Saturday, April 10, 2010

What to Expect When all of Your Friends are Expecting

When dealing with infertility every announcement that a friend is pregnant comes with its challenges.

I'd like to say that I am thrilled every time I hear an announcement, but that wouldn't be truthful. Sometimes it just plain breaks your heart. It isn't that you wish that person wasn't being blessed. But it does hurt because it throws all of your failed attempts back in your face.

There is one exception to this. Anytime a dear Shiloh friend announces a pregnancy, my heart leaps for joy. To those who have struggled, and have been blessed, I rejoice with you. Currently three of my Shiloh friends are expecting, and another dear friend who has struggled with infertility for a year has also conceived. These stories are full of God's blessings and provisions. And if you ever have the chance, you should hear their stories.

Remember that God is good, and He has a plan for your life. And even though sometimes it feels as though you are all alone, and it seems God isn't answering or even hearing your prayers, know that God is your Abba, Father, and He cares and grieves for you just as much about you as you grieve for your unborn children.

It never seems that the news comes in gentle waves, but instead in the wave of a tsunami. As I heard the news from two more friends today, I began contemplating just how many of my friends are expecting. It seems as though there are at least eight of my friends that have either just announced their precious news or are about to deliver.

But where does this leave one who desires to be expecting?

It leaves you in one of two places. Either in your Father's arms, or in the pit of desire.

I pray that as Spring continues to bring its news, that you will not sin in your desire to have a child, but that you will draw closer to the one who knit you together in your mother's womb.

Psalm 139:13 (New International Version)

13 For you created my inmost being;
you knit me together in my mother's womb.

I pray that you find comfort in the Comforter.

2 Corinthians 1:3-4 (New International Version)

3Praise be to the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of compassion and the God of all comfort, 4who comforts us in all our troubles, so that we can comfort those in any trouble with the comfort we ourselves have received from God.

Friday, April 9, 2010

Hannah's Story

1 Samuel 1&2 (New International Version)
1 Samuel 1

The Birth of Samuel

1 There was a certain man from Ramathaim… 2 He had two wives; one was called Hannah and the other Peninnah. Peninnah had children, but Hannah had none.

3 Year after year this man went up from his town to worship and sacrifice to the LORD Almighty at Shiloh… 4 Whenever the day came for Elkanah to sacrifice, he would give portions of the meat to his wife Peninnah and to all her sons and daughters. 5 But to Hannah he gave a double portion because he loved her, and the LORD had closed her womb. 6 And because the LORD had closed her womb, her rival kept provoking her in order to irritate her. 7 This went on year after year. Whenever Hannah went up to the house of the LORD, her rival provoked her till she wept and would not eat. 8 Elkanah her husband would say to her, "Hannah, why are you weeping? Why don't you eat? Why are you downhearted? Don't I mean more to you than ten sons?"

10 In bitterness of soul Hannah wept much and prayed to the LORD. 11 And she made a vow, saying, "O LORD Almighty, if you will only look upon your servant's misery and remember me, and not forget your servant but give her a son, then I will give him to the LORD for all the days of his life, and no razor will ever be used on his head."

15 … Hannah replied, "I am a woman who is deeply troubled… I was pouring out my soul to the LORD. 16 Do not take your servant for a wicked woman; I have been praying here out of my great anguish and grief."

17 Eli answered, "Go in peace, and may the God of Israel grant you what you have asked of him."

18 She said, "May your servant find favor in your eyes." Then she went her way and ate something, and her face was no longer downcast.

19 Early the next morning they arose and worshiped before the LORD and then went back to their home at Ramah. Elkanah lay with Hannah his wife, and the LORD remembered her. 20 So in the course of time Hannah conceived and gave birth to a son. She named him Samuel, [c] saying, "Because I asked the LORD for him."

Hannah Dedicates Samuel

22 Hannah did not go. She said to her husband, "After the boy is weaned, I will take him and present him before the LORD, and he will live there always."
24 … She took the boy with her, young as he was, along with a three-year-old bull, [e] an ephah [f] of flour and a skin of wine, and brought him to the house of the LORD at Shiloh. 25 When they had slaughtered the bull, they brought the boy to Eli, 26 and she said to him, "As surely as you live, my lord, I am the woman who stood here beside you praying to the LORD. 27 I prayed for this child, and the LORD has granted me what I asked of him. 28 So now I give him to the LORD. For his whole life he will be given over to the LORD." And he worshiped the LORD there.

1 Samuel 2

Hannah's Prayer

1 Then Hannah prayed and said:
"My heart rejoices in the LORD;
in the LORD my horn [a] is lifted high.
My mouth boasts over my enemies,
for I delight in your deliverance.

2 "There is no one holy [b] like the LORD;
there is no one besides you;
there is no Rock like our God.

3 "Do not keep talking so proudly
or let your mouth speak such arrogance,
for the LORD is a God who knows,
and by him deeds are weighed.

4 "The bows of the warriors are broken,
but those who stumbled are armed with strength.

5 Those who were full hire themselves out for food,
but those who were hungry hunger no more.
She who was barren has borne seven children,
but she who has had many sons pines away.

6 "The LORD brings death and makes alive;
he brings down to the grave [c] and raises up.

7 The LORD sends poverty and wealth;
he humbles and he exalts.

8 He raises the poor from the dust
and lifts the needy from the ash heap;
he seats them with princes
and has them inherit a throne of honor.
"For the foundations of the earth are the LORD's;
upon them he has set the world.

9 He will guard the feet of his saints,
but the wicked will be silenced in darkness.
"It is not by strength that one prevails;

10 those who oppose the LORD will be shattered.
He will thunder against them from heaven;
the LORD will judge the ends of the earth.
"He will give strength to his king
and exalt the horn of his anointed."