johanna price: bloom

from the johanna price: bloom reading plan

BY Diana Stone

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Come, let us tell of the Lord’s greatness;
    let us exalt his name together. Psalm 34:3

The snow falls steadily; it’s a typical Minnesota winter’s day.

Every being in this house is napping, with the exception of me and my heart dog Scout. The one who showed up on the doorstep of the Atlanta house I wish I’d never purchased, but the tool that God used to set my future into motion.

It’s quiet lazy Sundays like this—when there are toys strewn across my living room and diapers in the washing machine—that I remember this life of motherhood is God’s precious gift to me; a gift I long despaired I’d ever receive.

When we were battling infertility, when another month went by without two pink lines, I clung to Matthew 7:11.

“If you, then, though you are evil, know how to give good gifts to your children, how much more will your Father in heaven give good gifts to those who ask him!”

God cannot give me a bad gift. And if even Earthly fathers long to grant their children’s requests, how much more does our loving father in heaven long to give us the things we ask for?

There was purpose in my infertility. There was purpose in the waiting. I had hope then that there would be, because God’s word told me He had plans to give me hope and a future (Jer 29:11), but it wasn’t until I was on this side of the Jordan that I could see it.

Waiting woman, it is hard. Please hear me when I tell you that I know it’s hard. My heart almost turned to stone. I cried so hard once that I broke every blood vessel around my eyes. I grieved that if it weren’t for me, my husband would be someone’s daddy.

I almost fell into the trap of “why me?” Bitterness tried to grab me like a thief. But over and over I was reminded, yes, why NOT you? Have I ever gone hungry? Have I ever been unloved for even one minute? Have I ever been truly alone? No. Never. I have always been given more than I deserve. Because I deserve death.

And then on an ordinary Friday motherhood came in a phone call. A baby has been born. You’ve been chosen. Come and get your son. We drove through the plains and over mountains and through a blizzard, and my heart beat a brand new sound: mother love mother love mother love.

At the top of our stairs there was now a nursery; a room where a baby slept. Where a sweet boy was rocked and fed and sang over. He grew, and he grew. He smiled and laughed and walked and talked. He said “mamamamamama,” and “daddy” was his favorite word.

I dared not dream of more. How could this miracle happen again? Why me? Why would we deserve it?

Yes, He whispered. Why NOT you?

“He settles the barren woman in her home, a happy mother of children,” Psalm 113:9.

“This is for you,” He told me. “Remember: I can do anything.”

And on an ordinary Sunday night, much like this one, the phone chimed again. A friend asking, a young woman we know is looking for a family. Can we tell her about you?

Yes, we said again. Yes.

And so she called. And so we met. And so she came to our home and played with our son and we broke bread and watched movies and she took my hand and held it to her belly to feel this baby, a promise come to life, kicking away on the inside. And so we loved her.

And on a November morning, two years to the day we got word that a baby boy had been born, another text message chimed: “My water broke.” I raced to her and stood with her all day. Holding her hand, rubbing her back, encouraging her. The nurses kept asking, “Are you sisters?”

And that night, in darkness, our daughter entered the world.

When the nurse handed me a pink bundle, I whispered in her ear, “You are fearfully and wonderfully made.”

Our lives are ordinary. Our toddler watches too many Pixar movies, and our infant daughter wakes up in the night. We fight about what’s for dinner and who got up last with the baby. Our sliding glass doors are perpetually smudged by dog noses and toddler fingers.

But every minute of every day our life is a miracle. (And you know what? So is yours.)

God uses me, the worst of all sinners, so that you might believe.

At a baby shower celebrating this sweet baby girl, friends gathered around us, this tiny flower and me, put their hands on us, and prayed. Let her know You, Lord. Let her understand the sacrifice made by her first mother. Let her laugh and sing and chase after You, oh God. And someone prayed, “Thank you Lord for using Johanna’s life to bring You glory; thank You for Your faithfulness.”

And what I am learning, slowly but mightily, is that my story isn’t about me. It’s not about how God was faithful to me. These children are His. He knit them together in other women’s wombs. He protected them, and for plans that have yet to be glimpsed, He chose Aaron and me to be their parents.

My heart was broken at the thought of never being someone’s mother. I was crushed, and I mourned. I prayed, oh how I prayed, that if His will was for something else that He would plant a new desire in my heart. But He didn’t; instead He allowed that seed to burrow down in waiting and then, oh, how He let it bloom.

Post Comments (38)

38 thoughts on "johanna price: bloom"

  1. Ellen MR says:

    Beautiful Johanna!
    “I almost fell into the trap of ‘Why me?’ Bitterness tried to grab me like a thief”…
    Yet you clung to God’s promises and your deepest desire became true. Not once, but twice! It’s not easy to turn away from doubt and the anguish of “why!?” when we are in the midst of such a season, but FAITH can accomplish so much!
    Bless you Johanna for holding on and showing me that I can’t give into the bitterness just waiting for me to give up…I’ve got to have faith, I’ve got to believe! Thank you…
    Wishing all the best for your lovely family, I’m so happy for you and may the Lord continue to bless you all! :)

  2. Candacejo says:

    "Is there anything too hard for hard for the Lord?" Genesis 18:14. Of course not! And your story reminds us that He is faithful and to hold on to His promises….He will show up just as He told Abraham and Sarah, and Johanna!

    God bless your growing family…

  3. Amy says:

    Johanna thank you so much for sharing your story, which is HIS story. What an encouragement to all of us about God's faithfulness and love. Although my waiting comes in the form of singleness your story reminds me that God HEARS and SEES me.

    "I prayed, oh how I prayed, that if His will was for something else that He would plant a new desire in my heart. But He didn’t; instead He allowed that seed to burrow down in waiting and then, oh, how He let it bloom."

    He is a redeemer and yes He goes far beyond what we can imagine.

    Sisters praying for each one of us who is in a season of waiting. That we would lean in on who He is and what we believe. He hears our cries and He knows what is best. LOVE all of y'all.

  4. shehasnofear says:

    Sweet Johanna… what a beautiful testimony of God's faithfulness! On this snowy April day with coffee spilled all over myself, I'm remembering with you… He gives no bad gifts. Praising Him for your beautiful family, for His Father-love for all His children. <3

  5. Elizabeth says:

    "God uses me, the worst of all sinners, so that you might believe" and "If you, then, though you are evil, know how to give good gifts to your children, how much more will your Father in heaven give good gifts to those who ask him!”

    Out of everything, these are what struck me most, because I often speak of myself as, "the worst of all sinners."

    Thank you for reminding me of the hope I have in Him and His infinite wisdom.

  6. Carolynmimi says:

    Indeed a wonderful testimony to God's faithfulness and to the fruitfulness that patience ( long suffering) produces.

  7. LindaG says:

    Thank you Johanna. What a precious testimony of God’s faithfulness.

  8. Jen Lemke says:

    Thank you from the bottom of my heart for posting this. My husband and I have been struggling with infertility for three years. Let me tell you, it is the most isolating and heartbreaking thing I have ever been through. Hearing someone’s victory story keeps me putting one foot in front of the other. All the emotion in this story had me saying, “Yes! That’s me!” I strive to keep God’s will for our lives in the forefront of my mind and at the root of all decisions, but I have to admit, it is constant battle when the struggle has dragged on for so many months. As irrational as it is, I wonder sometimes, has He forsaken us? I KNOW that is not the case, and that all things WILL work together for our good, but at times, I feel like I am floundering under the immense weight of the grief that accompanies infertility. I appreciate the candor in this post, and we will keep moving forward knowing that whatever happens, God’s plan for our lives is more perfect than anything we have planned. God bless you for sharing this testimony.

    1. Jen, holding you. He is working. He is moving. You WILL get to the other side—the side he has planned for you.

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