Monday, November 5, 2012

praying for samuel

 "She was deeply distressed and prayed to the Lord and wept bitterly.  And she vowed a vow and said, "O Lord of hosts, if You will indeed look on the affliction of Your servant and remember me and not forget Your servant, but will give Your servant a son, then I will give him to the Lord all the days of his life."  1 Samuel 1:10-11

Yesterday in church, as I watched families walk in and the worship team sang... my eyes filled with tears.  I stood there crying and prayed silently in my heart.

"Even if You just give us one Lord, I will be satisfied.  Please give us our Samuel and I will give him back to You."

As Sarah sang about the extravagant love of Jesus, I wiped away the tears and prayed again.

"Lord, even if You do not give us any children, I will still praise You.  Blessed be Your name."

Waiting for our Samuel has been an emotional roller-coaster over the past couple years.  There are times when I'm more okay with it then others, times where it stings a little more and times where I am soothed.  Times that I remember the things God has done while we wait, and times that I feel hurt and bitter.  Times that I'm excited still for opportunities we may have while we are still childless and times that I simply wonder why?  Times that I feel like it will happen and times that I feel like it never will.

I haven't often prayed specifically for a baby because I have been afraid to.  It's hard to sort through the emotions that keep me from praying for a child but they seem to fall into two categories.

Sometimes I'm afraid to pray for a baby because I know it may not be God's timing yet and that there are more things for us to do.  I know things will change a lot and maybe I'm not ready.  Maybe there are a few more adventures that are planned for Tim and I without children.  I worry that I will pray for a baby and then will see that God gave me what I wanted but it wasn't what He wanted.

And other times I'm afraid to pray because I'm afraid of the answer being no.  It's almost like if I hold back on that prayer, there's still a chance that we will have a baby.  There's a chance that I haven't tried everything yet, and I want that answer to be yes so I'll wait.

It's all very emotionally convoluted and I realize it doesn't make much sense because it doesn't make sense to me.  I also realize that there are many couples who have waited much longer than we have.  This struggle is widespread and painful for many.   It is difficult because you are reminded of it every month you aren't pregnant.  Some months are better than others, but the disappointment remains.

I often think about the women in the Bible that were barren.  Sarah, Rebecca, Rachel, Hannah, and Elizabeth.  Many of them waited many years, some of them until they were very old (Sarah & Elizabeth) to bear a child.

I love how in those stories it isn't punishment that is causing them to be barren, but for God's glory He chooses to wait sometimes.  Sometimes the answer is not yet, and sometimes it is never, but God always works things for good to those that love Him.

I didn't want to post this.  I cried about it in the car yesterday because I felt like it was what I needed to write and I didn't want to share.  I didn't want to let anyone in to my pain, I wanted to lick my wounds alone.  But I know that often it is through the sharing of our suffering that we are healed.

While we drove to my parents house and talked about praying for a baby, "Casimir Pulaski Day" played in the background through our speakers.

As I shoved the tears off my cheeks the last lines repeated in my ears.

"And He takes, and He takes, and He takes."

In my mind I heard the words to "Blessed Be Your Name" as an echo.

"You give and take away, You give and take away.  My heart will choose to say, Lord blessed be Your name."

I will pray and wait patiently for our Samuel.  Whether he comes from my womb or the womb of another, I will pray for him.  And I know that barren or fruitful, children or no children, the Lord is good, the Lord is love, and His mercies endure forever.  I will praise Him as long as I have breath.  My heart will choose to say, Lord blessed be Your name.


  1. Oh dear Abby, thank you for sharing your heart. I am teary as I read this. And blessed by your tender heart for the Lord and His will in your lives. He knows. He knows all the "convoluted" emotions that we have, and He isn't surprised or confused by any of it. And I'm so encouraged by your words, especially those last ones ...

    "And I know that barren or fruitful, children or no children, the Lord is good, the Lord is love, and His mercies endure forever. I will praise Him as long as I have breath. My heart will choose to say, Lord blessed be Your name."

    Reminds me of Habakkuk ...

    Though the fig tree does not bud
    and there are no grapes on the vines,
    though the olive crop fails
    and the fields produce no food,
    though there are no sheep in the pen
    and no cattle in the stalls,
    YET I will rejoice in the Lord,
    I will be joyful in God my Savior.

    We've been studying Mary & Martha in our women's study, and I was so struck with Jesus' words regarding Lazarus' sickness and death ... "No, it is for God's glory so that God's Son may be glorified through it." (John 11:4)

    This too, dear friend, is for His glory. And He is being glorified right now in your life. By your trust and commitment to Him above every earthly thing. Thank you for reflecting Him.

    1. Thank you for your loving words Emily! I felt so much peace this week and I know it is due to the prayers that have been spoken for me by my dear friends! Thank you so much for your response and for your encouragement, I'm so blessed to know you. I love you Em!

  2. Sweet Abby, thank you for being so open and so honest in this blog. It's easier -so much easier- to keep the tender, painful things to ourselves and to not let anyone into certain parts of our hearts. But oh, how beautiful it can be when we do let others into our pain. Your post, it brought tears to my eyes. It's beautiful, so beautiful. And, in the words of Ann Voskamp, "the only way to ever leave beautiful marks on the world is with bits of yourself- and this will hurt. Things of realest beauty don't bring us glory, but Him glory."
    I don't know His plan or His will or why He does what He does, but I know He is good. And I know He is writing your story, and He'll never leave you alone in that story. Ever. His love will be perfect and His grace will be sufficient and He will be enough.
    Praying hard for you and for Tim, and your Samuel and this season of life you're in. Know that if I were home, I'd give you one gigantic hug right now :)
    With lots of love

    1. Thank you so much Anna! Thank you for your sweet words and for praying for us, it means so much to me. I have a felt so much peace this week...I know God is taking care of us. I'm looking forward to getting that hug when you get back from Uganda:-) Praying for you too Anna. Love you!

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  4. aw Abby, you are such a darling soul! it's been a long time but I love you girly and hate to hear of you in pain but inspired by your response to the circumstance.
    :) - kathleen

    1. Thanks Kathleen! I appreciate your comment and I miss you tons. We should write some old fashioned letters and catch up. Love you!

  5. Abby, I have been exactly where you are at! As we were struggling to conceive Scott had a 15 year old student get pregnant. Her own mom was only 30! It was unjust! We, who loved The Lord, should be parents, not some little girl who named her baby the pig Latin version of her own name. It hurt terribly. But looking back, that baby was a way for God to reach her with His love and grace, and He had a different plan for us. He taught us that He alone, is the author of life. No one but God has control over that, not even death can conquer life. You can imagine then, when we got pregnant, then God continued the lesson when I almost died and Luke was two months early, and had cerebral palsy. Through it all, God's glory was made known and continues through Luke's life. We struggled again to conceive Chris, then he had a serious heart defect and wasn't expected to live, yet here he is! Again, all glory goes to God! I

    I wish that I could have had a bunch more kids and that the kids I do have did not suffer as they have and yet, I would change nothing because of the depth of faith I gained through it all! You have the right idea about God, Abby. Keep on seeking His face, ask for what you want and know that children are a blessing from God and that is what you are seeking-His blessing!

    One more thing: when Chris was 13 almost 14, he finally had open heart surgery. I was convinced that this was the end of Chris as we knew him. Either he was going to die, or he was going to have a serious stroke. So instead of praying about my fears, I dwelt with them. I was afraid that if I asked The Lord to spare him, and He didn't I wasn't going to be able to trust Him anymore and then I would have nothing. But if I said nothing to God, it wouldn't be His fault. Is that twisted or what? I never had those thoughts when Chris was born, but I had been living like Chris would be taken at anytime. God is faithful and trustworthy all the time. He can handle your confused emotions and give you the faith you need to trust Him.