I have a wall in my house that displays the footprints of God’s miracles in our lives.
We were barren, you know, unable to have children– yet, there they are. Three sets of miracles that came in ways we never expected.
The line begins with a giant 8-year-old footprint and handprint from our first adoption. We brought our daughter home and recreated a few of the baby-things most families have, like foot and hand prints. She picked the colors and we made it for Father’s Day, but really it was for all of us.
It was our first baby we were able to bring home for keeps and we celebrated God’s miraculous work.
Yes, it was a different path than we expected–but, oh, how deeply heart-healing.
After those first prints you’ll find the teeny-tiny prints from our next baby, Annie. Though she never came home from the NICU, our little two-pound almost-adopted baby was as much of a miracle as our other children.
She was delicate and perfect and oh, so loved.
We hung her prints next to our older daughter’s so we could remember that sometimes miracles look harsher than we expect–but they are still beautiful.
Then, just a year after saying goodbye to Annie, we hung up a new set of prints. Another 8-year-old chose colors and we painted toes and a son’s footprint was added to the line up of miracles.
And I’ll be honest: I thought my miracle wall was complete.
In fact, I kind of wanted to make a definitive declaration that it was complete. This is it, I wanted to say. Not because my heart didn’t long for a baby still, but because I was so tired of the longing.
I was tempted so many times to do something to insure we wouldn’t have babies because I wanted to be in control of the outcome.
I felt like I’d rather force a “no” than to be left waiting and wondering if there would ever be a “yes”.
I didn’t want to hurt anymore– so maybe grabbing control would keep the pain at bay.
The cycles of infertility are so heart-tearing, so harsh–it seemed like just walking away from possible miracles would be better than standing in the gap between impossibilities and hope.
Yet, when the temptation to take control and try to protect myself from further disappointment swirled, truth fought for dominance in my thoughts.
Faith is the assurance of things hoped for, the evidence of things unseen. (Heb.11:1)
Be still and know that I am God. (Ps. 46:10)
We live by faith, not by sight. (2 Corinthians 5:7)
May the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace as you trust in him, so that you may overflow with hope by the power of the Holy Spirit. (Romans 15:13, emphasis mine)
The deepest truth was that trusting God meant holding onto Him as I faced disappointment, not hiding from it.
It meant looking right at the lies of the enemy, knowing that who Christ is will conquer every fiery attack.
It meant laying down my desire to control every aspect of life and opening my hands to Christ in surrender.
It meant saying, “with or without, You are good,” over and over and over.
At night, into my pillow along with my tears.
In the bathroom, when I knew another month of barrenness was mine to carry.
In the living room, when another pregnancy announcement lit up my social media accounts.
I didn’t have the strength to keep praying for a baby, but I did force the prayers of surrender from my mouth–over and over.
One day, my mom was visiting and as she turned to leave she glanced over at my miracle wall. “I love that you’ve left room for more footprints, because I’m going to keep praying for babies until God says no.”
As she walked out that day, so much of what God had been teaching me began to make sense.
He had been countering the enemy’s lie of “take control here so you won’t feel this pain” with the admonition of “Beloved, learn to know that I am good”.
Trusting Me means leaving space, He seemed to be saying.
Don’t try to hide from pain by grasping for control. It won’t work.
Come to Me instead. Bring all the pain and disappointment. Lay it all down here–with all the tears and frustration and fear. Pour it out, then leave the space alone. Don’t box it up. Leave room. Step back.
Dear ones: sometimes trusting God means leaving space.
Stepping back. Being still. Giving up your grasping for control.
Not just for a moment, but maybe for years.
Every story will look different.
God’s goodness to you may look nothing like you expected. It might be harder. It might take longer. It might be completely different than anything you thought you wanted.
But it WILL be miraculous and heart-changing.
It will transform you and remake you–and it will be good, even if it empties you further than you ever thought you could survive.
But when we leave space–when we step back and simply embrace the story God writes, the redemption that He brings, and the gifts that may be harder than we planned on them being–we find wholeness in a way that is indescribable.
Another space filled with something only God could provide.
And as with all my other miracles, this one will come with pain and joy, and it will be good because it’s all God.
Because we chose trust instead of trying to control the future, we’ll experience another taste of the evidence and hope-fulfilled that God promised for those who choose faith.
Leave space, friends.
Leave space for God to do His thing in your life.
Even if you can’t find words to pray anymore–don’t slam doors shut in an attempt to control the future and avoid the sorrow.
Just be still and leave the space.