My heart has broken a handful of different ways in the last five years, each one rocking my world and transforming my heart in its own uniquely difficult way. But this year, my heart broke in a way unlike any other.
It all started when God asked me to have another child.
For nearly 5 years I have wanted another baby, oftentimes, so bad it hurt. But on multiple occasions God would tell me, no. (We’ll talk more about this is the coming weeks.)
But in 2015 God was the one pressing me to have another baby, and ironically this time, I was the one pushing back.
Marital dysfunction will do that to you.
Ever since my marriage fell apart, there was this innate fear of having more children. Sadly, babies became liabilities; another mouth to feed and body to clothe, that as a single mom I would be responsible for — not if, but when, my marriage imploded again. (At least, that’s what I told myself)
But God kept pressing…
Until a little over a year ago, I finally gave in; realizing that God was right — my ‘contentment’ with one child was really just a lack of faith that God could ever restore my marriage enough for me to ever fully trust my husband again.
So at the end of 2015 I, very hesitatingly, trusted God and began trying to have another baby. I even started to get excited about it. And in 2016 I became pregnant with our second, incredibly longed for, baby.
…And then I lost that baby…
If that wasn’t already confusing enough, a couple weeks later, I found out my father was expecting a baby….
Let that sink in for a moment.
(… I would have a half-sibling… born just days from the date my baby would have been born…. the baby, God asked me to try for… that I lost.)
To say I was confused and struggled to trust God’s goodness is an understatement. (I even yelled out a few loaded curse words to be certain.) But to be frank, it wasn’t the worse loss I have ever experienced in my life. In fact, it wouldn’t even make the ‘Top 3’ in the last five years…
But it was just the right pain needed to position me to ask the most profound question I’ve ever asked God: “…WHAT THE HECK DO YOU WANT FROM ME?!?!?” *
* That’s the edited version *
And it was as if God replied, on cue and completely unshaken, “I’ve been waiting (years) for you to ask…”
It was when I was reading In Luke 1 — and while my pregnancy hormones were still raging, my body still recovery, and the medical bills still piling after losing the baby — that this tiny, almost ignorable, exchange at the start of the Christmas story spoke to me so profoundly.
In verses 26-28 it says, ‘God sent the angel Gabriel to Nazareth, a village in Galilee, to a virgin named Mary… Gabriel appeared to her and said, “Greetings favored woman! The Lord is with you.” Confused and disturbed, Mary tried to think what the angel could mean.’
It’s simple, really. Missable, even. But understand, God sent an angel to speak something over Mary that she did not (in that moment) see in herself. — “You are favored… chosen… special,” the angel had said.
And it was while reading that passage that I too, wondered, maybe for the first time in my life, what would God say about me?
I penned two questions for God on a coffee-stained sheet in my journal:
- What is it that You say about me?
- Like Mary, what have You taken notice of in me, that I don’t (right now) see in myself?
Then I left the rest of the page blank and waited for Him to answer. I demanded it.
And months later, God would….
In the Bible, God sent an angel name Gabriel to tell Mary what He saw in her. And in the last 5 months (since writing out those questions to God) God sent people — from all over the world — to me to tell me what He thought of me, as well…
God sent a woman named Carrie (a lovely reader of this blog that has become a dear friend over the years) to send me a package that arrived just around the time I was throwing punches at God and questioning His goodness. There was a note, saying, “God told me to tell you, He sees your faith…”
“I’m sending you someone to remind you that you aren’t as faithless as you feel,” it’s as if God was saying, “…Even amid your current anger towards Me.”
God then sent me 2,000 miles to Seattle, Washington, to speak at a women’s bible study because the group leader, a woman I had never met before, felt God tell her to ask me to share my story.
“…Whether you realize it or not, you have a powerful voice and a significant story to tell,” God spoke into my heart.
God would then go and shock us, by sending me and my family to the other side of the world — on a completely paid-for trip to England, Wales, The Netherlands, Belgium, and France for 5 weeks! Even crazier, I could tell you story after story, of INNUMERABLE people speaking what God saw in me! As I type, one woman stands out in my mind; a woman I had never met but who seemed to have eyes into my soul.
She ran her fingers down my spine and said, “God has shown me that He has given you a steel rod down your back — an undeniable inner strength.”
“You are so much stronger than you realize,” I could feel God saying. “…Even when you don’t feel that strength, it’s always there.”
And then there was the man who looked me straight in the eyes and said, “You are incredible. And you will do more incredible things for God than you even realize!”
“What do I see in you?” God replied, “I’ve been waiting your whole life for you to ask! I love you, I have great things in store for you, and I have chosen you for something remarkable — more incredible than you even realize! Just like Mary.”
…And for the first time, possibly in my entire life, it was like something unlocked in my heart, and I believed Him.
…and all because God broke my heart enough for me to (finally) ask.
No, I’m not praying you lose a baby in 2017…
Nor, am I praying your middle-aged father has a baby with a former friend of yours (for more reasons than one…)
My prayer for you this year is that something causes a spark in your heart, and an uproar in your spirit. — Even if it takes God breaking your heart in such a way that it makes you raise your voice, question His goodness, and hurl a curse word in His direction — if it means you finally, after all these years, ask Him why He put you on this earth.
Because there are words and purpose God spoke over you while you were being formed in the womb, potential He sees in us, that we may not – even on our best days – see in ourselves.
So don’t let another year go aimlessly by. Grab hold of your calling — ask the One who created you what you were created for, and settle for nothing less. Demand it even!
Like Mary, we were born to do something incredible; more incredible than we even realize…
The question is will you in 2017, (finally) ask what it is?
(I’m sure glad I did.)