Soul Food, Waiting for Baby Bird

Prepare to Take off Those Rags

Fill in the blank: Infertility and loss does not lead to…

Kelly, an infertility warrior who has experienced years of heartache and loss, has written a beautiful article on Lazarus’s story and how she is declaring even now when all hope is lost that this season of loss and infertility does not lead to and why she is preparing to take off those rags. She is preparing in her heart and mind for the day Jesus calls her forth into a new season of LIFE.

The last couple of weeks I have been reflecting on the story of Lazarus in John 11.

Lazarus was ill and his sisters, Mary and Martha, sent word to Jesus: “Lord, he whom you love is ill.” Mary and Martha were obviously concerned for their brother; it must be urgent. They were holding on to the hope of Jesus and His healing power.

But Jesus delayed. 

And Lazarus died. 

I imagine that Mary and Martha expected to see Jesus in the days before their brother’s death. I imagine that in their faith, they told their friends, “You’ll see, Jesus is coming. Jesus will heal Lazarus!” And I imagine that with each knock on the door, their hearts leaped with anticipation of His arrival.  

When Jesus finally did show up, it was four days after Lazarus’s death. He was too late. Can you imagine Mary and Martha’s grief and disappointment?

When Martha heard that Jesus had finally arrived in town, she went to meet him. She cried, “Lord if you had been here, my brother would not have died.” Then Mary went to meet Jesus. She fell at his feet weeping, “Lord if you had been here, my brother would not have died.” And do you know what Jesus did? He wept. He was deeply moved. Not only did He allow the two sisters to grieve their brother’s death, but he grieved with them. Jesus didn’t scold Mary and Martha in their grief. He didn’t dismiss their pain by telling them to wait and see what He was about to do. He didn’t say, “I have a better plan.” He didn’t question their faith; He knew they trusted Him. He wept with them because despite knowing the rest of the story, it still hurt.

It still hurt all of them.

The rest of the story. His story… 

Jesus, Mary, and Martha went to Lazarus’s tomb. His face was wrapped in cloth, and linens bound his hands and feet. He’d been dead four days now. Jesus instructed Martha to roll the stone away from the tomb. But Martha hesitated, “Jesus, it’s going to stink. He’s been dead FOUR days.” Jesus reminded Martha, “If you believe, you will see the glory of God.” With believing hearts, they moved the stone, and Jesus, through the power of God, commanded life back into Lazarus’s stinky, lifeless body! Lazarus came walking out of the tomb, and Jesus said to them, “Take off his rags.”  

Does it seem like Jesus is late? Are you questioning His delay, your unanswered prayers? Are you struggling with understanding His plan? Are you uncomfortable in your grief? Does your situation, like Lazarus’s lifeless body, just plain STINK? 

This year has been such a challenge for so many. It has been riddled with illness, loss, disappointment, loneliness, and unfulfilled plans. We find ourselves wondering, Where is Jesus? I’ll be honest; I see myself in Mary and Martha. I find myself pondering, “What is God up to?”  

My husband and I have been struggling with infertility for almost 3 years. For those of you keeping track, that’s just about our entire marriage. We weren’t young whippersnappers when we got married, and we aren’t getting any younger. We so long to become parents and grow our family. This year has been particularly challenging as we have undergone many fertility treatment rounds, each accompanied by countless appointments, medications, shots, and disappointments. Like Mary and Martha, we have sent for Jesus. We ask Him to heal my body, and with each round, we wait eagerly for Him to “show up.” But friends, He seems delayed.

Our latest round resulted in a pregnancy, a little girl known by our family as Little Bean and our faith community as La Una. In October, before she existed in my womb but with anticipation of her arrival, I gathered the courage, with the encouragement of a mentor blogger, to buy her the cutest little Thanksgiving bib and booties because, “When you pray for rain, you buy an umbrella.” But the week before Thanksgiving, we lost her. We found ourselves sharing news of both her life and our loss all at once. And we grieved. And are grieving. Again, just like Mary and Martha, I find myself weeping at the feet of Jesus. If you had been here, you could have saved her. I know you have the power to save her. But we weep together with our Jesus because He understands and meets us in our grief.  

Jesus, it feels like you are too late. We are both physically and emotionally tired. We are running out of resources. We are weary. And I wonder that if in the midst of Your delay, like Lazarus’s lifeless body, it’s beginning to stink. 

But God reminds me this is HIS story.

“But when Jesus heard it, He said, This illness does not lead to death. It is for the glory of God, so that the Son of God may be glorified through it.” John 11:4 

I do not know exactly how our journey will unfold but I do know this: 

This loss and infertility does not lead to death. 

This loss and infertility does not lead to hopelessness. 

This loss and infertility does not lead to loneliness.  

This loss and infertility does not lead to brokenness.  

This loss and infertility does not lead to financial hardship.

Lord, may You be glorified.

Do you know what Jesus said about His delay and Lazarus’s death?

“Then Jesus told them plainly, Lazarus has died and for your sake I am glad that I was not there, so that you may believe.” John 11:14 

So that we might BELIEVE. To grow our faith. To ultimately bring Glory to Him.   

Then the stone was rolled away and He breathed life back into a stinky body. For His glory so that we might believe. 

And while we continue to pray that God breathe life into my barren womb, we long even more for His glory to be revealed.  

So for the New Year I challenge you and myself: 

Prepare to take off those rags!

Prepare to see His glory revealed! 

Kelli loves coffee dates with friends, game nights with family and random conversations with strangers in the checkout line. She believes these are the connections God uses to write our stories and to inspire one another. She has been married to her perfect match, Chad, for three years and while together they long and pray for children of their own, they seek to praise God through the wait and glorify Him in the story.

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