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4.12.2008

The Peace of God

Isaiah 64:8
"Yet, O Lord, you are our Father. We are the clay, You are the potter; We are all the work of your hand."


It seems as if there are certain points in this journey where I am overcome with God's presence and other times when I can't seem to find Him anywhere. I've learned that the discrepancy lies not with Him, but with me. He is always there. He knows my heart better than anyone else. He sees my struggle intimately and He longs for me to trust Him with the wait and the pain.

Some days I wholeheartedly rest in His love for me and I believe that He is in control. Yet other days, I question His plan and I doubt His love. Either way, the outcome of my peace is dependant on a choice I make. When I choose to put my confidence in Jesus and to let Him carry my burdens, His peace washes over me like a warm, gentle breeze. My days are easier, my relationships kinder, and my sleep sweeter. The burden remains, but I'm no longer the one carrying it.

Conversely, when I choose to pick that burden up and carry it my way, the way I've determined is best, I choose the way that produces no peace. Suddenly I feel my world spinning out of control. I'm trying my best, working so hard to handle this, and yet I'm getting no where. And where is God? I thought He was the One who "never leaves me, never forsakes me?" So why does it feel like He's farther than I can reach?

The truth is that He is farther than I can reach, if I'm the one doing the reaching. Fortunately He knew that when He sent Jesus into the world, to be the One to bridge that gap, the reaching could end. Now, with my trust in Jesus alone, God is a mere whisper away. And when I choose to call His name, He always answers. When I choose to trust Him and His plan for me, He grants me peace that is unlike anything I can experience myself. When I choose to believe His word, I find delight in His promises. And this is what He's promised:

"Do not be anxious about anything, but in everything by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God. And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and minds in Christ Jesus."
Philippians 4:6-7


I'm happy to say that for a little while now, we've been walking in God's peace. Do we still have hard days, yes. Do we have concrete answers about what's happening, no. Do we have some kind of glimpse into the future, no. Do we have any guarantee that we'll get the baby we long for, in the way we hope??? No, No, and No. And yet, even without answers...peace reigns. So in that peace we want to keep walking. It's addictive. When the Lord is in control and when He is faithfully blessing our obedience, how can we not trust Him? Will we still slip and fall? Yes. Will the pain of empty arms go away? Not necessarily. But will we strive to turn that over to the One we know can carry it better than we can? Yes, with God's grace we will.

Our God is so good and He has ordained our days in His perfect way. Since September, when we lost that pregnancy we had waited for and when I thought my world would end, the Lord has consistently laid one question on my heart:

"Am I enough for You Stephanie?"

Over and over again, that thought has captivated me, challenged me, and convicted me. I could not answer it for awhile because I wasn't sure. There are certain things I've wanted and frankly, pridefully thought I deserved. But fortunately, the Lord has begun a refining work in me that He is not willing to give up on. My heart has been divided and His light has shone on some dark places. Places where idols live, where deals are made, where sin has taken over. And so the weeding out has begun. In His great love for me, He wants better for me, He wants all of me. And I want to give all of me to Him. So I struggle on, day by day. And failure creeps in, but victory redeems.

And now I can more honestly say, when He gives and He takes away, I will choose to bless His name.

In all things...even Infertility appointments.

I know you've been praying and wondering how yesterday went, but I wanted to share what God's been doing in my heart before I can adaquately explain how we feel. So in light of the choice to trust Him and with total peace, we went to see what medical wisdom could offer us on Friday. We prayed and talked and prayed more about this new road of possibility and I'm grateful to say that before, during and after...peace surfaced.

When the sun rose on Friday, my God was very near. Through my MOPS demo, He remained and joy filled my heart. I enjoyed myself and remembered why I love floral design. I saw those mothers, still wishing I was sitting with them, and realized that nothing is ever as good or as bad as it seems. I found out that many of them were just like me. Infertility plagued many in that room. There were adoptive moms there, in-vitro moms, moms who've lost precious children, and moms whom God has blessed regardless. And I smiled. My heart hurt for lots of them and I immediately felt a connection to some of the pain they bear. But I also saw hope in them. They were on the other side of motherhood and they were to me, a testimony of God's incredible faithfulness. And so, I thanked Him for the opportunity to see that and I left with more peace than I came with.

With an almost surreal feeling in our hearts and strength we did not have, we met with our new Infertility Specialist, Jamie. And while I expected the worst, I found myself sitting across from her, with a smile on my face and a calm that I couldn't believe I had. I listened intensely. We asked questions. We shared concerns. I looked at Travis and remembered thinking, "I love Him. He is such a gift to me." She methodically and kindly reassured us and helped us consider our options. She gave us much hope and she didn't pressure us to go down any roads we didn't want to...that was a specific answer to a fear of mine and I did not take it for granted. God's hand was working. All of the things we asked Him for and hoped to leave with, He answered. We felt very comfortable with Jamie and with the staff we would come to know. We walked out with a handful of information that we found very helpful and we feel good about our options and how we want to proceed from here.

We laughed, we were comforted and we found hope. On a day when I imagined much brokeness, many tears and anxiety, we left with none of it. To the glory of God.

Instead, we were overwhelmed with peace.

From this point on, our road is unknown and we are totally dependent on God's direction and wisdom. Our hearts are softened and ready to willingly submit to whatever the Lord wants for us. While we were in Florida, laying by the pool one day, I was thinking about all of this...where we've been and where we're going...and it occured to me: if this is as good as it gets, I cannot complain. I have a husband I love, deeply, and a life that God has sovereignly given me, ordained just for me. Who am I to suppose that my future is bleak? What have I to base that on? My God has given me more than I could have imagined or dreamed and I believe that He is worthy of my trust.

So this is where we are. We are encouraged. We are hopeful. We are waiting for God's best for us, and we are realizing that might look differently than what we thought. Thank you for praying for us...I cannot tell you how greatly your prayers have impacted us. We are indebted to your pleas on our behalf.

It's good to be home now. It's good to be walking in peace.

"But I trust in you, O Lord; I say "You are my God." My times are in your hands..."
Psalm 31:14-15

5 comments:

Kelly said...

What a great post Stephanie! I'm so glad God has give ya'll a peace. I know exactly what you are talking about. It doesn't mean in the midst of God's peace that I don't feel sad sometimes (because I do) - but I KNOW That I KNOW that I KNOW that God has a plan!!!! For me and you!

Faith said...

Wow Stephanie...very well said (or written!) Thank you so much for sharing what God is doing. You have no idea how it comforts and encourages me to know that we are not walking this road alone and there is help along the way.
I will continue to pray for y'all, that God's peace would reign supreme in your hearts and minds.
Continuing to believe God no matter what!

sheltonfamily said...

So good to chat with you today. I can hear God's peace in your voice and it is such a testimony to others. We pray for you all often and miss you lots!

Miz Jean said...

This is your best post ever! Beautifully written!!

Here's a few songs for you:
Enough - Jeremy Camp
Walk By Faith - Jeremy Camp

His music carried me through our infertility struggles and I pray that it blesses you as well!

What a wonderful testimony to God's awesome power and presence in our pain.

Jerbecca said...

Beautifully written. The peace God has given you is amazing. We continue to pray for y'all.