This Shouldn’t be a Surprise

For the past two years, I have hosted a faith-based infertility support group in my home called Moms in the Making – Springfield. During this time, several women with different stories have shared their hearts. We have studied the word together and prayed together. We have celebrated together and we have cried together. The sweetest connections have been formed through this community.

Recently we had a new woman join us, so as we always do when someone new joins, we went around the circle introducing ourselves and sharing our stories. After two years of leading and welcoming several new women into the group, I feel like I have my story  summed up to a only a few minutes and I can say it in my sleep.

Almost as if I were on autopilot, I shared: “My name is Melissa and my husband, Dan, and I have been married for almost 13 years. We have been trying to grow our family for 10 years. I was diagnosed with polycystic ovary syndrome (or PCOS) early in our journey and we did pursue fertility treatment in 2013. We got pregnant with our first baby, Trudy, however she was ectopic. After losing Trudy, we tried one more round of fertility drugs, and everything went wrong. So, we were forced to take a break. During that break we heard the Father say very clearly “be still”. To us, that meant no fertility drugs, no tracking, no doctors, just trusting Him for His timing and next steps. In 2016, I started to work on my hormone health and then in 2017, we got the surprise of our lifetime when we learned we were naturally pregnant with our sweet Lil Bit. Sadly, we only carried Lil Bit for ten and half weeks. Since losing Lil Bit, we are continuing to wait on the Father for next steps, believing He will do it again.”

As I said the words, for probably the 100th time, the Father stopped me in my tracks and for the first time I really heard what I was saying. Had I really just said that in 2017 we got the surprise of our lives when we learned we were pregnant naturally? Hadn’t we been praying for a baby for nearly seven years at that point? Sure, we weren’t using fertility drugs or tracking cycles…  but we were actively married and we weren’t using protection. Why was a positive pregnancy test so surprising? Do I even know where babies come from?

For the next several days, I turned these thoughts over and over in my head. Why was a positive pregnancy test so surprising? Why was it so surprising to have our prayers answered? Then the questions started hitting me like a ton of bricks… Do I  believe that God is who He says He is and He will do what He says? Do I really trust Him to answer my prayers?

The Christian answer is easy. Of course I believe God is who He says He is. Of course I believe His promises are for me! However, when the rubber hits the road, I was surprised by a pregnancy I had been “believing” for. When the night hits and the only thing we have is to hold onto His promises, how many of us quickly forget the right answer?

So who is the Father? I could probably write 452 posts about who the Father is and not scratch the surface of everything He is. The bible gives us so many descriptions of who He is, but I personally think one of the best places to start is the “I am” statements found in John. Why do I think this is a good place to start? Because this is who Jesus said He is (taken from TPT).

  1. “I am the bread of life.” (John 6:35, 41, 48, 51) Just as we need bread (or some kind of food) to sustain our physical life, Jesus sustains our spiritual life. We can’t live spiritually without His spiritual food.
  2.  “I am the light of the world.” (John 8:12) When we are lost in complete darkness, Jesus is the guide. Darkness cannot exist when He is present.
  3. “I am the gate of the flock.” (John 10:7,9) As the gate, He brings us to the Father and His kingdom realm.
  4. “I am the good shepherd.” (John 10:11, 14) Jesus protects His followers as shepherds protect their flocks from predators.
  5. “I am the resurrection and I am life eternal.” (John 11:25) Jesus is the living God and death doesn’t get the final say for those who walk with Jesus.
  6. “I am the way, I am the the truth, and I am the life.” (John 14:6) Jesus is the source of all truth and knowledge.
  7. “I am a true sprouting vine.” (John 15:1, 5) By attaching ourselves to Jesus, we enable His life to flow in and through us. When we are growing with Him, we cannot help but bear fruit that will honor the Father.

This is by no means an exhaustive list of who the Father is. How do I know? Because I have spent time pursing relationship with Him. I know this isn’t a new concept, but the only way we can get to know someone is to ask them questions about themselves. To truly listen when they speak. To build relationship with them.

And yet, I knew who the Father is, and until very recently I have been telling everyone I met I was surprised when He answered our prayers! How is that possible? Just like in any relationship, I believe relationship with God is active. In order to achieve deeper friendship, we have to continue to work on getting to know each other. We have to be willing to shine light on the places we are wrong. We have to be willing to pull out lies and replace them with truth. The only way to do this, is to continue to pursue Him.

So I told God I was sorry for not trusting Him. I told Him I was sorry for all the times I was surprised when He showed up. I asked God to show me a deeper level of who He is,  and He took me to Amos.

Yes, you read that correctly, Amos. Before we can jump into the verse, we need to talk about the book of Amos as a whole. Amos was a shepherd who was called to prophecy to God’s people. The book isn’t the shortest book in the bible, but it’s easy to overlook. It’s not something super pleasant to read, and over and over the people are warned about God’s coming judgement. Seriously, in the first 2 chapters, Amos says “God will not relent from punishing…” eight times. This isn’t a super comfortable book to land on when you are asking God’s forgiveness about not trusting Him! However, at the very end of the book there is a sweet promise tucked away – Israel’s hope.

Amos 9:13-15 says this in the message translation says this:

 “Yes indeed, it won’t be long now.” God’s Decree.

“Things are going to happen so fast your head will swim, one thing fast on the heels of the other. You won’t be able to keep up. Everything will be happening at once—and everywhere you look, blessings! Blessings like wine pouring off the mountains and hills. I’ll make everything right again for my people Israel:

“They’ll rebuild their ruined cities.
They’ll plant vineyards and drink good wine.
They’ll work their gardens and eat fresh vegetables.
And I’ll plant them, plant them on their own land.
They’ll never again be uprooted from the land I’ve given them.”
God, your God, says so.

After so much judgment, so much discomfort and so much pain Amos reminds the people restoration is coming. Amos isn’t a book I read often. It’s nine chapters of very little to no underlines in my bible (which is something because I write ALL over it!). I haven’t found many revelations in this book, however AFTER all the discomfort there is this sweet promise.  “It won’t be long now! Things are going to happen so fast your head will swim”. Blessings will flow and everything will be right again.

I love the promise that we will rebuild our ruined cities. I have been dreaming of being a mother my entire life. For ten years, Dan and I have contended for babies. However, fertility is for sure a place in our lives that feels ruined. It feels like the enemies storms have stolen so much form us. I am sure it doesn’t take long for you to think of a place in your own life that feels dead. The places that feel so broken that the only way to find goodness is to move on. However, the Father is promising that He will be rebuild around us. I think there is a reason the Father didn’t promise to move us away from our ruins, He promises to rebuild right around us.

Thankfully, I have never had my home damaged from a storm, and I can only imagine how impossible it must feel to rebuild. I cannot imagine what it must feel like to move into a rebuilt home after a storm. Every wall a reminder of what was once gone, and every corner a promise of restoration. Everything in the house marked by promise. I think that’s why the Father rebuilds around us. His heart is restoration and He desires for us to see that we can live in a place where every nook and cranny is marked with promise.

While rebuilding our ruins around us is incredibly powerful He doesn’t stop there. He  promises to replant us on our ground, and we will never be uprooted again. If we go back to the analogy of being damaged from a storm, think about what it must feel like to move back into your rebuilt home without fear of it ever being damaged by a storm again. The freedom and peace… the security… that must come from knowing you can never again lose what you have been restored..

I love how black and white the message translation makes this promise. Why can we trust this is going to happen? Because our Father says so. I have seen Jesus as all the things He said He is in John, so I have no reason not to trust that He will do what He says He will do. So, it’s time to stop being surprised when He shows up. It’s time to be expectant. It’s time to prepare a place for the miracle because it’s coming. Our ruined cities are being rebuilt friends, we just need to wake up and trust Him.

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