Malachai: My MessengerI had a revelation today at Bible study. We are studying the names of God and today we were in Genesis 16. Sarai and Abram have waited years for the descendants promised to them in Genesis 15. Years had passed yet she still had not had a baby. So she took matters into her own hands.
Genesis 16:2 “So Sarai said to Abram, “The Lord has prevented me from having children. Go and sleep with my servant. Perhaps I can have children through her.” Hagar, (Sarai’s servant) gets pregnant then treats Sarai cruelly, and then Sarai abuses her. As a result of all of this negativity, Hagar runs away.
Genesis 16:7-11 The angel of the Lord found Hagar beside a spring of water in the wilderness, along the road to Shur. The angel said to her, “Hagar, Sarai’s servant, where have you come from and where are you going?” “I’m running from my mistress Sarai,” she replied. Then the angel of the Lord said to her, “Return to your mistress and submit to her authority. Then I will give you more descendants than you can count. And the angel also said, “You are now pregnant, and you will give birth to a son. You are to name him Ishamel (which means God hears) for the lord has heard your cries of distress.” Then scripture goes on to say “Thereafter Hagar used another name to refer to the Lord, who had spoken to her. She said, “You are the God who sees me” (Genesis 16:13).
El Roi is the God who sees me.
I saw myself in this story, not the giving another woman to my husband part, that’s just nutty, but the impatience of Sarai to have a baby. Sarai knew the promise God had made to Abram, about having more descendants than he could count (Genesis 15:5), but it was taking a long time. She tried to fulfill his plan herself instead of waiting on his perfect time.
I believe that God speaks to me through dreams. I’d had so many dreams, too many to count, of positive pregnancy tests, of Dyllan playing with kids, of me giving birth and other things. All of which I realize now, was him revealing his future plans for me.
Just like God came to Abram in Genesis 15:4-5, promising him a son of his own and many descendants, God came to me in my dreams over and over again. But I didn’t realize that was God at this point, I just figured I was having those dreams because I wanted a baby so badly.
I felt like it was taking forever to get pregnant, especially because it seemed like everyone around me wasn’t having any problem. I started to feel like I physically could not get pregnant-that I was broken. I was getting angry and consumed with jealousy.
I did get pregnant, I was 19. At our first appointment there were two gestational sacs. We about passed out! Twins?! Unfortunately, we lost that pregnancy and I was so confused. Why would God give me that gift, only to take it away?
When I started to bleed I remember falling to the ground in our bedroom and I completely lost it. Crying so hard I couldn’t breathe and snot everywhere, ugly cry.
Why God? Why? That’s so cruel, why would you take them from me, knowing my heart that we wanted a baby so badly? Dyllan came upstairs and found me, picked me up, and held me in his arms while I cried. He didn’t say anything, he just held me.
This is where I relate to Hagar by the spring. “You are the God who sees me.” El Roi. God sees everything. In this huge world with so many things going on, he saw little me. He saw me on the floor in my distress, just like he saw Hagar. He brought Dyllan upstairs to comfort me. Dyllan’s arms were the physical representation of God’s arms around me.
I took matters into my own hands after that, just like Sarai did.
We started seeing a fertility specialist and doing fertility treatments to try to get pregnant since it had been years and we’d suffered a miscarriage. During those years, yes years, Dyllan deployed, and I finished college. I was a registered vet tech working in a very busy clinic. I was so happy and pleased with where I was in life. I LOVED being a tech, it made me so incredibly happy and proud of myself. But I was so angry and bitter that we still didn’t have a baby. It seemed like that was the only thing missing.
I continued to have those dreams, which only frustrated me more because I longed for them to be reality.
The fertility treatments were an insane emotional roller coaster to say the least. They weren’t working, I wasn’t getting pregnant. Each time they failed I lost hope; I thought I’d never have a baby. But Jeremiah 29:11.
We were between fertility cycles. We were about to do insemination in a couple weeks. I got pregnant, on my own, without any help from the doctor before we got the chance. I can’t even say that God answered my prayers because I didn’t pray to get pregnant. I just kept asking him why why why why won’t you let me get pregnant? Why won’t you give me this? You know how badly I want it.
Psalm 113:9 He gives the childless woman a family, making her a happy mother. Praise the Lord!
Fast forward to naming our son: for years we had agreed on the name Matthew if we had a boy. For some reason, though, Malachai sounded so much better. Dyllan wasn’t totally a fan at first, but he came around and we named him Malachai.
Malachi is the last book in the Old Testament. He was a prophet who foretold the coming of Elijah, who would prepare the way for the great “day of the Lord” aka, the coming of Jesus Christ. Another connection to the story in Genesis 16 and in my own life is God naming the children. God told Hagar to name her son Ishmael, which means God hears. The Holy Spirit nudged me to name our son Malachai. Malachi, in Hebrew means Messenger of God, or my messenger. I’ll get to why this is significant in a minute. ( We spell it different, but it means the same.)
Now, I knew the meaning when we chose it. I didn’t think anything of it though. Now I’m realizing more and more why I felt the nudge to change it to Malachai from Matthew.
He is only barely 15 months old right now, but it’s been a rough 15 months to say the least. I was diagnosed with post-partum depression and anxiety a few months after he was born. The anxiety was almost paralyzing. The nightmares were the worst. I frequently had incredibly vivid nightmares about him dying. Some of them were satanic in nature, those impacted me the most. I would wake up in the night and search the bed for him in a panic. I would stay up and literally watch him breathe. I had terrible intruding thoughts; I was a prisoner in my own head. Satan really had a hold of me and it was affecting every aspect of my life, my mothering, my attitude, self-worth, and my marriage. He used my dreams just like God did but he used them to deceive me. Nightmares don’t come from God.
Eventually I just couldn’t take it anymore and sought help. Without me realizing it, God lead me to a wonderful Christian counselor who brought me back to my faith. This is when I started to notice God working in my life, because I was looking for him again for the first time in a long time. Instead of asking him for things all the time, or being mad at him for not giving me something, she taught me how to depend on God. Depend on him 110%. And seek him, go to him for everything, big or small.
Through her encouragement I read a few books, one being Psalm 91 by Peggy Joyce Ruth. I printed out the entire chapter from the Bible and placed my name in it then I hung it above my spot in bed. I did the same for Malachai and Dyllan. After reading the book, hanging Psalm 91 above me for protection as I slept, and praying hard about my nightmares, I had no more. God delivered me from them.
Several weeks after not having one, I had a dream that Malachai fell into a pool, he was at the bottom but instead of him dying, I was able to save him. In my nightmares, I was never able to save him and I watched him die. When I finally saved him, I interpreted that as a message from God that I can take care of Malachai. A lot of my depression came from feeling like such an incapable mom, but by saving him, it was a metaphor of my capability.
My therapist also encouraged me to find a bible study. I joined one and the leader spoke often about a book called The Circle Maker by Mark Batterson. I read it and it has totally changed my prayer life. I realize now the power of prayer. I can pray to the God who made heaven and earth, this powerful, all-knowing God, listens to me. He sees me! El Roi! My brain can barely comprehend that.
But from there you will search again for the Lord your God. And if you search for him with all your heart and soul, you will find him. Deuteronomy 4:29
This verse couldn’t be truer for me. In my post-partum period I learned that I need to be completely dependent on him to do life. That’s one of my epiphany messages from God that I got through Malachai. I may not have realized that had I not had Malachai and faced the struggles in my post-partum period. Malachai is my message from God, I’m learning so much about myself and about God, through my son.
God has given me all sorts of light bulb moments in the last year or so, because I started asking.
Jesus said, “Keep on asking, and you will receive what you ask for. Keep on seeking and you will find. Keep on knocking and the door will be opened to you. For everyone who asks, receives. Everyone who seeks, finds. And to everyone who knocks, the door will be opened.” Matthew 7:7-8
When I look back at my miscarriage and the confusion that surrounded it, I understand now. It wasn’t his time. I hated when people said that to me as a form of condolence because I was so angry with God, he took them from me, I’m mad at him. But today I realized two things.
One, as devastating as the miscarriage was, it showed me that I was in fact able to get pregnant and that I was not broken like I thought.
Two, He promised me a baby through my dreams, but I kept trying to get myself pregnant instead of waiting for him to fulfill his promise to me. I built my own emotional roller coaster by putting myself through fertility treatments instead of wholeheartedly trusting that he would bless us when it was the right time. Just like Sarai did in Genesis. She didn’t wait on the Lord.
Micah 7:7, but as for me, I will watch expectantly for the Lord, I will wait for the God of my salvation, my God will hear me.
He heard me, but I wasn’t listening to his answers. I wasn’t open to his answer which I know now was: wait for me. I was Sarai and tried to take care of it.
In the meantime, I finished school, got a degree, found some self-worth in my job that I loved. Sometimes I didn’t know what on earth God was doing. I didn’t understand why we were having to deal with whatever hard thing we were having to deal with. He will reveal it to us if we ask, just like today, he gave me several light bulb moments. He may not reveal it until we enter eternity, but he always has a plan. That is another message from God that I believe now, I’ve just got to trust his plan even if I don’t understand right now. He will never hurt me and I am never alone in hard times.
He works in mysterious ways. We may not understand what he is doing or why we are struggling with something, but one thing we can always count on is he has a plan, even if it doesn’t seem like it. Jeremiah 29:11 says “’For I know the plans that I have for you’ declares the Lord, ‘plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future.’”