I am a broken woman.
In the past 8 years I have come to God with multiple requests. Many of them have been answered. I am married to a wonderful man who continually makes me better with his grace, humility, humor and kindness. I am mother to a son who has taught me to love in a way I never dreamed. He has helped me discover a fight I didn’t know I had. (My mother bear instinct is apparently very strong). My guys have given me more joy than I can explain. I laugh harder, sing louder, dance bigger and love more because of these two.
I am blessed with wonderful family. A father who has taught me so much. A mother who challenges me daily with her grace. Brothers who are my fierce protectors. Sister-in-laws who are such a joy to spend time with.
And I am blessed with in-laws who love me like I am their own. They have been gracious as Brandon and I figure out what “becoming one” really means. And they. love. my. son.
And for these I am thankful.
But I am a broken woman.
I am a barren woman.
There was a time that I couldn’t even say the word “barren” without tears. For years I refused to utter it. I wept and I plead for God to fulfill this deep desire. Adoption had always been in my heart. It was not a second choice or plan B. I had always dreamed and believed that it was one way that God would grow my family. I am thrilled that this is how I became a mom.
But I (like many women) always assumed and desired to bear a child. I expected and looked forward to being pregnant, giving birth, breast feeding. I eagerly anticipated having a child with red hair just like their daddy. Brandon hoped to have a child with green eyes just like me. We dreamed of our red headed children and our black haired African or Asian children running around together.
But this wasn’t how God chose to unfold our story.
Barrenness. I am barren.
And lately something has happened that I never expected. This word “barren” and the reality it represents have lost their sting. They have begun to taste sweet. I’ve begun to love this part of my story.
Why? Because it is here, in my brokenness, my barrenness, my failure and loss… it is here that I see my Father. It is here that I see salvation. It is here that I sense God’s presence.
Here, in this place, I am revived. And I’m not revived because God has fulfilled all of my earthly desires. I am revived because God has revealed himself. I am revived in His story.
I have spent the last few weeks reading through the book of John with a wonderful group of women over at If:Equip. And I was reminded of one of my favorite passages.
In John chapter 6 Jesus has just called himself the Bread of Life. And He has begun describing to those around him the sacrifice that is involved in following him. It was and is a hard teaching. Following this, the scripture says,
66 After this many of his disciples turned back and no longer walked with him. 67 So Jesus said to the Twelve, “Do you want to go away as well?” 68 Simon Peter answered him, “Lord, to whom shall we go? You have the words of eternal life, 69 and we have believed, and have come to know, that you are the Holy One of God.” (John 6:66-69)
Friends, I am not a follower of Christ because He fulfills every single one of my dreams or requests. I do not follow him because He makes life easier.
I am a follower of Christ because I can’t imagine being anywhere else. Barrenness and all, I choose the Father.
In the last few months I have felt God’s healing. He didn’t suddenly make me able to bear a child. He made it sweet that I cannot. He has taken away my shame by revealing His goodness. In a lot of ways, I feel like my barrenness has let me in on a secret. A secret I don’t plan on keeping to myself.
I have seen how God’s redemptive story transforms. Not by making all the pain go away, but by resurrecting the dead. Not by solving all my problems but by drawing each and every soul to His presence.
In my brokenness, He reveals himself. And it is here, in this place, that He will use me. He doesn’t make the brokenness go away, He transforms it and makes it His.
Many of you will recognize the above title from a fairly new worship song by Hillsong. It’s one of my favorites. So I’ll close with this video. May we each find refuge in the shadow of His wings. May be revived in His story. And may we watch with wonder as He brings the ruins to life.