Tuesday, April 17, 2012

Ever Written Your Own Obit? How About a Summary Sentence of Who You Are?

Recently for a class at seminary, mom had to write her own obituary. Sounds morose, doesn’t it? Well it was for a grief class, so it fit. What I’d like for you to do instead of writing a whole obituary is write only one sentence that summarizes who you are. One sentence. Please do this before you move forward.

If this sentence was an introduction of sorts, how would it affect those listening or reading it? What would their impression be about you as an individual?

“Now Sarai was barren; she had no children,” Genesis 11:30. How is that for an introductory sentence? "Hello, I'm Sarai, and I'm barren." Her opening sentence, the statement about her life is factual, but it’s also a negative statement of fact. Is your statement or sentence negative or positive?

Sarai was obviously in the child-bearing years, and she wasn’t producing children. In a time when children were seen as a sign of blessing and abundance, Sarai couldn’t get pregnant. Things really haven't changed, have they? She was infertile. Sterile. Cut-off. She was not in control of her own body. Her body denied her what would make her acceptable in her community. Her body was a traitor to her heart’s desire. It’s what would validate her as a woman. It’s what would give her value and standing among her peers. Let’s get real, looks would only go so far.

Since time began women were created to carry life inside…something men cannot do -- obviously. Women who could not conceive were looked down upon, cast down, dejected, ridiculed. Women who could not conceive and deliver a healthy baby could suffer silently in agony as their friends and family got pregnant without any problems and would wonder, “Why not me?”

Some women can so wholly relate to Sarai that they have claimed and attached the word BARREN over their hearts. The desire to have a baby is so great, so strong that it overtakes her life…desperately trying to get pregnant. Taking temperature. Taking fertility medicine. In vitro fertilization. In utero-insemination. Egg or sperm donation. It is a mega-money industry. I know. I went down this road. The roller coaster ride each month is exhausting and excruciating. After insemination, praying and hoping for two weeks that it would take this time only to be denied your heart’s desire, but there’s no time to mourn for the child who wasn’t because it’s time to start another round of meds to try for the next month. BARREN. Just like anything that comes up in our lives, if we become so focused on it that it consumes us, we become BARREN in our hearts, our lives, and our minds.

If you are in that BARREN place, there’s hope. Deuteronomy 32:10-11 (NIV), 10 “In a desert land he found him, in a barren and howling waste. He shielded him and cared for him; he guarded him as the apple of his eye, 11 like an eagle that stirs up its nest and hovers over its young, that spreads its wings to catch them and carries them aloft.” God delivers. He delivers right to you, every time, right on time. (If I could only say that about our pizza delivery.) He will shield you, care for you, guard you. Honey, you are the apple of his eye! I just LOVE that. You are precious! You can feel His Presence as He hovers over you. Your heart, your life, your soul, your mind does not have to stay BARREN. You have a choice to make – stay BARREN or live an abundant life. It’s not too late.

And for all my sisters out there who are physically barren, “1 Rejoice, childless one, who did not give birth; burst into song and shout, you who have not been in labor!a For the children of the forsaken one will be more than the children of the married woman,”b says the Lord. 2 “Enlarge the site of your tent, and let your tent curtains be stretched out;c do not hold back; lengthen your ropes, and drive your pegs deep,” Isaiah 54:1-2. Just because our bodies fail us doesn’t mean that God does. Just because things don’t work out the way we thought they should doesn’t mean that God won’t bless. But our hearts have to be open to receive his blessings. Our minds have to be open to God’s thinking outside of our little boxes – sometimes He brings children into our lives that we are responsible for mothering and making an impact on because these children aren’t getting it anywhere else. Our hands have to be open palms up to receive what God has in store instead of holding on to what we think we want.

If your heart is barren, if your mind is barren, if your womb is barren, if your life is barren, there is hope. That sentence about Sarai is just the first sentence of her story. Your summary sentence is not the end. God loved her too much to leave her barren, just like He loves you too much to leave you barren.

Isaiah 61: 1-3, “…He has sent Me to heal c the brokenhearted, to proclaim liberty to the captives and freedom to the prisoners;d 2 to proclaim the year of the Lord’s favor,e and the day of our God’s vengeance;f to comfort g all who mourn,3 to provide for those who mourn in •Zion; to give them a crown of beauty instead of ashes, festive oil instead of mourning,h and splendid clothes instead of despair.”i

Stay tuned as we come out of the barrenness and into new life.

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