December’s “Share Your Story” is by,
They flooded the mailbox that year. Christmas cards—glossy, smiling photos of loved ones far and near. Full-page letters boasted of job promotions, weddings, vacations, and new babies.
So many new babies.
I wanted to be happy for my friends’ blessings, but I wasn’t. My husband and I were grappling with what doctors called “secondary infertility”—the puzzling inability to conceive a second child. According to our timeline, we should’ve painted the nursery that Christmas. Instead, we studied test results and wrestled with God.
“Why does everybody else get to grow their families while we wait?” I whispered through tears one evening when our mail stack revealed more pictures of newborns in Santa hats. “What if we never have another baby?”
My husband patted the sofa cushion beside him, inviting me to sit. Our toddler lay curled in his lap, sound asleep. He smoothed her wispy red hair with his fingertips and said, “We are blessed.”
Surely he missed the question. “Blessed? Don’t you want a second child? I thought we were in this together,” I grumbled.
“We are.” He pressed his hand on top of mine. “Us and God.”
Of course. I spent so much heartache focusing on what we didn’t have, that I lost my gratitude for what was already ours—a beautiful daughter, a Christ-centered marriage. When I lifted my eyes off those happy Christmas cards and fixed my gaze again on the Lord, my blessings appeared too plentiful to count.
Contentment is not a warm, fuzzy feeling that all is right in the world. It is not defeat, or pretending the pain isn’t real. That Christmas, I learned contentment means trusting God to know best.
“You keep him in perfect peace whose mind is stayed on you, because he trusts in you,” (Isaiah 26:3, ESV).
I stopped praying for what I wanted, and started thanking God for his plan. For protecting me from obstacles I couldn’t see. For holding our family—however big or small—in his unshakable grasp.
I started thanking God for saying no.
That’s when something amazing happened. My husband and I grew closer as we trusted God together. And we found renewed joy in celebrating other people’s good news.
The following year, we finally painted that nursery. We named our second daughter Noelle, in honor of Christmas—Emmanuel, God with us—our season of hard-won contentment.
Becky Kopitzke is a freelance writer, devotional blogger and family cheerleader. She and her husband enjoy pushing swings and pulling sleds for their two lovely daughters in northeast Wisconsin. Read more at http://www.beckykopitzke.blogspot.com
photo by prettyinprint
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