“Those who do not ask do not trust God enough to desire.” This quote by John Eldridge was used by the Lord to take a battering ram to a lie that lay hidden deep in my heart. The lie was this: God doesn’t care about the desires of your heart.
Somehow, in my journey with Jesus, I bought into this religious notion that I would be considered more “spiritual, godly, or holy” if I pretended that I was content, and I didn’t long for anything but Jesus. While that sounds good and noble on the surface, there is a huge problem with this notion … it denies who God created us to be and screams a lie about His character.
Beneath this notion was an ever deeper, older, and more sinister suggestion that kept the false belief fueled—it is the lie behind all temptation and rebellion. This lie was the same one Satan used with Eve in the Garden of Eden, and it was the same one buried deep in my heart. It is the lie that says, “God is not good.” Often we don’t realize we are believing a lie about God until He reveals it to us.
It was my 30th birthday, and I was on a beach trip with friends when the Lord opened my eyes to see that I, too, believed this lie. I was doing so by pretending to myself (and others).
Pretending that I didn’t want to get married.
Pretending that I didn’t want a life of adventure in serving Him.
Pretending that I didn’t want to be a mother.
I was pretending out of fear.
Fear, that I would be disappointed if I allowed myself to hope. Fear, that God wouldn’t come through for me. But beyond that, fear that Satan was right and that God was not really good after all.
All the squelching of desire, while on the surface made me feel spiritual and godly, was actually my heart believing Satan’s oldest lie.
The problem with pretending is that we can’t pretend with God. He sees us and knows us better than we know ourselves. Thankfully, Jesus broke through my walls of denial and called me out. He called me into this “journey of desire” … to walk by faith. Sitting on a beach on my 30th birthday, I heard the Lord whisper to my heart, “Marian, what do you desire?” And in the most vulnerable conversation I’ve ever had with Him, I said, “Do you really care?”
In that moment of transparency, the lie exposed. The ancient twisting tale of Lucifer that suggested, “God doesn’t really care, He is holding out on you because He is not good. Don’t trust Him with your heart.”
The Lord lovingly exposed this lie, not only to bring me to repentance but to bring me into a deeper relationship with Himself.
How could I truly love the Lord if I did not trust Him with the deepest longings of my heart?
How could I claim to walk by faith if I didn’t hope for things that only the Lord could provide?
How could I experience God’s highest and best if I didn’t risk believing Him?
The Lord allowed me to see that burying my true heart’s desire was an act of unbelief. It was taking my heart, hiding it, and telling myself and others that I refuse to long for more because I don’t believe there is a loving Heavenly Father who is willing or able to change my situation.
Friends, entrusting our desires to the Lord is an act of faith.
We are desire. It is the essence of the human soul, the secret of our existence. Absolutely nothing of human greatness is ever accomplished without it. Not a symphony has been written, a mountain climbed, an injustice fought, or a love sustained apart from desire. Desire fuels our search for the life we prize. Our desire, if we will listen to it, will save us from committing soul-suicide, the sacrifice of our hearts on the altar of “getting by.” The same old thing is not enough. It never will be. —JOHN ELDREDGE, Desire
There on the beach, on my 30th birthday, as an act of faith, Jesus invited me to desire. He asked me to share with Him the longings of my heart and to believe that He is good. So, I did. I let go of the façade of super-spirituality and I got real with God. I told Him the longings of my heart.
… For marriage
… For ministry
… And yes, for motherhood.
Over thirteen years later, here is the truth I can share from this journey of desire:
1. God is good. No, I have not seen every longing fulfilled in this lifetime, but I have seen this:
Taste and see that the LORD is good; blessed is the one who takes refuge in him. Psalm 34:8
2. The wait is worth it. In the seasons of waiting, my honesty with God ushered me into a deeper knowing of Him. In the pain of waiting, I experienced the comfort of His presence. In the persistency of prayer, I experienced His power to provide. In the journey of desire, I witnessed the Lord’s sovereignty to close wrong doors and open the right ones.
You make known to me the path of life; in your presence there is fullness of joy; at your right hand are pleasures forevermore. Psalm 16:11
3. The risk brings reward. For only in risking my heart could I stand and see how the Lord sovereignly and sweetly brought about the longings of my heart. Sure, there are many things I still wait upon and many things the Lord has said “no” concerning, but through it all, I’ve experienced the deepest desire of my soul, which is Jesus.
Delight yourself in the Lord, and he will give you the desires of your heart. Psalm 37:4
Today, at 43 years old, I share these photos of myself at nine months pregnant because they are a living witness to God’s goodness in my life. At age 30, I had no idea what God would do in and through my life over the next thirteen years. I had no idea how the journey of desire would take me through seasons of intense heartbreak and indescribable joy. Looking back, I know the invitation to desire was an invitation to see Him do exceedingly more than I could have asked or imagined.
As I write this post, I am once again waiting. Waiting for the arrival of our baby girl, Sydney Jordan Ellis and I can’t help but think, “What if.”
What if I had believed Satan’s lie and pretended I didn’t desire?
What if I had kept my longings buried deep in my heart and didn’t bring them to the Lord in prayer?
What if I had pretended that I was “fine?”
Sisters, we aren’t guaranteed everything in this life. But we are called to believe God is good and entrust our hearts to Him. Faith is simply letting Him bring about in His timing and in His way what His highest and best is for us.
For the LORD God is a sun and shield; the LORD bestows favor and honor. No good thing does he withhold from those who walk uprightly. Psalm 84:11
Marian Jordan Ellis
Photography by Justin Ellis Designs