"Rejoice in the Lord always. Again I will say, rejoice!
Let your gentleness (graciousness, forbearance) be known to all men.
The Lord is at hand."
We all have a way of making our plans, don't we? Even those of us who don't consider ourselves "planners". We have a general idea in our minds of how it will go. You know, you'll get married and have 5 lovely years together before having 2 kids. You will work up until the first baby comes, and then go back to work part-time when the children are ready to enter preschool. Or, maybe the plans are even for the "great, big things" that God is doing...like, I will enter full-time, vocational ministry. I will plant a church. I will become a missionary. Whatever the plans are...we have them. And, it is a part of life to deal with the fact that our "plans" just don't always work out. PRAISE THE LORD!!
"A man's heart plans his way,
But the LORD directs his steps."
So, Ben and I had made some plans. With serious, heartfelt, intentional prayer, we were seeking the Lord's will regarding an internship program that our church is offering. This is a gnarly, serious internship. It requires 24 hours of time per week- 12 hours of "learning", and 12 hours of "service." But the point is, we had committed to 5:30am prayer meetings on Monday mornings, just Ben and I, in order to intentionally seek the Lord on whether or not this was His plan for us. Both of us. We both felt God stirring, moving in our hearts. Maybe this was the "next step" we had been waiting for.
Imagine our surprise, then, in the midst of God seeming to move us in this direction of the internship, beginning to prepare our family and our schedule for this big adjustment, when God sent an adjustment of His own:
On the pregnancy test, that is. Oh man. This was not the plan....Our first thought was that this must obviously mean "no" for the internship. But God has a really interesting way of doing things. He is still moving things along in the direction of the internship, giving us favor with Ben's work...So, I don't know the answer to the internship question. We are still in the "pray and wait" phase on that one. We'd love it if you would join us in praying for God's will in that.
But in the mean time.... Isn't it funny, how often when we are seeking the Lord's will, we humans want to ask God for "a sign"? Well, for now...He has given us a sign. It speaks loudly, and boldly of God's sovereignty. His plan and His timing is perfect. We were not planning for another baby right now. But God was. And His plans are ALWAYS BETTER. Maybe, just maybe, I am learning to enjoy the ride a little more. Because amidst all the unknowns of a pregnancy: how will I feel? will my back go out? can we fit another one in our car??? Amidst all these unknowns, I have the most amazing signpost that shouts out:
"You alone are the LORD;
You have made heaven,
The heaven of heavens, with all their host,
The earth and everything on it,
And You preserve them all.
The host of heaven worships You."
And of course...this signpost of God's sovereignty reminds me all over again:
"For You formed my inward parts;
You covered (wove) me in my mother's womb.
I will praise You, for I am fearfully and wonderfully made;
Marvelous are Your works,
And that my soul knows very well.
My frame was not hidden from You,
When I was made in secret,
And skillfully wrought in the lowest parts of the earth.
Your eyes saw my substance, being yet unformed.
And in Your book they all were written,
The days fashioned for me,
When as yet there were none of them."
All of the days of this child's life were written, before one of them has ever come to be. God has a plan. It is better than mine, and He is accomplishing His purposes in our life. So today, instead of being frustrated that it doesn't look how I thought it would, or wallowing in all the unknowns...I'm choosing to rejoice in His Sovereignty. To declare that He alone is good. I'm going to join in with the host of heaven, and worship the amazing, sovereign Creator. I'm going to rejoice that the Lord is near. I'm going to believe His Word when He says that He has chosen to BLESS us with another child. And on the days where I am sick on the floor...oh, Lord, by Your Spirit, remind me of this signpost, the one that tells me that You are Sovereign, and we are exactly where You want us to be right now.
"Unless the Lord builds the house,
They labor in vain who build it;
Unless the Lord guards the city,
The watchman stays awake in vain...
Behold, children are a heritage from the LORD,
The fruit of the womb is a reward.
Like arrows in the hand of a warrior,
So are the children of one's youth.
Happy is the man who has his quiver full of them;
They shall not be ashamed,
But shall speak with their enemies in the gate."
From Psalm 127
(quickly becoming familiar in our family)