Three and half years ago I stood at the altar of a beautiful church with a handsome groom across from me beaming from ear to ear. I was getting married (read more on that here) and everything in my life seemed absolutely perfect.
I had a loving, wonderful, supportive family and was marrying into an equally awesome family. My soon-to-be husband had a great job with no fear or concern for financial struggles. I was experiencing top notch health and didn’t have a single ache or pain to be burdened by.
My relationship with God was really good and I had an exciting future ahead of me.
I actually remember thinking to myself that I must be living a fairytale life. “My life is perfect” I thought to myself after the wedding. I don’t have a single worry, fear, want, or burden. I loved everything about my life and actually felt guilty for having it “so good.”
Up to that point God had given me everything – I mean everything – I could have possibly needed or wanted.
After the wedding Zack and I were excited about having kids right away. I always dreamed of being a young “cool” mom with a houseful of adorable blondies running around. Zack and I didn’t do anything to prevent a pregnancy so I assumed things would happen right away.
One month went by, then two, then four, then ten, then we hit our one year anniversary.
“Hmmmmm” I thought to myself. “Why am I not getting pregnant? I thought this was automatic for people who didn’t purposely ‘prevent’ pregnancy?”
Six more months went by and I still wasn’t pregnant. By this time I was getting anxious and concerned about why I wasn’t conceiving. Up to this point I hadn’t really been praying for a baby because I just assumed it would happen anytime. I added this new “desire” to my prayer list.
I felt confused because the Bible calls children a “blessing” and a “heritage from the Lord” and I wondered why God wasn’t giving it to me.
Shortly after we hit our two year anniversary, I noticed something different in my body.
I took and pregnancy test and to my surprise it was positive! Zack and I celebrated and excitedly shares the news with our families. Everyone was overjoyed and my life seemed completely perfect again.
Then the most terrible, unexpected thing happened.
I lost the baby.
I was shocked and devastated. We grieved for several weeks and months as my body and soul slowly recovered from the trauma.
Then, exactly six months later I got pregnant again! It felt like God had given me another baby to fill the void that the first one left. I was overjoyed and praised God for His blessing! My life finally felt normal and perfect again.
I never would have imaged what happened next.
I lost the second baby.
Having one miscarriage was hard enough and the second one seemed like a cruel joke.
Thankfully (to make a long story short) by God’s grace and the prayers of many people, I was finally able to recover from my second loss.
Now here I am today.
Three and a half years into marriage and still no sign of children.
I have asked God “why” so many times. I’ve cried and wondered why God would allow the rebellious teenage girl to have a baby and not me. I questioned whether or not I had an outstanding sin in my life. I’ve prayed fervently and sincerely and wondered why God wasn’t answering my prayers.
I’ve struggled and wondered why God wasn’t giving me what I so desperately wanted – especially because HE calls it a good thing!
Have you ever had questions and struggles like mine?
Can you relate to wanting something SO bad and wondering why God wasn’t giving it to you?
Before my miscarriages I never knew what it was like to want something so bad and not get it. I didn’t know how to relate to people in those type of circumstances.
Now I do. It’s hard…really hard.
God has taught me so much over the past few years and my spiritual growth and maturity got put on the fast track. I’m developing a love-hate relationship with the “refiners fire.”
More than anything else though, God has been challenging me with one verse over and over again. “Give thanks in all circumstances; for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus for you” (1 Thessalonians 5:18).
Really God? In all circumstances?
Back then, when my life seemed perfect and easy, that verse was a breeze to apply. Now it feels more like a giant mountain I have to overcome (on a daily basis).
Giving thanks is easy when we have what we want…but what about when God doesn’t give us the desires of our heart?
For me, the longing of my heart is to have baby, but for you it’s probably something different. It could be something like, “God I so desperately want…
- to get married.
- deep, real friendships.
- parents who love one another.
- parents who aren’t divorced.
- to live in a city with more Christian families.
- a better job.
- to feel deeply loved by someone.
- to have nicer siblings.
- *fill in the blank*
All of those things above are actually good things to desire. But just because your “want” is a good thing doesn’t mean you’re going to get it.
Through my personal journey, God has taught me this key truth: God may not give you what you want, but He will always give you what you need.
Philippians 4:19 says, “And my God will supply every need of yours according to his riches in glory in Christ Jesus.”
God never promises to give us everything we want, but He does promise to always give us what we need.
And if there’s one thing I have learned by now it’s what God says in Isaiah 55:8, “For my thoughts are not your thoughts, neither are your ways my ways, declares the LORD.”
God knows what’s best for us far better than we do. He even withholds “good” things from us because He sees the bigger picture. He knows what’s coming down the road in our lives. He knows how to help us grow. He knows what experiences we need so we can help others in a deeper way.
And if you don’t feel like God is answering your prayers, I have learned that He ALWAYS answers our prayers. He answers them one of three ways:
1. He will say “Yes!” and give you what you prayed for.
2. He will say “No” and close the door in that area.
3. He will say “Wait” and ask you to patiently wait for an answer down the road.
I think the hardest answer to get is the “wait” answer because it requires a lot of patience and trust in God.
It requires us to surrender our desires to God and place them at His feet.
Yes, we should continue to pray (assuming your desire is a good thing), but we should hold it loosely with an open, grateful hand.
My desire to want children hasn’t gone away, but my heart is not anxious and worried like it used to be. I have come to truly believe and trust God’s Word when He says, “We know that for those who love God all things work together for good, for those who are called according to his purpose” (Romans 8:28).
God’s ways are not my ways or your ways – they’re better!
Once I learned to fully trust God with my future and believe that His plan truly is better, all of my fears melted away. Instead of constantly questioning God and fretting about what I didn’t have, I began seeing my life with new eyes. I wrote down a gratitude list and began thanking God for ALL of the many blessings He had already given me.
Let me tell you though – the journey isn’t over. I have peace in my heart, but I have to surrender my desires to God every single day. I have to make the choice to trust Him every single day.
And you will too.
We serve an awesome God who loves His children and will always do what is best for them.
He wants to hear about our hearts’ longings and desires, so pour your heart out to Him. Just remember that whatever it is you so desperately want in life may or may not be given to you. God is still a good God though.
No matter the outcome in your life, I sincerely pray you will learn to trust God, take joy in His plan, express gratitude for your blessings, and serve Him with your whole heart wherever He has you right now.
If you can’t be content with what God has given you today, you won’t be content with what He will give you tomorrow.
I would love to continue this conversation in the comment section below.
What do you so desperately want that God has not given to you? How are you dealing with your unfulfilled desires? How have you grown during your struggles? Did this blog post encourage and challenge you? If so, how?
I would love to hear your thoughts.
Photo Credit: www.flickr.com | The Barrow Boy