Relating to the Shunamite…

Unknown to many… My husband and I have been trying to get pregnant for two years now.

We decided a few months after we were married, to stop taking birth control and give full control to God on when to have a child. Now we are not anti-birth control by any means… I just had been on a roller coaster of emotions and my body continued to reject (through various health issues) every brand of birth control we tried. So, we decided in January of 2011 that we would give complete control to Jesus in determining our pregnancy.

Chip and I knew we wanted babies and were perfectly ok with having them early on in our marriage. We expected a “surprise” shortly after we stopped taking birth control, little did we know that God had other plans…

I was raised in a very large family. My grandmother, one of 8 girls and a mother of 5,  kept a daycare from the time her youngest was a toddler until she retired a few years ago. As long as I can remember I have been surrounded by children. Being the oldest of 13 grandchildren—ages 4 to 25, and 2 great-grandchildren, with 2 more on the way, it goes without saying our family comes from a long line of “fertile myrtle’s”. I have had the desire for motherhood since I was old enough to hold a baby-doll.

After meeting Chip, I knew we would be wonderful parents. He is such a kid at heart and loves to be around children of any age… I never dreamed that our prayers would not be immediately answered. But now, it has been over two years since we went off of birth control, and we still have not conceived.

It is such a struggle to trust and hold on to the fact that God is a promise maker AND a promise keeper, but that is the only thing that keeps me from losing my mind. Yesterday was Mother’s Day. Currently, I have 8 friends (off the top of my head) who are expecting, my Facebook feed is swarming with baby announcements, and I have already attended 3 baby showers in the last month. I am so excited for them all, and I don’t for one second want any of them to feel bad for sharing their excitement and updates because I want to be there for them every step of the way. They are experiencing God’s blessings and I do not want to take away from that one second. I want them to understand that they are not hurting me by sharing their news, honestly it is just a reminder when they do that one day God will fulfill His promise of motherhood to me too. I just wanted to make that clear before going any further, because it is important for my friends to hear me when I say, please do not stop sharing with me out of fear of hurting me. I love hearing all of the joys of motherhood from you!

With that being said…

Yesterday as I watched all of the mother’s at church beam with the overwhelming joy of being a mom, and all of the moms-to-be with their excitement of what’s to come, I was met with that all too familiar pang of jealousy. I almost didn’t even go to church because I knew it would be a sermon focused on motherhood, something that I had convinced myself may never happen for me. I always manage to put on a smile and tell everyone that I am ok with that, and honestly if we are never blessed with a child I will know that despite how hard it is that God is still good and wants great things for my life.

But yesterday, Jesus took the opportunity to speak to me right where I was during the sermon and I just wanted to share some things with you in hope that He will speak to you as well.

The story starts in 2 Kings 4:8. Elisha was a prophet in Israel (and prophets were very popular politically and spiritually—they represented the promises of God in Israel).

  1. God knows our hearts- This story is about a Shunamite woman who had a heart that was inclined toward the things of God and her struggle (like ours) to not doubt that God is a promise maker and a promise keeper. It is important to remember throughout the story that Elisha should represent Jesus. Starting out in the story, the woman recognized this fact and literally made room in her home for God to work (v.9-10). This is such a “Christian” idea… but I had to ask myself in the midst of my fears of not ever experiencing motherhood, had I made room for God to work or had my fears and reasoning of what was to be consumed my heart?
  1. God cares- Elisha was thrilled that she had made room for him, so he asked her if he could do anything to show his gratitude and she said no that she didn’t need anything… Isn’t this just like us women? I know it is so easy for me to think my problem (infertility) is not as big as some people’s needs and that I will be ok without… because there are tons of people who need their prayers answered so much more than I do… Elisha knew better… and again he represents Jesus. The fact is that God cares not just about us, but about what we care about. Don’t be scared to pray big prayers because God cares. Sometimes we get in circumstances that seem impossible… we call them impossible circumstances, God calls them miracles. Once Elisha heard that she had a desire to be a mother, he made her a promise that she would be a mother within a year. She then chose to take God at his word. We have to pursue the promises that God made in His word… We can’t just pray, we have to pursue… After she heard Elisha, she didn’t go pray (not that it’s a bad thing) but she went to work… Now this doesn’t just have to be physically, but something changed in her. All of the doubt that previously consumed her vanished just by hearing the promise spoken by Elisha. We have that same promise based in the Word… We must take that promise and go to work just as she did, and no longer accept that God will not fulfill His promise to us.
  1. God is able- By verses 18-20 we see that at the brightest point in the day, her promise from God died in her lap. The thing is she did not give up here… Her actions in this moment are so important. She carried the boy (which Bible scholars believe was around 10 years old at this time) up to the roof to Elisha’s room. She took her promise straight to lay him in Elisha’s bed. Remember that Elisha represents Jesus… This mother did not give up on God’s promise even when it died. She laid him in God’s bed, left the room, and shut the door behind her. Sometimes we have to get to a point where we trust God with our fears more than we trust ourselves, to the point where we lay it at His feet and close the door behind us knowing He can handle it much better than we can. We have to trust God with the promise, more than we trust ourselves.

She didn’t just stop there though… she left to go find Elisha, clung to his feet, and refused to let go until he (himself… not his staff, or a servant) came to heal her son. She was a persistent woman who refused to give up on her promise maker. Too many times we are willing to pray for God to do His part and not perspire to do our part.

I took so much from this story, and I know it could speak to women in all sorts of situations; however, for me it was a reminder to not give up on the promises of God. It’s so easy for me after two years of infertility to become ok with not receiving the promise of a child… but God desires for us to cling to his feet as the woman did in the story and refuse to give up on the promise that He has made for us.

To be honest, I will be perfectly ok if I never have a child of my own… but God is not ok with that. He wants us to continue praying and perspiring knowing that He will come through for us. In the bible, God ALWAYS keeps His promises. Even if he does not grant us a child, it is not He is not able… so I will continue believing that He is and refusing to believe anything short of that. In His perfect timing, He will answer my prayers in such a way that will fulfill His promise as well as my heart’s desire.

I hope this speaks encouragement to you, as it did me.

I try and stay in touch with my readers on a personal level through social media. Share this post to pass it on, and then click here to find me on Facebook.

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