I’ve never shared the whole story of how God wrecked my heart at the Influence Conference last year.
Last October my heart was still so tender after months, maybe years of wrestling with God. I thought I’d given it all to Him – I’d had that holy ground moment, the moment where I stood before Him bare and broken and surrendered to Him – if only halfheartedly.
I knew He wanted me to tell our story – the story I loathed so much. I knew He would use it – the brokeness, the wrestling, the healing – I knew He would use all of it.
As I prepared for Influence I checked my heart attitude and knew I was in a place where I could accept my infertility, I could let God get glory from my infertility, and I could find purpose in my infertility.
I chose my roommates carefully. I was so entrenched with protecting my heart that I intentionally roomed with women who already knew my story, my battle. Those ladies loved me unconditionally, in spite of my struggle.
It was Friday, and we’d just finished lunch and were listening to an experts panel let by Jessi and Hayley. As they began Jessi read a passage of Scripture from Isaiah 54. I really love to explore context when it comes to Scripture, so I flipped the pages of my Bible over to Isaiah 54, and started at verse one. And in those few moments my heart shattered into a thousand pieces.
I read those words and it felt like my world stopped, right there in that hotel ballroom. Surrounded by 200 women I felt the Holy Spirit breaking through years of bitterness. And the breaking hurt.
I left the expert panel and went to my room. I remember sitting on the floor, looking out the window and crying, silently screaming at God that this was too much.
“I can accept this journey! I can allow you to get glory from it! I can even tell this story. But I cannot, I will not rejoice in my infertility.”
“This is too much to ask of me!”
“I thought it was enough to surrender – remember how I surrendered to YOUR will?”
“This is too much to ask of me!”
“I still worship, I still honor you with my thoughts and actions! Isn’t that enough? WHY would you ask any woman to rejoice in her barrenness?”
Tears streamed down my face. I cried so hard that my whole body hurt I felt I might throw up. I was confounded by that passage of Scripture, I didn’t even know what it really meant. But I knew, I knew He was asking me to rejoice, and offering a promise I could never conceive on my own.
My roommates came back from lunch and found me in the midst of wrestling. Question God, wrestling with His Word, and grasping at broken hopes and shattered dreams. And they stayed with me. They gathered around me, they cried with me, they prayed for me. And the four of us sat in our room for hours. We missed the afternoon sessions and finally ended the day with a quiet dinner together.
Through His Word God wrecked me in the most bitter, yet beautiful way. I spent much of that weekend wrestling with those words, “Rejoice, barren woman…” and finally asked God to teach me how to rejoice. I knew the verse was a prophesy about the nation of Israel, but in my heart I knew I’d encountered the God of Israel, and that He was beckoning me to move beyond acceptance of my plight – and move to unwavering joy and unrestrained worship.
This is the story of how God moved in my heart at Influence. How He crushed my Spirit, but did not leave me forsaken.
And how He initiated a long journey of learning to rejoice.
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