We are avid readers and have amassed quite a library. A few weeks ago, the need to pare down the collection became apparent.
Where to start? We went through many books – purging some, storing some, and keeping some on the primary book cases. It was then that I saw it, a small collection of books neatly stored in a row. My life – the hard times and the good times – as blessings on a bookshelf.
The first small grouping of books focused on Bible studies revolving around infertility and the desire to have children. Next, came the books about what to expect when expecting. Finally, the books on parenting followed. I thought about this over a number of days. The books reflected some difficult days of wanting children and of pregnancy loss, and I thanked God that those days were behind me.
This was significant, and God was revealing something to me. But, what? Was there more than the fulfillment of my hopes and the struggles of my faith even amongst God’s persistent reminders that he would eventually grant me a child? Which story should I tell? I could tell the story of the blond haired blue eyed son that I had seen for years and knew would someday be mine and God’s constant affirmation until my second healthy child arrived just as God had said. I could tell the story of the infertility studies that recommended setting a budget and how we both agreed on that budget to the dollar derived independently and how we opted out of the last procedure that year with only a 10% chance of having a child on the month that we conceived my now teenaged daughter. There were kind-hearted people with good intentions who said unusually cruel things when we lost our first baby. Another friend stood in proxy at a healing service for me without my knowledge the month that we conceived. We were prayed for and loved on – a nurse friend helped me with the intramuscular injections that came along with the process. Another friend prayed with my husband as I underwent a minor procedure. A minister, friend, coworker, and grandmother shared stories of heartache over pregnancy loss and cried with us. All of this, my friends, all of this came rushing back like a mighty hurricane of emotions that stayed with me over the next few weeks. Which story? Which story to tell?
There is a transition on that bookshelf. It is a transition from pain and sorrow to joy and blessing. It is a story of friendship, God’s faithfulness, and dreams realized. It’s Hannah’s story. It’s Elizabeth’s story. It’s so many women’s story. Was this what to write? Can you exclude the awful and focus on the ending? Is it all about the happy ending and a process of muck and mire that one must trudge through to arrive at that happy end?
No, my friend, this is not the story. The story is, as this is titled, about blessings on a bookshelf. Not just blessings of fulfillment but blessings throughout the process. Looking back with the 20/20 vision that comes with history, I can see so many people that God used to provide wisdom and comfort in the hard times, assistance when it was needed, and celebrations in the good times. It is a bookshelf of blessings, but not only because of the books to the right. It is a bookshelf of blessings because God was with me all of the way throughout the story. That, my friend, is the story. There are blessings on that bookshelf.
1 Thessalonians 5:18 KJV
18 In every thing give thanks: for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus concerning you.