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Posts Tagged ‘IF in the Bible’

I’ve wanted to blog about this topic for a while now and just when I got ready to sit down and write the post things changed and I felt that I cannot write about it, because what do I know after all? Well, things have changed again, for the worse, and then I got some awesome messages to confirm what I wanted to write about originally, so maybe, maybe it is the right time and circumstances to write about this.

In January I was at my wits end. The festive season had just ended and G-force was totally out of his routine. It was so hard to try to stick to any kind of routine when one is constantly either busy entertaining or invited to visit someone else. When we have visitors or when we visit other people G-force generally does not want to nap in the afternoon, and try as we might, he will fight and fight until we eventually give up. Often he also does not want to go to sleep when it’s his regular bed time.  Being out of routine also resulted in him not sleeping well during the night and many nights he would wake me up 2-4 times, often starting as early as 22h00 or 23h00.

By the middle of January I was completely exhausted and felt like I was going to have a breakdown. Well one night when he was once again struggling to sleep and it was 21h30 or so already I just started crying and said to the Lord: “Lord, I just cannot do this anymore! I am soooo tired! I need sleep, and I need to sleep right through the night! Lord, I give up. I have tried everything and nothing works! I don’t know what else to do. I just cannot do this anymore; I now give this over to you Lord, because I have no idea what to do…”

Eventually G-force went to sleep and I stumbled to bed and fell asleep immediately. Much to my surprise DH woke me up the next morning at 6h30 to get G-force ready for school. For the first time in what felt like forever I had slept straight from about 22h00 to 6h30. Immediately I thanked and praised the Lord because I knew it was only due to His grace. This was not a once off occurrence either. From that night G-force’s sleeping habits changed from waking many times a night most nights and only occasionally sleeping through the night to sleeping through most of the time and only waking up once and then only occasionally.

That was until the somewhere in the beginning of April. Slowly but surely he would start to wake around 4 or 5 in the morning and then often he would wake up anytime from about midnight to 2 also. Once again the nights where he slept through were few and far in between. I was at a loss. What to do, because last time we really did not do anything! How to fix this problem? I asked the Lord to help again, because let’s face it, it was thanks to His doing that things got better.

There was absolutely no explanation why G-force was waking up in the night again. We thought that he might be cold, because it was getting colder, but warming his room did not help. Eventually a week ago I finally figured it out.

G-force told me that there is something in his mouth that is hurting it. Sometimes when he has something stuck between his teeth he will come to me and ask me to remove it by flossing his teeth. He wanted me to do that again, but he was pointing to the back of his mouth where his one molar is. So I washed my hand and stuck my finger in there to pinpoint where the problem is as I couldn’t see anything and what do you know? I felt a new molar peeking through. Poor little guy, I barely touched it but he howled in pain. So now we know what is the most probable cause for the poor sleeping. But you know what? We’ve been giving him teething meds on and off already since that was one of the suspects already. We then started to give it to him regularly and even adding another kind, and it still did not work. In desperation I bought a Baltic amber teething necklace last week and he’s been wearing it since Thursday. So far no improvement yet…

Last night he woke up at 22h00, 1h30, 4h00 and about 5h30. Lately I’m also having trouble getting back to sleep once G-force wakes me, fortunately this morning it was at 5h30 and not one of the other times in the middle of the night… I cannot explain to anyone how tired I am. I’ve been feeling like a zombie for about a month already. DH tries to help, but G-force wants nothing to do with him in the middle of the night. He only wants me and he wants to nurse. He refuses everything else.

In January already, after the incident I described, the Holy Spirit reminded me of the following scriptures:

2 Corinthians 12:7-10 (AMP):
“7 And to keep me from being puffed up and too much elated by the exceeding greatness (pre-eminence) of these revelations, there was given me a thorn (a splinter) in the flesh, a messenger of Satan, to rack and buffet and harass me, to keep me from being excessively exalted. 8 Three times I called upon the Lord and besought [Him] about this and begged that it might depart from me; 9 But He said to me, My grace (My favour and loving-kindness and mercy) is enough for you [sufficient against any danger and enables you to bear the trouble manfully]; for My strength and power are made perfect (fulfilled and completed) and show themselves most effective in [your] weakness. Therefore, I will all the more gladly glory in my weaknesses and infirmities, that the strength and power of Christ (the Messiah) may rest (yes, may pitch a tent over and dwell) upon me! 10 So for the sake of Christ, I am well pleased and take pleasure in infirmities, insults, hardships, persecutions, perplexities and distresses; for when I am weak [in human strength], then am I [truly] strong (able, powerful in divine strength).”

For the first time I really realized what Paul meant when he said; “for when I’m weak, then I am strong…” When we are weak and know it and rely on Jesus, not on our own efforts – that is when we are strong, not with our own strength, but the strength that we receive through God’s grace.

I knew all this yet it once again took quite some time to admit that I am weak, and that I need God’s grace to make me strong again…Last week I came to that point again, and I’m still there. Thankfully Abba, Father God is so merciful, and one morning I switched on the TV to watch a program on TBN, and God gave me three awesome programs to watch, the one straight after the other. The first one I watched was Cref.lo Dol.lar, the second one Joy.ce Mey.er and then the best one, Jo.seph Prin.ce.

I specifically want to mention the program of Jo.seph Prin.ce; it’s called: “Great Grace for your greatest weakness – Sermon # 352”. I can highly recommend that every single person reading this gets hold of this sermon and listen to it as many times as possible. He mentions Abraham and Sarah, Manoah and his wife and Zachariah and Elizabeth, and them being barren for so many years, and how in their weakest moments they were able to have a child, but not any child, these children had supernatural favour upon them. He also speaks specifically to people who have lost a child/baby or who have been barren and prophesies how we will birth champions, just like these people in the Bible did.

I was so grateful for this message – I’m sure God was speaking directly to me – as if he inspired Jo.seph Prin.ce to preach this message for me, but I know it’s not only for me, all of you who are reading this blog will also probably feel the same 😉 !

It’s not just the fact that I’m so tired that makes me feel so weak. I’ve felt weak too about conceiving our second child, and I’ve actually also gave that matter all over to the Lord a few weeks ago, as well as other areas in our lives, like our finances, my business and even raising G-force…

I cannot wait to see manifestation of God’s super abounding Grace in these areas!

(I thought I’ve blogged about Paul’s thorn in the flesh before, but it seems that I haven’t. Many people think that Paul’s thorn in the flesh is some kind of sickness caused by God to make him weak – that is not the case. Paul’s thorn was not God’s doing, and if you want to learn more about what it is then please read this message of An.drew Wom.mack)

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I wanted to write about obedience to God for about a week now, but I’ve been struggling.  For a little while now I’ve been getting messages on this topic and even in my quiet times I’ve heard the word “Obedience” in my head.  So I know that God is trying to tell me something, but most of the messages were just snippets, nothing that I could write a whole post about, but I think I got it last night, suddenly I realized how I could write this so that you can understand the message I want to convey. 

Genesis 12:1-4 (NIV):  1 The LORD had said to Abram, Leave your country, your people and your father’s household and go to the land I will show you.  2I will make you into a great nation and I will bless you; I will make your name great, and you will be a blessing. 3 I will bless those who bless you, and whoever curses you I will curse; and all peoples on earth will be blessed through you.  4So Abram left, as the LORD had told him; and Lot went with him. Abram was seventy-five years old when he set out from Haran.”

God asked Abraham to leave his country and family, leave everything that was dear to him and go to an unknown destination, and Abraham went where God asked him to go.  I don’t think we realize just how much God asked of Abraham, the implications and how hard it must have been.   I mean, just think about it, say God asks something like that from you today…  Would you know it was God and would you be obedient?  What would everyone else say to you, if you should believe it comes from God, and you tell them about it?  I’m sure Abraham must have received a lot of criticism and opinions, but he listened and followed God.

Genesis 13:6-11 (NIV):  6 But the land could not support them while they stayed together, for their possessions were so great that they were not able to stay together.  7 And quarrelling arose between Abram’s herdsmen and the herdsmen of Lot. The Canaanites and Perizzites were also living in the land at that time.  8 So Abram said to Lot, Let’s not have any quarrelling between you and me, or between your herdsmen and mine, for we are brothers.  9 Is not the whole land before you? Let’s part company. If you go to the left, I’ll go to the right; if you go to the right, I’ll go to the left.  10 Lot looked up and saw that the whole plain of the Jordan was well watered, like the garden of the LORD, like the land of Egypt, towards Zoar. (This was before the LORD destroyed Sodom and Gomorrah.)  11 So Lot chose for himself the whole plain of the Jordan and set out towards the east. The two men parted company:”

Abraham was not totally obedient to God however, God told him to leave “your people and your father’s household,” but he took Lot with him, who was his nephew, his father’s brother’s son.  They were so blessed that the land that God promised to Abraham became too small to hold both of them and for the sake of peace Abraham told Lot to choose a part – there was the fertile valley and the mountains to choose from and what did Lot do?  He chose the best – the valley, for himself and left the mountains for Abraham!  That’s was not nice and very ungrateful from Lot!  I mean – Abraham should have and could have left him in Haran. He would not have been in that situation if it was not for Abraham.  But I love Abraham’s attitude!  He did not complain or even harbour any bad feelings towards Lot.  He was happy to take the mountains!

I wonder if Abraham thought of Lot almost like a son.  Lot was certainly the closest family he had.  I know in my life some of our family members say that I am my niece’s “second mom”, because we are so very close.

Genesis 16:1-4 (NIV):  1 Now Sarai, Abram’s wife, had borne him no children. But she had an Egyptian maidservant named Hagar; 2 so she said to Abram, The LORD has kept me from having children. Go, sleep with my maidservant; perhaps I can build a family through her. Abram agreed to what Sarai said. 3 So after Abram had been living in Canaan ten years, Sarai his wife took her Egyptian maidservant Hagar and gave her to her husband to be his wife.  4 He slept with Hagar, and she conceived. When she knew she was pregnant, she began to despise her mistress.”

Genesis 16:15-16 (NIV):  15 So Hagar bore Abram a son, and Abram gave the name Ishmael to the son she had borne.  16 Abram was eighty-six years old when Hagar bore him Ishmael.”

Genesis 21:8-13 (NIV):  8 The child grew and was weaned, and on the day Isaac was weaned Abraham held a great feast.  9 But Sarah saw that the son whom Hagar the Egyptian had borne to Abraham was mocking, 10 and she said to Abraham, Get rid of that slave woman and her son, for that slave woman’s son will never share in the inheritance with my son Isaac.  11 The matter distressed Abraham greatly because it concerned his son.  12 But God said to him, Do not be so distressed about the boy and your maidservant. Listen to whatever Sarah tells you, because it is through Isaac that your offspring will be reckoned.  13 I will make the son of the maidservant into a nation also, because he is your offspring.”

We read four times about the promise of children to Abraham, but Sarah got impatient.  She got tired of waiting and decided to make a plan of her own.  She convinced Abraham to go ahead with this plan, and Hagar got pregnant with Ishmael.  This was quite a common practice in Biblical times and is equivalent to traditional surrogacy these days.  I have blogged about it previously and you can read about it here

But do you see that the plan of Sarah did not work out well?  There was tension between Hagar and Sarah, because Hager was able to do what Sarah couldn’t.  After Isaac was born Sarah convinced Abraham to send Hagar and Ishmael away.  God did bless Ishmael, because he also became the father to a nation, just not the “chosen nation.”  Ishmael eventually became the forefather of the Ishmaelites and today he is the forefather of the Mus.lims.

Genesis 21:1-5 (NIV):  1 Now the LORD was gracious to Sarah as he had said, and the LORD did for Sarah what he had promised.  2 Sarah became pregnant and bore a son to Abraham in his old age, at the very time God had promised him.  3 Abraham gave the name Isaac to the son Sarah bore him.  4 When his son Isaac was eight days old, Abraham circumcised him, as God commanded him.  5 Abraham was a hundred years old when his son Isaac was born to him.”

Isaac was what God had originally planned for Sarah and Abraham.  And it was a great plan that worked out perfectly.  But can you see from the first scripture that I quoted that Abraham was 75 years old when he first got the promise of a son?  Abraham was 100 years old when Isaac was eventually born, so it took 25 years for that promise to become reality.  That is a long time to wait on and trust God.

Now I can totally understand that Abraham and Sarah got impatient and I’m sure a lot of us would have made the same mistakes.  Probably all of us, I think…  I know I am tempted every day to take matters in my own hands and to try and make a plan of my own.   It is totally human to do that, but it’s not God’s original plan.  God’s original plan was so much better than what Abraham and Sarah could plan on their own.  Even the situation with Lot didn’t work out well, again because Abraham was disobedient to God. 

I have certainly tried many times to make my own plans and to be honest none of them worked out.  I still don’t have children of my own and now I cannot make my own plans anymore.  God has put it on my heart to stop trying to control or plan things and to just trust Him.  God has shown me through the story of Abraham and Sarah that He has a plan, and that His plan is so much better than any plan I can ever make.  He wants me to be obedient to Him and trust Him.  I believe that God’s promises will come true and if I step out in faith and trust God, His plan will come to fruition.  And I hope that, just like Abraham, that God will bless us richly too, because that is what He wants to do for His children…

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If you read my blog regularly you might have noticed that my age is starting to worry me a bit, although I try to keep Sarah’s story in mind when my faith falters.  So it’s logical that I would research it and do a post on the older parents in the Bible:

Genesis 11:30-32 (NIV):  30 Now Sarai was barren; she had no children.   31 Terah took his son Abram, his grandson Lot son of Haran, and his daughter-in-law Sarai, the wife of his son Abram, and together they set out from Ur of the Chaldeans to go to Canaan. But when they came to Haran, they settled there. 32 Terah lived 205 years, and he died in Haran.”

Genesis 21:1-5 (NIV):  The Birth of Isaac 1 Now the LORD was gracious to Sarah as he had said, and the LORD did for Sarah what he had promised.  2 Sarah became pregnant and bore a son to Abraham in his old age, at the very time God had promised him.  3 Abraham gave the name Isaac to the son Sarah bore him.  4 When his son Isaac was eight days old, Abraham circumcised him, as God commanded him.  5 Abraham was a hundred years old when his son Isaac was born to him.”

I heard the following in a message from Joyce Meyer recently:  The Lord had first asked Terah the father of Abraham to move away from Ur to the Promised Land, but Terah settled in Haran, and did not go any further.  God had to find someone else to make a covenant with and that person was Abraham.  The covenant was a very big promise:  A lot of fertile land, children as many as the stars and incredible blessings.  Terah settled for something less of that big promise God made, but Abraham did not and he eventually received everything that God had promised.  Are you settling or are you going after God’s promises in your life?

According to my reference Bible God used Abraham and Sarah’s infertility to build a special relationship with Abraham, so that Abraham could trust God and take the chance to move away. Because of the trust Abraham had in God he received the blessings that God had promised him and God showed how almighty He is by making Sarah pregnant at an age (90) when it was totally impossible.

In the last few years there have been many reports of older mothers in the news with claims that they are the world’s oldest moms, ladies of 62, 66, 67 and even 70 having babies with the help of IVF and donor eggs and sperm, but all this pales in comparison to Sarah getting pregnant naturally at the age of 90.  It could only have been a miracle from God.

Genesis 25:19-21 (NIV):   19 This is the account of Abraham’s son Isaac.  Abraham became the father of Isaac, 20 and Isaac was forty years old when he married Rebekah daughter of Bethuel the Aramean from Paddan Aram and sister of Laban the Aramean.  21 Isaac prayed to the LORD on behalf of his wife, because she was barren. The LORD answered his prayer, and his wife Rebekah became pregnant.” 

Genesis 25:26 (NIV):  “… Isaac was sixty years old when Rebekah gave birth to them.”

Isaac was the child through which God’s promise was supposed to be fulfilled, but in spite of that he and his wife Rebekah were childless for 20 years.  I read one theory that in this case it could have been due to male factor infertility, according to the language of the Torah.  It says that Isaac pleaded to the Lord in the presence of his wife, rather than on behalf of his wife, and that God answered him, and not his wife.  Isaac also had no other children, so it could be the reason…

Our scripture says “… because she was barren.”  I don’t think in those times it could really be established with whom the problem was, but the important fact is that they were childless for 20 years before Rebekah had the twins and Isaac was 60 years old already when they were born. 

Luke 1:7 (NIV):  7 But they had no children, because Elizabeth was barren; and they were both well on in years.”

Luke 1:36-37 (NIV):  36 Even Elizabeth your relative is going to have a child in her old age, and she who was said to be barren is in her sixth month.   37 For nothing is impossible with God.

Luke 1:18-20 (NIV):  18 Zechariah asked the angel, How can I be sure of this? I am an old man and my wife is well on in years.  19 The angel answered, I am Gabriel. I stand in the presence of God, and I have been sent to speak to you and to tell you this good news.  20 And now you will be silent and not able to speak until the day this happens, because you did not believe my words, which will come true at their proper time.”

Luke 1:65-66 (NIV):  65 The neighbours were all filled with awe, and throughout the hill country of Judea people were talking about all these things.  66 Everyone who heard this wondered about it, asking, What then is this child going to be? For the Lord’s hand was with him.”

Both Elizabeth and Zechariah were upright in the sight of God, observing all the Lord’s commandments and regulations blamelessly.”  Luke 1:6 (NIV).  So their infertility was not due to sin in their lives (you can also read  this post).  It also says that both of them were old, so old in fact that everybody talked about it.  They were so old that Zechariah could not help but to question the angel Gabriel.  As punishment for that he could not speak until his child’s birth.

It was such a miracle not only for this couple, but for everyone around them, that it could not be disputed by anyone.  This created an expectation that this child would be someone great one day, and he was – he was the forerunner of Jesus Christ – a very important job!

I love Luke 1:37:  “37 For nothing is impossible with God.  This scripture is so apt in all of the above examples, not only in Elizabeth’s case.  It could only have happened with the help of God, no other way, and it just shows that indeed nothing is impossible with God!

Fortunately we are not as old as these people from the Bible yet, so I’m going to keep them in mind for inspiration.  We have a lot more in our favour, so if they could get their miracles there sure is hope left for us!

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Remember this post?  It’s one of my favourites because so many people commented on it and I loved to get everyone’s opinion.  It’s a topic that I’ve been thinking about for many years and when I got some insight into alternatives for the infertile people in the Bible I couldn’t wait to share it with you… 

Traditional surrogacy:

Genesis 16:1-2 (NIV):  Hagar and Ishmael 1 Now Sarai, Abram’s wife, had borne him no children. But she had an Egyptian maidservant named Hagar; 2 so she said to Abram, The LORD has kept me from having children. Go, sleep with my maidservant; perhaps I can build a family through her. Abram agreed to what Sarai said.”

Genesis 30:3-7 (NIV):  3 Then she said, Here is Bilhah, my maidservant. Sleep with her so that she can bear children for me and that through her I too can build a family.  4 So she gave him her servant Bilhah as a wife. Jacob slept with her, 5 and she became pregnant and bore him a son.  6 Then Rachel said, God has vindicated me; he has listened to my plea and given me a son. Because of this she named him Dan.  7 Rachel’s servant Bilhah conceived again and bore Jacob a second son.”

Genesis 30:9-12 (NIV):  9 When Leah saw that she had stopped having children, she took her maidservant Zilpah and gave her to Jacob as a wife.  10 Leah’s servant Zilpah bore Jacob a son.  11 Then Leah said, What good fortune! So she named him Gad.  12 Leah’s servant Zilpah bore Jacob a second son.”

Modern traditional surrogacy is done via IUI.  The eggs of the surrogate mother are inseminated with either the husband’s sperm or a donor’s sperm.  In the biblical times there was no IUI, so it was done with intercourse.  I’m sure a lot of modern women today are thankful that we don’t have to do it that way anymore! 

In my reference Bible it says:  “According to an ancient text from Nuzi from the second century BC it was customary for a barren woman to let her slave have intercourse with her husband, and to claim the resulting children as her own.”   An Assyrian text from the 7th century BC has even more detail and roughly translated it says:  “if Subetu does not get pregnant and give birth, she may appoint a slave in her place.  Through the slave she (Subetu) will bring sons to life and the sons shall be hers.  If she likes the slave she may keep her, but if she hates her, she may sell the slave.”  

From the above verses you can see that both Rachel and Lea named the sons and it even says: “Then Rachel said, God has vindicated me; he has listened to my plea and given me a son.”  Rachel is claiming the son as her own.  I always thought that the slaves were more like concubines, and the children were seen as their children, but it seems that was not the case.  I wonder if the slaves had any say in the matter.  I think not…

Adoption:

Genesis 48:5 (NIV):  5 Now then, your two sons born to you in Egypt before I came to you here will be reckoned as mine; Ephraim and Manasseh will be mine, just as Reuben and Simeon are mine.”

Jacob had disinherited his eldest son Reuben, because he had committed incest with Jacob’s concubine.  Jacob gave Josef his brother Reuben’s portion as well as his own portion of his inheritance, but instead of it going directly to Joseph it is given to his sons Ephraim and Manasseh, whom Jacob had adopted. 

Exodus 1:22 (NIV):  22 Then Pharaoh gave this order to all his people: Every boy that is born you must throw into the Nile, but let every girl live.” 

Exodus 2:2-10 (NIV):  2 and she became pregnant and gave birth to a son. When she saw that he was a fine child, she hid him for three months.  3 But when she could hide him no longer, she got a papyrus basket for him and coated it with tar and pitch. Then she placed the child in it and put it among the reeds along the bank of the Nile.     4 His sister stood at a distance to see what would happen to him.  5 Then Pharaoh’s daughter went down to the Nile to bathe, and her attendants were walking along the river bank. She saw the basket among the reeds and sent her slave girl to get it.  6 She opened it and saw the baby. He was crying, and she felt sorry for him. This is one of the Hebrew babies, she said.  7 Then his sister asked Pharaoh’s daughter, Shall I go and get one of the Hebrew women to nurse the baby for you?  8 Yes, go, she answered. And the girl went and got the baby’s mother.  9 Pharaoh’s daughter said to her, Take this baby and nurse him for me, and I will pay you. So the woman took the baby and nursed him.  10 When the child grew older, she took him to Pharaoh’s daughter and he became her son. She named him Moses, saying, I drew him out of the water.”

Jochebed, Moses’ mother made a plan to try and save her son from the decree of Pharaoh.  She must have known that the Pharaoh’s daughter would go to bath at that specific spot, and she must have know that Pharaoh’s daughter would take pity on her baby.  I’ve read in one article that the Pharaoh’s daughter might have been infertile, as the argument is that someone who has children of her own might not accept a stranger’s baby as her own so easily.   

Esther 2:7 (NIV):  7 Mordecai had a cousin named Hadassah, whom he had brought up because she had neither father nor mother. This girl, who was also known as Esther, was lovely in form and features, and Mordecai had taken her as his own daughter when her father and mother died.”

Enhancing fertility:

Genesis 30:14 (NIV):  14 During wheat harvest, Reuben went out into the fields and found some mandrake plants, which he brought to his mother Leah. Rachel said to Leah, Please give me some of your son’s mandrakes.”

The Dudaim or Mandrake plant was traditionally believed to increase a women’s fertility but was also know for its aphrodisiac qualities and believed to remove sterility in the East.  It’s not commonly used anymore, but was also used for its anaesthetic qualities and could cause hallucinations if ingested in sufficient quantities.  The mandrake fruit would have been ripe between April and May for a very short time and it was quickly eaten by birds and animals.  Harvest time was late May to early June, so it was very unusual for Reuben to have found some.  That’s probably why Rachel wanted them so desperately.   

Ironically the mandrakes did not help Rachel to get pregnant, but Leah did get pregnant when Jacob visited her tent that night.  Rachel did conceive another boy at a later stage though only after Leah had another two sons and a daughter.

So you can see from the above that there were alternatives for the childless couples in the Bible.  They   could adopt, have a child though a slave or even use some herbal remedies (we only have proof of the mandrakes from the Bible, but there could have been others).  Why do some people expect us then to just have faith and pray for our own babies in today’s day and age? 

I’m convinced that our modern methods of ART are better than the traditional surrogacy method of the Bible, and  maybe we should remind the critics of ART of that next time they want to voice their opinions on a matter they know nothing about…

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I’ve been studying infertility in the bible since I’ve been feeling down and I’ve come across some interesting revelations that I want to share with you.  Today’s revelation is about the emotions that we are going through due to our infertility. 

Genesis 30:1-2(NIV):   1 When Rachel saw that she was not bearing Jacob any children, she became jealous of her sister. So she said to Jacob, Give me children, or I’ll die!  2 Jacob became angry with her and said, Am I in the place of God, who has kept you from having children?”

Rachel was jealous of her sister, because her sister was able to bear sons for Jacob and she could not.  She is so upset about it that she feels she cannot go on with life anymore.  It’s just unbearable for her…  I’ve read this before but only recently have I noticed that Rachel’s feelings are like mine!  After all these centuries and so many changes over time, the basic human reactions in certain situations are still the same! 

Poor Rachel – her husband Jacob did not understand her feelings.  Maybe it’s because he had 3 sons already by that time.  Jacob gets angry at her when she is so desperate for a child of her own, but isn’t that also a lot like how things go today?  A lot of women are desperate for a baby of their own, but it seems that their husbands are not that worried about it.  It seems that their husbands don’t understand how they are feeling.

My reference Bible says of Rachel:  “Rachel is a symbol of the disappointments and passion of so many barren women.  Her experience should be a revelation to other’s that do not know anything of this problem”  I like this – so many times other people think that what we are going through is not so bad, that we should just get over it.  I just wish others could see it so clearly, because it does not seem as though anybody I know has noticed it…

Genesis 30:22-24 (NIV):  22 Then God remembered Rachel; he listened to her and opened her womb.  23 She became pregnant and gave birth to a son and said, God has taken away my disgrace.  24 She named him Joseph, and said, May the LORD add to me another son.”

Rachel was not content with the one son that she did have.  Joseph’s name means to add again, and it says in the Bible that she said:  “May the LORD add to me another son.”  Immediately after her son was born, she longed for another, otherwise she would not have named him so.  She did not appreciate the blessing she had already received and she wanted another son.  That was incredibly ungrateful of her, don’t you think? 

Can we really blame her?  I know that after we saw the one heartbeat on the scan, I also thought about when we could try for another, as I would love to have 2 children…  I have always thought it unfair towards a child not to have a sibling.  Maybe it’s because my sister and I differ in age with 14 months, and have always been very close.  A lot of people always asked if we were twins, because we were almost the same size… So I guess I was just as guilty as Rachel of an attitude of discontent.  I was incredibly grateful for our pregnancy and the one baby that had a heartbeat, but the next baby was already in the back of my mind…

The other barren woman that I want to discuss is Hannah.  There are some similarities to those of Rachel.  Both of them were married to a man that had two wives.  Both were barren but the other wife already had children…  Both were the apple of their husband’s eye… 

1 Samuel 1:6-8 (NIV):  6 And because the LORD had closed her womb, her rival kept provoking her in order to irritate her.  7 This went on year after year. Whenever Hannah went up to the house of the LORD, her rival provoked her till she wept and would not eat.  8 Elkanah her husband would say to her, Hannah, why are you weeping? Why don’t you eat? Why are you downhearted? Don’t I mean more to you than ten sons?”

Poor Hannah’s problem was made worse by the fact that the other wife, Peninnah kept taunting her about the fact that she could not have children.  I cannot even imagine how that must have felt.  It says that she wept and could not eat.  When I did my research one person said that Hannah was the first documented case of anorexia, because she did not eat.  I don’t necessary agree with this as I have trouble eating when I’m stressed or distressed, and that does not make me anorexic.  Some people are comfort eaters and others just don’t have any appetite and I have had that same problem since my miscarriage.  That could have been the case with Hannah. 

I must say there is a stark contrast between the reaction of Elkanah and Jacob.  Elkanah was concerned for his wife, he noticed that she was going through a hard time and did not get angry with her.  It seems though that Elkanah did not fully understand Hannah’s pain – this comment proves it: “Why are you downhearted? Don’t I mean more to you than ten sons?”  He did not understand that her longing for a child had nothing to do with her love for him.  Thankfully my DH is more like Elkanah than Jacob…

1 Samuel 1:10-11 (NIV):  10 In bitterness of soul Hannah wept much and prayed to the LORD.  11 And she made a vow, saying, O LORD Almighty, if you will only look upon your servant’s misery and remember me, and not forget your servant but give her a son, then I will give him to the LORD for all the days of his life, and no razor will ever be used on his head.”

1 Samuel 1:15-16 (NIV): 15 Not so, my lord, Hannah replied, I am a woman who is deeply troubled. I have not been drinking wine or beer; I was pouring out my soul to the LORD.  16 Do not take your servant for a wicked woman; I have been praying here out of my great anguish and grief.”

Hannah turned in her time of grief to God and asked Him to help her.  There is nothing wrong with admitting to God that you are sad or in pain, and to hand it all over to Him.  She was so desperate for a child that Hannah made some very tough promises to God.  Hannah was feeling completely alone in her anguish – all the characters we meet here, Peninnah, Elkanah and the priest Eli, who thought she was drunk, could not understand her pain.  The only one she could turn to was God, and God heard her prayer and a little while later their boy Samuel, who became one of the great prophets, was conceived.  Hannah trusted God in her darkest hour and God rewarded her for her obedience.

So what did I learn from these two women in the Bible?  I learnt that it is normal to have negative emotions about infertility – it’s not good for me, but it’s totally normal.  I know it’s wrong to be jealous and ungrateful, and I don’t want to condone it – we must confess our sins before the Lord, but it’s also no use beating myself up about it and feeling guilty all the time, especially after I’ve confessed those sins.  I also feel somewhat more normal that I sometimes feel like I cannot go on like this, or that I’m sad and grieving all the time… 

I don’t feel that Hannah did anything wrong from what we see of her in the scriptures, she was obviously very upset and incredibly sad, and feeling so desperate that she promised to consecrate her son to the Lord.  That could not have been easy to do but she kept her promise.  So that made me feel better about my own feelings of anguish, telling me that there is no sin in being sad.  The best lesson I’ve learnt from her is that I must trust God and turn to Him in my times of sorrow. 

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I mentioned yesterday that I’ve been looking for some encouragement in God’s word lately and yesterday I read something in my reference Bible that I want to share with you. I looked in the concordance and by chance I saw this: “Infertility was seen as a disaster” it was under “mother” where I didn’t think to look, because that’s the last place I thought I would find comfort.

Genesis 12:1-3 (NIV): “The Call of Abram 1 The LORD had said to Abram, Leave your country, your people and your father’s household and go to the land I will show you. 2I will make you into a great nation and I will bless you; I will make your name great, and you will be a blessing. 3 I will bless those who bless you, and whoever curses you I will curse; and all peoples on earth will be blessed through you.”

The explanation for the above verses is so good I’m going to quote it from my Bible: “God’s new approach in the way he worked with humanity starts in a totally different way that we would expect, namely with the need and shame of two people. In Genesis 11:30 it is emphasized that Sarai was barren (“30 Now Sarai was barren; she had no children”). Unlike today it was a real disaster to be barren in those days. A child was the parent’s investment for the future, their pension, their support in their old age, their heir and the one that will continue the family name. It was seen as a big scandal, especially if a woman was barren. Abram and Sarai were in a difficult situation, but for God their shame was a way to reach out and start a new relationship with mankind. Their situation was a way to enter into a relationship where God could isolate Abram, to teach him faith and trust, and where He could shape Abram to be the father of a new beginning. Abram had a choice – he had to take a gamble if he wanted a solution to his problem. He had to let go of the three things that gave him security – his country, his tribe and his family, to go to a foreign country. If he is obedient his greatest desire, descendants of his own, would be given to him, he would be blessed and even other nations would be blessed through him.

With this the Bible puts human disappointments in perspective. Need and misery are disastrous only as long as it is seen as a disaster. As soon as we see God’s opportunities as something new, everything changes, life gets new meaning and a personal dilemma turns into a means where God can be praised and others misery can be relieved. The true believer mustn’t get caught up in his/her own troubles and problems; they must see it as an opportunity to a new beginning and to start life anew with full trust in God.”

My reference Bible also referred to Rebecca (Genesis 25:21) and Rachel’s (Gen 30:1-2) stories about their barrenness and I suddenly realised that there was a history of barrenness for three generations in a row, (and not any three generations but of the actual direct line of ancestors of our Lord Jesus Christ) and I wondered why… I’m sure it was no coincidence, my reference Bible says that “the barrenness of Sara, Rebecca and Rachel emphasises God’s involvement with His promise of descendants and the creation of the nation of Israel.” I think God wanted to show that in spite of all the adversities and problems it was still in His power to create a “great nation” out of a line of barren people. We must never underestimate God’s power – He is almighty, He is the Creator of heaven and earth, nothing is impossible with Him!

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My previous post was about doubts and fears and I described how I asked God to give me a message to help me with it.  He immediately gave me a message and I was so thankful.  It helped me a lot and I was actually satisfied with the answer.  I didn’t expect to get another message about it yesterday in church.

Our minister asked us if we have been waiting for promises from God to come true, and whether we sometimes doubt that it will ever come true.   He preached from Genesis 15: 1-12 & 17-21  (NIV): God’s Covenant With Abram:   1 After this, the word of the LORD came to Abram in a vision:   Do not be afraid, Abram.   I am your shield,   your very great reward. 2 But Abram said, O Sovereign LORD, what can you give me since I remain childless and the one who will inherit my estate is Eliezer of Damascus? 3 And Abram said, You have given me no children; so a servant in my household will be my heir.    4 Then the word of the LORD came to him: This man will not be your heir, but a son coming from your own body will be your heir.    5 He took him outside and said, Look up at the heavens and count the stars— if indeed you can count them. Then he said to him, So shall your offspring be.     6 Abram believed the LORD, and he credited it to him as righteousness.    7 He also said to him, I am the LORD, who brought you out of Ur of the Chaldeans to give you this land to take possession of it.     8 But Abram said, O Sovereign LORD, how can I know that I shall gain possession of it?

9 So the LORD said to him, Bring me a heifer, a goat and a ram, each three years old, along with a dove and a young pigeon.    10 Abram brought all these to him, cut them in two and arranged the halves opposite each other; the birds, however, he did not cut in half.    11 Then birds of prey came down on the carcasses, but Abram drove them away.    12 As the sun was setting, Abram fell into a deep sleep, and a thick and dreadful darkness came over him.

17 When the sun had set and darkness had fallen, a smoking brazier with a blazing torch appeared and passed between the pieces.    18 On that day the LORD made a covenant with Abram and said, To your descendants I give this land, from the river of Egypt to the great river, the Euphrates—    19 the land of the Kenites, Kenizzites, Kadmonites,    20 Hittites, Perizzites, Rephaites,    21 Amorites, Canaanites, Girgashites and Jebusites.”

Our minister said that Abraham was promised a heir and land three times before this specific time and here God promises it again for a fourth time.  Yet only 2 verses further Abraham doubts the Lord again.  God then went on to make a covenant with Abraham, so that Abraham can believe that it will come true.

In the times that Abraham lived, a covenant was made between individuals just like it is described in the above verses.  Animals were cut in half and the 2 halves were put down with a gap in between.  The lesser (sometimes the youngest) of the two parties would then walk through that gap and a covenant would be in place.  If that person could not keep to the covenant then he would be willing to be cut in half just like the animal was.  So a covenant was a serious binding contract in those days.  Here God (who is definitely not the lesser party) is willing to make the covenant with Abraham by passing through the animals in the form of a smoking brazier with a blazing torch.

Galatians 3:  6-9 (NIV): 6 Consider Abraham: He believed God, and it was credited to him as righteousness.    7 Understand, then, that those who believe are children of Abraham.   8 The Scripture foresaw that God would justify the Gentiles by faith, and announced the gospel in advance to Abraham: All nations will be blessed through you.    9 So those who have faith are blessed along with Abraham, the man of faith.” Paul says here that everybody that believes in God is a child of Abraham, and because we believe we will be blessed just like Abraham.

Now I must say I’ve never heard a specific promise from God that we will have children.  Or that was my initial thought.  But then I started to think back to the difficult time after our first failed IVF.  In that time I realized that I can do everything possible from my side, and the doctors can do everything medically possible, but if God doesn’t want us to have children he will not put that heartbeat in the embryo, so that it can become a baby.  So I asked God to send me to a doctor if or when He thinks I need to continue with treatments again.  I asked Him to do it in such a way so that it doesn’t come from any idea from me.  I believed that if it was His will I could get pregnant on my own.  I believe miracles like that can still happen today!

About 18 months after my failed IVF I was sure I had a UTI one month.  I went to see my GP about it, and she tested my urine and there was nothing wrong with my urine – so no UTI, but I was in quite a lot of pain and discomfort.  My GP was convinced it was due to my endometriosis, and referred me to a FS again.  I went back to the FS that did my first IVF and he said that he was sure I do not have endometriosis, and that he thought I had IBS.  The only thing he could find was a polyp in my uterus.  I was not happy with his diagnosis and I decided I needed another opinion.  That is how I ended up with my current clinic.  The new FS did a laparoscopy and found stage 2 endometriosis and removed a polyp.  I started with my treatments in earnest again.  We have done a laparoscopy, 2 hysteroscopy’s, 3 IUI’s, 2 fresh IVF’s and one FET to date so far in less than a year, all because I believe God sent me back to go for treatments.

I really wanted to give up all treatments after my failed FET.  DH and I actually decided that that would be the last.  But I got some more hope – the FS said that he truly believes that I should be able to get pregnant; it’s just a matter of time.  He told me about a patient of his that only got her baby after 9 IVF’s.  He told me that when he worked in Denmark that they gave packages for 6 IVF’s and that the reason they did it like that was because almost all IVF patients got pregnant by the time they did IVF #6.  He gave me mostly just good news regarding my body and our embryos.  I had also sent a prayer request to Joyce Meyer Ministries as we are partners with them, and they had a dedicated prayer day for their partners on that specific day that we went to see our FS.  I saw the good news as an answer to our prayer request.  So we decided to try again, even though I was scared and felt like giving up so many times during the last few months.

A few weeks ago I got the book “Super.natural Child.birth” and then I learnt that infertility is not God’s will.  Children are his idea and He said to Adam and Eve: “be fruitful and multiply” Gen 1:28.  I saw there were many scriptures saying that children are a blessing from God and that God wants to bless His children.  It is not His will for his children to be barren or even to have miscarriages.

And finally I got this message yesterday.  Do you think it was a coincidence?  I do not think so – even the fact that the message had to do with God’s promise to Abraham that he will get a son, even if it seemed impossible, is important to me.  I realized God speaks to us in different ways – sometimes it will be through something you read in the Bible, sometimes it will be through messages received from preachers, and sometimes in your heart.  I used to think that He needed to speak to me directly in my heart, because I got a message like that regarding a friend’s pregnancy.   I was praying for her and her husband one day, as they had 2 miscarriages already and I heard a distinct voice in my heart saying:  “Do not worry about them anymore – she is already pregnant and this time she will not miscarry”.  About 5 – 6 weeks later she told me she was 9 weeks pregnant.  Her little is girl is 8 months old now.  She said that God must have spoken to me before she even knew she was pregnant.  So I was always hoping that God would give me a message like that about my own pregnancy, but I haven’t had anything like that so far.  Now I think that I was not listening, I was looking for my message in the wrong place…  I’m taking it as a good sign that I got so many positive messages in the last few weeks.

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