw, real, and open conversation. We were finally honest that a lot of our issues with others: comparisons, jealousy, discontentment was really insecurity on our part.
Dear ones, we are NOTICED by God, completely loved, completely accepted for who you are, and desired to have a daily love relationship.
“And if you belong to Christ, then you are Abraham’s descendants, heirs
according to promise.” – Galatians 3:29, NASB
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When I look back on my past thirty nine years, the times when I have been most in tune with God have been those times in which prayer has been an active part of my life.
Here are 5 tips to enrich your prayer life that have been helpful to me and I hope they will be helpful to you!
1)Whatever is in your heart, pour it out to HIm. God desires to be in fellowship with you. He knows what you are feeling, what darkness or uneasiness you are walking through, so tell him. There’s just something about verbalizing it that shows our dependence on Him. He knows and loves you more than anyone else He is there to catch you, to be your one and only. He is trustworthy, so pour your heart out to Him.
2) Pray for those closest to you and here’s the kicker…Tell them about it. A short quick text when you pray for that friend may be exactly what they need. Praying for others and sharing that gives them encouragement and it also helps you to be more focused on others than on yourself.
3) If you see a prayer need from a friend, stop and pray right away. How many times on Facebook does someone ask you to pray and you comment ‘Praying’ but then never do? Me too. I try and write it down in my prayer journal later, but stopping to pray for that friend immediately? It keeps our mind set on the heart of God, that our dependence is on God and God alone for our needs and the needs of others.
4) Pray Continually. I know how this is. We spend our time praying for those needs in our lives, for our families, for ourselves, close our prayer journals, and do not really think about praying throughout the day. But, I love this verse in 1 Thess. 5:16-18 “ Rejoice always, pray without ceasing, give thanks in all circumstances; for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus for you.” God will bring people and things to pray for to your mind if you pay attention and set reminders. I am going to try something new and when I get an alert for a text message, I’m going to pray for them before I text back. An easy and practical way to pray continually.
5) Praise God. If you are reading a passage of scripture for the day, think about what you can learn about God’s character in the passage. He is all powerful, all knowing, gracious, loving, merciful, holy, faithful always. Worship Him in prayer for who He is and your love for Him and others will flow out of you. Psm. 150: 1-2 says, “Praise the Lord! Praise God in his sanctuary; praise him in his mighty heavens! Praise him for his mighty deeds; praise him according to his excellent greatness!”
Praying is not about what you can get from God, praying draws you closer to the heart of God. He cares for you. He delights in you. He desires to hear from you, to speak to you. Draw close to Him and your prayer life will be enriched.
For my favorite prayer journal, go to www.wrenrobbins.com/favorites