I want to have my cake and eat it too. I DON’T want to share it with ANYONE. I want it all to myself because I’m selfish. It’s my worst quality and the one area where I still have much work to do. One of many areas.
As I grow and go on with God He gently guides and teaches and as I listen and follow, my clenched hands open and what I’m grasping tight He teaches me to give. He brought this home in a profound way years ago and I’ve never forgotten the lesson. It’s this:
Just because a blessing falls into your lap doesn’t mean it’s always yours to keep.
If you follow my blog you know I’ve written quite a bit about my struggles with infertility and raising an only child. I write often about how God allows in His wisdom what He could prevent with His power. But I’ve never shared this particular story until today. It’s pressing hard on my heart so maybe someone needs to hear it. In fact, I wasn’t even planning on publishing this today but here goes.
There are times when it looks like your dream has come true but you come to find it’s not actually for you. You’ve been chosen to be the conduit, the channel of blessing in another’s life. It’s not an easy lesson but one we’ll all be taught if we want to go deep with God. Here’s how it happened for my husband Mike and me.
Twenty years ago Mike and I were still in the throes of raising our young daughter. We’d moved to Florida a couple years earlier and after battling infertility and three failed adoption attempts, we got it into our thick heads we would be raising an only child.
We were taking a class at our church and became friends with another couple who were in our exact same circumstances–raising one daughter and unable to have more children.
At the same time, other good friends of ours were in Hungary adopting a baby girl. They too had waited years for their dream to come true and we were thrilled for them. They were finally going to have a baby in their arms!
One evening, the phone rings and it’s our friends, in Hungary, calling us. They’re excited to share how everything is moving smoothly with the adoption. Then they drop this bombshell. They tell us there’s a young, unmarried woman who’s about to have a baby, a boy, (my dream) and she’s placing him for adoption and looking for an American family. They tell us he’s our baby if we want him.
Oh, how my mama-heart leapt in that moment! My hopes and dreams coming true in one phone call! Except right in that moment I heard the Lord say this:
“That’s not your baby.”
“Wait. What? Are you sure Lord? I’ve been waiting a long time for this!”
“That’s not your baby.”
I don’t usually hear God’s voice so clearly in my spirit. There are a few times I have, like the time He told me to write a book. When I do hear Him it’s always life-changing.
“That’s not your baby.”
And I knew it was true. I knew this baby was the son our friends from church had been praying for.
God let our biggest blessing become our deepest test.
We hung up the phone and I shared what I was sensing with Mike and he felt exactly the same way. So we called our friends from church and told them the news, connected them with our friends in Hungary and soon after they went and got their son.
Just because a blessing falls into your lap doesn’t always mean it’s yours to keep.
A few months later they dedicated their son at church and Mike and I were on the platform as part of the celebration. I looked at this beautiful child, this perfect baby boy, this answer to prayer, and it broke me. It was so hard but so right. Harder than almost anything I’ve ever done. I cried a lot that day but God assured me over and over it was right.
Doing the right thing doesn’t mean it won’t be hard. It will be very hard. Sometimes gut-wrenching hard.
If I’d simply trusted in my feelings or followed my heart I never would have given that baby up. But feelings and emotions lie. My heart, and yours too is not to be trusted. The world tells us to follow our hearts but God says something altogether different:
The heart is deceitful above all things and desperately wicked; Who can know it? Jeremiah 17:9
My heart has deceived me countless times, usually with something good I can justify. But good is the enemy of the best every time. Jesus wasn’t led by His feelings, He only ever did and said what He saw the Father doing or heard Him saying.
“Most assuredly, I say to you, the Son can do nothing of Himself, but what He sees the Father do; for whatever He does, the Son also does in like manner. “John 5:19
“For I have not spoken on My own authority; but the Father who sent Me gave Me a command, what I should say and what I should speak.” John 12:49
I’m learning to lay down my ‘feelings’ for the joy of living a Spirit-led life! It says in Romans 8:14: “Those who are led by the Spirit are sons of God.” Sonship speaks of maturity and authority, two things I desperately need.
You know, as I get older, I really want God to take me into the ‘deeper deeps’ of knowing Him. It’s far better to partake in the ‘fellowship of His sufferings’ because only through the doorway of His cross can we experience the power of His resurrection. It’s all about love in the end, our willingness to be broken bread and poured out wine in another’s life, our willingness to become a channel of blessing in order to bring someone else’s dream to pass.
Following Jesus and letting go of our feelings will cost us but in the end aren’t we called to relinquish our right to be right? Our right to have rights? We get the chance every so often to leave the fragrance of Christ behind us.
I haven’t arrived. I’m still grasping all of my cake and I don’t want to share it, but I know this–I want Jesus even more than I want my cake. He alone can transform my deceitful and wicked heart into a channel of love and blessing and a spring of living water.
He alone can give me the desire of my heart and then ask me to give it away. And when I do, when I share my cake, I become more like Him. And what I’ve learned is this: