“‘For I know the plans that I have for you,’ declares the LORD, ‘plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future'” (Jeremiah 29:11 NIV).
Friend To Friend
The most difficult times to continue believing the promises of God are during the storms of life when the waves of emotions are so great they threaten to tip your boat and spill you into an ocean of despair.
I have been there, my friend. And I do know it can be the most difficult time to believe the truth and the easiest time to believe the enemy’s lies. Let me share one such storm in my own life.
When my husband, Steve, and I decided to have children, we conceived with no problem. Steven Hugh Jaynes, Jr. was born with a shock of thick black hair and long Bambi-like eyelashes that had the nurses measuring for record breaking length. I loved being a mother more than any role I had ever experienced. Never in my life had I ever imagined so much love could be wrapped in such a small package.
Steven was about two-years-old when we decided to expand our family once again.
“Steven,” we explained, “We are praying that God will give Mommy and Daddy another Jaynes baby so you can have a little brother or sister.”
He thought that sounded like a good idea, so he ended our family prayer time each night with the benediction, “And God, please give Mommy and Daddy another Jaynes baby. Amen.”
After six months, there was no news of another Jaynes baby. I was perplexed. Then a year passed. I was distraught. Then two years passed. I began sinking in a sea of fear and doubt. All the while, Steven prayed each night, “And God, please give Mommy and Daddy another Jaynes baby.”
My husband and I began traveling down the frustrating road of doctor visits, infertility treatment and timed intimacy (which is anything but intimate). Then I began worrying about how this “unanswered” prayer was going to affect Steven’s faith in God.
By age four, we still had no news for Steven. Obviously, it was not the Lord’s plan for us to have another child at this time and I didn’t know how to tell Steven that we didn’t have to pray that prayer every night. I kept hoping that he would just forget about it. But he didn’t forget about it any more than he forgot the “Amen” at the end of a prayer.
So I began to pray, Lord please show me how to ease out of this predicament. Show me how to tell Steven that we don’t need to pray for another baby every night. I do not want this seemingly unanswered prayer to damage his faith. We have a miniature table and chairs in the kitchen where Steven and I ate lunch together each day. One day while sharing peanut butter and jelly sandwiches, Steven looked up, and in his sweet little voice said, “Mommy, have you ever thought that maybe God only wants you to have one child?”
Shocked, I answered, “Yes, I have thought that maybe that is the case and if it is, I am so thankful because He has given me all I ever hoped for in a child wrapped up in one package, YOU!”
Then he turned his little head like a robin and said, “Well, what I think we ought to do is keep praying until you’re too old to have one. Then we’ll know that’s His answer!”
What a great idea. I had been worried about Steven’s faith, but all the while, it was my own that was struggling. I was having trouble believing that God loved me when He was withholding what I wanted most…a house full of children. How could He love me and not give me the desire of my heart? I wondered. Maybe He doesn’t love me after all. A favorite song Steven used to sing when he was four-years-old had these words:
“My God is so big, so strong, and so mighty. There’s nothing my God cannot do. The mountains are His. The valleys are His. The stars are His handiwork too. My God is so big, so strong, and so mighty. There’s nothing my God cannot do.”
Steven didn’t know how old too old was, (Sarah in the Bible was 90), but he did know God. He knew God could do anything. If His answer was “no” he didn’t have a problem with that. I told him “no” many times and he understood that “no” did not mean “I don’t love you.” “No” just meant “no,” because I am your parent and I know what’s best for you.
The Lord taught me a great lesson through my four-year-old son. I saw through his childlike faith, an example of the attitude of trust that I should have toward my Heavenly Father who loves me and knows what’s best for me. And though the storm had subsided for just a while, a tidal wave hit a few years later. Join me tomorrow for the rest of the story.
Dear Heavenly Father who always knows what is best for me, today I give You my hopes and my dreams. If the answer is “no,” I understand that You know what is best for me and honestly, I don’t have a clue. Thank You for both Your provision and Your protection. In Jesus’ Name,
Now It’s Your Turn
Can you think of a time when your earthly parents told you “no,” and you got upset? Then later, you understood the wisdom of their guidance?
Can you think of a time when your Heavenly Father said “no” to a request? Perhaps you didn’t understand it at the time, but later the reason became crystal clear. Let me say it another way. Can you think of a time when you later praised God for the “no” and saw it was His provision or His protection?
I think sharing these stories would be a huge encouragement to our sisters who are struggling with an unfulfilled dream right about now. Let’s share our stories. Visit and encourage your sister-in-Christ. Remembering will encourage your heart as well!
More From The Girlfriends
As I mentioned at the beginning of today’s devotion, the most difficult times to continue believing the promises of God are during the storms of life when the waves of emotions are so great they threaten to tip your boat and spill you into an ocean of despair. So where are you today? Do you need a “faith lift?” Today’s devotion came from Becoming Spiritually Beautiful. It might be just the book you need to encourage you to keep believing! Read an excerpt at www.localhost/sjold
Sharon, Thank your for sharing the letter, and your journey.
I cried again, and healed a little more. I’d never had the picture of my miscarried child in heaven. Very healing. Like you I see a shadow – she’d have been 19 now. And God has blessed me with many god-kids to love and play with instead. One of your readers talked about how you still didn’t get your wish – me either, but I’ll be sharing your letter with others to continue the chain of “comfort others as you have been comforted in Christ”. God bless your ministry.
My son was born still last year on March 14th, I was almost 32 weeks along. Your letter touched my soul and how I wish I could have something like that come to me. I feel my faith slipping each day and I just don’t understand what big plan could come from so many babies dying. My heart aches everyday for my son and I’m still grieving even a year later.