Blessed in Barrenness

Blessed in Barrenness

In my life, blessings always seem to come pretty easily. Finding a husband, for example just happened. One day we miraculously met and then three years later we were married. It felt pretty straightforward and simple at the time, but these days I look around and the likelihood of finding a suitable spouse seems to be just as dim as winning the lottery. So now I am considered “blessed” by many.

Then there’s the whole having children thing. I had three in a row, hardly even “trying.” The last one we had when we were actually trying not to, and I am now constantly reminded how I am the most “blessed” person in the world because to conceive does not come so easily to everyone. It is very hard and in fact, impossible, for many.

Yet for me, my story has always been that these great things often fall into my lap, most of the time without me even asking for it. If I did win the lottery, I don’t know that I would even be that surprised. Scholarships, jobs, relationships, friends, I’ve been given it all, and the people around me celebrate these wonderful happenings again and again, calling me “blessed.”

Then a part of me smiles and agrees. I am greatly blessed. Incredibly and beyond measure. I can’t count all the great things that have come into my life and have brought me great joy.

But it also makes me a bit uncomfortable. It actually causes me to secretly squirm when people look at the things I have and stamp me as the “blessed” person as if there is some special and secret advantage I have that others don’t. It bothers me because inside, I am also thinking about the people who aren’t as fortunate. The ones who haven’t found the love of their life or the ones who have been praying rivers of tears for countless years for just one child and are still waiting. What about them?

Yes, I think about them a lot. Those who do NOT have, but are doing everything in their power just to hope and believe in God’s promises to them. Almost everyday they cross my mind because there are so many who are waiting for a miracle–their blessing.

But it’s not because I feel sorry for them or think they aren’t blessed due to their lack. No, not at all. On the contrary, it’s actually because I believe they are the blessed ones.

For the past month, my family has had the joy and honor of living with one of my dear sisters and her family. She is one of my closest friends, a true lover of Christ, a leader in the community. And she is also barren.

Her and her husband found out soon after marriage that she has a condition that makes it impossible to conceive children. It was a devastating discovery for them and very difficult to come to terms with. Yet before she learned of this physical ailment, God had promised her children from her womb. It’s been four years now and there is still no sign of this promise coming to pass.

And so what does she, what do I, what do we all think of her and this tragic situation?

Well, we say she is greatly blessed.

Blessed because although she has not seen the answer  to her prayers yet, she is waiting and she will not be disappointed. Blessed because God gave her a promise and He will fulfill it. Blessed because what was impossible with man is always possible with God. Blessed because what she could not get herself or through any doctor, God will abundantly provide at just the right time. And that is the clearest picture of how we are always blessed by God.

When things happen “naturally,” we tend to be fooled to think we can do things on our own, that we can work for and earn blessings, that things just happen to “fall into our laps.”

And yes, it has been a great blessing to have all these wonderful things in my life and I count each and every one of them a gift from God. But when I look at the ones who don’t have, like my friend, I know she is the one who truly captures the picture of what the word “blessed” means.

Jesus said:

“Blessed are the poor in spirit for theirs is the kingdom of heaven.
Blessed are those who mourn, for they will be comforted……”

I can’t explain why some people get things so easily and why some people don’t, but I do know that the truth is, we are all, in a way, in need, and I, too, am also barren in a very real way.

We are all in a devastating state which we should mourn over with our inability to live rightly, our sin, our pain, our sickness, and all our impossible and tragic situations. Yet in Christ, we are ALL truly blessed as we are met by a God who meets every single one of our needs and our ultimate need for a Saviour in our lives. So yes, I am very blessed, and I am also reminded that not a single one of my blessings “just happened,” but everything I have are undeserved gifts from God because of His grace.

Thank you God for my dear sister and these difficult yet sacred situations which start with tears, but which you always use to unfold into the most beautiful picture of your great love. Now as I wait for the testimonies of the promises of God to come to pass in my life as well as in my friend’s and countless others, we thank God now for what He has already given us in Christ who is also promised to return to us one day very soon. We are children of promise and of faith and our hope is in the Lord.

We are blessed by you, Lord.

Lunch Money

Lunch Money

A couple weeks ago, I went to Kindergarten orientation for my son. Amongst many other things, they explained how buying lunch works. Basically, every child has an account where the parent can deposit money online and when the child goes to buy lunch, all they have to do is enter their pin number and they can use the money that has already been put into their account.

How nice, I thought. These kids have it so easy. They don’t have to worry about a thing. Life is so good for them. Little did I know, I was about to find out that I had it just as good too.

That orientation happened to take place right when we were in the process of going under contract for selling our home. I never knew how difficult selling a house could be. There were so many variables that went beyond our control, so many unknowns, so many setbacks, and most of all, so many dollar figures. Still feeling new to this “adult” thing, I was shell shocked to see how much money we had to dish out just to sell our home. Fees, taxes, repairs, appraisals, and the list went on and on.

Every week something came up, and we were literally scraping up every last dollar we could find. Then just when we thought we had handed over everything we possibly could, we got terrible news. It was a Friday night around 10pm, just one week away from our settlement date. I was sitting in the middle of my basement with a roll of packing tape in hand, just barely able to see beyond the boxes of our packed up belongings when we got the call from our realtor.

Without delay, he went straight into it and explained that because of this and that, we basically needed to come up with another X amount of dollars in order to close the contract–an amount with  many zeros and surpassing DOUBLE the amount we had already just barely managed to gather. We did not know what to do and could not say much, so we were given two days to see if we could come up with the money. I think we all knew though that it was pretty much an impossibility.

How were we going to come up with this in just one week? Would we have to pull out of the contract? Hadn’t the Lord told us to move? Did we hear wrong? What should we do?

There were many more questions racing through our minds, but soon enough, the peace that had so abruptly left us from that phone call returned with the thought, God will provide. Over and over for the next two days, we held our breath trying not to worry as we repeated these words. And we prayed.

Then I got a phone call from someone I hadn’t seen in a while, inviting our whole family to come over for dinner. She said she missed the kids and wouldn’t take no for an answer, so we decided to make a quick stop at her place before we would have to meet with our realtor.

When we arrived, we were warmly greeted and fed right away with a delicious home cooked meal. Sitting there in her humble, yet perfectly peaceful little home, I admired the simplicity of her modest lifestyle and soaked in the solitude of the sanctuary she had made out of her home. It was a nice change of pace from the craziness of the week, even if just for one meal.

As I finished up the last few bites left on my plate, I looked up at the clock knowing we would have to leave soon. However, just as I was about to call the children over to get ready to leave, the lady came right beside me and began to ask me about our home. Right away she could hear the uncertainty in my voice and became more direct, urging me to tell her if money was short and how much we needed.

I was almost too embarrassed to say, mostly because I was afraid to make her feel bad for us. But after beating around the bush a minute or two, I finally blurted out the exact dollar amount that we would need in order to close on our home… and trailed off by sheepishly asking for prayer.

Immediately, she took my hand and led me to another room where she sat me down and quietly ruffled through her drawers. Then with an envelope in hand, she turned to say, “You were praying, weren’t you? The Lord has answered your prayer.”

Confused, I searched her eyes looking for further explanation, so she then began to tell me that she had been saving a dollar here and a dollar there for years, and the amount that I told her was the exact amount that she had saved up this moment. She had felt prompted by the Holy Spirit to give me the money the moment we had walked through her door, even before I had told her anything, and the matching amount was confirmation.

You can say that I lost it. I lost it completely. Together, we wept, knowing this was the heart of our Heavenly Father for His children. To think, God already knew the exact amount I would need on this day, years ago when this woman first started saving. It was as if God had deposited the money into my account way in advance just for me to pay what I owed this day.

Overwhelmed by the sheer magnitude of His love and grace, we have not been able to stop giving the Lord thanks. But the crazy thing is, this is what God has always done. From the beginning of time, God knew every need we would ever have and has had plans to meet them all. Even before we were born, Jesus saw our faces as He hung on the cross and it was His joy to provide what He knew we would need–our eternal salvation. He goes ahead of us and always makes a way.

So now more than ever, I have confidence in knowing God is preparing the next house for us which we still need to find. But of course even more than that, I look forward to the heavenly home He has prepared which we will get to enjoy for all of eternity.

And while growing up is sometimes hard to do, all I can say is, thank you Lord for always providing my “lunch money.”