Originally published Sunday, 27 January 2019.
I don’t know about you, but I would love for the tangible, with-flesh-on Jesus to sit across from me on the couch, cup of coffee in hand, and give me the detail s of my life purpose. To have the opportunity to ask questions, to hear the answer without fear of improper discernment would be so welcome. Yes, we can have a conversation with God, but there are so many times that I sit in silence, in His presence (and sometimes struggling to find His presence), hearing nothing. My flesh takes over, my heart gets shifty, and I run with purpose — my own.
My husband and I are sliding into a benchmark in our marriage — we’re closing in on the four-year mark of trying to conceive. Four years of known infertility have loomed over our heads, in our hearts, and in my empty womb. Month after month of negative tests, heartache, and seemingly failed hope; in God’s grace, here we are. Still standing, together. Still hopeful. This season of waiting has us confused, excited, heartbroken — much like any season of wait can be. There is a holy anticipation for the movement of God bound so tightly around our desire.
And yet, still, we’re in the waiting. Not alone, Jesus is here, but the stillness of the wait has my heart erupting in doubt and fear. God has shut down other avenues in our hearts — IUI, IVF, adoption — beautiful tools God uses to expand, but tools God has told us to leave untouched. It’s hard to explain to those who offer well-meaning advice that God has told us we would be moving out of His will if we pursue these options at this time. Does this mean tomorrow He could change it all? Absolutely. This is exactly why with-flesh-on Jesus is always invited to my home to help me draw a map.
You see, God is faithful, He is not impatient. He has given us many stories of women working in their waiting — working their faith, fields, and hearts — to give us the map we so desperately seek.
One story He stirs often is the Woman from Shunem in 2 Kings, chapter 4. Quickly breaking the story down, this woman had extra room in her home — room she probably thought would be filled with toddler tantrums and teenagers one day, but instead it was empty. Recognizing her opportunity for hospitality, the woman built a room for Elisha. She could have left this space barren and empty; instead, she filled it with the sacrifice of serving another soul. When Elisha asked how he could repay her for her kindness, she shrugged him off. We do that, don’t we? Keep our desires quiet in fear of vulnerability?
But she had been vulnerable with someone because there was word she didn’t have children. Elisha comes back and tells her that this time next year, she will hold a son in her arms, and verse 16b is so near and dear:
“’No, my lord!’ she cried. ‘O man of God, don’t deceive me and get my hopes up like that.’”
Who can’t relate to this fear? Someone speaks prophecy and promise over our lives and we immediately reject it, not wanting to get our hopes up. Yet, when Elisha comes back — the woman did have a son, just as prophesied.
God’s season of wait in my life doesn’t give me permission to sit, unwilling to grow, unwilling to serve, unwilling to live out His purpose for my life. If this woman had refused to open her home to Elisha, what might her life have looked like? Being obedient to the journey God asks us to walk with Him might not make sense in the thick of it, but we have no idea the ripple effects one “yes”, one act of sacrifice, one compromise will make. God will do so much with our “yes” to Him — more than we’ll ever know.
As we mark off another month of waiting, I struggle with wanting to sacrifice anything when I feel I’ve sacrificed years of my emotional tank. It’s in moments like this I am able to pull purpose. I may not be called to open a room for Elisha, but I am called to love people fiercely, in their own barrenness — whether they have no children or seven. Not one soul is immune to a season of waiting, and I can see where God is creating beauty from ashes. I may look back in a year with a child in my arms, or I may be looking at my fifth year in the wait, but no matter what, I’m waiting, anchored to Jesus.
Brittney is a married, 30-something, laid down lover of Jesus. She writes at her blog and is full of book recommendations, recipes, and laughter, she chases the things that bring her joy in the margin. Married for 6 years, trying to conceive for 4, Brittney has found herself passionate about encouraging women on the infertility journey through raw transparency and clinging to Jesus. Always seeking laughter and purpose in the pain, Brittney jumps at the chance to do the wild things Jesus asks her to do.