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Archive for the month “September, 2013”

Faith in the Raw


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T
his quote sums it up almost perfectly for me. No matter how many times I have told myself, “I will just give up. This is too hard,” I can’t throw in the towel. My desire to have a baby with my husband isn’t a desire like walking into Kohl’s and seeing that beautiful Vera Wang handbag that I would love to have. It’s a desire that goes much deeper, and one that can’t fully be expressed in words. So, here I am. Another month. Another cycle. Part of me wants to throw in the towel and just say, “Screw it!” The other part of me says, “You can’t give up. You want this child. Have faith.” 

Faith. You would think that as a Pastor’s Wife and Christian I wouldn’t struggle with faith, right? Wrong. I struggle with having faith just like anyone else struggles with it. There are times when I have incredible faith, and then there are times when it is difficult to even have the faith the size of a mustard seed. Today is one of those days. It’s been over 3 years and nothing has changed. I have no answers as to why my body isn’t conceiving our desired child. No magic tricks to share that got us success. No babies to even speak of. Just the same charted cycle month after month after month. The same “negative” pregnancy tests. The same ovulation predictor kits letting me know that there is nothing wrong in that department. Just the same. 

This morning I read from Hebrews 11, and verse 11 struck me. 

“Because of faith also Sarah herself received physical power to conceive a child, even when she was long past the age for it, because she considered [God] Who had given her the promise to be reliable and trustworthy and true to His word.” Hebrews 11:11, Amplified Bible

 

It is sort of obvious as to why this verse would stick out to me, right? I know. And then again this verse also had me telling God, “Please Lord, please don’t let me have to wait till I am as old as Sarah before I receive my child of promise.” Seriously, this is a concern of mine. I have shared it on numerous occasions with my husband. I want that “physical power” that Sarah received. I want her faith. But wait, didn’t she laugh first? Didn’t she think it to be a joke? Yes, she did. So, then where was her faith? Maybe it was in the fact that in the back of her mind she continued to cling to her desire, and when God shared that she and Abraham would have their child of promise she clung even tighter to that desire and hope. She may have been laughing on the outside, but maybe in the depths of her soul she was shouting, “Yes, Lord! Yes! I believe it! I receive it!” Maybe. Just maybe. 

I can share from my own experience that even though my husband and I have three children between us, the desire to have a child together is strong. Our desire to have this precious child doesn’t mean that we don’t love the three children we have now. Our child of promise is wanted. It is already loved. It is prayed for. My soul yearns for this precious child. My heart longs for Ada and/or Liam (maybe the Lord will choose to bless us with just one, or maybe He will bless us with both). 

So even though part of me is screaming, “Screw this! I am done! I have had enough of this emotional roller coaster. I am sick of the same crap every month. I am tired of seeing pregnancy announcements, birth announcements, gender reveals, and the likes plastered all over my social networks, all while I am over hearing dying inside. I have had enough of it!,” I can’t ignore the other part of me. The other part that whispers, “Don’t give up Jaclyn. It’s not a lost cause. Your pain will turn into joy soon.” And it might sound weird and crazy to some of you, but even though there are times when I am so mad at God and want to scream at Him over this pain, He is where I find the greatest comfort. I can do nothing apart from Him. I am afraid of the dark pit I might find myself in if I let go of Him for even one second. So I cling tighter to Him. I rest in Him. I bury my sobbing heart in Him. And I allow Him to hold me while I break into a million pieces. And He lets me. There is no other place that makes sense for me to be than in His arms. It is the only place that makes sense. 

I will continue to press on in faith even on the days where my faith isn’t even the size of a mustard seed. Why? Because I know my God is greater than any pain I might have. He is bigger than any doubt. He is more powerful than any disappointment and discouragement I might face. He is my God who loves and adores me no matter what. He is making a way even if I can’t see it. And He is forever faithful. The enemy will not have the victory because I am the precious daughter of the Most High God, and in Him is where I find my strength, hope, and faith. 

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Stamp of Approval


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We all want a “stamp of approval” on our lives. I mean nobody likes to be told that how they behave, how they parent, how they treat others, how they live their lives, and anything else that involves their decisions is well, let’s just say not up to par. I will admit that I don’t like being told that some of my decisions and choices aren’t always the best, and sometimes I have issues with authority (oops, how did that skeleton get out the closet). But lately, I have felt God making me more aware of that fact that not everything people do in their lives has His official stamp of approval. Oh, we like to put it there though don’t we?

How many times have we done something, said something, or behaved a certain way and thrown God’s stamp of approval on it knowing good and well He was probably shaking His head at us the entire time. I mean, come on. 

I have noticed a lot of “stamps of approval” lately that have been placed by human hands, not God’s. It upsets me, and it breaks my heart. Since when did we become so blind to the fact that if it isn’t in line with God’s Word then it does NOT get His stamp of approval? 

You can’t live with your significant other and have sex outside of marriage, and turn around and proclaim that God is in control of your life. No. God’s Word is very specific when talking about sex outside of marriage. Scripture tells to even flee from the very hint of sexual immorality. Shacking up with your significant other before marriage falls into this category. So, I am sorry, but God’s stamp of approval does not get placed on this. 

You can’t cuss and drink like a sailor, and then turn around and sing God’s praises. “From the same mouth come blessing and cursing. My brothers and sisters, this ought not to be so.” (James 3:10) “Do not get drunk with wine, for that is debauchery;” (Ephesians 5:18) God’s stamp of approval doesn’t get on this either. 

Divorcing your spouse because you “fell out of love,” or for any other reason other than abuse, adultery, or abandonment, and then saying that God is opening up a new door for you. No, God’s stamp of approval doesn’t get on this either. “Therefore what God has joined together, let no one separate.” (Mark 10:9)
I realize none of this is like swallowing sugar….more like salt. It’s not easy for me to type this. I am more of a warm and fuzzy kind of gal, with a side (ok, maybe an extra side) of sassiness. But it really breaks my heart that God’s name seems to be placed just about everywhere now. We like to think that if we include His name then everything will be ok. 

Look, I am a divorcee. I went through a divorce, and I know the pain that it brings. It’s not easy. I wouldn’t wish it on anyone. I won’t go into details of that chapter of my life (that’s another post), but I will share that it was a hard struggle for me. And I also know that divorce was never in God’s plan. Ever. God is not an advocate of divorce. Just like he’s not an advocate for shacking up, cursing, drunkenness, wrong behavior, nasty attitudes, lying, cheating, stealing, and the likes. 

Oh there is grace. His sweet wonderful grace. And we can have it at no cost to us, well let me take that back. His grace is freely given to us, but we do have to lay down our pride, self-centeredness, and our ego. We can make poor life choices and be forgiven. God doesn’t turn His back on us when we make decisions that don’t line up with His Word, but that doesn’t mean He approves of them either. So, maybe instead of putting His stamp of approval on it, we should strive to make better choices and seek His way. Maybe instead of looking at our poor choices and thinking to ourselves that God orchestrated the chain of events (you know, so we can feel better about ourselves), we should ask Him to show us His way apart from those poor choices. 

I am by no means perfect, and I don’t have everything figured out. God knows that, and I would never claim to be the girl who has it all together. Really, I am a broken soul in desperate need of my Savior everyday at every moment. I fail Him daily. I make poor choices. I hurt people. I don’t always have the best attitude. I can be snotty and plain out rude. I don’t always love my spouse like I should. I don’t always give my kids my best. And there are times when I try to put God’s stamp of approval on things I have done so that I can feel better. I confess. But that doesn’t mean it’s right. It doesn’t mean it’s ok. I cling to Jesus everyday because I know if I don’t, I will slip right back into the pit He rescued me from. And it’s a dark pit that I don’t ever want to return to. 

Friends, this post isn’t meant to be judgmental or cause you to have a pound of guilt strapped around your neck. And isn’t meant to make you feel bad about yourself. This post is as much for me as well. My prayer is that this post will cause all of us to take a good hard look at our life choices before we try to put God’s stamp of approval on them. And if they don’t line up with His Word, I pray that we wouldn’t try to force His stamp of approval on them. I pray that we would seek His way above our own way, even if it isn’t the easiest or most comfortable. I pray that we would rest in His grace, love, and mercy, and trust Him to always lead us in the right way. 

“But small is the gate and narrow the road that leads to life, and only a few find it.” (Matthew 7:14)

Grace & Peace, Jac

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