Four Words Is All It Takes

My email has been full the last 5 days with articles about National Infertility Awareness Week. The theme chosen for this year is “You are not alone.”

While this is meant as encouragement that there are other women out there battling the same problem that can make you feel so singled out and alone, the theme provided me with a different reminder.
While, at best, all other women can do for me is relate, I have a heavenly Father who walks with me daily, a great High Priest who sympathizes, and a Comforter that lives within me.
Although I can still feel alone at times when I become so self-focused, I am truly never alone, and I praise God for that.

The Lord has really been helping me lately with this issue, but it’s often by the “One step forward, two steps back” route. This is of course through no fault of His. I’m just a resistant student sometimes.
One day, I’ll walk in victory, and the next I’m with Anne Shirley in the depths of despair. (Side note: Who didn’t get all the feels when hearing about Gilbert last week?! Sadness! But I digress…)

At the beginning of this week, I was bound and determined to be okay. This was going to be a good week for me.
I was going to focus on all the Lord has done for me and not what He has withheld…because let’s face it – everything He has ever given me has been in spite of me. I don’t deserve His goodness and love, and yet He never fails to give them.
These were the things I would focus on, and therefore, it would be a good week.

Have you ever tried to convince yourself or talk yourself into something?
Sure you have. You’re human like I am.
It doesn’t always work though, does it?

Anyway, the beginning of the week was good. God gave me some perspective and my eyes were fixed on the One who ever walks with me.
Wednesday and Thursday, I received some not-awesome news. I tried not to let it bother me. I tried to keep my eyes on the goodness and graciousness of my Lord.
But by yesterday afternoon, I was fighting discouragement and disappointment, and I’m not proud to say that I eventually succumbed to them…and the tears fell again.

I’m so thankful to report that He, once again, lovingly came to me in the middle of my mess.

Aren’t you so glad that God isn’t rough with us? I certainly am.
I can get exasperated with people and end up speaking to them harder than necessary. I can lose my patience and end up being down-right ugly sometimes.
I can even be quite rough on myself sometimes.
But God? He’s never rough with me. He treats me with much more gentleness and kindness than I deserve.

He reminded me that just because I may not have what it seems like everyone else has, it doesn’t mean that He loves them any more or loves me any less.
It doesn’t mean that I’ve messed up and done something wrong.
It simply means His plan for my life is different, and while they may have things I don’t, I have a special kind of grace that they can never know.

This week, I read this amazing article on Leah and Rachel and wanting what another has. It was beautifully written and extremely applicable for all women especially.
It was written from the viewpoint of Leah wanting the love that Jacob had for Rachel, and while I can certainly sympathize with Leah and draw elements from her story, I suppose I can relate better with Rachel.

Jacob loved Rachel so much, he was willing to give 14 years of his life to earn her.
Of course, it was only supposed to be 7 years, but her scheming father tricked Jacob into marrying Leah first and tacked on 7 more years if he still wanted Rachel.
Yes, Rachel had Jacob’s love….but Leah had Jacob’s children.
After watching her sister have 4 sons with the man she loved, she became so desperate that she went to Jacob and told him, “Give me children, or else I die.” (Genesis 30:1)

It wasn’t in Jacob’s hands to give her children or not. That is God’s business alone, but she was at the end of her rope. She is speaking here from desperation and a continually broken heart.

Over the past almost 7 years, there have been a couple of times when I’ve felt this low. I’ve never gone to my husband and said her words, but I’ve gone to the Lord with this attitude a time or two.

Rachel was so focused on herself and her pain that she was missing some of God’s blessings in her life.
She had a love story most women would kill for. Jacob loved her so much, the Bible says those 7 years seemed like just a few days to him. Of all the “what ifs” Rachel would have in her life, she would never have to wonder if Jacob truly loved her. He had proven it beyond a shadow of a doubt.
All her needs were met. The Lord blessed Jacob and they were quite wealthy. She didn’t have to miss a meal or even wonder where it would come from. She was loved and provided for….but she wasn’t looking at what she had. She was looking at what she didn’t have.

Again, I can relate. How often have my eyes been fixed not on my full life, but only on my empty arms?

….But Rachel wasn’t forgotten.

Some of the sweetest words I find in the Bible are in Genesis 30:22:
And God remembered Rachel, and God hearkened to her, and opened her womb.”
Had the verse not continued, had she never been able to bear children, those first 4 words would have been enough.

My story may not have the ending that Rachel’s had. I may never experience life inside me and hold my newborn baby in my arms, but that’s not what is important.

Remember when I said God met with me in the middle of my mess yesterday?
That is another way of saying, “And God remembered Naomi.”
That truth is worth more to me than a house full of children. To know I have not and never will be forgotten by my Lord is enough.

It doesn’t matter if you struggle with never having children or you have 10 children. You may struggle with singleness and loneliness or be surrounded by people all the time. It doesn’t matter what the situation and details are.
Everyone struggles.
Everyone.
No one is immune.

…but you know what?
Those times when God meets with you and helps you in the middle of your mess?
That’s Him reminding you that you aren’t forgotten.
Though your circumstances may not change, that reminder is enough to change your outlook.
Knowing you have been remembered by the One who still works all things together for good is all you really need.

Those 4 precious words will always be true and will always be enough.
You’re not alone.

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