Psalm 10:17 God will always hear our prayers.

“Lord, thou hast heard the desire of the humble: thou wilt prepare their heart, thou wilt cause thine ear to hear:” Psalm 10:17

Encouragement from Matthew Henry’s Commentary:

1) The Lord never said to a distressed suppliant, “Seek in vain.”

2) May we not hope that he who has been will still be, will ever be, a God hearing prayers?

He had heard and answered their prayers: “Lord, thou hast many a time heard the desire of the humble, and never saidst to a distressed suppliant, Seek in vain. Why may not we hope for the continuance and repetition of the wonders, the favours, which our father told us of?”

He pleads their expectations from God pursuant to their experience of him: “Thou hast heard, therefore thou will cause thy ear to hear, as, Psalms 6:9. Thou art the same, and thy power, and promise, and relation to thy people are the same, and the work and workings of grace are the same in them; why therefore may we not hope that he who has been will still be, will ever be, a God hearing prayers?”

But observe, (1.) In what method God hears prayer. He first prepares the heart of his people and then gives them an answer of peace; nor may we expect his gracious answer, but in this way; so that God’s working upon us is the best earnest of his working for us. He prepares the heart for prayer by kindling holy desires, and strengthening our most holy faith, fixing the thoughts and prayers, raising the affections, and then he graciously accepts the prayer; he prepares the heart for the mercy itself that is wanting and prayed for, makes us fit to receive it and use it well, and then gives it in to us. The preparation of the heart is from the Lord, and we must seek unto him for it (Proverbs 16:1) and take that as a leading favour.

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Don’t Give Up On Your Miracle Baby – Resolve to have audacious faith in 2014.

As an optimist, I always look forward to a new year.  Some of my goals and resolutions may be the same year in and year out, but I welcome the fresh start.  A new year is a reminder I can try again.  I don’t have to give up on what I left undone or didn’t quite reach the year before. 

This new year, 2014, don’t give up on your miracle baby or babies. 

My son is now 7 and yesterday, I came across some notes I had written the day we announced in church that I was pregnant.  I wish I had had a video cam that day, but I kept track of as many well wishes and congratulatory remarks as I could remember, and it is a precious memory that brought tears to my eyes and a smile to my face.

Year after year before that January 8, 2006 announcement, I faced times of discouragement, heartache, and confusion.  I wondered how I would ever become a mommy.  I always experienced regular cycles.  To put it plainly, once married, I had approximately 150 monthly periods in a row before I became pregnant.  After each setback or disappointment, my husband would say, “I still think you will get pregnant.”  Those words of faith encouraged me to keep pursuing my miracle baby.  Psalm 113:9 and many other Scriptures encouraged me to continue believing.     

Although it’s not as simple as putting “have a baby in 2014” at the top of your list of resolutions, I encourage you not to give up on your miracle of having a baby.  Don’t give up on faith.  In fact, resolve to have audacious faith – faith that is confident and bold. 

I don’t know what the Lord will do in your life, with your experience of infertility or loss, but I know what He did in my life, and I have seen time after time with friends and acquaintances how He has performed miracles with details unique to each couple that no one could have imagined.  Don’t give up faith.  We just don’t know how or when God will answer. 

“…Faith honors God, and God honors it.  Oh for this faith that will go on, leaving God to fulfill His promise when He sees fit!” 

Thomas Champness (Streams, March 28th)

 “Where we are dealing with a supernatural Being, and taking from Him things that are humanly impossible, it is easier to take much than little, it is easier to stand in a place of audacious trust than in a place of cautious, timid clinging to the shore.  Like wise seamen in the life of faith, let us launch out into the deep, and find that all things are possible with God, and all things are possible unto him that believeth.”

From Days of Heaven Upon Earth (Streams, March 28th)

 “Now unto him that is able to do exceeding abundantly above all that we ask or think, according to the power that worketh in us.  Unto him be glory in the church by Christ Jesus throughout all ages, world without end.  Amen.”

Ephesians 3:20-21

 “Impossible situations can become possible miracles.”

—Robert H. Schuller

 “Expectancy is the atmosphere for miracles.”

—Edwin Louis Cole

 “Back of every creation, supporting it like an arch is faith. Enthusiasm is nothing: it comes and goes. But if one believes, then miracles occur.”

—Henry Miller

 

Post Gaudius Luctus – Joy Succeeds Sorrow

I would like to wish away the tears that come unexpectedly, without warning, seemingly without reason. 

Yes, I cry for the baby girl – we – my husband, my son, and I want to add to our family but aren’t really pursuing. 

But is that all my tears represent, after all this time?

I remember the tears, just like the tears someone is crying today. 

I cry for others.   

I cry for the woman who is viewing her ultrasound for fibroids, cysts, or endometriosis – instead of viewing an ultrasound of a growing embryo in her uterus. 

I cry for the woman alone in the waiting room of her OB-GYN waiting for her next pap smear – instead of waiting to hear the measurements and heartbeat of her growing baby.

I cry for the woman who miscarried after IVF – instead of hearing the hCG levels after IVF were rising beautifully in the right direction. 

I cry because I have been there.

But then I pray for them.

I remember the joy. 

I pray for joy for them, too.

Post gaudia luctus.  That’s Latin for “joy succeeds sorrow.”  Several verses in Scripture confirm this.     

Jeremiah 31:13b “for I will turn their mourning into joy, and will comfort them, and make them rejoice from their sorrow.”

Matthew Henry’s Commentary on this verse: Those are comforted indeed whom God comforts, and may forget their troubles when he makes them to rejoice from their sorrow, not only rejoice after it, but rejoice from it their joy shall borrow luster from their sorrow, which shall serve as a foil to it; and the more they think of their troubles, the more they rejoice in their deliverance. 

Psalm 126:5 “They that sow in tears shall reap in joy.” 

Matthew Henry’s Commentary: Suffering saints are in tears often; they share in the calamities of human life and commonly have a greater share in them than others.  But they sow in tears; they do the duty of an afflicted state and so answer the intentions of the providences they are under.  They shall have a harvest of joy.  The troubles of the saints will not last always, but when they have done their work, shall have a happy period. 

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

Matthew Henry’s Commentary: If weeping endureth for a night, and it be a wearisome night, yet as sure as the light of the morning returns after the darkness of the night, so sure will joy and comfort return in a short time, in due time, to the people of God. 

“Our joys are made better if there be sorrow in the midst of them.  And our sorrows are made bright by the joys that God has planted around about them.  The flowers may not be pleasing to us, they may not be such as we are fond of plucking, but they are heart flowers, love, hope, faith, joy, peace – these are flowers which are planted around about every grave that is sunk in the Christian heart.” 

Streams in the Desert, April 25

 

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 Song – “It Is Well With My Soul” by Horatio Spafford

We have learned to encourage ourselves through solitude with God and through Scripture, particularly the Psalms.  Lastly, we can encourage ourselves through song.

Ephesians 5:19 shows us how to be filled with the Spirit, “Speaking to yourselves in psalms and hymns and spiritual songs, singing and making melody in your heart to the Lord.”

“God’s people have reason to rejoice, and to sing for joy.  They are to sing and to make melody in their hearts; not only with their voices, but with inward affection, and then their doing this will be as delightful and acceptable to God as music is to us: and it must be with a design to please Him, and to promote His glory, that we do this; and then it will be done to the Lord.”  Matthew Henry

I enjoy current gospel music.  Many songs have encouraged me and lifted my spirits, but my favorites are the enduring hymns.  They are classic and they don’t sound dated.  Two hymns in particular ministered to me the most during my journey of infertility.  I wrote about it many times in my journal.  One of them is “It Is Well With My Soul”.

The story behind the writing of “It Is Well With My Soul” is perhaps a familiar one.  Elisabeth Elliot’s Secure in the Everlasting Arms presents it in more detail than I have ever heard in the past.

The great Chicago fire of the 1870s caused Horatio Spafford, a wealthy businessman, to take stock in his life.  Wanting to know Jesus better, he decided to sell everything and move to the land where He had walked.  Shortly before the ship sailed, he was delayed by business, but took the family to New York.  For some reason he was unable to explain, he had the purser change their cabin, moving them closer to the bow.  He returned to Chicago to finish his business.  Then came a telegram: SAVED ALONE.  The ship had sunk.  Mrs. Spafford had survived.  Their four daughters had perished.  Had they been in the cabin originally reserved amidships, all five would have drowned, for it was there that the steamer had been struck by another vessel.

Mrs. Spafford described that terrible black night when she and her four little girls were flung into the cold sea.  Frantically, she had tried to save them.  Barely, she had been able to touch with her fingertips the hem of the little gown of one, but could not grasp it.  She herself had been miraculously rescued as she floated unconscious on a piece of flotsam.

During Mr. Spafford’s voyage to join his wife in France, the captain summoned him one day to the bridge.  Pointing to his charts he explained that it was just here, where they were at that moment, that the other ship had gone down.  Spafford returned to his cabin and wrote the hymn, which has comforted countless thousands.  Mrs. Bertha Spafford Vester, the fifth daughter of Horatio and Mrs. Spafford, who was not born until after the tragedy, told this story to Mrs. Elliot.  What a joy to know God blessed them with another daughter!

 ~

 It Is Well With My Soul by Horatio Spafford

When peace, like a river, attendeth my way, when sorrows like sea billows roll.  Whatever my lot, Thou has taught me to say, It is well, it is well with my soul. 

It is well with my soul.  It is well, it is well with my soul. 

Though Satan should buffet, though trials should come, let this blest assurance control, that Christ hath regarded my helpless estate and hath shed His own blood for my soul. 

It is well with my soul.  It is well, it is well with my soul. 

My sin – O the bliss of this glorious thought, my sin, not in part, but the whole is nailed to the cross, and I bear it no more: Praise the Lord, praise the Lord, O my soul!

It is well with my soul.  It is well, it is well with my soul. 

And, Lord, haste the day when my faith shall be sight, the clouds be rolled back as a scroll: The trump shall resound and the Lord shall descend, “Even so” – it is well with my soul.

It is well with my soul.  It is well, it is well with my soul. 

 ~

“It Is Well With My Soul” performed by Chris Rice

~

Piano by Greg Howlett

Early in 2003, I had my final attempt at ovulation induction with IUI.  It didn’t work.  I was still struggling to accept it might not be God’s will for me to get pregnant.  Adoption was next, and IVF was not yet in the picture.

This is what I wrote in my journal on March 12, 2003 – “Weepy day.  I cried at work a little and then at home.  Greg told me not to go to church tonight, but I showered and felt better so I went.  Greg wanted to pray with me.  He told me a lot of things the Lord had laid on my heart this very day.  I had to face reality that I thought God let me down.  Greg said it was the first time he sensed from me that I doubted God.  That hurts, and I’m ashamed of feeling that way.  Janice talked to me afterward because she saw me bawling.  Teri asked Greg about me.  Greg and Janice both said I was going through the grieving of my loss and that was natural.  I want to be at peace and say, ‘It is well with my soul.’ ”

“To love God is to love His will.  That which He gives we receive.  That which He takes away we relinquish.  He unfailingly allots grace in the measure needed.  It is for us to choose to receive or refuse it.  Our joy or our misery will depend on that choice.”  Elisabeth Elliot from “Whatever My Lot”, Secure in the Everlasting Arms

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)

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