This post is based on the study of Genesis 16:1-2 and Matthew 19:26 as a part of the Love God Greatly Study – Shame Breaker. This post and all other posts, based on their studies, are written prior to reading any devotionals associated with the study. It is my true story, heart and beliefs shared as God leads.
Sarai was barren and desperate for a child and her desperation led her to make choices that I imagine she wouldn’t have made otherwise. Perhaps the desperation was due to shame for not having been able to give Abram a son in a culture where this was of great importance. Perhaps it was being tired of everyone asking when are you guys going to start having children? Don’t you want to be pregnant? What are you waiting on??? Or maybe it was simply a deep heartfelt desire to become a mother – whatever it was – trusting God took a back seat and she went into full-on manipulation to make a seemingly impossible situation “better”. To make matters worse Abram’s trust was lacking too and instead of speaking truth and sense to her – he agreed to go along with her plan.
Having been “barren” for the first 8 years of my marriage I know a little of how Sarai felt. I can tell you from that experience – came heartache and anger and shame and pride and a deep resentment of friends and even strangers that were pregnant when I wasn’t. I can also tell you that it was in those years that God laid an incredible foundation of trust that has been needed for so many deeper and more difficult issues in the years that have followed. Through a tubal pregnancy that nearly took my life, a child born crippled at birth, another child with cancer, an unexpected and devastating divorce, heartaches and fears, sudden and devastating losses of family members, health crisis, and financial needs – God added building blocks on the foundation laid during those “barren” years. Each need and situation was met with the mercy, grace, and love of our faithful and trustworthy God.
So we have the foundation and the building blocks – but in between is The “stepping-stone” story – the heart of the story – for it’s what made the building blocks possible. It’s the answer, if you will, as to why the foundation didn’t crumble. It’s what connects our two passages together, the barren Saria in Genesis and Jesus’s words in Matthew, and it’s what changed the course of my story. You see, God had placed people, and in this case parents, in my life who spoke TRUTH – God’s TRUTH – to me. Instead of going along with my complaints of not being pregnant and the ongoing “woe is me” spirit that was leading me down a wrong path – my mother shared words from a sermon she had recently heard – words she used to remind me to be content in the place God had me and to TRUST IN HIS ALL SUFFICIENT GRACE, His timing and PERFECT WILL. It wasn’t what I expected or wanted to hear, but certainly what God knew I needed to hear. I left their house that day to return home, hurt and sad and still desperate – but with TRUTH that sent my desperation in a different direction. It sent me toward God and His Word – to dwell on the words from the passage she had shared, and eventually, it led to a surrendered heart to God and – yes – even to the ‘barrenness’ that I knew and hated – and – for the first time in years, my heart was filled with peace and contentment.
The rest of the story …
Roughly 12 months later – my first daughter was born.
I share my story for this reason … In this life, there will be seasons of desperation, seasons when our faith is challenged, when we know the thing we desire is impossible for us, and – seasons when we think we need to ‘help’ God. It is in these times that we MUST make sure we have a nucleus of friends and family, believers that will stand in the path of our desperation and SPEAK TRUTH to us – pray it over us and for us and with us. People that will listen and comfort – and yes cry with us – but who will always look beyond our pain and frustration and ranting and point us to our God – Through whom – ALL things are possible – that my friends, is the “Stepping Stone” …………………. Me – from the Insideout