Tag Archives: comfort

Rule Followers v. Faith

I’m a rule follower, friends. I just like rules and think they make things work well. That doesn’t make following rules I don’t like easier for me (maybe?); it just means that I would rather have the rule.

But it’s not that great of a thing. You see, rule followers are judgers. For me, rule following is a judgment on myself. If I have rules, I can tell how I’m measuring up. There is the temptation to judge others.

But God is not about rules and commands. He’s about His glory. And His glory best manifests itself in the grace He gives to us unholy beings.

I’ve been studying some scriptures on giving and unity because our church is entering a season of fundraising for land. And I’ve realized that if God came and gave me a vocal directive for how much to give over and above our tithe to this campaign, I would just do it. I would trust Him and obey because I know what He commands is good and perfect.

But His glory is magnified by faith! It’s not magnified by robots.

And so He provides leading in His Word. He provides parables that challenge my comfort. But He doesn’t give me a rule.

That’s where the faith comes in.

I have to listen to Him daily. I have to look at His Word. I have to ask questions of my budget. Most of all, I have to be connected to Him to take a step of faith.

Fighting the Comfort Idol

Part of the reason I chose my word of the year last year had to do with fighting my idolization of comfort.

I love to just be my old self. The fleshly self.

I have always been a very negative person. When I’m just seeking my own comfort, I can see it staring at me through a wall of frowns and pessimism.

My poor husband sees it the most because around him, I don’t have to hide it.

Last week, I was sitting in my chair, about to open my Bible. The day before, I had decided to start reading 2 Corinthians because of its theme on suffering (and I thought I might need to hold onto that amid our adoption!)

Instead of opening my Bible first, which is what I usually do, I prayed first. I prayed for deliverance from the gigantic black hole that is my emotions sometimes. I asked for God’s power to fight my comfort idol, to be really satisfied in Him – and GRATEFUL!

Then, I opened up to 2 Corinthians 1…. where I was blown away by a treatise on comfort! Oh God your faithfulness astounds me!

 Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of mercies and God of all comfort, who comforts us in all our affliction, so that we may be able to comfort those who are in any affliction, with the comfort with which we ourselves are comforted by God. For as we share abundantly in Christ’s sufferings, so through Christ we share abundantly in comfort too. If we are afflicted, it is for your comfort and salvation; and if we are comforted, it is for your comfort, which you experience when you patiently endure the same sufferings that we suffer. Our hope for you is unshaken, for we know that as you share in our sufferings, you will also share in our comfort. (2 Corinthians 1: 3-7, ESV)

Y’all. I just don’t have the words. I want to memorize this:

 For as we share abundantly in Christ’s sufferings, so through Christ we share abundantly in comfort too. (v. 5)

I really have nothing else to say. I think He said it all.

Why Did I Experience Infertility? Part 2

Why, we asked, why were we not able to have children?

There are at least three reasons, all found in 2 Corinthians 1:3-11:

3 Praise be to the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of compassion and the God of all comfort, 4 who comforts us in all our troubles, so that we can comfort those in any trouble with the comfort we ourselves receive from God. 5 For just as we share abundantly in the sufferings of Christ, so also our comfort abounds through Christ. 6 If we are distressed, it is for your comfort and salvation; if we are comforted, it is for your comfort, which produces in you patient endurance of the same sufferings we suffer. 7 And our hope for you is firm, because we know that just as you share in our sufferings, so also you share in our comfort.

8 We do not want you to be uninformed, brothers and sisters, about the troubles we experienced in the province of Asia. We were under great pressure, far beyond our ability to endure, so that we despaired of life itself. 9 Indeed, we felt we had received the sentence of death. But this happened that we might not rely on ourselves but on God, who raises the dead. 10 He has delivered us from such a deadly peril, and he will deliver us again. On him we have set our hope that he will continue to deliver us, 11 as you help us by your prayers. Then many will give thanks on our behalf for the gracious favor granted us in answer to the prayers of many.

Reason 1: So that we would rely on God (v.9)

With infertility, it is very tempting to try every kind of trick and procedure available because there are so many and no one is sure about how effective they all are. So you think, It won’t hurt to try, right? Nothing else is working! And I think trying some of these “tricks” are actually healthy for anyone trying to conceive. Plus, since children are a blessing, I’m sure putting effort into having them is good, right?

Remember, it always comes back to the heart. If you get totally absorbed and caught up in simply conceiving, where is your devotion to Christ?

I fought this temptation constantly. I ached to have kids, to love and teach and disciple our children. And every day, I had to face the fact that we might not ever have any of our own (biologically). Each day I could make a choice to check and recheck and recheck my fertility calendar and just exist until the next LH surge or period gave me news.

Or, I could praise God and make Him the only thing I wanted.

I wore out Psalm 73:25 in prayer:

Whom have I in heaven but you? And earth has nothing I desire besides you.

I’m not going to lie. Many days I cried as I prayed this verse – because it wasn’t true all of the time. But I wanted it to be, and I opened myself to depending on God deeper than I had in a long time.

I pray if you are walking this journey right now that this prayer would be what you bring to God daily.

Reason 2: To comfort others with the comfort we received from God (vv.3-4)

Although we were confused, we knew our God was in control. We know He is good. We also knew that didn’t mean that we would be able to have children.

But we were comforted to know that God would use this piece of our lives to glorify Himself. And that’s what matters above all else- only the praise of God. Only worship of Him.

For whatever reason, this is where we were. He surrounded us with others who prayed for us every day and loved us when we were in pain. They were a tangible comfort to us.

Since we started learning about infertility, we have been bombarded with knowledge about others’ infertility, miscarriages, and infant loss. It’s awful to feel the pain of a mourning parent or a hopeful parent. However, I know God has used our infertility to help us minister to others in similar or parallel situations. He has allowed us to be a comfort to others as He was to us. He HAS been glorified through this and will be constantly.

Reason 3: For many to give thanks (v.11)

Another thing I prayed for was that regardless of our ability to have children, we would praise and thank God for who He is. God blessed me in that even through my pain, I was always able to have the peace to praise Him.

But know that if you’re struggling with this, He loves you just the same. And I hope you will pray for this same peace and ability to praise.

Two years after we started trying to conceive, we were taking a break from fertility treatments (of which we had done 3 months’ worth – the lowest doses of Clomid). We bought a small 3-bedroom house, not all that expectant to fill it with children. When we signed the papers, we were pregnant – but we didn’t know!

We gave thanks – boy did we give thanks! And dozens of friends and family members did too. We were all stunned and overjoyed.

But we also gave thanks without that blessing.

God decided to bless us with Samuel. I don’t know why. I do know this, it has nothing to do with me or what I did or didn’t do. He might bless you in the same way. And He might not. It is SO hard to hear that and know it and still trust His perfect plan.

Please know that I am praying for comfort and peace for you – for perseverance – because for many, your journey is already years and years long. I understand that it’s hard to hear anything about infertility from a mother. I had the same deafness and pray that you will still find comfort.

Sovereign God, please bless my friends who are in the midst of infertility of any kind. I pray that they would seek you out constantly and fill themselves up with you. I pray that you would make your will known to them clearly and in perfect timing. I pray for their family and friends to be ever-so sensitive to their needs in this area.

Most of all God, I pray that you would be their only comfort, their only peace, and their only desire.

Why Did I Experience Infertility? Part 1

I can’t explain it, but many, many of the women I know have experienced infertility. Several women I know waited and waited and finally sought some infertility treatments which helped them conceive. Other women I know waited and waited…and waited…and are still waiting.

It breaks my heart.

I didn’t know infertility was such a widespread issue until I was in college. I was mentored by an amazing woman who, along with her husband of course, tried to have children for several years. Finally, they were blessed to adopt the 2 boys that God wanted them to have in their forever family! She told me that she was constantly praying for several friends who were not able to conceive yet.

I was shocked.

Brad and I both come from families where the children – and aunts, uncles, cousins, etc. – are plentiful. It made us think that as soon as we started trying to conceive, we would.

Not so.

We were married for 5 years before we started trying to have babies. You see, it takes us a long time to mature before we’re ready for something. No seriously. We had a multitude of issues in our marriage plus seminary to work through before thinking of children. Apparently, we needed even longer than I thought!

So you can imagine how confused we were that we didn’t get pregnant the first month. Or the second. Or the third. It took us a year before we thought, “What’s going on here?”

We started talking with friends and eventually found a doctor. We began praying and crying out to the Lord regularly for kids, which we had never done before. The tests showed that nothing was wrong medically (that they could tell of course). We breathed sighs of relief at that, but it made us even more confused.

If nothing was “wrong”, why were we waiting?

I’m sure all of us on this infertility journey could write a book about it, and I’m no different! To avoid a gigantic post, I’m going to break this into 2 posts. Sorry to leave you with a cliffhanger, but maybe this is a good time to stop and pray.

I would love to pray with you for any primary or secondary infertility in your or a loved one’s life. Feel free to leave prayer requests in the comments here or on the Facebook page throughout the week. If you would like your requests to remain confidential, email them to me at thecandidpastorswife@gmail.com.