I am currently doing a Bible in a year plan from Bethlehem Baptist. I LOVE it!! I’ve tried to do other plans before and inevitably, I get behind and give up – never doing them past February or March. I think the difference with this plan is that there are only 25 reading days a month. So – if you’re really busy and skip a few days, or you just need to camp out in the Psalms or somewhere else – it doesn’t mess you up and get you so far behind you can’t catch up.
Recently I was reading Ruth. I just read a book I would highly recommend called a Sweet and Bitter Providence, based on Ruth (side note – the subtitle really doesn’t have much to do with it… don’t be turned away.) Anyways, it is a beautiful picture of suffering and the sovereignty of God (another side note – also a GREAT book!)
The beginning of Ruth starts out with Naomi. In the first 5 verses, we see that Naomi’s husband died, her two sons just died and her daughter in laws have had apparently childless marriages. Not only that, but they are in a famine and she has to go back to the place where she grew up. She pushes away her daughter in laws because there is no way she can provide husbands to provide for them and they would be better off going to their own home. Ruth clings to her, however. She commits herself to her and says she will never leave her. Then –
“19 So the two of them went on until they came to Bethlehem. And when they came to Bethlehem, he whole town was stirred because of them. And the women said, “Is this Naomi?” 20 She said to them, “Do not call me Naomi; call me Mara, for the Almighty has dealt very bitterly with me. 21 I went away full, and the Lord has brought me back empty. Why call me Naomi, when the Lord has testified against me and the Almighty has brought calamity upon me?”” (Ruth 1:19-21)
Naomi doesn’t question the sovereignty of God, but she is completely overlooking his GOODNESS. And what’s amazing to me is being able to read the story as a whole. God orchestrated Naomi and Ruth’s story to be even BETTER than what they were hoping. Ruth finds a kinsman redeemer, who will marry her. She has a son and that child is an ancestor to David, an ancestor to Christ! I just LOVE to see the entire story and see the hope that Naomi should have had, knowing that God will provide and that he is loving and good.
In my life, it’s so easy for me to be stuck in Chapter 1. I never question the sovereignty of God in infertility, but I have to fight to believe his goodness. My heart screams “the Lord has dealt bitterly with me! He is withholding good from me! Is he punishing me for something?”
I have to trust we’re still in chapter 1. God’s view is so much larger than mine and he is orchestrating things for his glory and my good. That doesn’t necessarily mean we’ll get pregnant or ever have children. My sweet friend Emily recently said to me “Jackie I just can’t wait until you’re in heaven and this makes sense. It might make a little more over the years, but when you’re face to face with Jesus you will see completely.” And I love that. I cannot wait until my story is completed and all the stuff that seems so life altering and heart stopping now will make perfect sense.
Something else I love about Naomi is that it’s not just one hard thing going on. She lost her husband, her sons, she has no grandchildren, and she is starving. If we stop there it seems she has no reason to hope, no good in her life. I think sometimes we feel we can “handle” one rough thing – when really it just means we are depending on our own strength to deal with it. But when it’s thing, after thing after thing it can lead to despair! For us we had about 9-10 months of nothing happening (and knowing nothing was happening) that our doctor wanted us to wait it out to see if my body would reset itself. He initially gave us the “miracle fertility drug” that did nothing. Once we went back in, he sent us to a specialist. Our specialist wrote up a plan and tripled the dose of that drug. Nothing. Got my blood tests – low in a few things, so need to take some supplements. Back to the drawing board. Added a few more pills – good result!! But other things look bad… first chance. Nothing. Added another drug, hopeful and thinking this could be the time… medical mix up. We were told to take the wrong drugs and they counteracted each other. Nothing. Going on vacation so in a holding pattern for 6 weeks. And we’ve hit the “max” time on the first drug, so we’re trying something completely different. No promise it will even create a good result so we can move forward.
Sometimes I tell myself it would be easier to handle if little by little we got closer to the goal. But it’s nothing like that – it’s a roller coaster. And I think that’s the way life is sometimes. God is so obviously orchestrating things the way He wants to. And maybe he’s making it a roller coaster so I don’t trust myself or put all my hope in the doctors or pills or procedures. And maybe He just wants to grow my faith and for us to know even if we never get a baby – a big family – the things I so desperately want… I will still trust in Him, hope fully in Him and know he is loving and merciful and good!
I heard in a recent sermon “God gives you what you would have asked for, if you knew all he knows.” Amazing! I wouldn’t wish infertility on my worst enemy. It’s amazing that if I knew all God knows I would ask for this journey.
So far – I have been so thankful for family, friends and community. I have friends that ask how I’m doing – really doing – so often. And that love and care for me through the hard things. They cry with me, they’re excited with me. And not only that – they point me to the cross. When I am prone to despair or struggling with jealousy or not trusting God, they remind me who He is! And of my own brokenness and sin and of the glory and majesty of Jesus’ death in my place on the cross. And I am so, so thankful. Women in my life – my core, the girls I disciple, sweet friends I’ve known forever- thank you. I couldn’t survive this journey without you. Thanks for loving me and preaching Jesus to me above all else.