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We sang the hymn "Praise to the Lord, the Almighty" at church this past Sunday. The lyrics flooded me with memories and emotions. Five years ago, I wanted desperately to start trying to conceive, but Aaron thought (and I agreed logically) we should wait one more year. During that year, I listened to "Praise to the Lord, the Almighty" many times. The words encouraged my faith in God's plans and gave me hope.

Hast thou not seen
How thy desires e'er have been
Granted in what He ordaineth?

"Surely," I thought, "the Lord will grant my desire for children. I can be patient for a year until we can start trying to get pregnant." So I waited, and I hoped. We finally started trying to conceive in January of 2005. We were still trying in 2006. 2007. 2008. Now in 2009, I sang the same hymn, and tears rolled down my cheeks.

Hast thou not seen
How thy desires e'er have been
Granted in what He ordaineth?

"No," I thought, "I haven't seen that. I've seen my desires denied again and again. I haven't been healed. I don't have children. God hasn't granted my desires; He has deferred my hope indefinitely." The words of praise that had previously offered such a balm now brought a surge of grief and weariness over how long this trial of infertility has lasted. So much longer than I ever expected. No clear end in sight. As we kept singing, I was reminded that the proof of God's goodness lies not in my circumstances but in the cross, not in giving me everything I want but in giving me Himself. But still, I ache with the unfulfilled yearning for children.


Anonymous said...

so honestly put... i get it.
--oh the weariness, how i get so tired of wiping away the tears and "being strong".

i hug you.

Stacey said...

I'm so sorry. I know it's hard to look back and see all that time that has passed since you first started hoping. I pray that more joyful times will be ahead for you and that God will fulfill those desires for you to be a mother.

I'm not familiar with that hymn, but two Sundays ago I couldn't stop the tears from streaming down my face as we sang It Is Well With My Soul at church. I wonder if I will ever be in a place to say "Whatever my lot, Thou hast taught me to say, it is well with my soul."


P.S. Thanks for the comment. I want to hear more about your new camera! I'm glad you made the purchase before your big trip!

MarySue said...

I ache for you! It's true what the Word says, "Hope deferred makes the heart sick." Thank you for sharing your heart. It is my prayer that God may fulfill His purposes and plans for you, and in you.

Hope said... speak those words right out of my heart. I pray for you, for the peace, for the pain. I hate we share that, I love that we share that in a way too. I wish we shared play dates and mommy advice. :(


sarah k said...

Thanks for sharing this, Andrea. Much love to you from me...thank you for being a faithful and caring friend in the midst of your long, hard season of trial; for truthfully sharing where your heart is, and for being such a compelling example of persevering in speaking the truth to your heart and fighting to believe it. I am humbled by your example. May God show his mercy in bringing your desires to fulfillment.


Sarah said...

sorry this is totally random and i never do this, but I was searching for something on google and your blog kept popping up so i read a bit of your story from 2006. immediately i prayed that the Lord had answered your prayer. then just now, again, it popped up on another search and I found this entry from yesterday and i started to cry.

I understand what it is like to have a hope "deferred", many, many years spent praying and waiting on the Lord to act. But i just want to encourage you in this midst of your anguish and frustration, dont let grief embitter your heart - it is a poison that would rob you from the abundant life God has for you in the present moment.

I believe this is the word of the Lord for you: "can a mother forget the baby at her breast and have no compassion on the child she has borne? though she may forget, I will not forget you! see, I have ENGRAVED you on the palms of my hands; your walls are ever before me" - Isaiah 49:15-16

the Lord has seen and heard every cry. HE HAS NOT FORGOTTEN YOU. In fact he is with you on your side of the "wall".

This morning, as I was rushing to the bus stop, I saw my bus pass by from a block and half away. I remember crying out, Lord, let me get on that bus. I arrived at the stop at least 5 minutes later to discover the bus sitting there waiting and it took off immediately after i stepped on. I thought it was completely absurd that i made it on that bus and when i asked why, I heard the Lord say, BECAUSE YOU ASKED ME. I think of all the other prayers that have not been answered as such and I am reminded that 1. God delights to take care of his children (of whom you are most cherished) and 2. "our times are in his hands" - when and how he chooses to answer our prayers is up to him.

That being said, I pray that the Lord will hasten to you and I pray for an anointing of favor and timing in your life - that everything will occur at its proper divine moment. I think of Hannah's cries for a child and what Eli said to her "GO IN PEACE, AND MAY THE GOD OF ISRAEL GRANT YOU WHAT YOU HAVE ASKED OF HIM." very shortly afterward, the Lord 'remembered her', she conceived and 'she named him Samuel, saying, "BECAUSE I ASKED THE LORD FOR HIM." '

kcmarie122 said...

I'm so sorry! I think we have all felt this sorrow at one time or another.

Some days we can be so strong and brave and yet other days the hurt is just too painful and overwhelming!

Just know I'm thinking of you and praying for you! You are not alone!

Rochelle said...

Awww, sweetie... praying for you!!! In a different kind of way I understand the weariness and exhaustion of trying to keep going in the midst of so much pain. We know and believe in God and trust his promises, but at the end of the day our hearts still ache. *prayers & hugs*

Anonymous said...

Oh my dear, dear friend. I spent many mornings in church weeping to this hymn, too. I wish I could hug you right now. I remember so well the ache. And the way that the word "ache" doesn't describe the empty, icy feeling of your chest caving in with sorrow.

I clung hard to the words in "How Firm A Foundation":

“When through the deep waters I call thee to go,
The rivers of sorrow shall not overflow;
For I will be with thee thy trouble to bless,
And sanctify to thee thy deepest distress.

When through fiery trials thy pathway shall lie,
My grace, all-sufficient, shall be thy supply;
The flame shall not harm thee; I only design
Thy dross to consume and thy gold to refine."

I can tell you now that that those words are true though for a long time all I tasted were bitter tears. Psalm 56:8 says "You have kept count of my tossings, you have put my tears in your bottle. Are they not in your book?" God is weeping with you through this time of suffering. But His plan is for resurrection, redemption and joy. Those things are always His ultimate end and He has those things in mind for you too.

I once said to a friend of mine "What if I never become a mother?" She replied "God will not leave you unfulfilled." No matter what happens, God will not leave you unfulfilled, Andrea. He created this longing in you for a purpose. He will satisfy it.

I love you.

Alysa said...

Andrea -

I have read your post at least 3 times and my heart and prayers go out to you. Words escape me, but my tears do not. May the Lord give you much strength to face today.

Me said...

While going through some recent trials, my husband downloaded for me John Piper reading a poem based on the book of Job. You can find it in either audio or print form at It was such a help and a blessing to me. I pray that it will be to you.
I pray often for you and Aaron that God will give you the desire of your heart. - Elaine

Marian said...

Hi Andrea, I stumbled across your blog & my heart aches for you dear sister. I have been where you are. I know your pain & you are right...the proof of God's love for you is not in your circumstances but in the cross and in giving Himself to us!!! Such encouraging words for me! My prayers are with you. Stop by and visit anytime. Grace & Peace

Ashley Nicole said...

After reading this blog entry, we recently sang this song in chapel. I remember knowing that verse with those words were coming up and just praying the whole time--for you, for me, for those of us who are unfulfilled and don't know why--and when we got to that verse, the words were different. Instead of "Hast thou not seen how my desires all have been granted in what He ordaineth?" It was "Hast thou not seen? All that is needful hath been granted in what He ordaineth." That's apparently how they sing it in Scotland...I wish that's how we sang it here. It rings much truer than the other. My prayers are with you.