His Timing is Not Always My Timing…

Seven years ago I gave birth to a healthy baby girl.  ‘Over the moon’ does not even come close to describing how we felt when we found out we were pregnant with our first child.  Parenthood is one of those things I had taken for granted my whole life.  I always just assumed that because I wanted children, I would be blessed with children when my husband and I decided the time was right.  Only, that is not exactly how things unfolded…

When our precious daughter was two years old, my husband and I decided we were ready to begin trying for baby number two.  Fast forward four years and we still were not pregnant.  I had gone to nutritionists, chiropractors, and OBGYNs.  I had taken vitamins, supplements, and even tried fertility medication on one occasion.  To be honest, I had come to the conclusion that this was not going to happen for us and I completely stopped praying about it for quite some time.  My heart had hardened and I was accepting defeat.  My husband admitted that he was feeling he was getting too old to be active with another child and things were just not turning out the way I envisioned.  During this time, the comments from others did not help.  “When are you going to have another one?”  “You are trying too hard.”  “It will happen when it is supposed to happen.”  Well- meaning, good intentioned people with BIG, caring hearts…and I wanted to strangle each one of them.  I’m just being real ya’ll.

Psalm 37:4, “Delight yourself in the Lord, and he will give you the desires of your heart.”  Why was this not true for us?  I cried out to God.  “Lord, I have re-prioritized my life to try to be more Christ-like.  I am sharing the Good News with others.  I finally believe I am ‘living right.’  What else do you want from me?”  Friends, do not ask unless you want to be told. 

He wanted me to be obedient and follow Him to Africa.  Yes…Africa.  Oh but that is not all.  Leaving my family to go to Africa was the ‘easy’ part.  More on that later.

I did not go to Africa so God would give me a baby.  That’s just crazy talk.  I went to Africa because that is where He was calling me and I wanted to show obedience in the big things…even though I had no clue why He wanted me there.  He knew.  He wanted me there because there are some precious children with gritty little hands and feet who need someone to share the gospel with them.  Their little souls depend on it.  He also needed to introduce me to my second family in Ghana that I never knew existed.  Well…they do…and I love them dearly.  Not only are they amazing children of God who are tirelessly giving their time and hearts to advance His Kingdom…they are mighty prayer warriors and I will forever be grateful for the requests they have taken to the throne for me.

Did I mention that was the easy part?  James 5:16, “Therefore, confess your sins to one another and pray for one another, that you may be healed. The prayer of a righteous person has great power as it is working.”  “But God, I did confess my sin…to You…several times. Oooh.  You want me to confess it to him?”  Yes friends, un-confessed sin was keeping me from the blessings God had in store for me.  He spoke that to my heart in the most crystal clear voice.  And I listened.  And obeyed.  And confessed.  And it hurt.  The last thing I wanted to do was ‘come clean.’  But that is exactly what I needed to do and exactly what I did.  Talk about moving forward in freedom.  Whew…I am beyond grateful for the conviction of the Holy Spirit that got me to that place of confession.

Now…on to our miracle.  Remember my prayer warriors from Africa?  In January of 2014, one of them texted me and he said, “My friend, the Lord has quickened my spirit and has told me you will be pregnant with child soon.”  Oh ‘ye of little faith.’  I doubted.  We had waited so long that I just could not wrap my brain around this finally happening for us.  On February 2nd, 2014, God confirmed that my praying friend was hearing from Him clearly.  All I could do was sit on the floor and weep.  Approximately 60 days later, this same praying friend texted me to say, “My friend, the Lord has told me you will give birth to a baby boy.”  You guys are not going to believe this.  I doubted again!  An early ultrasound showed we were going to have our second baby girl.  WRONG.  The ‘official’ ultrasound later confirmed that we were…indeed…having a baby BOY.  I immediately texted my friend and said, “Nathan! You were right!  We are having a boy!”  He responded ever so gently and said, “My friend, God does not lie.”  Ouch.  God knew I would learn so much from Adeline, Pastor Albert, Nathan, and Pastor T.  He knew I needed them in my life and that they would be a special part of helping me mature in my walk with Jesus.  And a closer walk with Jesus would be just what I needed to be the mother he designed for me to be.

Friends, God does indeed give us the desires of our hearts.  It may not be the way we hope.  It may not be in our timing.  It may look completely different than we have pictured.  The good news?  He knows exactly what ‘it’ looks like.  He knows exactly what we need and He equips us to be able to handle these desires and blessings the way He has designed them for us.  Share with Him the desires of your heart and then be ready to take the path He carves out for you to get you there.  He may just need to empty you of some things before He can fill you back up with His blessings. He has used this precious wee one to fill me back up in so many ways. From restored confidence to faith that can mountains…I am filled to the brim and overflowing. Praise be to God. 

Twenty Shades of Red…

Tomorrow is Valentine’s Day and my mind seems to be swirling with so many mixed emotions about this holiday.  Honestly, the twenty shades of red I see when I walk in to every store make me kind of crazy and overstimulated.  Fire Red.  Cardinal Red.  Wine.  Bulgarian Rose.  Dark Red.  Brick Red.  Crimson.  Persian Red.  Well…you get the point.

I begin to feel bad for the single people.  I begin to feel bad for the married ladies who are the only ones who do not have a dozen roses on their desk.  I begin to worry about the tweens and teens who base their value and worth on whether or not they have a Valentine.  I begin to feel pressure to find my husband the right card that says exactly what he means to me.  Honestly, I am just over this commercial holiday.  I am beginning to feel like I have lost that loving feeling!

Then ‘it’ hits me.  This is supposed to be a holiday of love.  What if our focus was on how much He loves us instead of how much the world and those living in it love us?  Have you ever thought about Him saying to you “Be Mine” or “U R Special?”  No, those expressions from Him do not come in the form of a candy heart.  Oh but they come.  They come in the form of His ultimate sacrifice.

“He loves me.  He loves me not.”  How many of you picked 100 flowers when you were little until at least the majority reported that ‘he loves you’?  There is such beauty in knowing that with Jesus…we never have to worry about whether He ‘loves me not.’  Not only does He love us…He loves us with an unconditional and unfailing love.  Did you hear me?  Unconditional and Unfailing.  That means He loves you in your addiction.  He loves you in your bad parenting moments.  He loves you in your separation and divorce.  He loves you when your heart is hard.  He loves you when you make that mistake you promised to never make again.  He loves you when it feels like NOBODY. ELSE. DOES.  He loves you.

Psalm 36:5, “Your unfailing love, O Lord, is as vast as the heavens; your faithfulness reaches beyond the clouds.”

Precious friends, I am not suggesting that you throw out the suckers, cupcakes, and red-hot hearts.  This is simply a reminder to think about love a little differently this Valentine’s Day.  Love in the purest and most perfect form…