Redeeming Our Full Schedules with Sabbath

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I wear a lot of hats. Not literal hats; metaphorical hats. I’m a wife, friend, professor, pianist, mentor, writer, volunteer at my church, and occasional speaker. And then there are my hobby hats: reader, hand letterer, Target deal finder…I think you get the idea. I love to do things, and when I’m not doing things, I’m doing other things.

How do I get it all done? My favorite two words are “productivity” and “efficiency.” I don’t procrastinate or dawdle. I manage my time and focus. I carry around books and things to work on in my purse. I stay busy.

Busyness is like a security blanket for me.

But a life of busyness isn’t sustainable. Without rest, busyness ceases to be productive. The quality of our work diminishes, our efficiency wanes, our relationships suffer, and our souls begin to feel empty. I don’t want busyness; I want abundant life.

We are to be productive with our lives, but we aren’t made for constant work and no rest.

“We can squander today by feeding two different sins: laziness or busyness. Both the lazy person and the compulsively busy person subtly reject the God-ordained boundary of time…Busyness believes that the time God has given is not adequate. We must redeem the present by leaving time to observe the practice of stillness and precept of Sabbath, taking on the trusting posture of one who sits at the feet of her Lord.”

(Jen Wilkin, None Like Him)

Keeping the Sabbath is number four in the Ten Commandments.

“Remember the Sabbath day, to keep it holy. Six days you shall labor, and do all your work, but the seventh day is a Sabbath to the Lord your God. On it you shall not do any work, you, or your son, or your daughter, your male servant, or your female servant, or your livestock, or the sojourner who is within your gates. For in six days the Lord made heaven and earth, the sea, and all that is in them, and rested on the seventh day. Therefore the Lord blessed the Sabbath day and made it holy.

(Exodus 20:8-11)

But even before the Law, Sabbath was built into creation.

And on the seventh day God finished his work that he had done, and he rested on the seventh day from all his work that he had done. So God blessed the seventh day and made it holy, because on it God rested from all his work that he had done in creation.”

(Genesis 2:2-3)

Jesus modeled rest—He even slept on a boat in the middle of a storm!—and taught His disciples the importance of rest.

“The apostles returned to Jesus from their ministry tour and told him all they had done and taught. Then Jesus said, ‘Let’s go off by ourselves to a quiet place and rest awhile.’ He said this because there were so many people coming and going that Jesus and his apostles didn’t even have time to eat. So they left by boat for a quiet place, where they could be alone.”

We need Sabbath to be a regular part of the rhythm of our lives just as music needs rests in order to have breath and movement.

When we don’t observe Sabbath rest,

  • we decrease our productivity and efficiency by wearing down our bodies and minds,
  • we neglect our emotional health,
  • we cease to produce good fruit,
  • and we miss opportunities to experience the presence of a God who loves to show off, to hear His voice, and to enjoy His creation and beauty.

Now, there’s something a bit sticky I want to address:

Jesus got into trouble with the religious leaders of His day for healing people on the Sabbath (Matthew 12:9-14, John 5). Most of the times when I’ve heard these passages preached, the message is that we shouldn’t use the Law as an excuse to not help people. I totally agree with this. At the same time, if the speaker isn’t careful, they can give the impression that the principle of Sabbath rest is outdated and unimportant. No wonder so many pastors and church volunteers easily get burned out!

So let me talk directly about Jesus healing on that Sabbath. I believe one reason Jesus healed on the Sabbath is simply because that’s what God does: God heals on the Sabbath. He heals our weary bodies, stills our unsettled minds, and soothes our raw emotions.

In another passage where Jesus came into conflict with the religious leaders because of the Sabbath, he said, “The Sabbath was made to meet the needs of people, and not people to meet the requirements of the Sabbath.” (Mark 2:27, NLT)

The heart of the Sabbath is not a law to bind us. The Sabbath is a precious gift from the God who loves us and cares about the big and small details of our lives.

If you’re feeling drained, maybe the solution isn’t to quit. Maybe you need to rest and make Sabbath part of the rhythm of your life.

Redeeming Our Full Schedules

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I recently wrote about needing a nap in the midst of a very busy season, so I wanted to bring balance to the conversation and discuss full schedules.

Being busy isn’t necessarily bad. If we’re pursuing God-sized dreams, we can expect our schedules to be full. The problem comes when we’re so busy it depletes us and flows out of a dependence on ourselves instead of God. He is our true source of energy, ability, and resources.

On the other hand, I’ve seen what happens when people prioritize rest without prioritizing work: things don’t get done, deadlines get missed, those who pick up the slack get stressed, and things that could be excellent don’t reach their potential.

Work and rest are meant to go hand in hand—not one or the other. We can redeem our full schedules by cultivating Christ-centered rhythms and using our time well.

How can we do that?

Let’s start with my favorite word: efficiency. I remember a day when my husband and I were watching The Biggest Loser and there was a challenge where each team had to unload big bags of something-or-other from a truck and carry them to the other side of the field as fast as they could. (As you can see, I remember every detail impeccably.) The team that ended up winning had people in the truck placing the bags on other team members’ backs. The other team threw the bags on the ground to unload the truck, leaving the team members who were going to run across the field to first bend down and hoist the bags onto their backs, using up more energy and tiring themselves out faster. My husband laughed and said, “If you were their team leader, you would have started yelling, ‘What are you doing?! Why are you being so inefficient?!'”

If you can work more efficiently, you can get more done with less energy and in a shorter amount of time, thus giving you margin to rest, thus giving you the energy to continue to work efficiently! If you want to get a lot done in a way that’s sustainable, efficiency is the key. 

So let me give you a glimpse of how I make my work efficient:

I pray over my schedule. Yes, that’s right. Author and pastor, Mark Batterson, often says, “Pray like it depends on God, and work like it depends on us.” So I pray for God to help me to be productive and efficient and for anointing in each task I do.

Create momentum. I love to-do lists, but sometimes my lists can be daunting. When I feel overwhelmed, I start with small tasks to get a feeling of accomplishment and create momentum. No matter how large some of the items on my to-do list are, a shrinking to-do list is always encouraging. Some people prefer to do the opposite: complete the largest task first so the remaining tasks seem less daunting. Either way, start with something and shrink your to-do list.

Arrange the puzzle pieces. I think of each item on my to-do list as a puzzle piece. If I place them wherever willy-nilly, they won’t all fit. Just as we need to budget our finances (allotting set amounts from our paychecks towards groceries, bills, gas etc…), we need to budget our time (allotting time for each item on our to-do list).

  • Before the week begins, I write down what my puzzle pieces are—what I want to accomplish by the end of the week. As I do this, I’m mindful of what’s most important to me. Is this worth my time? Is this keeping me from fulfilling my Kingdom dreams? (And a word of caution: I don’t believe that God is against fun. He wants us to experience enjoyment, laughter, and beauty. These things feed our work, creativity, and even our worship. So if you’re the type that works constantly without regularly experiencing these things, I highly recommend finding ways to add fun to your rhythm.)
  • Next, using my planner/calendar, I decide when the best times to accomplish those tasks are. I use pencil because I may have to rearrange later. It’s typical for me to rearrange as the week progresses because…well…life happens. (No guilt!)
  • When possible, I group puzzle pieces according to categories for efficiency. For example, if I have multiple tasks that require me to drive to a certain part of town, I plan to do them in one day so I’m not making multiple trips. If I have multiple tasks that require the use of my computer, I try to accomplish as many of those tasks as possible in one sitting.
  • I don’t evenly distribute tasks throughout the week. I put a heavier load in the beginning of the week so that I have more room to work with later when unexpected things come up throughout the week.
  • I leave time open later for make up work. It’s important to be realistic and to plan for imperfection. Things happen. Computers crash, traffic backs up, cold and flu season hits, lupus flares…If I set up my schedule so there’s no room for error, I’m setting myself up to fall behind. (The great thing is that if I write in time for margin and it ends up being open, I can rest, get ahead on work for the next week, or do something fun.)
  • I don’t budget minute-by-minute; I budget according to segments of the day. (Examples: morning, afternoon, evening; before classes, after classes, after dinner.) Appointments need specific start and (usually) end times. But when it comes to tasks to be done, minute-by-minute rarely works simply because it isn’t realistic. And when my plan for the day doesn’t work, it has a way of making me feel guilty…and guilt is not very helpful for productivity. In fact, guilt has a way of slowing us down.
  • I budget time for rest. We’re more productive and efficient when we’re well rested. Chronic illness has made rest a non-negotiable for me, but as I look back to my life before lupus, it’s clear I was in desperate need for rest long before I got sick.
  • Procrastination is not an option; rearranging my schedule is. I don’t assume I’ll have time to complete something “later.” Some projects take longer than expected. Emergencies and interruptions happen. If I have time to do it now, I do it now. If, however, I end up not being able to complete a task when I wanted, I don’t get guilty; I get proactive. I simply make the adjustments necessary to get it done.

One last note:

I don’t let other people dictate how I manage my time. At the end of the day, I’m the one who is accountable for how I spend my time and what I accomplish.

A Woman’s Highest Calling

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She ran to me after church, beaming with excitement. “I wanted to tell you before I told anyone else…I’m pregnant!” (Insert squealing, and hugging, and a flood of happy tears.) This sweet friend of mine had walked the painful road of infertility and made my journey through infertility less lonely. I had prayed desperate prayers for her—the words were easy because I had prayed them so many times for myself—and God heard. She was no longer barren. Now she is a mother.

As I walked out of the church building, the happy tears were no longer happy. Buried emotions welled up inside of me and grief took over. I know that God has been overwhelmingly good to me and has filled my heart with beautiful Kingdom dreams. But during that car ride home, I felt like I had gotten a bad deal. My dreams paled in comparison to the dream of motherhood, and I felt ashamed of them.

As I type this, the absurdity of these words is glaring. The Kingdom dreams bestowed upon me by the Almighty God and Creator of the universe seem like a bad deal compared to motherhood? Absurd.

Struggles with infertility are excruciating. I’ve spoken with women who know pain and hardship, and who speak of how the pain of infertility are greater than anything else they’ve experienced. Infertility crushes dreams and mocks our desires. This is hard enough, but it’s made harder still by a lie that we were taught when we were still young:

“Motherhood is a woman’s highest calling.”

“I see women believing and repeating the lie that motherhood is the highest calling for all women. Did you know that’s nowhere in the Bible? The only reference to a chief call on anyone’s life is found in Matthew 6:33: Seek first the Father’s kingdom and His righteousness. We watch as that lie discourages those who are unable to be mothers and immobilizes those who love their children and still feel called to serve in other contexts. I see broken women believing the only role for them is quiet service and the only pace is nonstop. They exhaust themselves as they serve out of obligation, not worship. I see women believing it’s brash and wrong to seek the wisdom of God, waiting on others to intercede and teach them the Word rather than seeking first the kingdom themselves.”

(Jess Connolly in Wild and Free)

Motherhood is NOT a woman’s highest calling.

Don’t get me wrong. I love my mama friends! Motherhood is an amazing calling—mothers shape the world!—but it is neither the highest nor only calling for a woman. And when we reduce women to whether or not they have children, we minimize the potential God has for their lives.

The world needs mothers.

And the world needs women who are not mothers.

Let’s stop reducing women’s identities to motherhood and empower them to be all that God has called them to be: the daughters of the Almighty God, called to seek first the Kingdom of God and His righteousness and to fulfill big, beautiful Kingdom dreams!

Yet

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One of my favorite words in the Bible is “yet.”

yet

ADVERB
Up until the present or a specified or implied time; by now or then.
Still; even (used to emphasize increase or repetition)
In spite of that; nevertheless
CONJUNCTION
But at the same time; but nevertheless.
These three letters are easy to miss. We rush past “yet” to find the “good stuff,” not realizing that “yet” is the good stuff.
“My God, my God, why have you forsaken me?
Why are you so far from saving me, from the words of my groaning?
O my God, I cry by day, but you do not answer,
and by night, but I find no rest.
Yet you are holy,
enthroned on the praises of Israel.”
“O you hope of Israel,
its savior in time of trouble,
why should you be like a stranger in the land,
like a traveler who turns aside to tarry for a night?
Why should you be like a man confused,
like a mighty warrior who cannot save?
Yet you, O Lord, are in the midst of us,
and we are called by your name;
do not leave us.”
“Though the fig tree should not blossom,
nor fruit be on the vines,
the produce of the olive fail
and the fields yield no food,
the flock be cut off from the fold
and there be no herd in the stalls,
yet I will rejoice in the Lord;
I will take joy in the God of my salvation.
God, the Lord, is my strength;
he makes my feet like the deer’s;
he makes me tread on my high places.”

God doesn’t stop being who He is just because life becomes hard. Darkness and suffering don’t negate God; they provide the canvas to make His light and goodness more visible.

So let’s make “yet” part of our anthem:

  • Though what I’m going through is hard, yet God is still good.
  • Though my heart is heavy and I don’t know how I’m going to make it, yet I will live with joy because God is my hope and my strength.
  • Though God seems distant and His silence is drowning the sound of my prayers, yet He is near, He hears my cries, and He’s working in ways my eyes cannot see.
  • Though my life is hard and messy, yet I will keep praising God, holding onto Him, and trusting in Him because He is still an amazing God who loves me and is able to accomplish infinitely more than I ask or think.

“Yet” is the kind of word where the tension between theology and real life thrives. It does not deny the reality of what we’re going through, but it chooses to focus on a bigger reality that our human eyes cannot always see. This word changes our perspective, taking our gaze off ourselves and lifting our eyes to the Almighty God who holds all things together and has the power to redeem people and situations.

 


 

Weep With Me,” by Rend Collective

Weep with me. Lord, will You weep with me?

I don’t need answers. All I need is to know that You care for me.

Hear my plea. Are You even listening?

Lord, I will wrestle with Your heart, but I won’t let You go.

You know I believe. Help my unbelief.

Yet I will praise You, yet I will sing of Your name.

Here in the shadows, here I will offer my praise.

What’s true in the light is still true in the dark.

You’re good and You’re kind and You care for this heart.

Lord, I believe that You weep with me.

Part the seas, Lord, make a way for me.

Here in the midst of my lament I have faith, yes, I still believe.

You love me. Your plans are to prosper me.

You’re working everything for good even when I can’t see.

Turn my lament into a love song. From this lament raise up an anthem.

Yet I will praise You, yet I will sing of Your name.

Here in the shadows, here I will offer my praise.

What’s true in the light is still true in the dark.

You’re good and You’re kind and You care for this heart.

Lord, I believe that You weep with me.

 

What Does Faith Look Like?

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“You need to have faith.” Most of the time, I hate these words. It’s not that I don’t have faith or that I have anything against encouraging others to have it, but it’s the context in which these words tend to be spoken to me. When I’m going through a hard season or feel like I’m walking through the great unknown, the words, “You need to have faith,” don’t fill me with faith at all. They make me think, “Isn’t that what I’ve been doing this whole time?” and then I start to feel like I’ve done something wrong. I don’t walk away from these conversations feeling encouraged and empowered. Instead, I walk away feeling deflated and slightly condemned.

Chronic Illness

A few years before I was diagnosed with lupus, I was given a smaller diagnosis. Like most diagnoses, it came at an inconvenient time. I was living in the Philippines and had just been accepted into a graduate program to study piano performance in the States when I found out I had carpal tunnel syndrome and tendinitis in both of my wrists. Over and over again, people told me, “You need to have faith.” What they meant was, “If you want to keep playing the piano and get a Master’s in piano performance, God has to heal you.” I prayed for God to heal me. He didn’t. And I did get a Master’s in piano performance.

It took faith…

  • to pursue a graduate degree in piano performance with carpal tunnel and tendinitis.
  • to choose my repertoire and practice every day.
  • to keep going and not quit when it got hard.

I know that God could have completely healed me and it would have been great, but my 70 minute recital with carpal tunnel syndrome and tendinitis was no less miraculous, no less glorifying to God. But didn’t that make it harder? Yes. I’ll get more into that later, but I’m getting ahead of myself…

When I was diagnosed with lupus, I heard it again: “You need to have faith.” What people meant was, “You need to be completely healed of lupus to be able to fully live your life. And if you aren’t healed, then you must not have enough faith.”

It takes faith…

Speaking of the future…

A Dream Delayed

Ever since we were in college and still dating, my husband and I have dreamt of moving to Japan to start a church. It’s something we feel God has placed on our hearts. But even though we’ve been on a missions trip to Japan, we have yet to move there. There are things that we feel God has asked us to accomplish first—that’s why we moved back to the States—but lupus has caused those things to take much longer than we anticipated.

It takes faith…

  • to keep moving towards this goal, even when things feel slow.
  • to keep studying Japanese.
  • to remember that God was not surprised when I received my lupus diagnosis and knew about it years ago when He placed the dream for Japan on my heart.
  • to trust in God’s perfect timing and to rest in the fact that He is in control.

Unanswered Prayer

I’ve spoken about my infertility in other posts, so I won’t retell those stories here. What I will say is that unanswered prayer—no matter the subject matter—is painful. It fills us with the darkest of doubts and questions. Why didn’t God answer my prayer? Did I do something wrong? Does God really love me? Is God really who I thought He was? It’s in the midst of unanswered prayer when people’s statements of “You need to have faith,” are most painful to hear. Haven’t I been having faith all along?

It takes faith…

  • to hope and pray when the doctor says words like, “zero percent chance.”
  • to pray to God after being wounded by unanswered prayer.
  • to continue to believe that God is good and that He is not withholding good from me.
  • to choose to live with hope and purpose when you feel like your hope and purpose have been crushed.

The Truth About Faith

“And what more shall I say? For time would fail me to tell of Gideon, Barak, Samson, Jephthah, of David and Samuel and the prophets— who through faith conquered kingdoms, enforced justice, obtained promises, stopped the mouths of lions, quenched the power of fire, escaped the edge of the sword, were made strong out of weakness, became mighty in war, put foreign armies to flight. Women received back their dead by resurrection. Some were tortured, refusing to accept release, so that they might rise again to a better life. Others suffered mocking and flogging, and even chains and imprisonment. They were stoned, they were sawn in two, they were killed with the sword. They went about in skins of sheep and goats, destitute, afflicted, mistreated—of whom the world was not worthy—wandering about in deserts and mountains, and in dens and caves of the earth. And all these, though commended through their faith, did not receive what was promised, since God had provided something better for us, that apart from us they should not be made perfect.” (Hebrews 11:32-40)

Did you catch that? Hebrews 11 has been nicknamed the “faith chapter” of the Bible. If you want to know what faith looks like, this is where you look. So. Many. Miracles. And also weakness. And torture. And imprisonment. Oh, and also people who were destitute, afflicted, and mistreated. The life of faith isn’t as neat and tidy as many would have us think. In fact, if faith were easy, it wouldn’t be faith at all.

We do need faith, but not because God has called us to a life of comfort and ease. We need faith because life is hard.

So let’s get real for a moment. When the object of our faith is faith itself, it falls apart when things don’t go our way. But when the object of our faith is the God who is sovereign, loving, and good, then it can be subjected to hardships and still continue to stand.

Before you keep reading, I want you to pause and ask yourself this question: Is your idea of what faith looks like so narrow that it leaves little room to be surprised by God and to notice when He works in mysterious ways?

Too often we try to make the works of God fit into a box too small to contain Him. We think that when faith looks like x, God will do y. God’s ways are too creative and too wonderful for our preconceived ideas!

The God Who Can Do Anything. Literally.

Could you imagine what would happen if we believed God could do anything?

Let me give you an example of what I mean by anything.  Let’s say someone you know is sick. Do you believe God can do anything so He can heal them? That’s great! But believing God can do anything doesn’t stop there. He can heal how He wants and when He wants, and no matter how God decides to work, it’s going to be good and amazing, and even if He chooses to wait and doesn’t heal someone on this side of eternity, He can make them strong out of their weakness and use them to be the catalyst for a myriad of more amazing miracles that can change the course of history. God can do anything!

I hope that you’re getting really excited right now because I’m getting excited just typing this! If we can live with this kind of faith, can you imagine the kind of faith we can inspire in others? When people spend time with us, instead of walking away feeling discouraged about their lack of faith, they could walk into the great unknown full of faith, believing and expecting God to do anything!

So enough with telling people, “You need to have faith.” Let’s fill people with excited expectancy and say, “What if the God who is sovereign, loving, and good—the God who can do anything—is preparing to do something infinitely more amazing than we can imagine?”

This is the kind of faith that can change the world!

A Wilderness Prayer

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During a dark, wilderness season of my life, trying to pray was a battle. But even though I struggled to verbalize prayers during this season, there was a brief moment when I was able to write one in my journal. There were numerous days when I desperately wanted to pray “better,” something with actual substance, so I would open my journal and recite my written prayer.

Throughout my life, I’ve prayed so many prayers that God didn’t answer the way I hoped He would. But this prayer is one that He answered infinitely more beautifully than I could have imagined. He always knows what is best. His way is always better than mine.

So if you find yourself in a wilderness and wanting to pray (or wanting to want to pray), but you just can’t, that’s okay. Know that God still sees you and hears the cry of your heart. His grace is sufficient when you have no words to say. And when your soul is desperately grasping for words and falling short, may these words from my journal help you get started:

Giver of Life, Redeemer of dreams, and Comforter of my soul,

Be near me.

Clothe me with dignity and strength, and help me to laugh at the time to come.

Give me eyes to see as you do.

And make me useful for Your Kingdom.

Amen.

Trying to Pray

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As I slowly pulled my tired body out of bed, I felt it again. Overwhelming sadness. It was the same sadness I had been feeling every day for months. I remember the exact moment this sadness became a part of my life: the moment after waiting several minutes to discover that the strip did NOT turn blue. After surgery, many months of infertility treatment, and “pouring out my soul before the Lord” (1 Samuel 1:15), I was not pregnant.

It was a hard enough blow to learn that, yes, I truly am incapable of bearing children. But it was excruciating to find out when I did: the Tuesday before Mother’s Day. It was like some sort of sick, cosmic joke. Any time I turned on the television, bought groceries, or did anything, “Happy Mother’s Day” everything scraped against my fresh wounds.

I think this would be a good time to explain that I’m a Christian and I believe in a God who hears our prayers and is able to work miracles. Many months prior to the strip not turning blue, my doctor told me I had a zero percent chance of getting pregnant. But I was about to have surgery, and that meant there would be hope. We had been down this road years before. Surgery, followed by hope, followed by disappointment. But this time, we had a plan to increase the probability of getting pregnant after surgery from a “zero percent chance” to a “slight chance.” And I laid my “slight chance” before God in a series of intense prayers drowned in a thousand tears. I was full of faith and, at the same time, willing to accept what God’s will may or may not hold. I begged Him to make my longings to bear a child go away and to not let me go down this road if motherhood wasn’t at the end of it. I prayed for wisdom and guidance. I prayed for Him to help me stay obedient to His will. And after weeks of praying like this—and the longing for motherhood ever persisting—I prayed for a miracle.

And I was disappointed.

For months, I lived with a label seared into my heart. “Barren.” My body was unable to carry and nurture life. I was not dead, but I no longer felt alive. My life had become a bare wilderness. Dry and lonely. I felt broken, purposeless, useless, and like a failure as a woman and wife.

I wish I could say that in those months, I fervently sought the face of God and clung to Him. I tried to, but I just couldn’t. On a good day, I would pick up my Bible, set it back down, and pray, “I can’t today, God. I’m sorry.” Some days I could actually open my Bible and read a paragraph before whispering, “God, this is all I can read today. Thank You for your grace. Please help me.” Most days, my Bible remained untouched and no words came, only deep wailing and tears. It’s not that I didn’t want God; the pain was too overwhelming. I could barely pray even when I went to church; I mostly just sat in my pew and cried.

In the midst of all of this, God was silent. It was through this season of silence and wilderness that I learned that when we’re unable to cling to God, He clings to us. And when He clings to us, that is enough. At times, He doesn’t use words because He knows some wounds are too deep for words. He knows exactly what we need: we need Him to be there. And He is.

After a long season of silence, I began to hear God’s still, small voice again. When I prayed, “I can’t today, God. I’m sorry,” He would respond, “That’s ok.” Two words. Months of silence were followed by barely anything. But when you’re desperate, “barely anything” is just the lifeline you need. And slowly, it became easier to pray my tiny prayers.

Then one day, I was done. I was done praying badly. I was done feeling the same overwhelming sadness again and again. I was done being in this wilderness. So in the early hours of morning—so early that even the sun was still in bed—I woke up, dragged my sleepy body to the living room, and opened my Bible. When I started reading, I felt nothing. But I forced myself to engage, circling words, underlining phrases. And when I finished, I prayed. I mean, really prayed with ugly tears. I was determined to pray until…until. And after asking all my “why” and “how long” questions, I said what had been brewing in my heart for so long:

“God, You really disappointed me.”

Those words had been pent up in my heart for so long that when they came out, they kept coming out again and again. Loudly. It was like a wrestling match; and if volume and tears were points, I was winning. “God, You really disappointed me! You disappointed my husband! I told You I didn’t want to go through all of this if it didn’t end in motherhood and YOU DISAPPOINTED ME!” And I kept going until I felt like I got it all out. Then after some moments of silence, God answered. Not with condemnation or guilt, but with these words: “Read the passage you read earlier again.”

“Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of mercies and God of all comfort, who comforts us in all our affliction, so that we may be able to comfort those who are in any affliction, with the comfort with which we ourselves are comforted by God. For as we share abundantly in Christ’s sufferings, so through Christ we share abundantly in comfort too. If we are afflicted, it is for your comfort and salvation; and if we are comforted, it is for your comfort, which you experience when you patiently endure the same sufferings that we suffer. Our hope for you is unshaken, for we know that as you share in our sufferings, you will also share in our comfort.” (2 Corinthians 1:3-7)

And after I read those words, God drowned my wilderness and flooded me with His comfort.

The Father of mercies and God of all comfort turned my barren wilderness into a river.