Heart of Gratitude: Day 18

Riding the waves of this weekend, there were moments of pure relief – the Lord’s provision played out in a very tangible way, moments of unexpected sadness – when the depths of my heart were laid open before Him, moments of disappointment – when what I believed to be the next step was no longer an option, and moments of simple joy – where there was no where else on this giant planet that I would rather be.

Friday afternoon, I had the privilege of sitting at the kitchen table of a dear friend.  Lunching on raspberry salads and grilled paninis, we spent the better part of two and a half hours catching up on this last year.  One of my very favorite traits of this woman is that she always challenges me to go deeper.  Not “deeper” in a way that confuses by making something out to be what it is not, but deeper in a way that forces me to relinquish my desire to have all the answers (my feeble grip of control) and seek the face of God, giving Him ultimate reign in my life (by HIS glorious power).

I believe that many will concur when I say of the heart of women: when we value growth, we often have a blueprint by which we envision the story of our life to follow.  We identify phases of our own construction by seasons of preparation that culminate in a moment of completion.   As a single person, there was an exponential amount of growth as the Lord was preparing me to enter into my new role as Wife.  During that time, I always wanted to know, WHERE WAS THIS MAN?!?  I fully understood that I should be patient and savor singleness.  I was also aware that I was not to play the “If. . . then. . .” game with God.  Typically, it sounds something like this: “Lord, IF I get married in the next couple years, THEN I will be fully content.”  I know that many times I parsed this prayer and made it my own, as a means to justify my case. 

Eleven months ago, standing in the presence of God, our family, and our friends, we vowed to love one another for richer or for poorer, in sickness and in health.  My season of singleness was over and I entered into a new phase of preparation with my husband.  PREPARATION?!?  Just when I thought I would catch my breath and settle into married life, we were looking to the Lord to guide our steps as a family.  For now, we believe we are to be a family of two until the Lord might bring the joy of little ones into the picture.  While this plan will likely be years in the making, I know that my desire to be both Wife and Mom is fully intact. 

Now that I have established connections with many friends through social media, there seems to be a baby “born” on Facebook each week for the last few months.  Bridal showers are fewer and farther between and I am finding myself walking up to the kiosk at Target to search for baby gift registries.  Only recently, have I been out for a run and considered how much fun it would be to be pushing a jogging stroller. 

This weekend, we learned that dear friends of ours are expecting a baby.  Three of my close girlfriends are now pregnant and one of them could deliver any day now.  When I learned of the most recent announcement, tears welled up in my eyes and a part of me was saddened that it wasn’t quite our time.  I was completely caught off guard.  Was it not enough for me to be fully confident in what the Lord has placed on our hearts?  Was I not content?  Could I be getting wrapped up in another round of “If. . . then. . .”?  As I tried to communicate through my cloud of confusion, my need for the peace that comes from spending time in the presence of the Lord and engaging in His Word was absolutely clear. 

On our bathroom counter rests a calendar filled with verses for each day.  This morning, I turned the page to November 18 and these words were before me: “God is kind, but he’s not soft. In kindness he takes us firmly by the hand and leads us into a radical life-change.”  (Romans 2:4 – The Message)  A life led by Christ is marked by continuous change and requires the process of preparation.  There is no guarantee that it will be a leisurely stroll, but the reward is worth the pursuit.  If I am willing to fully engage in this way of living, I must be prepared to battle the temptation to fall prey to the weakness of my flesh and find my strength in the one who is I AM.  Today, I am thankful for blueprints.  My heart is filled with gratitude when I remember that He is our Lead Designer.

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