I first started blogging in an attempt to gather all my long winded comments from other blogs into one place. Now, many of you whose blogs I frequent are saying, “How’s that working out for ya?” Well, shut up. I have a lot to say.
I am grateful to Jon Acuff for many things; for his friendship and for introducing me via his blog Stuff Christians Like to so many fantastic, funny, wonderful people. One of my favorites is Stacey and her husband who sometimes answers to Hucklebuck. Stacey’s Thoughts of Infertility is a online journal of sorts; helping lots of folks struggling with infertility. But it’s not only about that. I’ve said this before and I will say it again. No matter what the subject matter, if something is written from a writer’s heart I am a fan. I am a big fan of Stacey, and consider it a privilege to call her a friend. But enough of me, here’s Stacey:
If you read my blog regularly and have a good memory, you might remember that I have been studying the book of Philippians for the past few months. I wrote a post about it back in February when I first started attending the Bible study, and I can’t believe that 16 weeks have gone by! In the original post (“Perspective”), I wrote about how much I was looking forward to studying a book about “how to have joy no matter what.” Now, as I near the end of the study, I want to write about something I learned this week.
While studying the last chapter of Philippians, I took a long look at Phil. 4:6-7. “Do not be anxious about anything, but in everything, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God. And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.” These are powerful verses, and I’ve been trying to soak them in. I know that I believe them, but how do I live it? How do I overcome my anxiety and truly live in peace?
One of the things that is so hard about the struggle with infertility and miscarriage is that it feels way too big for me. It is so far beyond anything I know how to handle. I’m not suggesting that it’s the hardest thing in the whole world by any means, but being pregnant six times and not being able to do anything to help those babies grow and thrive is incredibly hard. Watching each one slip away has been devastating for us. After almost eleven years of marriage, we still have no children to hold in our arms and fill up our home. Even now we are in a season of waiting, and we have no idea how long it will last. All of these facts are hard to ignore. I wake up every morning painfully aware of them. I don’t have a definite medical reason why this is happening. Although my doctors have identified and even corrected some problems over the years, we have no guarantee that I will ever deliver a baby. Sometimes I let the future scare me. Many times I let my circumstances rob me of my joy.
A few things clicked for me today as the Bible study led me to 2 Chronicles 20. I hope you’ll read the whole chapter, but here’s a recap:
Jehoshaphat (king of Judah) is warned of an impending attack. He immediately decides to inquire of the Lord. All of the people of Judah gather to seek the Lord’s help, and Jehoshaphat leads them in prayer. For me, the highlight of this king’s prayer is in 2 Chron. 20:12: “We have no power to face this vast army that is attacking us. We do not know what to do, but our eyes are upon you.” Okay, now this I understand! Although I don’t have a vast army threatening my life today, I do feel utterly powerless against my foe. I have no idea what to do other than keep my eyes on the Lord.
When we read further, we learn that God spoke through one of the men in the assembly. Here is what is recorded in verses 15 and 17: “This is what the Lord says to you: ‘Do not be afraid or discouraged because of this vast army. For the battle is not yours, but God’s. You will not have to fight this battle. Take up your positions, stand firm and see the the deliverance the Lord will give you, O Judah and Jerusalem. Do not be afraid; do not be discouraged. Go out to face them tomorrow, and the Lord will be with you.'”
The people of Judah not only obeyed God; they sang and praised Him BEFORE they knew the outcome. Of course, God came through on His promise and the people rejoiced. In verse 30, we find Jehoshaphat’s kingdom at peace because “God had given him rest on every side.”
As I studied today it became clear what in the world these verses have to do with the fourth chapter of Philippians. What was the result of the people’s obedience?
1. They rejoiced in what the Lord had done.
2. They recognized God’s power and strength.
3. They rested in His peace.
Philippians 4:6-7: “Do not be anxious about anything, but in everything, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God. And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.”
I don’t know what to do as my battle with infertility continues. The people of Judah were told to take up their positions and to stand firm. Yes, I have a part to play that is not entirely passive, but ultimately the result is out of my hands, and I’m okay with that as long as the battle is God’s. I want to keep my eyes on Him, rest in His peace, and rejoice no matter what the outcome will be.
*All verses are quoted from the NIV. If you want to know more about this Bible study, click here: Precept Ministries
If you would like to read more from Stacey (and you really should – she’s awesome), visit her at Stacey’s Thoughts of Infertility.