Wednesday, October 08, 2008

This is my entry to the Falling For Jesus Writing Contest sponsored by Internet Café Devotions
When I read of this contest a week or so ago, the sentence, "Was there a particular time during your walk with Him that you felt His love and presence more than you ever had before?" captured my attention, reminding me of a time I sensed God's presence in my life in a mighty and strong way, a way that lasted for 8 years. I met with Him each morning for 8 years minus 10 days. I was too sick to meet with Him those mornings, but I still felt Him with me. He never left my side.

When I was growing up, my dolls were my babies. They were fed, burped, changed, rocked, toted in their little infant seats and placed in baby beds. I always wanted to be a Mother, and I mothered these babies like they were the real deal. I was the baby of the family for almost 13 years, and by the time my sister arrived, the dolls had been put up in the cedar chest. She became the real deal for me. I loved Jennifer so much and delighted in the fact that I elicited the first smile from her sweet face. I just knew one day that I would have a child of my own to love and raise and planned to have two children, both girls.

In his heart a man plans his course, but the LORD determines his steps.
~ Proverbs 16:9 (NIV)

On May 11, 1991, I married my husband, Steve, who had custody of his daughter, age 6. We talked about starting a family, and Steve was ambivalent. He already had gone through raising a daughter and knew the joys and trials of parenthood. Although he was fine with just one, he didn't begrudge my desire to have another.

When it didn't happen after we had tried for a year, I went to see the doctor. He explained that I was still young and had plenty of time. Another year passed and no baby.

I rose one morning to have quiet time and read the story of Hannah in 1 Samuel. I purposed that morning that I would seek God's will through prayer.

For eight years I prayed. The first two weeks I prayed were filled with prayers only for my circumstances. I felt like I was to proceed with continuing trying to conceive, but I still had no answer as to why I wasn't able to. I went back to the doctor and began infertility treatments.

My story became a lot like Hannah's, although it didn't end exactly the same way. I had a need. I prayed. I begged. I pleaded. I stated my case for what I wanted. The "Eli's" in my life knew I was on a quest from God and at first thought me mad, then joined with me in prayer as I sought God's will for my life.

The Lord remembered me in prayer, and I fulfilled the vow I made to God. What was my vow? Simply that whatever God's will was for my life, I would accept it, no questions asked (of God's power or will). This was a struggle but I was determined to have some peace in my life over this issue.

Eventually my times of prayer incorporated other things, such as forgiveness for specific sin, prayer for my family, specifically for Steve and Kristyn, a lot of praise and worship, and specific prayer for others. The peace came.

I felt God with me every step of the way, although 8 years later there was still no baby. My time with God brought me closer to Him and helped me see the problems of others around me, not just my own. The peace remained.

Finally, God answered my prayers, though not in the way I wanted. One year after the miscarriage of our daughter, Sydney Michel, the answer was given. During that year, I doubled the double-dose of drugs I had been given and God said, "Stop." I sat down one day with my husband and said, "I'm done. We are through the other side. God has clearly said no, and I don't feel leading from Him to adopt." My husband prayed with me and agreed with me that God's answer for us was to continue to raise Kristyn together as our "only child."

Many are the plans in a man's heart, but it is the LORD's purpose that prevails.
~ Proverbs 19:21 (NIV)

God is so faithful. He showed me how the prayers had affected not only my reliance on Him with the baby that was not to be, but also how I had turned so many other things over to Him and how I wouldn't be as close to Him in prayer as I am now if I had not committed to spend time with Him in prayer over this matter.

I never felt that God didn't answer my prayers. I got a solid, firm, "" I was even rewarded by God with a hysterectomy at the age of 29. I praise God for that, for when my womb was removed, He made me realize that I am living the following verse.

"He settles the barren woman in her home as a happy mother of children. Praise the LORD.
~ Psalm 113:9 (NIV)

I have praised the Lord for hearing my prayers through the years, for settling me in my home, for blessing me with children, though they were not children of my womb. I have a bonus daughter, whom I had the privilege of raising from the age of 6 to 20, a son-in-love, 2 grandsons, ages 13 mos. and 3 days old, and a host of nieces, nephews, cousins and friends I have seen grow up from age 0 to now. He has settled me, indeed! Blessed be the name of the Lord!

My soul remains satisfied. Each time I prayed, "...give me a little hand to hold in mine." I added, "But your will be done, not mine, Lord." And I meant it. I could feel Him there beside me, telling me He had it under control. It's good to feel His presence so present. It's humbling, it's a privilege, and it just feels "settling".

Devote yourselves to prayer, being watchful and thankful.
~ Colossians 4:2 (NIV)

Let me encourage you to never give up in prayer. I can promise you that God's answer is always best. He will be beside you every step of the way as you pray His will for your life.


Lynda P. said...

What a heart-touching story although you had already told me about Sydney Michele. I think that IF, in a way, must have been more difficult for you than to some of us. I never really thought about being a mother until I met John so it was not that hard to accept our IF. But motherhood was not my dream but it truly was yours. It is very hard to let go of dreams and to either find another one or to find another way in which to live the dream like you did by surrounding yourself with children of your family and friends. God does show us ways in which we can achieve our deepest wants but we have to accept His way, even if it's through a different door. You are such an emotionally strong woman to have held firm to your faith and not allowed yourself to become bitter. There is peace in acceptance.

Denise said...

Thanks for sharing your beautiful heart story, love you.

Willow said...

Laurie Ann, this is beautiful. Thank you for sharing your heart and your faithfulness. What a tremendous and courageous and loving heart you have. I feel blessed to have had you come into my life -- even if only for a brief visit to my blog. I'll definitely be coming back to yours.

Melanie said...

Oh, my... you wrote this so beautifully... sharing both the heartache and the joy in following the Lord! You are so precious, my friend.

I noticed in your post that we share the same wedding anniversary, thought ours is a few year later... we were married on May 11, 1996.

Have a special, blessed day in the Lord and LOVE hard on that new, sweet baby boy!

LauraLee Shaw said...

This testimony tugged at my heart. It will serve to influence, encourage and comfort a great number of people, I'm sure. Just beautiful.

Anna said...

I admire your faith and strength in the Lord. Rarely do I meet someone who has no bitternes after such a trial as yours. Seeing your joy in His will is a blessing to all who read this.

Your blog is beautiful. I'm enjoying getting to know you.

JesusRulzMe said...

Bless you dear sister for sharing this wonderful story of God's provision in your life. I am so grateful that our gracious and kind God wooed you to Himself and brought you to a place of intimacy with Him that you wouldn't trade for the world! :-)

Blessings to you in Christ Jesus, our Lord!

Alexis - Chickie Momma said...

What an amazing story - thank you so much for sharing of your faithfulness and of your humble spirit. You inspire me!

Amy L Brooke said...

Thanks for posting on this. It helps give me perspective. I am single and almost 40. Every year the chances of having a child get less and less. I also have "mothered" other children, but it is still a desire of my heart.

But I need to know that even if it doesn't happen, God holds that dear to Him.