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