Thriving in Fire

Hi friends! I’ve been wanting to write over the last few months but just couldn’t quite craft the words until recently. I could feel my heart going through some refining and sometimes when you’re right in the middle of it, you don’t have eyes to fully see what Father is doing or why it feels the way it does, you just know you feel the holy tension that comes with it.  He always reminds me that the important thing in refining is not that we understand the “why” or even the “what are you doing?” behind it, but that we yield to it trusting that every purpose Father intended it for will be accomplished as we submit to it. He is good and everything He does in our heart is for our benefit and to become more like Him.

Jumping right in – many of you know that part of my and Zach’s story over the last few years has been our journey to growing our family. You can read lots more about it with my posts from 2016. I’ve found fertility struggles to be very different kind of challenge.  Most hard things I’ve been through in my life have either been a result of a choice I made or they have been things that I’ve had some sort of ability to resolve and control progress through. This is different.  “Unexplained Infertility” is what the docs call it.  Its not fun, but Father has taught me to learn to rest in full surrender, even in my desire to become a mother.  He’s taught me not to struggle with surrendering that part of my heart to Him but to rest in surrendering it because He’s trustworthy.  My heart hasn’t given up; giving up stems from defeat.  Surrender willingly lets go of control out of trust and intimacy with the one being surrendered to.  I still long for for children, but I’m in joy & peace in the waiting.  He’s brought me to deeper, more established places of hope, trust and intimacy with Him than I ever thought something this difficult could lead to. Its beautiful how He set the kingdom up that way – the things that would bring hopelessness apart from Him can become catalysts to intimacy and deeper faith as we walk through them inside of Him.  Treasures have come from this season but they’ve usually been uncovered on the other side of tension and allowing Him to renew my perspective.

The 2018 year rolled around and it had been a little over a year since our first miscarriage (You can read about that in this post). In the following months of 2017 after that loss, we stood in faith, prayed, declared, believed and hoped to conceive again every month. Jesus shepherded my heart through that year so beautifully. He led me to value finding Him in the desert above getting out of the desert. He is the treasure in the desert and I can always find Him deeply there. Fast forward to this past January-we found out we were pregnant again and we were thrilled. I rallied my heart and declared that the outcome from the past would not give fear a voice in our present miracle. We can’t give fear a foothold because if it get’s an inch, it will try to take a mile. We keep the door to fear firmly closed by renewing our minds to the truth that “There is no fear in love. Perfect love drives out fear.” (1 John 4:18)  The two can’t reside together.  If I’m to walk in the fullness of love, I can’t listen to any voice of fear.  I stayed rooted in thankfulness daily and declared life and destiny over this little one that was being formed in me.  Since we’d conceived with medical help this time, as soon as I found out I was pregnant I was going in for appointments two, sometimes three, days a week for blood work, ultrasounds and #allthethings that fertility medicine comes with.  A few weeks later our doctor told us that sadly, the pregnancy didn’t look viable.  He wanted to bring me back in once more in a week to see if any fetal growth had occurred.  My initial response to that news was heartbreak.  Fear & cynicism came knocking, trying to tell my heart “I had a feeling this was going to happen again. You shouldn’t have let yourself get excited.” I accepted the news and went straight into grief.  I didn’t stop to contend for a miracle like we’d done in the first miscarriage. This place felt familiar, and I allowed what I heard in the natural and the outcome of the past to tell me that this situation’s outcome was the same.

Two days went by and the miscarriage confirmation appointment was still 4 days away. On Sunday morning during worship, I knelt on the church floor, tears flowing, asking Jesus to shepherd me through this hurt…again. He was faithful the first time, and I knew He would lead me again. Suddenly, a voice boomed into my spirit and I heard Him say to me:

“Put off your grief and believe for a miracle.”

I was stunned. I hadn’t even paused after that last appointment to ask if He was calling me to this again. Honestly, it felt like a huge risk. “What if I do this again and the outcome is the same as the first time?” Choosing faith in the face of what circumstances shout pushes takes courage and it pushes our roots more deeply into Jesus.  We are sons and daughters of God, and the Spirit of God leads us to have the mind of Christ (Romans 8:14 & 1 Corinthians 2:16). The mind of Christ is established in perfect faith and that is what He was calling me higher into.  I couldn’t deny what I heard Him say, and one of my life’s core values is “Yes to Jesus at any cost.” He will always have my “yes”, and in this situation, that “yes” felt like laying my heart and my womb out on the floor in vulnerability and faith.  Jesus is worthy and trustworthy.  I stood up from the floor and declared “Father I’m asking for a miracle.  I speak life over this pregnancy in Jesus name…” The next song the worship team moved in to that morning after Father asked me to believe for a miracle was the exact song I’d sung aloud in my bathroom over a year ago, the morning we were going to have our first miscarriage confirmed. The song was “Miracles” by Jesus Culture. It says this:

“The One who does impossible is
Reaching out to make me whole
The One who put death in its place
His life is flowing through my veins…

The God who was and is to come
The power of the Risen One
The God who brings the dead to life
You’re the God of miracles

I believe in You, I believe in You
You’re the God of miracles”

It was a kiss from Father reminding me He was with me in this, He saw my heart, He knew where I’d been and He knew where He was taking me. So I shifted my heart, and I stood in faith. Let there be life.

Over the next few days I felt a swelling of faith in my heart that felt supernatural. I soared above the level of faith I had previously and I was 100% confident that we were walking in the midst of a miracle. There was going to be life when I went back to that doctor’s office. It didn’t feel like hope, it had moved beyond that to fullness of faith – it was good as done in my heart. We’d let a few close friends know and they pressed in and prayed with us, believing for life. I arrived back at the doctor’s office, 6 days after we’d received the initial news, and I prayed on the way in “Jesus, I love you. I trust you. You are good. You are my Great Physician. You are my confidence and joy, no matter what the outcome of this appointment is.”

I went into the waiting room and was escorted back for the ultrasound. I stared at the ultrasound screen for what felt like ages. They measured, probed, searched and finally said definitively: there was no growth and the pregnancy was “not viable”. My heart sank and pounded all at once. I could feel sadness attempting to crash in, but something was different. It didn’t feel like the wind had been knocked out of me like the first time. There was heartache, but in the middle of the sadness I felt a confident peace that was anchoring me.  I felt this tremendous sense of how proud Father was of my obedience to vulnerably choose to believe for that miracle no matter what– it was enough to undo me. I tangibly felt His pleasure pouring over me because I had given Him my “yes” when He called me to faith when it felt like huge risk. That faith was rooted completely in who He is, not any of what I saw.

Over the following few months, Jesus proved again what a truely Great Shepherd He is.  He knows exactly how to lead us through grief in a healthy way that doesn’t leave us stuck in it or coming out with scars.  I kept my hand on Jesus and my ears open to His voice and He led me when I couldn’t see where to step. There were several times in the process where I felt angry and confused. Why did He call me to put off my grief and believe for a miracle when He knew what the outcome was? That felt cruel. Why couldn’t he have just let me begin to grieve the fist time we received the news if the outcome wasn’t going to change? What was the point?  I asked lots of questions, but answers weren’t what I truly needed.  Answers & understanding are often what I grasp for when I want to feel some sense of control. He reminded me on those days where I wanted to have understanding to widen my lens and see beyond just the natural circumstance.  In the natural, I did miscarry again, but the miraculous was evidenced in my spirit and heart: unshakeable and unwavering faith in who my Father is to me when my heart was most vulnerable and the circumstances around me shouted He hadn’t come through. When I zoomed out and stopped only viewing my circumstance through the lens of the breakthrough I wanted, I saw that breakthrough HAD happened. When I took down the lens of desiring a child and put on the lens of desiring Christ to be made manifest in me, I could see the breakthrough and it was beautiful.

I share this because I know some of you are going through your own hard seaons of believing for breakthrough and waiting.  I want to encourage all of us in those seasons that we can walk into those fires and come out more like Jesus. That is our inheritance!  We are over-comers, never victims. Fires don’t destroy us, they refine us into more of the image of Jesus. Look at Shadrach, Meshach & Abednego. Their story is a beautiful example of what going through trials should look like for us. We’re never promised a life free from fire, in fact trials are a guarantee. Our promise is that we can go through those fires and come out with out even the smell of smoke. (Daniel 3:16-30) As they were being escorted right into the furnace, they declared “Our God is able to save us and we believe He will, but even if He doesn’t, we still worship Him.” (Madison paraphrase). When we see a trial approaching, no matter how many times we’ve seen it before, this is the posture we’re called to have our hearts in – our faith in Jesus is never determined by the outcome of a circumstance. They marched forward, and the Lord did not deliver them from the fire. They were thrown right into the belly of the blazing furnace and that is where they encountered their miracle. The Lord himself met them in the fire. He came into the trial with them and He walked with them in it. His presence enabled them to thrive in the fire. They didn’t get to skip the furnace, but He brought them through it untouched by flames. When they came out, their clothes weren’t burned and not one hair on their heads was singed. That is our testimony to the world. We walk through fires with Jesus, and we can come out with no sign of flames. That is a bigger testimony to the goodness & power of Jesus than if we’d just skipped the fire in the first place. When the world sees the goodness of Jesus in the fire, they can respond the way Nebuchadnezzar did: “Praise be to the God of Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego…” We can thrive in the fire because we find Him there and His presence transforms us in it. We emerge from what the world would say is unbearable not even smelling like smoke (bitterness, anger, cynicism, walls up, guarded hearts, etc) because we have taken on the fragrance of Christ. We allow the flames to push us into more of Him. That is good news, friends, and it is your reality in The Kingdom. For those of us in the middle of fires, you are seen and not abandoned. He is walking with you. Invite Jesus to meet you there not for the sake of only natural breakthrough but for the sake of bearing His image. That is what laying down our lives looks like. Adjust your lens to see the miracle He is doing beyond the breakthrough you’re longing for. Keep believing and longing for the it, but don’t miss the treasure of His presence in the process. The presence is what makes us more like Him, and that is our greatest breakthrough. You are a living testimony to the world as you walk through your fire and are not burned to death but are burned to life! I’m praying for all of us to be taken even higher into this perspective and that our minds are continually renewed to walk with Jesus in the flames. Love you guys. “In all these things we are more than conquerors through Him who loves us.”

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1 Comment

  1. What a blessing!! Thanknyou so much for sharing and being so very transparent.

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