There are times when I think I’m right where I want to be, and somehow I’ve found contentment in this quiet, lonely life that God has given me. Usually, this is when I’m driving to work; especially if I am wearing my cowboy boots as I work the clutch of my 6-speed manual transmission. No doubt I would be singing along with Chris Tomlin, Matt Redman, or Casting Crowns at the top of my voice while I tap my ring on the shifter knob. That is when I feel so blessed and life seems full of opportunities. Maybe I could be a cowgirl yet, in this second half of my life.
The world has a way of reminding you of your disappointments and grief. One minute you’re counting your blessings while driving a car that you’re overly attached to, and the next moment you stumble into a conversation between two women about pregnancy and what it’s like feeling the baby move around. How do I even breathe when the air gets knocked out of me like that? Where do I go to forget what I’ve heard and take my mind off it?
“An eternal perspective” is a phrase I’ve heard bandied about over the course of my adult life. I suppose that I didn’t give it much thought, when I was younger. But now I am concerned with obtaining this perspective. It seems like the only way to assuage the grief and bitterness of this life. As I sought to write a blog post about bitterness and barrenness, I feared that I was putting myself too far out on a limb. If only I could use physics to decide how far I dare to venture out. I remember from school that the force where the limb I’m on attaches to the tree is called the ‘moment.’ It seems appropriate, like physics and philosophy come together on this proverbial tree. If only I could add my own variables to the equation to determine the probably that the risk of going further out onto the limb might reward me with the desired result.
My desire, and the idea behind starting this blog, is mutual encouragement, but how much can I expose of myself without driving people away? The truth that I need to express is that I struggle with bitterness. Nothing makes me overflow with it more than pregnancy talk. It is difficult for me that pregnant women seem to be everywhere I look, but it is people talking about it that really hurts me. It uncovers the grief of my barren state and the fear that my future will continue to be the same. Anger, jealousy, and hurt – they all pour out together as bitterness. But while I am reminded every day at work, and Sundays at church, of this emptiness in my life, God has His reminders in place, too.
“For I consider that the sufferings of this present time are not worth comparing with the glory that is to be revealed to us. . .we ourselves, who have the firstfruits of the Spirit, groan inwardly as we wait eagerly for adoption as sons, the redemption of our bodies. For in this hope we were saved. Now hope that is seen is not hope. For who hopes for what he sees? But if we hope for what we do not see, we wait for it with patience.” Romans 8:18, 23-25
We’re going through 2 Peter at church, but last week this passage from Romans came up. Verse 18 has been bouncing around in my head for a week, now. As I climbed into bed a few nights ago, I felt this clear reminder from God. He was using these verses to tell me again that this earthly life is such a small part of my existence. For a moment I felt the perfect peace of how little it mattered whether I marry or have children. If I could understand fully what it is to be with my Savior outside the constraints of time, surely being childless and single when I turn forty would not even cross my mind. Surely this hope can dissolve the grief and bitterness.
Lord, help me to embrace this perspective every hour of this earthly life, so that I may cling to the hope I have in things unseen and wait for them patiently. Let me forget about any hopes for my earthly life; let me “count them as rubbish, in order that I may gain Christ and be found in him.”