God Loves a Treasure Hunt

Father God has brought me back to the very beginning.

One of the very first things He taught me as his light shone through the darkness of the earliest of our infertile days is how much He loves a treasure hunt.  As you will see from my early posts on this blog, the name for this site – Treasures in the Darkness – comes from a verse in Isaiah 45 which talks of the secret riches God intends for us and enjoys revealing to us.

Over the last three years, in the process of crying out to him for my babies, I have become fascinated by the nature of my heavenly father and intrigued by the picture of the woman He intends me to be.  Just lately He has reminded me of these early days and of the pleasure and thrill of the hunt for the gems He has stored up for me.

A particular Bible verse has followed us for the last three years – in different guises as it appears in both the book of Psalms and in Jeremiah 17.  This particular verse has caused us some confusion, some study and a lot of joy and hope and has been repeated by strangers and friends, in church services and prayer meetings as well as during totally random situations.  I have lost count of the number of times I have heard and read it!

I have heard that verses given again and again are often described as ‘inheritance words’ – prophetic declarations from God that are intended to be a gift, to be embraced and lived out for the rest of your days.  They are verses to bring comfort, calm and encouragement; verses to stand on when the going gets tough; words that become your story.  As this blogger puts it,

“An “Inheritance Word” is a word spoken in a desert season that stays with you your entire life.  Graham Cooke has described it as a cup poured into the well of your life; something that becomes a part of you.

Speaking of desert seasons, Graham pointed out that desert seasons are times of hiddeness when God imparts.  The desert is not punishment. In Mark 1 right before Jesus is sent into the wilderness, God says, “You are My beloved Son, in whom I am well pleased.”  The wilderness is the place where your life message is formed.  John the Baptist went into the wilderness and came out declaring, “Prepare the way of the Lord”.  His life message was to prepare the way for Jesus, that message was formed in desert; the alone times. 

Just lately the momentum of the repetition of these two verses has increased to the point where I have laughed out loud upon receiving it: a text message, a passage in my Bible during a quiet time, a study session on an unrelated topic and then this banner hung high on the wall at a church prayer event we had never been to before:

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I adore God’s sense of mischief and His passion to pursue us.  I yearn to better submit to His challenge to continually search for Him; that we would know He is continually setting up scenes and events in our life for us to uncover more of Him.  Sometimes we trip over these moments, at other times He whispers to us to come looking for them and still other times the words are so big we just can’t miss His heart for us!  As much as I, like the next Christian, sometimes long for the neon sign in the sky to reveal the answer to my questions, I love to see God’s enjoyment of mystery and pursuit.

As I poured over books and commentaries, exploring the many layers of this verse that God keeps speaking over us I came across this observation, “It is often in times of difficulty that we put down deep roots”.  It seems to me that God has repeatedly been telling us to channel our energies into getting stuck into His word and into making Him the central source – the life-giving living water – that we rely on while we ride out this time in our lives. As we know so often when times are easy we have a tendency to determine a greater independence from God.  I know that during these last few years, as I have groped about in the darkness for Daddy’s hand to cling to, I have benefitted from His light as He illuminates the shadowy corners of my fears and highlights the path that I should travel.  When I meditate on His word and ruminate on its meanings my life becomes a richer, brighter, more colourful tapestry.

If you are in a dry and weary time of difficulty can I encourage you to be like that tree in Psalm 1 and let the roots of your spirit trail down to the water’s edge.  Drink long and deep and choose to stay awhile.  Be like the deer in Psalm 42 and let your thirsty soul receive refreshment from God’s words.

Our great rewards are the pleasure of His presence, the opportunity to be blessed and bless others and the fruit borne by knowing Him more intimately.

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It’s Coming

Over the last three years I have come to hate the word “soon”.  In prayers.  In conversations.  When asking God for something to be here “soon”.  It is a word without purpose, commitment or passion.  I have asked God for friends to meet their husbands, for loved ones to experience healing, for family members to find Jesus, for fellow infertility sufferers to have their positive pregnancy test and “soon” just doesn’t seem to nail it.  I pray caught between a respect for God’s perfect timing and the understanding that it’s not a crime to ask for a time limit and a sense of urgency.  God loves it when we ask Him for specifics!

Like many other women struggling with infertility and living in a time of “soon”, I have had moments of what may well seem like madness to others.  I have needed to express an expectation of our baby’s arrival and see these moments as declarations of faith: a book on pregnancy bought despite the concerns of my husband; a baby outfit from my own infancy carefully wrapped in tissue paper and tucked away in our trunk with a handmade string of colourful animals placed alongside it; a hand-me-down cot and pram safely stored in the garage.  Tangible, significant moments of a time that is coming whatever seems to be happening or not happening in the months in between. Early on in our decision to start a family we began to squirrel away savings from our wages to pay for the items we would need for our baby – babies.  It’s funny how a few items bought and stored in a safe place can seem more reckless and costly than a sum of money tidily tucked away out of reach.

I’m not in denial. I know full well that daydreaming can become a form of psychological self-harm when one has been waiting for so long for a baby to be conceived.  Hope deferred makes the heart sick.  For a very long while now I have not allowed myself the freedom to consider the moment the pregnancy test turns positive, or the excitement of telling family we’re pregnant, or wondering what our baby will look, feel and smell like.  My husband and I haven’t discussed baby names in months and we certainly haven’t been near a shop selling baby clothes, furniture or toys. I am more aware than ever that our behaviour is subconsciously dictated now by the familiarity of childlessness rather than a plausible expectation that I will be pregnant.  I have been living in the shadow of an empty timeline which grows longer by the day and I have forgetten that it doesn’t have to trail never-endingly into the distance; that at some point it will come to an abrupt and life-changing end.  It feels as though we have been sat in this waiting room for a very, very long time now.

pregnant womanJust lately though something deep within me has shifted – and in the language used by those closest to us.  It is like we can sense the wait is nearly over and the season we’re living in is about to change.  In the last couple of weeks I have sensed an accelaration in the heavenlies of this miracle finally coming forth for us and the reluctance with which I usually approach any daydreaming has started to seem unnecessary.  “Soon” doesn’t feel like it is needed anymore.

I have found my prayers shifting as I seek God about my purpose beyond this current blog content and the day-to-day living layered with its undertone of infertility.  I wonder what job I will have whilst pregnant and find myself considering a home with a bedroom for a nursery.  I head back to the gym because it is time again to be labour-ready and I want to be in the best physical shape possible for carrying and birthing my child.  I read another woman’s infertility blog and find solidarity in her similar preparations for a room for the baby she also believes is fast-approaching.  I think God is up to something.

And then I found myself confessing this shy, private pondering to a friend because what she asked echoed exactly the thoughts I had already been having.  I have watched this wonderul young woman of God preparing for the arrival of her baby girl in a few weeks’ time.  I have held the beautiful items she has crocheted for her little one and found myself wanting to ask her to make something for us, for our child that is coming.  Hesitancy has stopped me – caught between the fear of having to give it away if our baby never appears

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The ‘dreaming’ blanket

and my pride at having to deal with incredulous and pitying looks in the asking.  Sometimes I under-estimate the faith that others have for our family because in the end she offered before I even had the chance to ask. It seemed our spirits were on the same page. Time to put faith into action.  As we looked through patterns and chatted about designs and colours I felt my confidence in this new season stirred up by Holy Spirit. We go through our days with quiet faith but I sense it is time to start speaking the expectation of the promise aloud and to get off the sofa and back out on the front porch in anticipation of its arrival.

Last week we were reminded by another friend of this beautiful, hopeful, truthful Psalm which she knows in her knower is for us.  It certainly resonates deeply.  Like me, may you never stop believing that your time of weeping will come to an end as you return home heavy-laden through the abundance of life God has planned for you.  I believe harvest time is upon us.

Psalm 126

A song for pilgrims ascending to Jerusalem.

When the Lord brought back his exiles to Jerusalem,
    it was like a dream!
We were filled with laughter,
    and we sang for joy.
And the other nations said,
    “What amazing things the Lord has done for them.”
Yes, the Lord has done amazing things for us!
    What joy!

Restore our fortunes, Lord,
    as streams renew the desert.
Those who plant in tears
    will harvest with shouts of joy.
They weep as they go to plant their seed,
    but they sing as they return with the harvest.