30 January 2012

the way the story went

Cross ATX Fountain PensOnce upon a time . . .

. . . we got married. That was in January 2010, and I gaily expected to be pregnant with our first child before the year was up. Or, to be honest, sooner.

Well, guess what? We just celebrated our second anniversary, and still no bun in this oven.

Over the past two years, my babyless state of affairs has produced a lot of ugly things. Fear, disappointment, jealousy, hysterical crying, kicking things, anger with myself, anger with God, anger with anyone else who gets pregnant, bitterness, depression, maniacal research, and questioning my worth as a woman. (You try life as an illogical melange of hormonal angst, and see how you like it!)

I want to see my husband be a daddy. I want to tell my baby-loving parents that they're going to have grandchildren. I want to hold a soft, big-eyed little person in my arms and not have to give him back at the end of the visit. I want to nourish and teach and grow alongside the young souls entrusted to us. That's what I want.

But you know what else I want? To trust God.

Oh, that's hard. Harder than I ever knew, even when I was wondering where I'd go to college and searching for solutions to my health issues, or later when wishing for a boyfriend or wrestling with theological conundrums, or still later when freaking out about my non-emotions. This has been painful. I have been asked to let go of my carefully cherished plans and my yearning for control. Then I was asked to rest in a God who I wasn't always sure loved me.

He does, though. I've learned that at least. "I live by faith in the Son of God, who loved me and gave Himself for me." And through the pain and the fury of trial, I have also learned to say: This is the way the story goes. My small phrase of truth . . . it's not a hopeless expression of cynicism, but a sweet reminder that the Lord I follow holds all history, which certainly includes our family's future.

Here is what I mean. When reading a well-crafted book, an Allende or a Hemingway, I don't try to direct the story. I let the author take care of that, and just experience the unfolding of each event in its own timing. Everything works out beautifully. I may not love the road the tale takes, but it is perfectly done. Resting in the writer's plan, I can enjoy it page by page, without worrying about what may or may not happen next.

God is my Author. The "author of life," says Peter . . . yes, in more ways than one. He writes the story, one more finely crafted than the best volume on earthly shelves. I stand on his storyline and walk through the plot. Two years after this particular chapter began, I'm finally walking quietly.

To be honest, He's worn me out. I dragged my feet. I screamed and fought as hard as I could. This isn't the right story, I said. It was supposed to follow my preferred pattern: courtship, wedding, babies. Look, that's how it worked out for them! And them! Why not us?

Because that was their story, not ours. Now, more by exhausted default than by any great act of faith, I can do nothing but lean on God. There's nothing left but Him. Too proud to submit any other way, I've had to take the rough road to peace. "I have calmed and quieted my soul . . . O Israel, hope in the Lord now and forevermore." I have had to release my desire for that other story, and trust that this one is equally good.

There is a deep joy in this helpless rest. Our God loves and carries us. His comfort, as genuine and complete as I've known, feels unlike anything experienced while in a state of self-sufficiency. Who knows the next chapter? Ah, the Lord does. That is enough. It finally is enough. What a fool I'd be to demand He give me the pen.

Not that I'll never question Him again (I know my sin too well), or that even now, the pain has completely vanished. Something-- a pregnancy announcement, a question from a well-meaning acquaintance-- will often shake up my contentment and threaten to set my bitterness flowing. When this happens, again I ask: Can I trust God? Can I follow this path with peace in my heart?

Only if I believe that He truly knows what is best for me, and that He is not only perfectly capable of executing those plans, but is also in the process of doing just that.

I believe that now.

This is the way the story goes.

{image credit: Video Eleven}


  1. Dear Rebekah, you brought tears to my eyes as I eat my Cheerios this morning. The gift of faith that you have received is so beautiful. God is strengthening you and I pray that you will receive much comfort and peace in the road He is taking you on. You are a dear girl.

  2. It's just like God to challenge you and me in the same way but opposite direction. I've felt many similar feelings about GETTING our first baby so soon.

  3. God, He's clever like that . . .

  4. This post made me wish I were much closer to you so that I can jut give you a big hug. Know that you and Jared are in my prayers. Thank you for the reflection. It is such a good reminder for me that we are not the author; that we are given the colors to color our stories and ultimately glorify God.

  5. this is so beautiful Rebekah, thank you for sharing what God has been teaching you, it makes me want to trust God so much more too. <3

  6. Love you girls. :) Thanks for the encouragement!!

  7. I don't have the right words. I am very moved---not only by what you are saying, but also how you are saying it. It's real and honest and true. I wish this was published......so many others would benefit from it. And then I could print it out and keep it in my small pile of favorite readings.
    I will be praying for your dreams to come true. In His time......but to come true.

  8. I'm going to say something that may seem shocking, but stick with me: this post made me laugh - laugh because I've kicked, screamed, cried and cried out in anger, because not only is there no baby, but no Mr. Right and not even the right job. Laugh because my worth has been caught up in things I still haven't been able to accomplish three years out of college. Laugh because I'm right there with you, and He's leading us both on to something greater.
    We're wrestling with angels, and we need to be put out of joint like Jacob so that God can accomplish His will in us. The worst part about growing in Him is that it's not quantifiable, it's not something we can control or measure. But fire refines, and God accomplishes great things slowly.

    Much love, dear. Email me some time :-)