(This is Part II of this study. For Part I, please see 11-8-12)
3. As we surrender to God’s sovereignty we must simultaneously relinquish our own attempts at control and desires for certainty.
The decision at hand must be made out of a desire to glorify and honor God, not made simply out of desire for our own fulfillment. To do this we must hand over our deepest longings in exchange for the perfect will of our faultless Daddy God, who loves us with an everlasting love and has far more planned for us than we can ever dream or imagine.
That according to the riches of his glory he may grant you to be strengthened with power through his Spirit in your inner being, so that Christ may dwell in your hearts through faith—that you, being rooted and grounded in love, may have strength to comprehend with all the saints what is the breadth and length and height and depth, and to know the love of Christ that surpasses knowledge, that you may be filled with all the fullness of God. Now to him who is able to do far more abundantly than all that we ask or think, according to the power at work within us,to him be glory in the church and in Christ Jesus throughout all generations, forever and ever. Ephesians 3:16-21
This is a painful question but it’s one that needs to be asked. As I write it, I feel the sting of it in my own heart, as I currently wrestle through it personally:
“What if God, in His wise sovereignty, asks us to discontinue the pursuit of potential pregnancy?”
Will God be enough?
He will be if we allow Him to be. Is His way truly perfect in our own hearts? This is where faith comes in. Faith is living by what you cannot see (Biblically based truth) versus living by what seems to make sense (human logic). The faith that says there is more to this life than can be seen with our eyes. That even when God’s way seems to permit nothing but heart-ache and even emptiness in our lives, He is working out His purposes – always, constantly, and in ways that will astound us when, someday, we see the eternal perspective.
For in this hope we were saved. Now hope that is seen is not hope. For who hopes for what he sees? But if we hope for what we do not see, we wait for it with patience. Romans 8:24-25
Now faith is the assurance of things hoped for, the conviction of things not seen. Hebrews 11:1
His divine power has granted to us all things that pertain to life and godliness, through the knowledge of him who called us to his own glory and excellence, by which he has granted to us his precious and very great promises, so that through them you may become partakers of the divine nature, having escaped from the corruption that is in the world because of sinful desire. For this very reason, make every effort to supplement your faith with virtue, and virtue with knowledge, and knowledge with self-control, and self-control with steadfastness, and steadfastness with godliness, and godliness with brotherly affection, and brotherly affection with love. For if these qualities are yours and are increasing, they keep you from being ineffective or unfruitful in the knowledge of our Lord Jesus Christ. For whoever lacks these qualities is so nearsighted that he is blind, having forgotten that he was cleansed from his former sins. Therefore, brothers, be all the more diligent to confirm your calling and election, for if you practice these qualities you will never fall. II Peter 1:3-10
4. It is not just about us. We are one flesh with our husband. He is a big part of this decision as well. God may very well use our husband’s leadership to provide the answer to this dilemma. Often, sacrificial obedience is one of the first steps to wisdom.
This can be exceptionally painful for a number of reasons. First, our husbands approach this topic of life much more differently than we do. For many, their life can remain just as full without children. A loss might rock their world—for about a day or maybe even a week—but then it’s put into one of their neat little “man-compartments” and they’ve moved on. So, for them to notdesire this like we do, but rather to say, “No more trying. No more setting us up for more traumatic losses.” can not only devastate, but also anger us. Due to their response, we feel that they do not really understand our hearts. They are not validating our desire. Our initial feelings of hurt become anger, because hurt takes too much emotional energy at this stage of the game. Anger allows us to push through the pain and to keep going.
This is also difficult because it takes control out of our hands. When our husband leads this decision, the pros and cons list, that in some way gives us a comfort to mull over, is no longer even necessary. Neither are the monthly charts of our cycles or even the planning of what month would be best to have a baby in. We are now asked to fully give up our desire and let it go. We are letting our husband direct this, and in doing so, we are acknowledging that our wishes are put on the back burner.
Perhaps for some, it may go the opposite way. Instead of not wanting to try again, our husband wants too. Because we don’t want to have the potential for more disappointment or loss, or because we feel we might not be able to handle it physically, his leadership in this regard leads to a fear of what trying again might entail. Yet, it is not just about us. We are one flesh and his desires must be given as much weight as ours, maybe even a bit more, in the light of Biblical submission.
Ideally, our husband doesn’t “lord” over us in this matter; he is, ultimately, responsible for the decisions made in our home – the easy ones and the hard ones. While we are one, and he has been set up as the head of the home, there are mutual decisions to be made. Sometimes, these are reached, without full agreement from both parties. Many times, compromise is not 50/50. This “lopsided” decision-making cannot happen without emotional discussions, Godly wisdom and counsel, and a lot of time. And in the end, because he is the God-appointed leader of our home, when a stalemate takes place, we must defer to his decision.
While, initially, this deferment can leave us broken, in God’s plan for husbands and wives, it can both protect us and bless us, while bringing us into a freedom that we would not have found if the decision had been entirely in our power to make. This is the beauty of the marriage relationship and the beauty of Biblical submission to our husbands.
Let every person be subject to the governing authorities. For there is no authority except from God, and those that exist have been instituted by God. Romans 13:1
Likewise, wives, be subject to your own husbands, so that even if some do not obey the word, they may be won without a word by the conduct of their wives. 1 Peter 3:1
5. Concentrate on helping others, while you are waiting.
We can easily become completely consumed with the agony of this decision. That is not part of our God-given calling. Our God-given calling is to love Him first –seen in our surrender to His will, and then to love others as we love ourselves–seen in deferring to our husbands and in ministering to others, regardless of our pain.
Often, when we are obedient to living out God’s two greatest commands, we find dreams have been fulfilled in ways we could not have imagined. We also find a healing that we did not know could exist for this broken area of our heart. Obsessing about what we cannot control, dries us up and makes us brittle with disappointment and resentment. Instead, ministering fills us up in return, even as we pour out to others. As we minister to others’ broken hearts, we find our own broken heart ministered to as well. This is the paradox of ministry,
Give, and it will be given to you. Good measure, pressed down, shaken together, running over, will be put into your lap. For with the measure you use it will be measured back to you. Luke 6:38
This is not only true on the earthly level but also on the spiritual. As we give, God gives us even more of Himself. The more we empty our hearts, the more we find ourselves filled with His love and grace.
If you pour yourself out for the hungry and satisfy the desire of the afflicted, then shall your light rise in the darkness and your gloom be as the noonday. And the Lord will guide you continually and satisfy your desire in scorched places and make your bones strong; and you shall be like a watered garden, like a spring of water, whose waters do not fail. Isaiah 58:10-11
In all things I have shown you that by working hard in this way we must help the weak and remember the words of the Lord Jesus, how he himself said, ‘It is more blessed to give than to receive. Acts 20:35
Do we try again? There is not easy answer of “yes” or “no,” but there are a number of Biblically based guidelines for leading decisions such as this. God can and will lead us every step of the way in this process, if we will only relinquish our control and allow Him to do so.
Original material by Melissa J Carswell, MA, BCCC. Holly M Besser. Perfect Joy Ministries ©2012. May not be used or re-printed without permission. bsbp014-2p11-15-12