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Tuesday, May 12, 2009

Tired of Fighting?

If you read my blog regularly and have a good memory, you might remember that I have been studying the book of Philippians for the past few months. I wrote a post about it back in February when I first started attending the Bible study, and I can't believe that 16 weeks have gone by! In the original post ("Perspective"), I wrote about how much I was looking forward to studying a book about "how to have joy no matter what." Now, as I near the end of the study, I want to write about something I learned this week.

While studying the last chapter of Philippians, I took a long look at Phil. 4:6-7. "Do not be anxious about anything, but in everything, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God. And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus." These are powerful verses, and I've been trying to soak them in. I know that I believe them, but how do I live it? How do I overcome my anxiety and truly live in peace?

One of the things that is so hard about the struggle with infertility and miscarriage is that it feels way too big for me. It is so far beyond anything I know how to handle. I'm not suggesting that it's the hardest thing in the whole world by any means, but being pregnant six times and not being able to do anything to help those babies grow and thrive is incredibly hard. Watching each one slip away has been devastating for us. After almost eleven years of marriage, we still have no children to hold in our arms and fill up our home. Even now we are in a season of waiting, and we have no idea how long it will last. All of these facts are hard to ignore. I wake up every morning painfully aware of them. I don't have a definite medical reason why this is happening. Although my doctors have identified and even corrected some problems over the years, we have no guarantee that I will ever deliver a baby. Sometimes I let the future scare me. Many times I let my circumstances rob me of my joy.

A few things clicked for me today as the Bible study led me to 2 Chronicles 20. I hope you'll read the whole chapter, but here's a recap:

Jehoshaphat (king of Judah) is warned of an impending attack. He immediately decides to inquire of the Lord. All of the people of Judah gather to seek the Lord's help, and Jehoshaphat leads them in prayer. For me, the highlight of this king's prayer is in 2 Chron. 20:12: "We have no power to face this vast army that is attacking us. We do not know what to do, but our eyes are upon you." Okay, now this I understand! Although I don't have a vast army threatening my life today, I do feel utterly powerless against my foe. I have no idea what to do other than keep my eyes on the Lord.

When we read further, we learn that God spoke through one of the men in the assembly. Here is what is recorded in verses 15 and 17: "This is what the Lord says to you: 'Do not be afraid or discouraged because of this vast army. For the battle is not yours, but God's. You will not have to fight this battle. Take up your positions, stand firm and see the the deliverance the Lord will give you, O Judah and Jerusalem. Do not be afraid; do not be discouraged. Go out to face them tomorrow, and the Lord will be with you.'"

The people of Judah not only obeyed God; they sang and praised Him BEFORE they knew the outcome. Of course, God came through on His promise and the people rejoiced. In verse 30, we find Jehoshaphat's kingdom at peace because "God had given him rest on every side."

As I studied today it became clear what in the world these verses have to do with the fourth chapter of Philippians. What was the result of the people's obedience?

1. They rejoiced in what the Lord had done.
2. They recognized God's power and strength.
3. They rested in His peace.

Philippians 4:6-7: "Do not be anxious about anything, but in everything, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God. And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus."

I don't know what to do as my battle with infertility continues. The people of Judah were told to take up their positions and to stand firm. Yes, I have a part to play that is not entirely passive, but ultimately the result is out of my hands, and I'm okay with that as long as the battle is God's. I want to keep my eyes on Him, rest in His peace, and rejoice no matter what the outcome will be.

*All verses are quoted from the NIV. If you want to know more about this Bible study, click here: Precept Ministries

18 comments:

And so it goes (AshaAnn) said...

Thank you. For speaking the right words at the write time:
"One of the things that is so hard about the struggle with infertility and miscarriage is that it feels way too big for me. It is so far beyond anything I know how to handle",
Amen to that. And to opening ourselves up to be at peace. This is my greatest desire- that whatever comes or doesn't, that I will be at peace. I know that my humanness is not capable alone of this. Of that I am sure- but surrendering to the Peace-giver who is greater than all of this- I fail daily.
Thanks for sharing.

A said...

BEAUTIFUL post!! I am so glad you posted the link to the study, because I seriously want to check it out!! I am definitely tired of fighting, and this Bible study may be the thing that would really lift up my heart right now! Thank you so much!

(You will be in my prayers as you continue to wait yourself!)

twondra said...

Thanks so much for sharing this Stacey. It really opened up my eyes and I learned quite a bit. So, thank you so much. (((HUGS)))

sharonvw said...

Stacey, somehow through God's grace I have found peace in resting in him and this has given me the ability to live with joy!
But I agree, we can't just sit back on our laurels and do nothing either, we have to keep up our end in order for God's plans to be fufilled.
(((hugs)))

Jenn said...

Stacey, wow...let me just say that God is using you and for more than just infertility issues. I have been struggling for quite some time now with an issue and have drifted away from what I know is right which is relying on God and diving into His word. Your post gave me a "starting" point. I know I needed to search out in scripture but have not had the strength to do so, as sad as that may sound. I was feeling a little overwhelmed as to where to begin but as you reminded your readers about your study in Philippians, it struck a spark in me. And I know that our circumstances should not affect our joy but sometimes we let it and get our focus off of God. I just want to say THANK YOU!

Amy said...

What great verses! I know how much we can identify with Jehosaphat. There are many battles that seem too big for us, that we simply can't foresee or understand how it could possibly work in our favor. I'm so encouraged today with these words. Not only in our struggle with miscarriage and getting pregnant, but in many other areas of life as well. I love the reminder that the battle is the Lord's.

Becky said...

This is amazing Stacey. Thank you for sharing it. I needed to hear this today. I will be thinking on what my "position" is throughout the day. I think it is a position of dependence on the Lord, but what else? The Lord is definitely speaking to me through these verses. I will be asking Him to reveal more about what my position is.

Also, I think I will link to this post in the near future on my blog. I hope that is okay.

Straubles said...

Well said! It's hard to keep an open hand and a joyful perspective in the battle for contentment. Esp. when those around you always manage to "arrive" at the destination (i.e. parenting) long before you get there.

I Believe in Miracles said...

Beautiful post. I love this -- "but ultimately the result is out of my hands, and I'm okay with that as long as the battle is God's. I want to keep my eyes on Him, rest in His peace, and rejoice no matter what the outcome will be." So true.

~~HUGS~~

Amber said...

Thank you for the post, and for all the verses they are truly wonderful!

Alicia said...

Stacey this was such a great post. Thanks for encouraging us with what you've been learning. All these verses about how God fights our battles for us reminds me of Psalm 46:10 the "be still" means to "stop striving" like in battle.

God bless!

Connie said...

Wow! What a great reminder for all of us. Your strength amazes and comforts me. I pray that you will continue to grow in God's strength and that you will He will greatly reward your faithfulness. I love you, Stace!

Kathryn said...

Thank you for this lovely post. I read it yesterday & meant to comment, but then i didn't seem to have any words that were apropos.

You do have a great gift with words, expression, & your ability to touch us.

Thank you too, for your comforting words on my blog. It is not easy, but your post is most appropriate to what i was feeling.

It isn't easy, tho, is it? We want to DO something!

You are in my prayers. I'm so blessed to have found you.

Parenthood For Me said...

That is a great way of looking at things. For me when I released anxiety about what the future held for us, I felt better believing it would work itself out. I am so sorry you have gone through such loss over all these years. You are very strong.

sharonvw said...

Hey Stac!
You've been awfully quiet, been thinking about you, hope you're ok??!!
Tagged you here:
http://sharonvw.wordpress.com/2009/05/27/8-8-on-8/

Hillary said...

Happy blogoversary :)

Beautiful post! I feel like I learn this lesson over and over as I struggle through infertility. God is constantly growing and shaping me. A friend of mine is praying for PEACE for me, and I love that she prays that. From where I sit, it hard for me to pray for anything but an actual baby, you know?

Charisa said...

Stace, I needed to read this today. Thank you.

Meredith said...

I'm very late to comment, but am so grateful to have found your post. Thank you for sharing.