Love Bears all Things

This is your weekly reminder that we are fasting & praying during Monday “lunch” for:  1) Marriages for those who long to be married, 2) courage for men to walk upright and into loving marriages, and 3) willingness for women to change for the sake of loving marriages.  Put differently, we are praying for all of us–men and women alike–to be deeply connected with our Lord (and others, often including spouses) and to live lives which bear fruit that pleases him (be that children, spiritual children, or most simply, deep love for those around us).   As you pray, I hope you’ll consider the thoughts below…

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I have a friend, Susan.  She and her husband, Michael, wrote last week’s e-mail/blog.  They are uber fun people who have a chocolate truffle business, live half the year in Russia, have been involved in both vocational and “in-the-course-of-regular-life” ministry, and who make me (Connally) laugh.  They got married at 39–and it was and is a beautiful thing!

But two pregnancy losses and one failed adoption process since then have left Susan pursuing an enlarged definition of what fruitfulness means for a woman.  As she and I have talked over the past three years, we’ve realized that unintentional singleness can feel and look a lot like unintentional childlessness (it’s not totally the same, but there are significant overlaps).  In both situations, there can be a deep ache, sometimes felt more than others, sometimes more visible than others (actually, this can show up in the lives of married women whose marriages or children haven’t turned out how they hoped).   But through her grappling with God in the midst of the ache, Susan has helped me expand my understanding of what it means to live a profoundly “fruitful” life as a woman, married or single, with or without children.  I hope that hearing a bit from her recent e-mail to me (after a time visiting with a dear, pregnant friend) will encourage your heart as well.  –Connally

After church in Breckenridge we spent 3 hours with Audra and Langston, a couple who leads youth ministry.  They are so fun to love and encourage.  It was wonderful to be with them and sense their growth, recent discoveries and ongoing passion.  And then we had dinner with 7-month-pregnant friend Kat.  Of course when i hugged her and felt her abounding abdomen pressing into my barren belly, there was a bitter mocking sense of “hollowness.”  Then added was this stinging awareness that, while her womb was obviously bearing, mine had twice been a tomb.

And then, there was Jesus.

I mean, unmistakably THERE he was.  He basically sprang out of my heart as a warm spring of comfort falling for me right down into that ‘tomb’.  In the course of the evening while i cooked with her, washed dishes and rubbed her feet and tight belly, he reminded me of what he produces in empty tombs.  He reminded me that in the places where all appears bleak, dead, and empty-in those places, life is delivered.  His astounding peace guarded my heart and mind throughout the evening’s mostly-baby-to-be conversation.

And as i look back on the evening now, it speaks to me of a different kind of fruitfulness available to all women regardless of status.  Perhaps it is NOT the fruit of the womb, but the fruit of a tomb that is the truest source of our life and love.  I felt fruitful in the evening’s opportunity to love Kat, which meant to bear one who is bearing.

–Susan

“Love bears all things, believes all things, hopes all things, endures all things… Love never fails.”

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3 Responses to Love Bears all Things

  1. Erica C. says:

    Choosing to intercede for our fruitfulness as singles has ripple effects on my understanding of the (counter-intuitive) economy of the gospel. As His children, God promises abundant life–a life filled with His presence. The problem is I want the life of my dreams, which is not the same thing. God’s love and plans for our lives are so much bigger and broader reaching then our puny (in comparison) desires for comfort and warmth.

    I’ve been sensing the threat of unfulfilled hope in this arena. My heart gets sick at the prospect of needing to be filled with the good provisions of God’s plan–provisions that don’t seem to fit my expectations or hopes. I dread the thought of being overcome by the threat of my “non” future. It is haughty of my heart to hold my “unrealized” future against God, when I have no authority or control over it any way.

    The problem appears over and over in different scenarios. My heart grows faint trying to answer impossible questions that produce nothing but despair. As we all know from Marilla Cuthbert, “To despair is to turn your back on God.” I see it primarily as a trust issue. I am coming up short in my understanding of God’s character or else I wouldn’t second guess his goodness or plans.

    Basically, I want to know what waiting on God looks like when surveying my landscape seems quite barren of hope.

  2. Dawn says:

    Connally,

    Recently in a class I am taking, the instructor provided an interpretation of “Be fruitful and multiply” that I had never heard before: “Bring and give life wherever you go.”

    It blessed me greatly to know that the scripture means more than “bear children,” so I share it here so others can be blessed as well. Your friend Susan’s actions toward her expectant friend were definitely life giving.

    Dawn

  3. Karen Noller says:

    Thanks, Susan, for this powerful witness and encouragement. How marvelous to be reminded of the power of the One who is the Resurrection and the Life. How amazing that He spoke to you with such clarity and hope in the instance of you bearing one who is bearing life. Thanks for the powerful statement, so applicable when in whatever disappointment, we all find ourselves feeling a bit barren: “Perhaps it is NOT the fruit of the womb, but the fruit of a tomb that is the truest source of our life and love.”

    In peace–Karen

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