Learning to Rely…
by Jonathan Haefs
*Mother’s Day is difficult for many. Guest blogger Meg McClung shares her testimony of learning to rely on God as she struggles with the desire to be a mom…
Josh and I got married almost 7 years ago. We were 22. We wanted to start a family around 26. Have 3 or 4 kids (close together) and be finished having kids in our early 30s. It sounded like a good plan to us!!
But after trying to start our family, we ran into some setbacks. Nothing happened.
That was 4 years ago. After seeing a specialist and being told pretty much nothing was wrong, we were given the option of fertility treatments. We prayed and fasted and heard from the Lord, “No”. So we began praying and talking about adoption – something we’d wanted to do (eventually) from the beginning of our marriage.
After waiting on God for about 6 months, we finally felt like we had the go-ahead in September of last year. We found an adoption agency and started pursuing domestic adoption. We were fully approved at the end of April and are now waiting to be chosen by a mom.
This is the first Mother’s Day that hasn’t been really hard for me in a long time – I finally feel like an expectant mother. But that wasn’t always true. When we first started trying to have a family 4 years ago, my life was full of disappointment. Every month, and every time a friend, acquaintance, stranger got pregnant. I held on to this verse in Proverbs (13:12) – “Hope deferred makes the heart sick; But a desire fulfilled is a tree of life.” I thought this verse gave me an excuse to have pity parties and be heartsick about not being pregnant.
Around 2 years ago, I hit a breaking point.
When a friend got pregnant and was upset about it, my jealousy and anger reared it’s ugly head. It shocked me how mad I was about it. I knew bitterness would soon follow and I couldn’t go on living that way. I talked to my family – my mom and sisters and close friends – then I turned to the Lord and asked Him to deal with me. He used that verse in Proverbs to teach me something about Hope. I had been putting my hope in having a child. And because that desire was unfulfilled, I was heartsick.
But even if I had gotten what I wanted, it wouldn’t have been the tree of life. I’m sure a lot of you are familiar with that – we hope for something for a long time and when we get it, we aren’t really happier or more joy-filled than before. That’s because those things don’t bring us life. Psalms 4:6, 7 says ‘There are many who say, “Who will show us some good? Lift up the light of your face upon us, O Lord!” You have put more joy in my heart than they have when their grain and wine abound.’
See, my desire was directed toward the wrong thing. Through this process, the Holy Spirit has revealed to me that my Hope is in Christ. That my desire should be for Him. And when my hope is in Him and my desire is for more of God – that will not disappoint. HE is the tree of life.
Some people have told me that as soon as we have a baby through adoption, we’ll get pregnant. And maybe that will be true. But that’s not the reason we’re adopting and God isn’t holding out on us. He isn’t withholding children now and if we wait long enough or well enough, we’ll eventually get what we want. The truth is that what He has for us is so much better than what we want for ourselves. And that is because what He has for us is Him.
I’m sure a lot of you have heard it said – or even said it yourselves – “God will never give you more than you can handle.” I can tell you from experience that that isn’t true! There have been so many things over the past 4 years that I could not handle. I haven’t doubted God’s goodness and I believe that He gives us, His children, good things (Matthew 7:9-11). But there were a lot of times when I’d think I was pregnant and wasn’t, or someone else would get pregnant and not me and I’d say to myself, “God, that’s just mean.”
What I meant was, “I cannot handle this. I’m not strong enough.” And in those times, I would turn to the Lord and ask Him for truth. And He’d remind me not to compare myself to others because what He has for my life is different and better than I can imagine. And He’d remind me to hope in Him.
Paul experienced persecution and hardship beyond what I can imagine, but I can relate to what he writes in 2 Corinthians 1, “For we do not want you to be ignorant, brothers of the affliction we experienced in Asia. For we were so utterly burdened beyond our strength that we despaired of life itself. Indeed, we felt that we had received the sentence of death. But that was to make us rely not on ourselves but on God who raises the dead. He delivered us from such a deadly peril, and he will deliver us. On him we have set our hope that he will deliver us again!”
He talks about relying on God again in chapter 12, “But he said to me, ‘My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness.’ Therefore I will boast all the more gladly about my weaknesses, so that Christ’s power may rest on me. That is why, for Christ’s sake, I delight in weaknesses, in insults, in hardships, in persecutions, in difficulties. For when I am weak, then I am strong.”
It was in those really hard times that I learned that to be weak is to be strong because it’s in those times that I have to rely on the Lord. As humans, we try to avoid hardship and persecution because it’s uncomfortable and we want to go into self-preservation mode. But as believers, we should welcome hardship because it’s then that we understand His strength. It also teaches us about Hope. In Romans 5: 3-5, Paul says: But we rejoice in our sufferings, knowing that suffering produces endurance, and endurance produces character, and character produces hope, and hope does not put us to shame, because God’s love has been poured into our hearts through the Holy Spirit who has been given to us.
In the last few years, Josh and I have had a lot of hardships but I can honestly say that they have been the best years of our lives. I know that God is good, no matter what happens.
Even if we never have children, God is good.
Just being able to share with you what God has done in my life is a testimony to His goodness. If we have walked through this just for the opportunity to comfort you with our story of God’s faithfulness, it is enough. In 2 Corinthians 1, Paul writes, “Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of mercies and God of all comfort, who comforts us in all our affliction, so that we may be able to comfort those who are in any affliction, with the comfort with which we ourselves are comforted by God.” That’s a lot of comfort!
I hope that my story blesses everyone who has an especially hard time on Mother’s Day and encourages all of you to desire more of God, to hope in Him, and to daily rely on His strength, because we are always weak!
*You can keep up with the McClung’s adoption journey by following their blog.