Friday, August 12, 2011

A Full Quiver

"Rejoice with those who rejoice, weep with those who weep." -Romans 12:15

Tonight sweet friends of ours gave birth to a healthy and I am sure, beautiful baby. And we rejoice with our friends. We rejoice in the Lord and His blessing and gift to their family. I smiled BIG when I heard their wonderful news.

Truthfully, I smiled big...through tears.

This has become all too familiar. Rejoicing with others in the midst of sadness. I have learned the only way to keep a bitter heart at bay is by stopping as soon as I hear...and praying. To stop whatever I am doing, wherever I am, and to thank God for His blessing to that family. Because children are a blessing. And God opens and closes the womb. He is the author of life.

Today was a hard day.

I've been slowly reading Choosing Forgiveness by Nancy Leigh DeMoss. It's been a heavy and hard, but good read. She makes the point that in the midst of suffering, He - He being God - is with you.

"Helping you. Loving you. Hurting with you. Driving you back to Him, drawing you closer in, making you more dependent upon His grace and power.
"As you get to know and trust His heart, you will be able to face the cross - the way Christ faced it from the haunting shadows of Gethsemane - and still say, even through your tears, 'Not my will, but Yours be done.'"

That's where I am. We are. Through the tears, knowing that His will is perfect, but wanting something vastly different.

It's been well over a year now that The Engineer and I and our children have prayed, asking the Lord to bless us with more children. Everywhere we read about children in scripture, we read that they are a blessing. "Blessed is the man whose quiver is full of them." -Psalm 127:5

There are six chairs around our breakfast room table - simply because that is how many came with the table - and the children have decided that that one empty chair should be a reminder to us to pray for another child. And they have. And we have.

We have prayed that if that is not His will for our lives, that He would change the desire of our hearts.

Our desire has only grown stronger.

I want so very much to rejoice and be thankful to be exactly where God wants us to be. To rejoice that right now, His perfect will for our lives is to be a family of five. He is sovereign and He is good.

But my heart, oh my heart longs for more children.

I thought for sure we'd have a baby in our arms by now. Surely.

I was surely wrong.

But an interesting thing is happening. With that longing for more children and the sharp reality that He has not chosen to bless us in that way right now, He is driving me to Himself. He is drawing me closer in. He is making me more dependent on His grace and power. Because I am weak. I am so weak and full of self love.

Only by the grace and sweetness of God, I find that I am living more in the moment than I ever have before. I am seeing my children. I am soaking up so much more with them. I am looking in their eyes a little longer. Smiling at them more. I am enjoying these moments that are slipping through my fingers like sand. And I am so thankful and happy to be at home with them. To be homeschooling. To eat three meals a day with them. To wash and dry and fold their clothes. To discipline them. To read to them. To hold them. He is making my heart thankful for the interruptions...whereas before I was inconvenienced. He is changing me. I dare say, He is making me more content than I have ever been. Don't get me wrong. Everyday is not perfect and I am far from perfect and I fail miserably again and again and yet, still, He is showering me, us, with His grace.

With all of our children, I have sung to them and prayed with them before bed each night...and long after they've fallen asleep, I have snuck back into their room and kissed their soft cheeks and covered them and thanked God for them. Often it has been out of sheer routine...and now, as I do the same thing with Little Bit, I am soberly reminded to treasure it. To breath it in deep. To enjoy it. To savor her head on my shoulder and her arm around my neck, the feeling of her soft breath on my face.

In wanting something God says is good and being told clearly that now is not His timing - He is changing my heart. And so I am smiling through the tears. And sometimes it is a forced smile. And it is hard.

The Engineer says that we can rejoice that this is His perfect will for our lives, and at the same time, be sad.

And so we are.

Only by the grace of God, through the tears and with our hearts aching, do we offer our thanks to Him.


  1. Bless you, sweet friend. If it is His will, let it be done. I understand your feelings, and even at 8 weeks post partum, long for more children. Four seems to be my number. ;) Hope I can convince Jason it is doable! ;)

  2. I know this was a hard post for you to write. You know that I am praying for you. All praise and glory to the Father for every gift... even when the gift that He gives is painful and hard.

  3. Oh, J. I knew your desire to have more children, and had been wondering if y'all were struggling through the wait. I am so sorry. That must be so very hard. It IS good to want more children and I DO believe God loves to give us the holy desires of our hearts. I think you are amazingly strong and faithful to be able to rejoice in His will for you at the moment, even if you're sad with the reality of what it is. You are also amazingly charitable to smile for others when you are hurting. I love you and your sweet family, and will be praying that God sends you a baby.

  4. What a brave and honest post. We don't know each other "in real life" :) but I will be praying for you.

    "Now may the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace in believing, so that you will abound in hope by the power of the Holy Spirit." Romans 15:13

  5. I am praying, too, Jenn. Isn't it neat/weird/mind-boggling how, truly, when we're weak, THEN we're strong? He is so good and gracious to take you through this sanctification.

    "Blessed are those who mourn, for they shall be comforted." Matt. 5:4

  6. What a transparent post. So thankful that you felt called to write it. I think so many women (families) struggle with infertility/miscarriage that it is refreshing when someone is honest and bold about it. I don't know exactly what you are going through but as someone who has had a miscarriage and knows what it is like to be disappointed and have to wait, I can empathize. And you are right on, the Lord does have a perfect plan for your family and being in the center of His will seems like your family's number one priority. That is such a refreshing thing to know.

  7. I'm praying for you. I've been where you are. We prayed and longed for a child for a long time before we were blessed with our daughter. It's hard, but you will come out stronger. Your names are being lifed in prayer.

  8. Praying for you dear friend, that God will grant the desires of your heart! Love you so much!

  9. Thanks for your openness on this subject. But thanks even more for seeing children as a blessing. There are so few that do- God calls them blessings but we do what we can to stop them-what! As one of the oldest from a family of 13, I know that God never gives you more than you can handle, and besides, having lots of kids is an awesome character bulider for the whole family! Thanks again.

  10. Your sweet kids are lucky to have you, what a great example you are! It is great to show them that you can still want and ask, but ultimately trust the Lord to do HIS will!

  11. It is in these times, dear J, that God grows you and draws you to Himself. It is in these times that He allows you to love Him--yes, even more--than that deep desire for another little one.
    Remember forever, and never forget, that God always always ALWAYS does what is best for you and He will never ever give you less than His best. We may not understand it in the moment, but He sees the full picture. He fully knows your heart's desires. And He is big enough and good enough to love you so much as to sometimes give you something even better than that desire.
    I pray that He will continue to draw you to Himself and help you rejoice even as your heart aches and the tears flow.
    Love you! -Rebekah

  12. i love your photos!

  13. I am walking this journey with my twin sister too. She has had to smile and rejoice with me through tears as I became pregnant eight times while she only twice. She longs to have more, is surrendered to having more, but her body won't cooperate. It is very difficult because the longing and feelings are still there. The hope month after month, is dashed, yet the hope endures.

    I will pray for you as I pray for my sister.

    I love you and hope that one day God will give you the desires of your heart naturally, or through adoption.


  14. Beautiful post. Thank you for sharing your heart!

  15. I completely understand your feelings of frustration and disappointment. We are now on our third year of infertility. My husband is fine with this, but I long to have more. He has agreed not to use birth control. I can honestly say that I have surrendered this issue completely to God only recently. My children are extremely challenging and I keep believing that God knows what I can handle. I know He is refining me in huge way. I think I'm understanding now that He is actually blessing me by not answering my prayer at this time. I have to believe that He knows what is best for me in my situation. Oh, my heart resounds with yours! Especially as I see others being blessed all around me with more children. I truly am happy for them, but it is still hard. Blessings to you! Sending up a pray for us both as we wait on the Lord!

  16. J,
    Thank you so much for your transparency in writing this post! I have been reading your blog for a long time now (found it through Elizabeth Snodgrass's blog - we went to High School together). I can understand exactly how you're feeling -- I want to be married and have been waiting and praying to meet my husband for a long, long time. I believe it's God's desire for my life, and it's certainly mine, but it obviously is not time yet according to His timing. I've prayed the same prayer that you have - if it's not His will that He would change my heart - but just like you, my desire only grows. It is so hard. I know what it feels like to live in the constant state of wanting something that you have no control of getting for yourself, and just hoping and hoping that "now is the time" finally. And then watching it happen for people all around you. You put into words exactly what I have been feeling, and it was so comforting to read. I have already started praying for you that God will bless you with a sweet little baby very, very soon! Thanks for sharing!

  17. Continuing to pray for you my precious friend. The LORD knows and HE walks this path with you..........

    Much Love,

    Psalm 138:8

  18. Ah, sweet friend. How I wish I could give you a hug. No wise words to impart, but I rejoice with you that we serve a faithful and merciful God.

    I've been reading through 31 Days of Praise right now. Sometime it is hard for me to want to praise amidst the struggle, grief, or even despair. But He is always praise-worthy, isn't He?

    Love to you, friend, that you may find comfort and strength as you lean on Him and your family leans on each other.

  19. I know this was almost a month ago now, but I just got the chance to sit down and read through my blogs and had to comment.

    I've been struck by the same thing lately, only in reverse. I have one baby girl, she's 3 in two weeks. And deep in my heart I want another but I'm scared. I'm about to go back to work and I don't want to hand my baby over to someone else to care for her and I certainly don't want to put a newborn in that position. I know millions of women do it everyday, but they aren't me. So this summer I've just been overflowing with gratefulness for my baby. I'm so grateful to God that I've had all this special time with her. I probably won't have another. I try and drink in every single second. I'm completely in love with her and being a mother, its almost overwhelming. It's so much bigger than me and I'm just so happy that God entrusted her to me. But it also makes my heart brake to think of leaving her to sit in an office. So in a funny not-so-similar way I know how it feels to have your heart long for something and have your circumstances tell you its just not that way. And in the end I think you're right and it has to come back to Him with gratefulness for even being in the position of having the desire. Good luck in your trying. I will jump for joy when I see your preggers post ;)

  20. A friend sent me the link to your post. I'm in the same situation, except we don't have any children at all-- yet. :) I absolutely understand. Trusting the Lord (or wanting to) yet grieving. May he give us the desires of our hearts-- in His perfect time.

  21. Praying for you dear friend, that God will grant the desires of your heart! Love you so much!

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