“I can’t believe it . . . I can’t believe it!”
My hands were shaking and eyes wide as I saw two little lines appear on the pregnancy test. It was a day I thought I would never see.
My dream from the time I was in pigtails was to be a wife and mom. I spent hours “nurturing” my dolls and would, on occasion, put a balled-up blanket under my shirt to give myself a little baby bump. As I grew into my teenage years, those desires matured as the Lord deepened my understanding of the beautiful design and calling of marriage and motherhood. In His providence, He wrote a beautiful love story for my husband and me, and we were married at nineteen. And boy, oh, boy, was I ready to have children! Or so I thought.
About ten months into marriage, I was diagnosed with something I had never heard of. I looked it up, and one symptom stood out from all the others: infertility. I was completely devastated. Tears had never come like they did that summer, and I was brought to my knees over and over again. “This has always been my dream, God! I gave up other opportunities to become a wife and mom because You said it was good! And now I may never have children of my own. I don’t understand!”
Until then, I hadn’t realized that the desire for children had become an idol in my life. I had no idea my grip on becoming a mom was deathly tight until it seemed like my dream was being taken away. God began revealing a sense of entitlement in me. I felt I deserved children because I had always esteemed this God-designed role of motherhood and rejected the world’s view of it being “lesser-than.” But through those weeks and months of wrestling, He began to turn my heart back to Him as my ultimate prize and joy. He reminded me that what I truly deserve is an eternity without Him, and that it is only because of His mercy and love that I will be with Him for eternity.
My faith was challenged by the question He put before me: Do you trust that I know what is best for your life? I knew to be His follower I needed to believe this truth with my whole heart, rejecting the lies of the enemy and my own doubts that were trying to draw my gaze from His glorious face. Everything began to change. It was still very painful to anticipate a possible future without children. But I was now anchored in God’s love and goodness rather than my own desires, and I learned that I could rejoice through the tears because of that.
It was only several weeks later that God completely surprised me with that positive pregnancy test. I was awed and overwhelmed by God’s undeserved gift to me in placing this tiny person in my womb. Instead of going into motherhood with a sense of entitlement, I was ready to receive this child with humility and praise because my delight was now grounded in my Creator and Savior instead of in being a mom.
All true joy and delight comes first and foremost from knowing and loving God. James 1:17 says, “Every good gift and every perfect gift is from above, coming down from the Father of lights, with whom there is no variation or shadow due to change.” He is the Originator of all that is good and lovely and praiseworthy. And unlike everything else in our lives, He won’t change with time or fail us in any way. When we forget this fact and look to other good gifts to satisfy us—whether motherhood or marriage or friendship or job or anything else—we will be disappointed, disillusioned, and discontented. We’ll turn from one thing to the next to try to fill that “something” that keeps gnawing inside us to be satiated. But the reality is, that “something”—the deepest desires of our soul—can only be satisfied by God alone. When we grasp this and truly believe it, we will know with all our beings how good, how loving, and how all-satisfying He truly is.
What steps can we take to treasure our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ as we ought and experience the joy of being satisfied in Him?
1. Know Your God
Delight in God starts with knowing God. As Jen Wilkin said in her book Women of the Word, “The heart cannot love what the mind does not know.” True, passionate love for God comes from a deep, unshakable knowledge of who He is. This won’t happen by accident. It can only come by faithfully spending time in His Word. We need to approach Scripture with an understanding that it’s not about ourselves, but about God. And the more we know God, the more our awe and adoration of Him will grow.
There are many ways we can fill our minds and hearts with Scripture. Have time blocked out every day for soaking in God’s Word. Listen to an audio Bible as you drive or make dinner. Participate in a Bible study with women from your church. Put sticky notes around the house with verses you’re memorizing. Meditate on the faithfulness of Jesus, who “loved us and gave himself up for us” (Eph. 5:2). Every second of seeking God is eternally worth it.
2. Identify Idols
To truly delight in the Lord, we have to identify the things in our lives that are pulling our hearts away from Him. Sometimes these are hard to recognize at first glance because they are often good things. But when we are truly seeking God and asking Him to reveal anything that is hindering our intimacy with Him, He will make those things clear.
Start by asking God to reveal idols. Often I pray the very end of Psalm 139:
Search me, O God, and know my heart! Try me and know my thoughts! And see if there be any grievous way in me, and lead me in the way everlasting! (vv. 23–24)
God is not a God of confusion. He will lead us in the way everlasting. He will open our eyes to the things we’re holding onto too tightly. He’ll show us how to release our grip and surrender those back into their rightful place: at His feet.
He will give you wisdom when you ask what that should look for you. Your idol might be something good, like coffee or social media, that can be let go of for a season. It might be something harmful that needs to go completely, like an alcohol addiction. Or, if it’s the longing for something like a husband or child, most of the work will need to be internal. God is fully capable of teaching us how to practically focus on Him rather than these things.
3. Practice Praise
There are many, many commands in Scripture to rejoice or give thanks or praise the Lord. When our hearts are filled with gratitude for the thousands of ways God has shown His love and faithfulness to us, it drives away feelings of discontentment that like to cling closely to our minds and hearts and to distract us from His goodness.
We can start by praising Him for life—physical and spiritual. We can praise Him for the ability to see, to hear, to smell, and to feel. We can praise Him for our loved ones. We can thank Him for the opportunities He’s given us, whatever they may be. Once we start, it’s hard to stop. More and more things come to mind. When we practice the discipline of praising the Lord, no matter what circumstances we find ourselves in, God uses it for great good in our souls. Giving thanks humbles us and reminds us that we deserve nothing, but He has greatly lavished His love on us in a million ways.
We’re not guaranteed anything in this life. We can either resent the waiting, the disappointment, and the unknowns, or we can surrender those desires into the Lord’s almighty, loving hands. He sees the beginning from the end; we don’t. So let’s entrust ourselves to His eternal purposes and keep our eyes fixed on His wonderful face.