God gave me you – at the best time.

God gave me you necklace

It’s Christmastime! I wanted to write about my necklace – my husband asked me what I wanted for my birthday and this is it! The words, “God gave me you” spoke to me above all the other beautiful pieces I saw at The Vintage Pearl because that is what our son’s name means, “Given of God” from I Samuel 1:17. When I picked up my special order a week ago, the first thought that came to my mind was that God gave me Jesus. God gave us Jesus, His only begotten Son. This is the best gift of all – a gift all of us can receive because God offered this gift to all of us. Jesus came in the fullness of time. He came at the right time, at the best time. All of us can choose to receive this gift of salvation.

“For God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have everlasting life.” John 3:16

As Christians, we are assured through God’s Word that Jesus came at a time of God’s own choosing. I also had to be assured that my baby would come in God’s time. I remember waiting, more waiting, still waiting, trying-to-be-patiently waiting for my baby. Holidays can be harder, especially holidays like Christmas, which we dream of being the perfect time to give a pregnancy announcement or the perfect photo op to show our baby, our gift under the tree. Before God gave us Grant, a precious friend shared with me the thought I’ve not forgotten – maybe it’s not about us and when we think the timing is best for us, but the timing God would have our children be born into this world.

“For such a time as this.”

That phrase comes from the Book of Esther, who was indeed born for a great purpose and fulfilled that purpose. God gave me Grant when He wanted him to come into this world. I don’t know whom his life is supposed to impact. It may be a few people or many. It is for a particular generation. I just rest assured knowing he came at the right time. It’s easier to be assured of that now that he is here, but I still marvel that God gave me him. It isn’t a coincidence who his friends are, who his teachers are, who his life is intersecting with. As parents, we just pray for wisdom, grace, patience, and love as we help raise, train, and direct him to fulfill God’s purpose in his life.

May this song, “At The Right Time” by Mosie Lister and performed by the Booth Brothers encourage you this Christmas season as you realize or remember, “God gave me You – Jesus.”

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For With God Nothing Shall Be Impossible.

This great truth is universally used to encourage one another, whether it’s for our own reminder or to give another hope.  But if I asked you to quote its reference or share its context, would you be able to tell me?

Having just celebrated Christmas, the season of Christ’s birth, I recently read the account in the Gospel of Luke.  Not only did the angel Gabriel tell it to Mary, in Luke 1:37, to assure Mary that she would conceive a son in her womb by the power of the Holy Ghost and call him Jesus, but he also encouraged her faith by saying that her cousin Elisabeth, who was stricken in years and had been barren, was now with child.

“All the instances in the Old Testament of those having children that had been long barren, which was above nature, were designed to prepare the world for the belief of a virgin’s bearing a son, which was against nature.  No word of God must be incredible to us, as long as no work of God is impossible to him.”

Elisabeth even commended Mary’s faith and encouraged it.  “Those that have experienced the performance of God’s promises themselves should encourage others to hope that he will be as good as his word to them also.”

That is why I continue to blog.  I have experienced the performance of God’s promise, and I want to encourage you – don’t give up hope!

May God bless you and the fruit of your womb in 2013.

Quotes from Matthew Henry’s Commentary

Be A Self-Encourager: Encouraging Yourself Through Scripture

David gave us the example of encouraging himself in the Lord through solitude in prayer to God.  Because of his distresses, many of the Psalms were written.  When going through a difficult day or a trying time, this may be the only book I want to read.

 “This book (Psalms) brings us into the sanctuary and directs us into communion with God, by solacing and reposing our souls in him, lifting up and letting out our hearts towards him.”  Matthew Henry

I am sharing some of my favorite Psalms of petition, promise, and praise.  You need not be afraid of opening your heart to God.  He hears you.

Psalms of Petition

Psalm 39:7 “And now, Lord, what wait I for?  My hope is in thee.”

Psalm 56:3 “What time I am afraid, I will trust in thee.”

Psalm 61:1-2 “Hear my cry, O God; attend unto my prayer.  From the end of the earth will I cry unto thee, when my heart is overwhelmed: lead me to the rock that is higher than I.”

Psalm 102:2 “Hide not thy face from me in the day when I am in trouble; incline thine ear unto me: in the day when I call answer me speedily.”

Psalm 119:49 “Remember the word unto thy servant, upon which thou hast caused me to hope.”

Psalm 138:3 “In the day when I cried thou answeredst me, and strengthened me with strength in my soul.”

Psalm 141:1-2 “Lord, I cry unto thee: make haste unto me; give ear unto my voice, when I cry unto thee.  Let my prayer be set forth before thee as incense; and the lifting up of my hands as the evening sacrifice.”

Psalm 143:7-8 “Hear me speedily, O Lord; my spirit faileth: hide not thy face from me, lest I be like unto them that go down in to the pit.  Cause me to hear thy loving kindness in the morning; for in thee do I trust: cause me to know the way wherein I should walk; for I lift up my soul unto thee.”

Psalms of Promise

Psalm 27:14 “Wait on the Lord: be of good courage, and he shall strengthen thine heart: wait, I say, on the Lord.”

Psalm 30:5b “Weeping may endure for a night, but joy cometh in the morning.”

Psalm 37:4-5 “Delight thyself also in the Lord; and he shall give thee the desires of thine heart.  Commit thy way unto the Lord; trust also in him, and he shall bring it to pass.”

Psalm 42:11, “Why art thou cast down, O my soul?  And why art thou disquieted within me?  Hope thou in God: for I shall yet praise him, who is the health of my countenance, and my God.”

Psalm 46:1 “God is our refuge and strength, a very present help in trouble.”

Psalm 84:11-12 “For the Lord God is a sun and shield: the Lord will give grace and glory: no good thing will he withhold from them that walk uprightly.  O Lord of hosts, blessed is the man that trusteth in thee.”

Psalm 112:7 “He shall not be afraid of evil tidings: his heart is fixed, trusting in the Lord.”

Psalm 145:19 “He will fulfill the desire of them that fear him: he also will hear their cry, and will save them.”

Psalms of Praise

 

Psalm 21:2 “Thou hast given him his heart’s desire, and hast not withholden the request of his lips.”

Psalm 30:12 “To the end that my glory may sing praise to thee, and not be silent.  O Lord my God, I will give thanks unto thee for ever.”

Psalm 86:10 “For thou art great, and doest wondrous things: thou art God alone.”

Psalm 106:1-2 “Praise ye the Lord.  O give thanks unto the Lord; for he is good: for his mercy endureth forever.  Who can utter the mighty acts of the Lord:  Who can shew forth all his praise?

Psalm 118:23 “This is the Lord’s doing; it is marvelous in our eyes.”

Psalm 126:3 “The Lord hath done great things for us; whereof we are glad.”

Psalm 136:3-4,23 “O give thanks unto the Lord of lords: for his mercy endureth forever.  To him alone doeth great wonders: for his mercy endureth forever.  Who remembered us in our low estate: for his mercy endureth forever.”

Psalm 145:3-4 “Great is the Lord, and greatly to be praised; and his greatness is unsearchable.  One generation shall praise thy works to another, and shall declare thy mighty acts.”

My favorite Psalm of Promise and Praise!

Psalm 113:1-9 “Praise ye the Lord.  Praise, O ye servants of the Lord, praise the name of the Lord.  Blessed be the name of the Lord from this time forth and for evermore.  From the rising of the sun unto the going down of the same the Lord’s name is to be praised.  The Lord is high above all nations, and his glory above the heavens.  Who is like unto the Lord our God, who dwelleth on high.  Who humbleth himself to behold the things that are in heaven and in the earth!  He raiseth up the poor out of the dust, and lifteth the needy out of the dunghill; That he may set him with princes, even with the princes of his people.  He maketh the barren woman to keep house, and to be a joyful mother of children.  Praise ye the Lord.”

Be A Self-Encourager: Encouraging Yourself Through Solitude

Infertility can make you feel isolated, like no one understands or cares, even when you’re crying out for help.  Often the circumstances can be too private or too painful to share.  You don’t want to sound like a broken record and fear being judged for your times of weakness.

Psalm 69:20 Reproach hath broken my heart; and I am full of heaviness: and I looked for some to take pity, but there was none; and for comforters, but I found none. 

Psalm 142:4 I looked on my right hand, and beheld, but there was no man that would know me: refuge failed me; no man cared for my soul. 

Sometimes when we need encouragement, we simply need to get alone in a quiet place with God and encourage ourselves in the Lord.  Our biblical example is from David in I Samuel 30:6, “And David was greatly distressed…but David encouraged himself in the Lord his God.  He knew what it was like to feel isolated and overwhelmed.  He also knew to Whom he should turn in order to encourage himself.

“The young king (David) turned to the one true God, his God, for encouragement.  There will be times when no one else will be there for us but God.”  Dr. David Jeremiah

We never have to be afraid to cry out to the Lord when we are overwhelmed.  He already knows and He cares.  Jesus said He would give us a Comforter, the Spirit of God.

John 14:16-18 “And I will pray the Father, and he shall give you another Comforter, that he may abide with you for ever; Even the Spirit of truth; whom the world cannot receive, because it seeth him not, neither knoweth him: but ye know him; for he dwelleth in you, and shall be in you.  I will not leave you comfortless: I will come to you.”

 The Holy Spirit is our consoler, advocate, and comforter.  When we cry out to God, His Spirit gives us strength, hope, and support to ease our grief.  The Spirit fortifies us!  Do we not feel His presence when we cry out?

When we are filled with comfort, it doesn’t end there.  Once you fill yourself with courage, spirit, and hope, you can look for others to encourage with what you have learned from the Comforter.

“God does not comfort us to make us comfortable but to make us comforters.”  Dr. Jowett  (quote taken from Streams in the Desert, January 11th)

I Would Have Laughed, Too, Sarah.

Last Mother’s Day, I heard a lesson on Biblical mothers of the faith.  The teacher spoke about Jochebed, Sarah, Hannah, Mary, and Eunice.  But then he questioned whether or not Sarah deserved a place in that group because she doubted, referring to the story in Genesis.

“And he said, I will certainly return unto thee according to the time of life; and lo, Sarah thy wife shall have a son.  And Sarah heard it in the tent door, which was behind them.  Now Abraham and Sarah were old and well stricken in age, and it ceased to be with Sarah after the manner of women.  Therefore Sarah laughed within herself, saying, After I am waxed old shall I have pleasure, my lord being old also?  And the Lord said unto Abraham, Wherefore did Sarah laugh, saying, Shall I of a surety bear a child, which am old?  Is anything too hard for the Lord?  At the time appointed I will return unto thee, according to the time of life, and Sarah shall have a son.”  Genesis 18:10-14.

When I heard those words, I felt defensive on Sarah’s behalf and heartily disagreed.  Sarah is one of my heroes.  She’s been my example!  Although I didn’t actually speak up verbally, I asked confidently to myself, “Which of those mothers made it to the Hall of Faith in Hebrews 11?  Only Sarah.”  I rest my case.

Who wouldn’t have doubted or laughed by age 90?  Haven’t we done so ourselves at age 27, 30, 35, or 42?

She probably approached each month with faith, but then when that menstrual cycle started, or when she no longer had a cycle, doubt crept in.  Time and time again, month after month, year after year, nothing.  Then there is a glimmer of hope – a delayed period, a twinge of nausea, some other “sign” and we want to believe again.  Could it be?

No, your period starts right after you take your pregnancy test, and your nausea came from a stomach bug.  If you don’t cry, you just laugh at yourself and say that’s what you get for believing, hoping.  I’m not falling for that again.  So who can blame her?  I would have laughed, too, Sarah.

Thankfully, we have Sarah’s story to learn from – how she overcame her doubts and insecurity to become a hero of faith in the God of great faithfulness.

“Now faith is the substance of things hoped for, the evidence of things not seen…Through faith also Sara herself received strength to conceive seed, and was delivered of a child when she was past age, because she judged him faithful who had promised.  Therefore sprang there even of one, and him as good as dead, so many as the stars of the sky in multitude, and as the sand which is by the sea shore innumerable.”  Hebrews 11:1, 11-12

Matthew Henry gives us insight into her faith; faith we can relate to as well as learn from.

The difficulties of her faith:  Sarah was only human, just like us.  She didn’t believe; she laughed at the promise, as impossible to be made good.  Sarah also went out of the way of her duty through unbelief by giving her handmaid to Abraham.  Lastly, she focused on the great improbability – the fact that a child was promised when she was past age – 90!

The actings of her faith: Sarah’s unbelief was pardoned and forgotten.  Her faith prevailed and is recorded for us to see – for our example and for our hope.  She judged him faithful who had promised.  She received the promise as the promise of God; and being convinced of that, she truly judged he both could and would perform it, how impossible it might seem to reason; for the faithfulness of God will not suffer him to deceive his people.

The fruit and reward of her faith: She received strength to conceive seed.  The strength of nature, as well as grace, is from God: he can make the barren soul fruitful as well as the barren womb.  Sarah was delivered of a child, a child of the promise, and comfort of his parents’ advanced years, and the hope of future ages.  From them, by this son, sprang a great, powerful and renowned nation, above all the rest in the world; and a nation of saints, the peculiar church and people of God, and which was the highest honor and reward of all, of these, according to the flesh, the Messiah came, who is over all, God blessed forevermore.

And The Lord Remembered

When I finally became pregnant through IVF, we shared the glorious news with our immediate family members but cautiously waited until after my first ultrasound to tell a few close friends.  After all, I had gotten pregnant with the previous IVF cycle, but it did not continue.

Once I finished my first trimester, we determined the day had arrived for my husband to make the announcement at church.  The customary way to announce that one’s wife was pregnant was for the husband to request prayer at men’s prayer meeting for the expectant women of the church.  That Sunday was five years ago, but we remember it like it was yesterday.

Although I have shared some of my experiences with infertility and waiting and how it naturally affected me as a woman, I don’t exactly know how my husband handled it as a man.  I can’t imagine how many prayer meetings he sat through Sunday after Sunday, year after year, listening as men would stand and ask prayer for their expectant wives, perhaps wondering if one day he would ever get to make that prayer request.  Even though my husband was (and still is) my rock and had more faith (which in turn increased mine), I know it was difficult at times for him, too.  I can’t fully comprehend how big a day this was for him.

That morning, he told me he would quote I Samuel 1:19b, “And the Lord remembered her (Hannah).”  In verse 11, Hannah made a vow and asked the Lord to look on her affliction, remember her, not forget her, and to give her a son.  God was mindful of Hannah and her condition, and at His appointed time, he remembered her and opened her womb.

The word “remember(ed)” in Samuel 1:11 and 19 is “zakar”, which means to be mindful, to recount, to make to be remembered, think on.

God gave us a promise many years before this special day.  Even though we had to wait, we could look at His promise and confirm our faith.  We experienced many disappointments along the way.  Some obstacles even seemed difficult to overcome, but God showed His promise would prevail.  The longer we waited, the more doubtful it appeared to others – and even occasionally a doubt in my own heart – that we would actually have a baby, but the Lord continued to encourage us in His Word, in song, and through people.

And then one day, the Lord remembered!  We also remember.

We Are Not Alone: Matriarchs of our Faith

The matriarchs of the Christian faith, the wives of Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob, were all barren.  That amazes me.  It’s encouraging that the Bible tells us of their barrenness so that we can identify with them.  God also opened their wombs.  It has given me hope.

Genesis 11:30 – “But Sarai was barren; she had no child.”  Genesis 21:1-2 – “And the Lord visited Sarah as he had said, and the Lord did unto Sarah as he had spoken.  For Sarah had conceived, and bare Abraham a son in his old age, at the set time of which God had spoken to him.”

Genesis 25:21 – “And Isaac intreated the Lord for his wife, because she was barren: and the Lord was intreated of him and Rebekah his wife conceived.”

Genesis 29:31 – “And when the Lord saw that Leah was hated, he opened her womb: but Rachel was barren.”  Genesis 30:22 “And God remembered Rachel, and God hearkened unto her, and opened her womb.”

We are in good company with our biblical examples of old, including others I did not mention yet, most notably, Hannah.  Don’t lose hope that God can do the same.  I have always prayed God would open my womb, and I have prayed the same for many women like me.