Brad and I feel so fortunate to have a large circle of wonderfully supportive friends and family in our lives. As a result of our blog, we’ve been happily surprised to hear from numerous people who are nearly as excited as we are about this road we’re traveling!
Why, then am I so focused on the people who aren’t feeling the joy – the ones who haven’t uttered one word, good or bad, since we made our big announcement? It almost feels like announcing a pregnancy and not hearing a “Congratulations!” from a close friend. As much as I want to pretend that it doesn’t bother me, I can’t. It hurts a little.
My friend, Laura had this to say when I mentioned my hurt feelings on Facebook:
“When you are having watershed moments and making decisions in obedience to God, the cream really rises to the top, doesn’t it?”
She’s right, you know… We are making decisions in obedience to God. It’s a new experience for us and one that is even more challenging than we had anticipated! We wasted so many years taking the easy road and we’re all done with the path of least resistance.
Or, maybe I’m just being overly sensitive… I’m wondering if I had a little too much quiet time this weekend. Brad and I and the girls joined Brad’s dad, his brother and wife and their daughters for a long weekend at our family’s get away “cabin” in the woods. There is no cell phone service, internet access and I did absolutely no tv watching while we were there. Instead, I did some caulking and painting, some sleeping and cleaning and, finally some reading.
I began reading 1 Samuel from the beginning of the book. If you’ve never read it or if it’s been a while, I highly recommend you grab your Bible and start reading. Do you remember Hannah’s story? She desperately wanted a baby, but wasn’t able to conceive. Her husband loved her so much, but he just didn’t get it. He said,
“Why are you crying, Hannah? Why be downhearted just because you have no children? You have me – isn’t that better than having ten sons?” (1 Samuel 1:8)
It’s sweet, really. But, those of us who know how it feels to long for motherhood also know that nothing, not even the love of a good man can replace a baby.
So, Hannah made a bargain. With God. Say what?! It’s true; this woman promised God that, if He gave her a son, she would give him back to the Lord. As far as I can tell from Hannah’s story, we should probably be careful what kind of promises we make in prayer because God just may take you up on it! Hannah didn’t just promise to raise her son to love and serve God, she very literally dedicated Samuel to God for a lifetime of service. When Samuel was about 3 years old, Hannah took him to live at the Tabernacle to assist Eli, the priest. She didn’t forget about him and she visited him regularly, but can you fathom leaving your 3 year old son to live away from you – even if to serve God?!
I admire Hannah for many reasons. Mostly, for her willingness to make good on her promise to God. There must have been times that it was absolutely heart wrenching. Through it all though, she remained faithful to God’s will for her and for her son. Take a look at Hannah’s beautiful prayer of praise to the Lord in 1 Samuel 2 after she returned home from the Tabernacle without her son:
“My heart rejoices in the Lord!
The Lord has made me strong.
Now I have an answer for my enemies;
I rejoice because you rescued me.
No one is holy like the Lord!
There is no one besides you;
there is no Rock like our God.
“Stop acting so proud and haughty!
Don’t speak with such arrogance!
For the Lord is a God who knows what you have done;
he will judge your actions.
The bow of the mighty is now broken,
and those who stumbled are now strong.
Those who were well fed are now starving,
and those who were starving are now full.
The childless woman now has seven children,
and the woman with many children wastes away.
The Lord gives both death and life;
he brings some down to the grave but raises others up.
The Lord makes some poor and others rich;
he brings some down and lifts others up.
He lifts the poor from the dust
and the needy from the garbage dump.
He sets them among princes,
placing them in seats of honor.
For all the earth is the Lord’s,
and he has set the world in order.
“He will protect his faithful ones,
but the wicked will disappear in darkness.
No one will succeed by strength alone.
Those who fight against the Lord will be shattered.
He thunders against them from heaven;
the Lord judges throughout the earth.
He gives power to his king;
he increases the strength of his anointed one.”
If Hannah can unabashedly offer praise to God after that experience, surely I can do the same even as I sit here tonight and snuggle my babies and feel sad that I’m not getting all the support I want. How’s that for perspective?!