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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Two days after my big, full of faith, red bikini purchase, I was exhausted. It was the I-can-hardly-move kind of tired, and it was about the time of the month to begin to wonder.
I will know on Sunday, I wrote. And then quickly realized that the next upcoming Sunday was Mother’s Day.
LORD … sustain me, I quickly prayed.
I began to morning-read in the Psalms, from a verse I had read the night before in Spurgeon’s Morning & Evening Devotional. It was rooted in Psalm 46:1. I re-read the words, and wrote down this quote:
The more burdens we put on God’s shoulders, the more precious He will be to us.
I jumped to cross-references, following the breakfast trail of breadcrumbs. First to Psalm 62:1 (“Truly my soul silently waits for You,” with handwritten marginal notes: “in silent expectation, confident waiting.”) A second marginal note took me to Psalm 30. I knew the familiar words already, and found myself automatically adding “I can’t wait until” before the words of verses 11-12: “You have turned for me my mourning into dancing; you have put off my sackcloth and clothed me with gladness., to the end that my glory may sing praise to You and not be silent.”
I have to catch myself, I prayed as I realized what I was doing, because you have turned for my mourning into dancing. You have put off my sackcloth and clothed me with gladness. A lot of healing had been done in my heart since Shawna died, and I could honestly say that morning, three years later, that I was no longer in the actively-mourning phase of grief.
I’m not waiting anymore for my glory to sing praise to You and not be silent, I prayed. I’m waiting for the fulfillment of a promise. LORD, help me not to confuse the two.
The Message says it beautifully: “You did it: You changed wild lament into whirling dance; You ripped off my black mourning band and decked me with wildflowers. I’m about to burst with song; I can’t keep quiet about You. God, my God, I can’t thank You enough.
God, You did do it. I need to rejoice in what You have done. And I can’t wait until You do it again with the other part of my still-waiting sorrow. I sit here this morning and recognize the irony of my scenario. I just had to grab my headphones because the baby next door is loud and interrupting my thoughts. But that’s precisely what will happen when we have children. Everything will change.
But this morning? I can linger longer in Your presence to the end that my glory may sing. I think of Exodus 33 and Zephaniah 3:17. You sing first, and then I follow suit. Thank You, LORD, for how You lead me.
Waiting is nothing but hope and trust lengthened.
I was hopping from verse to verse, feeling disoriented. Disjointed. Distracted. But I kept writing. I kept recording my prayers.
Psalm 33:20-22, AMP: “My inner self, my soul, waits earnestly for You. You are my help and my shield. For in You, my Spirit rejoices, because I have trusted (relied on, and been confident in) Your holy name. Let Your mercy be upon us, LORD, in proportion to our waiting and hoping for You.
Let Your mercy and loving-kindness be upon me in proportion to my waiting. Wow, what a prayer! The LORD is my portion. My future. My destiny. My share. Proportion is a comparative number in relation to something. I think back to John 21 from a couple of days ago. What if that morning-haul was in proportion to the disciples’ hope that Christ was the Messiah?
I searched for the word “proportion” in The Amplified Bible and found Job 34:11: “For according to the deeds of a man God will [exactly] proportion his pay, and He will cause every man to find [recompense] according to his ways.” But I’m often cynical when it comes to the words of Job’s friends (as was this case), so I checked the cross-reference in my Bible. Do you know where it pointed me? Right back to where I started my morning, in Psalm 62. This time? To the end of it rather than the beginning.
“Also to You, O LORD, belongs mercy; for You render to each one according to his work.”
And then I referenced other verses in the same vein:
Matthew 16:27 – Jesus, in glory, rewarding according to works
Romans 2:6 (which also quoted Psalm 62:12)
Why wait? I prayed. When other options will work and have worked for other women close to me. It’s simple: for the opportunity to experience His mercy and loving-kindness more dramatically. I don’t care what anybody says – waiting is work. Thank You, God, that you reward according to works. And Your mercy and loving-kindness are given in proportion to my waiting.
Because when I wait, I linger long in Your presence. And in Your presence is right where I belong.