The other day I was re-reading the story in I Kings 17 about Elijah and the widow who was preparing her last meal before she and her son died. Elijah approached her and told her that if she prepared bread for him first that she would not run out of flour or oil before the drought ended. I cannot imagine looking into my son’s eyes knowing I am preparing the last meal before we die and having a complete stranger tell me if I served him first we would live. Yet that is the very choice she made.
I am tempted to wonder how she knew that this stranger was a prophet, but I believe I already know the answer. She recognized God in Elijah’s words. When it all seemed so impossible she knew to listen for that distinct peaceful voice.
One of the biggest transformations for me through this journey has been learning to listen for God. Although it is not an audible voice, it is distinct in its essence. It is an intuition or thought that brings a tremendous sense of calm often despite my whirling emotions.
When we embarked on our journey to start a family I had a therapist ask me if I truly felt we would conceive a child. I was not ready to face it and desperately hoped my intuition was wrong, but deep down I knew from the beginning that we would not be successful in our endevors to become pregnant. There was never a peaceful sense about pursuing infertility treatment. However, whenever I thought about adoption I had a tranquil feeling that we would become parents via that route.
I fought against God’s voice for a couple of years unwilling to believe that he truly would not be granting our prayers for pregnancy. After exhausting ourselves spiritually and emotionally I knew it was time to listen more closely. Heading into our last round of treatment I needed God to speak with me definitively. I prayed for God to set up a road block to pursuing further treatment if we were unsuccessful that month.
I will always remember seeing the cyst on the ultrasound. It was the roadblock I had prayed for God to provide. Until the cyst resolved we were unable to go forward. I wept with a grief so deep that it felt like my entire world had shattered. I knew God had answered my prayer although it was not the answer I wanted. It was time to pursue a hysterectomy and make different plans for our future.
It was not easy. I pleaded with him to change his mind; that I would become pregnant in the couple of weeks that stood between that ultrasound and my surgery date, but I can honestly say that I went into the operating room at peace with ending our chances of conceiving a child. I knew I had heard God’s voice.
For the next few years I wandered through life aimlessly. The only future that felt right was to go forward with adoption. I had no idea how we would afford it or how we would ever meet an expectant mother looking to make an adoption plan. My husband and I essentially tried on different futures attempting to find the right fit for our family. We had settled on being a “complete as two” family and I would return to school. It did not feel right, but I needed my life to stop being a directionless drift.
A week later God revealed how he wanted us to proceed by matching us with an expectant mom. Throughout the duration of her pregnancy I repeatedly heard God saying “No, the time is not right yet.” He was using this match so we would be prepared for the next. The birth came and went. The mother choose to parent. I was heartbroken and completely confused about God’s direction for our life.
Three weeks later we were once again matched and things all clicked right into place. From the beginning, despite all of the pain we had been through and the difficulties that laid before us, I knew that this was my child. God’s voice reassured me throughout the pregnancy. Even after Turkey-Man’s birth as Mama-A began asking to spend time alone with him I was at peace that he was my son. My emotions wanted to panic, our friends and family were very worried that she was changing her mind and yet I was able to hold onto that peaceful reassurance that I felt inside.
A year and a half later I began hearing in earnest that we would be having a daughter soon. It made no sense, but yet I again felt tremendously tranquil about the situation. We were not matched, nor had we fully decided that we wanted more children. Financially, we had no idea how we would swing it. Yet, there was little surprise a few weeks later when out of the blue we received a phone call asking if we would be interested in working with another expectant mom.
The intuition that our next child was a daughter was so strong that I remember hubby asking as we went into the ultrasound, “What if it is a boy?” I looked at him with full conviction and replied, “Then, this is not our child.” Tears streamed down my cheeks as the tech revealed that the baby was indeed a girl. Logically, we had many hurdles still to leap over before we would bring our daughter home and yet I was always able to turn to the unexplainable calm feeling about the outcome of the pregnancy and know that it was God’s voice.
In I Kings that widow looked at the meager remains of flour and oil knowing that it was just enough to prepare one final meal before she and her son died. Approached by a stranger with a request that would logically not be possible, she choose to follow God’s voice and God provided for her until the rain came again.
If you are in a situation and have no idea where to head next, look for that tranquil thought or intuition. It may make absolutely no sense. You may not be able to foresee how that answer to the situation could possibly work, but God does. You just have to be willing to trust in the peaceful voice of God.