Sunday, March 16, 2014

saying no for the sake of a better yes

I have mentioned it before, but I am really enjoying reading the daily devotional Cathy, my mother-in-law, gave me for Christmas. We aren't regular church-goers right now, and while that is something I am not entirely okay with, that's a topic for another blog post. 

I have always admired those people who can find comfort in scripture because they know where to look for it. 
I remember the day after my miscarriage; I had run out of tears, but still felt miserable and in need of something, anything. There was nothing to say really except this sucks, and I had probably already said and thought that a thousand times. I needed comforting. 
I got my Bible. 
Okay... now what? 
Am I supposed to turn to a random page? 
I don't know how this works exactly. 

I didn't have favorite passages to read. 
I didn't know where to start. 
Jared's aunt had, quite randomly, given us a book "Where to Find it in The Bible" so I grabbed that. Just as I suspected, no "miscarriage" category. So I looked up "loss." That didn't fit the bill either. It was mostly about losing possessions, losing your home. 
I lost a baby - not a car. 
This wasn't turning out quite as I had hoped. As with anything, you can have a great resource, but if don't utilize it or even know how to utilize it, it doesn't do you any good. 

My Bible and scripture knowledge hasn't increased dramatically since then. I have read more of it than ever before in my life, but I can't profess to be that regular at it. I admit I sometimes get lost in the language and miss the point.
That is why I love this Daily Guideposts devotional. 
It's like a starting block for me, helping me pick up beloved verses as I go.
The authors are cherry-picking passages one at a time and applying them to their daily lives. 
That is what I have always liked about great sermons - that I can see how that message is still relevant thousands of years later. That I can see the logic in it. I love that I can see a particular passage as a way for God to show me a different way or give me encouragement or just provide some peace.

Obviously some days in the devotional aren't as helpful or as meaningful as others, but I always take away something.

I wanted to share one I recently read (and in case anyone else reads this particular version, yes, I confess that I skipped ahead and landed on this one).

All my longings lie open before you, Lord; my sighing is not hidden from you.  - Psalm 38:9

It was a rough start to the day. Spiritually I was feeling flat. There were a few things that I really wanted for my family and my career. My prayers had turned repetitive. I felt like a broken record as I laid them before the Lord once again. And just like every other morning, I came up against a deafening silence that made me want to scream. 

Not only that, but my son woke up at 5:30 AM - much too early. It didn't take long for my sweet little boy to turn into a monster, the kind that whines and throws temper tantrums and makes messes everywhere he goes. The kid was tired.

With expiring patience, I carried him to his room and made him lie down while he screamed and cried and did everything humanly possible to get out of that bed. I sat outside his room, resting my head against the wall, and heard every single one of his heartbreaking cries for Mama. He wanted to get up, go to the park, play. But that's not what was best for him. He needed sleep.

After a thirty-minute battle, he finally gave in. The house was quiet. As I sat there in the silence, I couldn't help but think how similar I was to my son, crying out to my Abba, mistaking His silence for absence, unable to see that He was right there. God knows what's best and He knows what He's doing.

Thank You, Lord, for the promise that You hear every single one of our sighs, for being a God Who says no for the sake of saying yes.                   
       - Katie Ganshert
 - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - 
This message struck a chord.

And let's be real, as a huge Garth Brooks fan, I can't help but think of "Unanswered Prayers." 
Sometimes I thank God for unanswered prayers
Remember when you're talkin' to the man upstairs
That just because he may not answer doesn't mean he don't care
Some of God's greatest gifts are unanswered prayers

It's a pretty big message. A message my 7 year-old self was singing around the house on a regular basis. (Garth and I go way back.) As I got older, I understood the meaning within those words. Sometimes it is a good thing when we don't get what we want or what we pray for. 

Think about how different your life would be if God would have granted your every wish and prayer. 
Think back to your younger self, probably praying prayers about wanting things to work out with your high school boyfriend or getting into that specific college. 
There is a big possibility that you wouldn't actually, truly want that life you were praying so hard for. And it's possible that God wasn't answering you because he was saying no for the sake of a better yes.

Allow me to share an example from my own life.
It was the summer after my freshman year of college at Briar Cliff. 
Briar Cliff is a Catholic university. And not being Catholic myself, some of the things they worked in to the curriculum in some classes irritated me. And it was small, which I'd thought I would like. But it turned out to be just like a bigger version of high school. 
I wanted out. 

But I had an amazing scholarship that was paying all of my tuition. 
And I didn't have anywhere else I was dying to go. 
The more I tried to make the pieces fit with other schools, the more it didn't work out. I prayed about it, begging God to show me the path I was supposed to be on, to help get me into another school -any other school!- for the upcoming year.

So fall arrived and off I went back to Briar Cliff. I got a good roommate. I had friends. I did well in my classes. I was having fun. It still wasn't the right fit for me, and I could feel that, but I kept moving forward. And then in April of 2005 it became obvious why it never worked out for me to transfer schools: I met Jared

Pieces fell in to place. And we both ended up leaving Briar Cliff. 
I transferred to Fort Hays State University in Hays, Kansas - 7 hours from home and I LOVED it. It was a whirlwind decision and shocked those around me, but I was happy. 
It felt right. 
It was right.
And it is a decision I don't ever regret making - not even for one single second.
I would have never ended up there on my own. God's silence wasn't indifference; a better "yes" was coming for me.

So now I try to remember this in my daily life. 
God saying no can bring us greater happiness.
But God saying no can also mean pain. 
It can mean hardship. 

I've experienced this in my own life, especially my childhood. 
Pain and hurt and a big emotional toll I wouldn't wish on anyone.
But I came out on the other side a better person.

To quote my sister Felicia's favorite Bible verse:
...we also glory in our sufferings, because we know that suffering produces perseverance; perseverance, character; and character, hope.  -- Romans 5: 3-4

I know of some of her sufferings, as she does of mine, and I know that perseverance and character and hope did come of them. Good things come of God saying no, even if we don't understand it at the time. 
And just like the mother standing outside the door, her heart breaking as she hears every one of her baby's cries and pleas, God's silence isn't from a lack of love. It's about wanting a better yes for us in the end.


  1. I love the meaning of this message. It can be frustrating to keep hearing no or simply nothing when you are trying to search for an answer. When you finally get a "yes" everything seems to make sense of all the hardships before. I know we have talked about this topic before but you just know how to put those thoughts into sentences that everyone can relate to. :)

  2. I may have gotten a little behind on your blog posts.... But this one couldn't have come at a better time! Love this. <3


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