Last week I read the story of Hannah in the Bible. Probably not for the first time, but it still felt very new to me. Maybe because I am not just reading it as a woman, but as a woman who is surrounded by friends with young children and as a mom myself.
If you've never read the story of Hannah, you can read it here and I suggest you do. If you have or haven't read it, here is a little refresher/cliff notes version.
Hannah struggled with infertility and said that if God would just give her child she would devote that child to him.
Even if we all can't relate with the topic of infertility, we all know what it's like to want something so deeply that you can almost physically feel the presence of that gift in your life, and your heart physically hurts for it. When we want something to that magnitude our hearts have already created a space for it and then suddenly there is an empty void that's waiting to be filled. We begin to wonder why God lets us get to those moments. Those moments of desperation that light and emotional fire underneath us. A fire that can explode out of control with a tiny little spark. It doesn't always seem right, and it doesn't always seem fair, that a God who loves us so much lets us get that far in our desperation.
What is hard to see in those moments is God's plan and control over the whole situation. I heard a quote the other day that said, "The only way God can show us he's in control is to put us in situations we can't control." That phrase both enlightens me and upsets me. It give me hope for the moments when I am so deep in the confusion, but it also makes me feel like, "What the heck?! Why can't I just follow God's rules and he can bless me. Why can't it just be as simple as doing the right thing and getting your reward? There are so many people out there getting the good stuff when they don't deserve it! And why must those situations that challenge us be the ones that bring us to such a level of pain and desperation that we can't even see straight?!"
Because, of a little ole' thing called Surrender.
Ok, so maybe not a little thing but a big huge thing. Surrendering to God is one of the most beautiful acts of praise and devotion we can give him. But it also means that we have to be willing to give up our deepest desires to God and let him take it from there. When we surrender our pain, worries, fears, and situations to the Lord, we are saying, "Ok, so here it is. The one thing that I have such a deep desire for, It's yours to take. It's yours to move. I give up trying to control it, save it, or will it into existence. I have faith that you will do what is best."
I personally believe that God does not inflict pain on us. It's us create this downward spiral by trying to manipulate God's plan for our lives, and then we get so frustrated that it doesn't work.
When my son was in the NICU you, I blamed God the whole time. And I would get so frustrated with my husband who would always say God has a plan, because I knew God had a plan and I didn't like it!
I feel like I did OK and keeping it together in front of other people, but I was broken. I was angry and frustrated and confused as to why my story was this and not what I had imagined it to be. And not just imagined, but I felt like I deserved an easy go at it. My life hasn't been easy, and I just felt like, "Why can't you give me this ONE THING, God!"
Fast forward a year....My son celebrated his first birthday a little over a month ago, and all I can say is for all the moments of deep anguish and pain we experienced, there is an even more beautiful moment in return.
If you haven't experienced that yet, it's coming.
On the other side of that situation (the side that is in the depths of healing, praying, and gaining perspective) I can see a little more clearly now. Don't get me wrong, I still don't like that we had to go through that season of darkness. Remembering it is painful, but the gift that came from my surrender to God is undeniable. For me, that gift was a healthy baby boy and a beautiful testimony of how my faith reached a whole new level through that trial. For you, maybe it's freedom. Maybe it's peace. Maybe it's a job that fulfills you. Maybe it's a stronger relationship with loved ones or our heavenly father. What ever it is, it's worth celebrating.
Having experienced that brokenness, or any brokenness in my life, I now have a deeper appreciation for each gift God gives me. And not just an appreciation, but since of duty to use that to to glorify God. It's important for us to gain perspective from our time in the darkness.
Every gift and every blessing we are given we have to understand that we specifically chosen for those gifts because of how we can use them to glorify God in our own special way - today, tomorrow, 10 years from now, etc.. That's really the only reason why were given gifts anyways, to use them to glorify God. And same goes for trials. We are given trials because God see's the potential in us. He sees far beyond what we can see or comprehend, and he knows what good can come from us surrendering to him and allowing his will to play out.
Just like when my son was born, I often feel so entitled to a blessing because I've worked hard for it or it's something I want so desperately that I would do anything for. But true praise comes from knowing the power of God and how quickly he can give and take away each gift, and how he can heal a heart that feels broken beyond repair.
We all face different trials and have different circumstances, but the feelings we have in the darkness are the same. We might have more in common then you think. ;)
If you need prayers over something you are going through, please email me. You're requests are confidential, but if it's uncomfortable to share, you don't have to say why. God knows your heart anyway, and I am just happy to pray over you and fight for you.
Also, if you are someone who is in the middle of a situation or circumstance that makes you feel broken now, has broken you in the past, or something that you feel like is starting to crack your exterior, I have something special in store that you might want to be apart of. If you are interested in community and empowering women through emotional freedom through your own battles, just shoot me an email and say "I am interested in learning more about your idea!"
Thanks for reading this little piece from my heart today, friend!
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