All she wanted was to have a baby. It wasn’t a huge thing—plenty of people have them.
But, for her it didn’t happen. And every month the seed of bitterness dug deeper into her heart. Anger. Self-pity. Resentment. Pride.
Dark ugliness that tangled her heart and left her unable to interact with those around her without pain. It left her wallowing in sinful heart patterns.
Years later she received what she wanted. A beautiful baby girl with blond curls and sparkling green eyes. But bitterness did not give up its hold on her heart. Anger, self-pity, resentment, pride… they all remained, even as the little bundle cooed in her arms.
Thankfully, her story didn’t end there.
Many years later, when infertility snatched my dreams away, she sat across from me and spoke quietly, firmly, “Bitterness doesn’t leave when you get what you desire. Even if you get everything you want, the bitterness will remain. Fulfilled desire never destroys bitterness—only surrender will.”
Surrender to the God who allows good and allows bad.
Surrender to the One who is worthy of all our praise, even if we’re not getting the things we want.
And surrender to the God who knows our deepest sorrows, and cares more than we’d ever dream. In fact, He cares so much that He will walk through all our muck and all our sinful tendencies and all our prideful bitterness—just to be with us.
There is a part of me that desires the ability to demand gifts from the Lord. I want to have a give/get relationship with God. I give Him my worship and I get the gifts I want.
I want to say, “God, I trust you.” And get a baby in exchange.
But He’s not that kind of Father.
He wants me to know love, not personal fulfillment. He wants me to be healed on the inside, not amassing the life I want on the outside while my heart withers and dries up.
He wants me to learn that bitterness comes to everyone who chooses to forgo surrender.
For me, the bitterness attacks through the loss of babies. For others, it comes with another kind of loss. But it’s a life battle to learn surrender, not an infertility battle.
I always want to make my issue-at-hand be the issue-of-my-heart, but it’s not really. Not having babies isn’t my heart issue. It never was.
It’s a hard thing. A really, really hard thing.
But hard things don’t make issues for us, they just reveal what’s already there, inside us. Infertility didn’t create my distrust, it revealed it. It revealed how I long to create God in my own image, instead desiring to be an image-bearer of Christ. It revealed how I equate gifts with love instead of celebrating gifts from a foundation of love. It revealed that my idea of a good-God had nothing to do with Who God really was, and everything to do with what I thought God should do for me.
And the only antidote to these heart-issues is surrender.
Surrender to the God who is and was and always will be. The One who is Redeemer, Healer, Heart-Remaker.
Surrender to the God who says, “Follow me.” then walks down some pretty dark and wandering roads.
Surrender to the God who is our manna, our bread. Our Living Water. Our Light-that-Never-Fails. The One Who gives us strength when we are weak, Who is always enough for every single moment.
Bitterness is a heart problem.
And hard things don’t create heart-problems– they just reveal them.
So, today, again, I surrender. I have to.
I surrender to the things I don’t understand, choosing to go against my feelings of distrust and sorrow, and believing that Who God is– has been, and always will be– more than enough.
Whatever heart-problems you’re facing, and whatever hard-things are revealing them, I pray you know and remember this truth: Surrender is the only thing that will set you free. Having the hard thing leave won’t free you, so don’t fall for the lie that it will.
Only, only, only surrender to the God-Who-Loves can set you free.
He truly is all we need. So let’s settle that reality into our beings.