My wife Ashley and I didn’t realize that the thunderclouds were building after only four months of trying to start a family. We couldn’t see then that we were just entering our LifeStorm. We couldn’t see at that point how much we would long and wait for a break in the storm. And then when it felt like a break had come, we had no idea that it was only a pause before the hailstones of two miscarriages. How many times our tears flooded like rain after false pregnancy tests and even more when Ashely’s progesterone levels would begin to drop.
One thing we learned then is that we aren’t alone. And one thing we know now is that God works for the good of those who love Him and are called by His name. One hope that we cling to always is that He will use our story.
I love what Paul wrote to the church in Philippi when he was in prison. I can imagine that most people would see this kind of confinement as a dead-end, but Paul saw this imprisonment as an opportunity to be used by God.
And I want you to know, my dear brothers and sisters, that everything that has happened to me here has helped to spread the Good News. For everyone here, including the whole palace guard, knows that I am in chains because of Christ. And because of my imprisonment, most of the believers here have gained confidence and boldly speak God’s message without fear.
Paul clearly saw this storm as a way to reach people that he would not have reached otherwise. He put on the label of “prisoner” as an opportunity to tell others about the saving grace of Jesus Christ.
For three years Ashley and I put on the label of “barren” to do the same. The few things that kept us going were hope that God would be faithful to give us a child, and that He trusted us to be good stewards of His story, no matter how long the storm lasted.
This LifeStorm did not last a lifetime for us. On Christmas Eve this past year, our son was born. The clouds rolled past, leaving behind a clearer vision of other people who are in the middle of a storm similar to ours.
We learned the importance of rejoicing with those who rejoice and mourning with those who mourn. We now have the sacred honor of being able to have conversations with people who are in the middle of the storm. We have cried with couples, laughed with couples, and looked others in the eyes and encouraged them to ask God the BIG ask of becoming parents. Most importantly we get to help people see God in the middle of their storm.
I don’t know what your label is. Barren, bankrupt, unemployed, divorced, depressed, widowed, terminal. But I do know this. That label isn’t your identity, for if you are in Christ you are a new creation. But how can this label be used to further the Kingdom of God? How can your label become the right moment, the right word, the right encouragement to point a coworker or friend or someone in your home group to Jesus Christ? The One who gives us the peace and the hope to make it through our LifeStorms.
We could all justify LifeStorms as an opportunity to isolate ourselves and to become bitter toward God, other people, or our situations. But how much better it is when our hearts are open to be used by God in the midst of our LifeStorms! Now I get to look at my son and see how much of a gift from God he is. But I also get to intercede on behalf of my friends or even people I hardly know who desperately want to become parents…and I get it. Because I’ve been there.
If you are walking into, or are in the midst of a LifeStorm, find someone who loves Jesus who has been there before. Let community and God’s presence and Word produce endurance in you.
Your LifeStorm. Use it as an opportunity to reach people who you would not have reached otherwise. They are all around you. We are not designed to do this alone.
– Geoff Lynn