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My loving friend.

She’s been trying for a child for the past four years.  But God has not opened her womb.  Instead, His hand has been heavy on her life.  No child.  Strange illnesses.  And constant nausea and pain.  Things you would never know just to look at her smiling face, fighting to seek to serve and love rather than demand life’s blessings.

And as her heart bleeds for the children she cannot conceive, she works as a nurse, caring often for women who are pregnant.  Caring for women who have just aborted their third child.  Caring for the girl and her mother who are wailing as if someone died — because they discovered she is pregnant out of wedlock.  Caring for the belligerent woman who demands a cure for her morning sickness.

At church, some whisper behind her back, assuming she and her husband choose not to have children because they are an inconvenience — a hindrance to career, a hindrance to ministry.  Of all things, this is the most painful.  Being misunderstood by family in Christ.  Her deepest pain used against her, not because she isn’t willing to share but because they never care to ask.  They just assume.

My heart breaks for her — my dear friend.  Surely, God loves her.  Surely, though she feels the weight of His hand, He is working as a master surgeon upon her life and her heart.  Surely, behind a frowning providence, He hides a smiling face.  Surely, these are meant by a sovereign God for her good.  Surely, He withholds no good thing from her.

Surely, I’m challenged as she bows her head, eyes full of tears, voice shaking with conviction: “God is good, Tia.”

And surely, I search and search but have nothing to say to her.  God has opened my womb twice with two healthy little boys.  And she inquires so lovingly about them.  She rejoices with me — my barren, heartbroken friend rejoices with me.

All I can do is weep and quietly receive her loving words and celebration over the blessings in my life that God has withheld from her.  All I can do is break under the weight of her persistent, loving friendship.

This is His doing.  He has done as seemed good to Him.

Stripped of everything the world says defines us — motherhood, hobbies, aesthetics, tastes, life stages, circumstances, achievements or lack of — we are His.  And that’s all that matters.  This alone defines us in the truest sense.  Fruitful or barren, healthy or ill, rich or poor, we are His.

How rich we are in this.  Health, children, wealth, trophies — these can all be lost and taken away.  But nothing can snatch us from His hand.

Hallelujah, all I have is Christ.

Yet how rich is my condition,
God and Heav’n are still my own.

In that is sufficient fodder for continued love and friendship between the supposed haves and have-nots.  In that is sufficient reason to rejoice together, to give thanks together, to continue fighting side by side … as friends bound by something greater and deeper and more lasting than the trappings of this world.

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