You ought to know by now that I'm in the midst of reading the Bible in a year with Renee - you can keep up with what we're reading in the box on the right side of the page. Yesterday's reading of Genesis 29 and Genesis 30 really touched a place in my heart that you all know I've been struggling with lately.
In Genesis 29, we read about Jacob's story of moving to get away from his brother, and finding his mother's family. He meets up with his mother's brother - Laban, and his daughters. He makes a deal to work for Laban for 7 years in order to have the right to marry his younger daughter, Rachel. After working for those 7 years, Jacob is given Rachel's older sister, Leah to marry instead - because of the custom that older daughters must marry before the younger ones. Jacob then agrees to work for another 7 years in order to marry Rachel - who is the sister that he desires more.
It makes me wonder what I would have done in that situation - How easy or natural would it have been for Jacob to become angry and lash out at Laban? Jacob would have only been committing one sin to rectify another, and that certainly isn't what we are called to do. It is a tough line that we walk sometimes when we are faced with injustice, but it is a line that we are called to walk as followers of Jesus. I often wonder if working for a long time (say 7 years - which incidentally is how long John and I have waited and wished for a baby) for something I desire is worth it. I'd say that yes, in the case of wanting children - it is absolutely worth the struggle and the wait. It doesn't make it much easier to be patient, but it is most definitely worth it. Patience is the hardest virtue to come by when the struggle is at it's worst, but it is the key to following in the Lord's plan for our lives.
In Genesis 30, we read about the struggle for Rachel to have children while her sister Leah is blessed with many. They compete in this battle to have the most children, and even give their husband Jacob their maids to have additional children with. I must admit that the whole many wives thing and giving your husband your servant to have a child for you - freaks me out a little bit, but there are absolutely lessons to be learned from this.
The giving of another woman to have a baby with your husband might have been the custom of that time period, but that doesn't make it the right thing to do. Rachel would have been saved some of her heartbreak in the story if she would have looked at the potential consequences of her actions to herself and others.
I wonder if I had lived in those days - what would I do now to provide John the joy of having a child? I don't know that I'd have the ability to offer him another woman in my place, but I'd hope that I would have been able to trust in God's provisions for me. It is the hardest to trust him when we desire something so great, but don't see any thing happening to provide that desire to come to fruition. I know that in Rachel's situation - it would have been just as hard for me to live with the consequences of taking matters into my own hands and the jealousy that would come from allowing my husband to have that joy with another woman.
It is far better for us to pray faithfully for God's provision for us, and to resist the temptation to think that God has forgotten about us - or that he simply isn't answering our prayers. We have to have the courage and patience to wait for the Lord to act when it is right. I won't remember that every day, but deep down - I know it's true. He will provide what is best for us at the time that is best, even if I wish it were tomorrow.
If it is not a child grown out of our own flesh and blood - that would be fine with us. We just would love to have children, and are no strangers to adoption... John is adopted, two of his cousins are adopted, and of course my little brother and sister are adopted as well. If you are unable to bring your own child into the world, and even sometimes if you are - what a wonderful gift it is to give a child a loving home - no matter who their parents are.
I feel it deep down in my bones that I am called to be a mother - I don't know exactly how or when that will happen for me, but I deeply feel that it will. Until that time - I am patiently waiting on the Lord's actions and provisions for our family.
I meant to post this yesterday, but things got crazy and I couldn't get it all done... so if I have time - I'll give you a bonus post tonight as well... I'm off today to have some fun with Renee, go to a baby shower and a progressive dinner with the ladies of our church.