These words are part of a collection of writings from the final months of our ten-year-long journey of delayed fertility. In them, I’m pulling back the privacy-curtain and taking you inside the pages of my prayer journals to give insight to those who have not experienced infertility, and hope to those neck-deep in the lonely-midst of it.
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My eyes blinked open defiantly in the dark two days after returning home from a dream trip to Paris. It was 3:45 am. With the 12-hour time difference between where I just was and where I woke up, the jet lag was winning.
I picked up my phone and opened the Timehop app for the first time in I-can’t-remember-when. On that day exactly four years earlier, my best friend and I were in Scottsdale together (you can read that story starting on page 29 of my book). And that morning, she was up just as early as I was in that moment, only it wasn’t jet lag stealing her sleep. It was still-unknown cancer that was masquerading as cramps.
I remember the morning clearly – William and Kate had just gotten married the night before. The clips of the royal wedding played on the television as I sat tucked up in my hotel room bed, reading a devotional that slammed down hard with conviction. A couple of hours later, I took my Bible and prayer journal out to the lanai for an al fresco, early morning quiet time.
(6:05 am) Friday – 5/1/15
I just grabbed my prayer journal from four years ago and re-read that morning’s devotional. And now I have to re-write it here because it’s just as hard-hitting this morning as it was on that morning:
Do you envy the answer to someone else’s prayer?
“I call this answer-envy. It’s that “poor me” mentality that creeps into my heart when God answers someone else’s prayers more quickly than mine. Or when He responds to them with a “yes” when His answer seems to be a “no” for me, or at least a “not right now.”
That devotional is based on Jeremiah 33:3: “Call to Me and I will answer you,” (whether it be yes … no … or not right now … He will answer) “and show you great and mighty things, fenced in and hidden, which you do not know (do not distinguish and recognize, have knowledge of and understand)” Jeremiah 33:3, AMPC, emphasis mine.
I look up the Hebrew word used for “answer.” It’s ‘anah, and the very first word in the definition is “sing.” It speaks of anyone who says or affirms anything, specifically in response or answer as part of a conversation. The Hebrew means both good and bad, but the negative is in the sense of contradicting a master. And the positive? “In a good sense, ‘anah speaks of those who answer the prayers of anyone. It refers to someone who hears and answers a petitioner; and thus, it is often used of God hearing and answering men and women.”
The Lexicon then referenced this verse:
I lay down and slept;
I awoke, for the LORD sustained me.
I began praying aloud in the early morning quiet because my pen couldn’t keep up. As I did, a light wind blew a few pages over in that prayer journal from 2012. The sun broke through from behind a cloud, washing the table in warm morning light. And my wedding ring reflected that light as sparkles dancing on the wind-blown paper as I read the words that God so clearly wanted me to see:
answered prayers are like silken bonds which bind our hearts to God
I thought on those Psalm 3 words and that still-pending answer to my nine-year-long prayer for a child of my own. I had begun a habit each night as I lay my head down on my pillow to sleep in that home-stretch of our wait. Another day come and gone with still no answer. Still no indication as to just how long I would be required to wait. Thank You, God, that I am one day closer to Your miracle, I would silently pray.
I lay down and slept. Every night. For over nine years. And then, I awoke, His mercies new every morning. Because God Himself, in His gracious love, sustained me.
To be continued.