(In her previous post, Tina shared her inner ache to serve in Christian ministry again, even as a mom with a baby girl only just turned one. A continuation of her reflections…)
By Tina Teng-Henson
I do not shape my life or direct my steps. I do not even know if I will have a tomorrow, honestly. Are any of us guaranteed anything in this life? In this – there is such tremendous freedom. In the book, Flawed Families of the Bible: How God’s Grace Works Through Imperfect Relationships, what David and Diana Garland write about the faith of Abraham and Sarah is beautifully sweet, poignant, and relevant to me, too, in this season:
Abraham and Sarah must have believed the promise and so been intimate with one another after the angels’ visitation, perhaps with laughter, with one saying to the other, “How many times do you think we have made love in these eighty years together?” Isaac was not born by an immaculate conception. His old parents had made love in response to God’s promise. This, too, was an act of faith. It contrasted with their earlier actions, which really were acts that doubted God’s faithfulness. Earlier, they tried to get what God had promised — a future and a future with children — by abusing others: Abraham by selling Sarah to the pharaoh, and Sarah by forcing Hagar to become Abraham’s concubine. This time, they got it right. Out of laughter and lovemaking came Isaac. (42)
I really cannot plan with any certainty the trajectory of my life in these next few years. They are critical, and they are beyond my control. I may desire to enact complex machinations to sway the trajectory this way or that. But I don’t want to have too much of a strong hand in what is next.
All I know is that my recurring mental preoccupation and deep desire is to find meaningful occupation again, and at some point, somehow, we’d like to have more children. Part of me wants that again soon – part of me does not, having just made it through this challenging year! Truly the Lord alone knows what he plans to do with me and us.
Will he open my womb again? In relation to when my husband and I deem it reasonable and faithful to make that possible? Whatever happens and whatever he does, may we be ready. May all of our laughter and lovemaking be in faith and trust…acts of beauty and surrender and recommitment to our marriage covenant. And, when the time is right, an act of conception again.
Will the Lord give me a role at a church I’m excited to work at – a healthy, stable, strong church with a large staff team? I really hope so. But if I get lost on the road there, show up late, have an awkward first introduction to whoever is in charge of hiring… so be it! I call on you, Lord, to be the sovereign God of grace you have always told me that you are.
And so I wait. And try to be patient. And walk, in the fog. Enjoying the mist. Valuing the apparent darkness and confusion. Knowing you are good.
Tina Teng-Henson has been blessed to learn + grow alongside so many different people, in so many places: Long Island, NY — Harvard College + the South End of Boston — Nairobi, Kenya and Lanzhou, China. She is working towards her Master of Divinity at Fuller‘s Northern California campus.