Of Promises Not Present and Girls Who Believe (Seriously Single Series - Part Three)
I was never going to write this in this way. I now know this is the only way to write it.
The Christmas of 2016 my heart was completely broken. I mean it, it was broken to bits. I was broken to bits. Worse than any emotional pain I could have possibly been experiencing was the ever present and burning reality that, had I been smarter, I would not have been experiencing any pain at all. The constant internal dialogue was as follows: "Congratulations on being too fascinating to let go of while simultaneously being too much to commit to. Also. None of this would be happening if you hadn't been such an idiot."
I was reading a book about Sarah when the Lord spoke to me. As clearly as I have heard Him speak anything in my life, as certainly as I have witnessed insider information He has ever let me in on prove to be true, I heard Him. I needed to write down the date. In one year's time we would know exactly who my husband was.
I believed this without question. I wrote it down quietly, but I believed it loud. 2017 was a full year, but it was void of anxiety about this topic. Trips and trials, Youth Congress and Conference - it was fine. Was I by myself in a sea of coffee dates and text message analysis and wedding after wedding after wedding? Yes. But I didn't care. Because I wouldn't be for long. Christmas was coming.
Christmas came. My sister brought her boyfriend home to spend the holiday with our family. I brought the book with me. Even in those final days I was confident. I knew what I had heard.
The date passed. Nothing.
I would love to write for you another story. Literally any other story. I am actually open to almost any alternative plotline. Melinda doesn't have to get married and have seven children. She doesn't. Melinda could move to Uganda and raise orphans in a hut. Melinda could get her doctorate in English Literature. Melinda could write books in Brazil or teach in Ghana or become a professional shopper. I don't know how to adequately explain to you how painfully aware of all of my flaws I am, or how incredibly open I am to being happy and content and to let the dream die. Father in heaven, I wish I could communicate to you how much I want to JUST. LET, THE. DREAM. DIE. To hear Him say "That's not for you. Get over it." So I can get over it.
But that's not what He said.
It's not what He's saying.
And I tell you I had heard Him say to write that date down in the same way I have ever heard Him say anything else. And I believed it with every fiber of my being. And when it didn't happen, I questioned everything. About myself. About His plans. About our relationship. As a side note, let me express, I can buy my own coffee, but when what I have going on with Jesus is not working that is a problem. I questioned everything, and for the first time in a long time, I wanted to die.
It's not cute. It's not catchy. You can't put it on a trendy feminist poster. But it's the truth. I wanted to die. If I couldn't hear God accurately, if there was no end to the waiting in sight, if I was just going to be stuck in an endless cycle of other people getting exactly what I wanted while all I got was the privilege of getting them more gifts, life could go ahead and end. I was pretty sure I could happily worship God for all eternity without having to buy a new dress or RSVP or like anyone else's instagram photos to do it.
And I repeat: This did not have to be the dream I was chasing. This did not have to be the hope my heart harbored. I would have been happy to race toward a prize I had any control over. A prize which was in any way attainable.
I heard right. So what went wrong? Unlike my teen years, the darkness only lasted three days. The Lord spoke clarity to that, to both me and my two closest friends and mentors when I finally let them know what was going on, confirming what He was already speaking to me. Thanks to that, the ache became easier to bear. It dissipated, but did not dissolve. It remained in the back of my mind, quietly mocking me.
So it was that in the quiet of a hotel room at Missouri Ladies Conference, I looked one of my precious friends in the eye and I said:
"I just don't believe He can do it. I believe He'll do it for everyone else in my life, but He will not do it for me."
It was not cute. It was not catchy. I don't think it was even all that Christian. But it was the truth. I didn't believe. I couldn't have if I tried. I just didn't have it in me any more. And I was thankful. It would be easier not to hope.
The next service there was a powerful move of God. Towards the end, I was sitting on the floor, with my back to the wall, when my sweet Haleigh came and sat next to me. You'll know immediately what a moment this was because of the insider information provided in the previous paragraphs, but Haleigh, she hadn't heard. She sat close. She held my hand. She looked straight into my eyes. She said:
"God has told you recently, that He cannot lie. You know He cannot lie. Every promise in His word, you can mark it down, it came to pass. Every promise He has given throughout history, it has come to pass. He has shown Himself faithful throughout all generations. He is a promise performer, He is a good Father, and that does not stop just shy of Melinda Poitras. God's promise is coming Melinda. It is coming straight for you."
I knew exactly what she was talking about, and so, I think, did she.
"For the Lord God is a sun and shield: the Lord will give grace and glory: no good thing will he withhold from them that walk uprightly." Psalm 84:11
It's 1:20 AM when I write this. I have been crying. I see (or rather do not see) all of my "prospects." I am painfully aware, as previously mentioned, of each and every one of my horrific, overpowering, disqualifying flaws. Someone asked me if I "liked" someone the other day and I said "These days it's more like people I would not hit in the face with a frying pan if they approached me, and people who need to not." It wasn't cute or catchy but (and you're probably getting the picture by now) it was the truth. But here are a few things I know:
If it is good for me, I've either got it, or its on its way.
If it is good,
I have got it.
Or it IS on its way.
I taught a Sunday School class one time where I remarked how Abraham (in that story about Abraham and Sarah) also laughs. God lets Abraham in on it first. And Abraham laughs. The men in the class said that Abraham's laugh was not one of disbelief. Actually, the Word says:
"He laughed and said to himself, 'Will a son be born to a man a hundred years old? Will Sarah bear a child at the age of ninety?' And Abraham said to God, 'If only Ishmael might live under your blessing!'"
He states reasons why it's implausible, he bargains for the son he's already got - sorry fellows, sounds like doubt to me.
When Sarah laughs, she's called out. Why?
I'm not a scholar, but here's what I think:
It’s one thing for someone else to doubt God’s hand in your life. It’s another thing entirely when you doubt it yourself. The miracle wasn’t happening in Abraham. The miracle was happening in her.
Where does that leave us? Where does that leave me? I don't know. We're not automatically promised a husband of course, but the Lord has let me into too much info about the man for me to pretend he doesn't exist.
"We must hold on to God's promise that we have said we believed. And we must never let go. He has promised and he will do it." Hebrews 10:23
Say it now. Say it loud. Say it before you see it.
In a time when names were so significant, a time when Abraham would have been meeting new people almost every day, it is no coincidence that he had to say it. "My name is father of many." "Cool cool. How many kids you have Abraham?" "None."
"I am father of many." Day after day after day, when all traceable data clearly concluded he was the father of none, he would say it. "I am father of many."
I don't know the end of my story, but I know this: The Word is already there. The destination I will reach eventually? The Word is there, already camped out.
I stood next to Sarah during altar call on our church platform. Sarah had struggled with fertility issues for a long time. In fact, I gave Sarah that same book about the Biblical Sarah on Mother's Day of 2017. We were told to pray over each other for the miracle we knew the other needed, so we did. I prayed as hard as I have ever prayed in my life. Then I heard the words "Dance like it's already happened." So I did. We didn't know it at the time, but Sarah? She was pregnant that day. It had already happened. In December we will hold that baby in our hands. There were two of us on that platform. Two of us shared that moment. And before we hold the miracle - we hold the promise.
It would be great if this were a story about my finding a life mate. It would be okay if this story were about me being awesome without one. (In fact, writing this blog was a struggle because I happen to think you can definitely be awesome without one and that's a lot more fun to write about.) I would rather a yes or a no and to move on with my life but that is not the story the Lord wants to tell with my heart and my hope and my hands.
He wants to tell the story of a woman who believed.
When the Lord has promised you something, you can hold onto that promise. Mark it down. It's happening.
That is either true or it is not. And if it is true, then it is true for me.
Me, Melinda Danae Poitras. The writer. The warrior. The wife.
So for now, that's what I do. I hold on to the promise, and I shop online. I shop online while I can. My husband, I know he's a good deal more thrifty than I am.
So there's that.