Imagine, you and your new husband have just received the news that he’s being relocated. There is a sense of excitement and apprehension, leaving what you have known your whole life, yet exploring the possibilities of what’s to come. After traveling hundreds of miles to your new city, you see that it’s in pretty bad shape. You and your husband decide to check out the next town over, the local markets are bustling and opportunities for success seem promising. As you enter this town, a sense of fear comes over your husband, for your beauty is abundant and his insecurities are high. He asks you to not be truthful of who you are, for fear of his own safety. As a loyal and loving wife, you agree to the terms and go about this new way of life. At first, your little “white lie” has seemed to not cause much trouble, in fact, you and your husband have come upon wealth and received many financial blessings to make your life more comfortable. As quickly as you stumble into this new found freedom, you begin to see it unravel. It’s funny how life can work this way. Just as we get comfortable, everything changes. You and your husband are forced to leave this town you called home and start all over again. You quickly pack all your belongings and forge ahead. Much to your surprise, this new location you now call your own is actually prettier than you imagined. You are surrounded by land and there are stars for miles. You are living comfortable with the wealth you accumulated from your previous set up and begin to feel at home. But something is still missing, you and your husband have not been able to conceive a child and this ways heavy on your heart. Your faith is high and prayers are overflowing. You feel God’s presence as if it’s an audible voice and He assures you, you will bear a son. Even with this knowledge, every month that passes without a pregnancy becomes more and more painful. The desires of your heart become so strong that you no longer trust the instinct of God’s promise to you. You envision your own way out, while it seems ludicrous, the end result is a baby! What bad could possibly come from a new baby to call your own, even if you aren’t the one birthing him? You convince your husband of your plan to have this baby you have prayed over day and night, with another woman, and he agrees. Happy wife, happy life, right?!
The day you realize your dream is coming true, a new baby is going to be born in your home, your new nightmare begins. Your pride over not being able to conceive this child eats away at the remaining parts of your soul. You abandon the faith you once pursued and become angry, bitter. You alienate the very people that sought to help you and scream in fury at this God who did not hold up His end of the bargain. Life becomes less lovely and your heart grows heavy. You are now, well past child bearing years and hopeless. You turn back to the one thing you know, your faith. Once again, your heart is promised a child, but you laugh out loud, knowing your body is no longer in any condition to carry or nurture a newborn. Again, funny how this happens. As soon as WE give up, HE shows up. At the ripe old age of 99, you, an old woman become pregnant. You bear the son that was promised to you so many years prior. You now can step back and see a masterpiece that was being painted this whole time. You were never forgotten, you were forgiven. Forgiven for all your past mistakes, fears and poor choices. That while the desires of your heart were not presented in your perfect timing, they were always a part of His loving and abundant plan. This is how God showed up for Sarah and Abraham, and friends, this is how God shows up for you and me.
Like Sarah, I too found myself walking a path of doubt and fear. Experiencing pregnancy after pregnancy, but no baby in the end. I began to question the desires I felt God had placed upon my heart, wandering had I gotten it all wrong or worse, had God forgotten about me. God appeared to Abram with a promise in the very beginning of his journey, saying, “To your offspring, I will give this land.” Genesis 12:7 This alone should have given Abram all the confidence he needed to know that God would make right on His promise, but as we all do, when life intercedes, trials get tiresome and our hope gets weary, we forget His promise and rely on ourselves to be the savior. For me, this was my obsession with getting pregnant. It stopped being about the child I longed for and more about my ability to carry a baby full term. I prayed for peace but did not like His answer, as it came with waiting and that’s a game I do not like to play. I feel like Sarah and I had this in common. While she knew the promise God made to Abram before they ever left for Egypt and the reassurance he gave when Abram questioned who is heir would be, God said,”This man shall not be your heir (speaking of the servants son), no one but your very own issue shall be your heir.” Genesis 15:4, yet she still did not trust in His timing. Sarah would begin to read between the lines, thinking that maybe she was meant to solve this problem. But friends, the problem with this way of thinking is that God does not hang out in the gray area, we do not find Him in between the lines and He will never make us our own savior. As each year passed and my body would not carry another baby full term, I began to surrender. After trying it my way for so long, I began to seek His way. For Sarah this was post Hagar, this was when she realized that her method for “fixing” her problem only made her problem worse. But the beauty in God, is His plan can not be replaced. It can be altered, it can take a different route to get there but we can’t mess it up. God once again, reassured Abraham and Sarah of a son, He sent his angels and they spread the good news, “I will surely return to you in due season, and your wife shall have a son.” Genesis 18:10 Now God does not appear to me audibly, I do not have angels showing up on my doorstep, but He most definitely pursued me, with hope. The first time the foster community was brought into my world was after my 2nd miscarriage. It was offered as a condolence from a friend, giving me another option to continue motherhood. This was when I was still pursuing ‘Hagar’ or “my own way”. I quickly cast the thought aside as insensitive and pushed ahead with my own plan. Just keep trying. About a year later, and another miscarriage under my belt, it popped back up. This time in my own thoughts. I entertained it but once again, didn’t pursue it. Then it was in every book, every show, every speaking event. So my ears perked up. For the first time, I realized, the foster community wasn’t pursuing me but God was. He saw me ignoring his messengers, disguised as my friends, reading past his love notes, written in my books. He knew my stubborn, prideful ways, as He was my creator and knew I would need something big. Something eye opening. So one afternoon my mind decided to entertain this “foster” community that sounded so scary, so hard and so painful, I made a call. That was it. I asked questions, I spoke with my husband and I waited. I Waited for another prompt to guide my next step. Two days later, I would show up at a MOPS group where a case manager from Austin Angels would pour her heart out for the foster community and share with us how to serve. As tears strolled down my face, I knew this was God. He not only pursued me but he caught me. My heart was so overcome with the confirmation of my next step that in that very moment, I vowed to take action. I would go on to become a Lovebox Leader, a great first step according to the case worker, to see if the foster world would fit into my family. She warned me that while the need is great and the love is abundant, there would be a lot of pain, sadness and injustice as foster parents have little to no rights. My mission for this year was to serve another foster family and see where I fit into this broken world. Friends, we don’t often get audible answers, we get subtle prompts placed upon our hearts. When we pursue those prompts, one small step at a time, we begin to see a much bigger picture. A picture that doesn’t revolve around us but Him. A picture that serves His people through our pain. I can’t speak from the end of this story because I am very much still living in it. I have not lost anymore babies and I have found a heart to serve our orphaned children. I will be a foster mom in His timing. The one most crucial lesson I learned in losing my own flesh was that these babies were never mine, but His. That each child I have been given on this earth is a blessing, a gift, to serve me from a loving God who gave me the heart for motherhood. But in the loss of 3 babies, I found my faith. I found my second story. A story that is unfolding before me and using every bit of my brokenness. My babies lost are serving a purpose far greater than I could have ever dreamed. That is the God we love, not a dictator that punishes us for our unbelief but a Father who pursues us despite it. For Sarah and Abraham, they would get their son, Isaac, he would become an instrumental piece of scripture and go on to father Jacob, the patriarch of the Israelites. God not only gave them the desires of their heart but fulfilled them. I can’t imagine giving birth to a baby at 99 years old but that is the kind of God we have, one that makes the impossible, possible. The kind that uses every bit of our past to paint our future. So today, friends, I ask you this…what is your second story?Are you living like God is a part of your story or are you a part of His?
I can tell you from my personal experience that God is pursuing you. It is no accident that each of you are here today. It wasn’t for the brunch or the community. It was because God wanted to speak to you and tell you that your story is not over. Will you trust Him enough to just take that next step? Make that first phone call? Connect with that person? Listen to the prompts He is placing upon your heart.
“Truly, truly, I say to you, whoever believes in me will also do the works that I do; and greater works than these will he do, because I am going to the Father. Whatever you ask in my name, this I will do, that the Father may be glorified in the Son. If you ask me anything in my name, I will do it.” John 14:12-14
Believing in God doesn’t mean we get the answers, it means He is the answer. I promise you friend that His plan for you is larger than any dream you can muster up. This is a God that healed the blind and rose children from the dead. Nothing is impossible, nothing is out of His reach.
Trust in Him, believe in Him, be patient and prayerful and most importantly pursue your second story.