I was having lunch with a woman I work with recently. We both have had similar life and faith struggles, and during the course of our conversation she said "Hannah's my girl!"
I smiled because Hannah's become my girl too.
I recently read the book "A Passionate Hope," a Christian fiction book based on Hannah's story from the bible. It brings Hannah's struggles to life as she waits many years to have a child.
I was struck by the realistic depiction of Hannah. She became a female biblical figure that I could relate to rather than one who seemingly graciously accepted the long wait for a child without any struggle or dip in faith.
Her emotional and spiritual life through the process of waiting for a child is detailed in the book and so relatable: The worthlessness she feels. The grieving she goes through. The wavering faith she has. The struggle to hope. The doubts she has that the Lord has forgotten her. The unworthiness she feels like she has done something wrong to deserve no blessing of a child. The way she compares herself to the other females in her midst who have been given the blessings she desires.
She is deeply human.
It doesn't get any easier for Hannah over the years. If anything, the weight of the lack she feels and the unfulfilled desire of her heart keeps deepening.
And yet, Hannah brings this all to the Lord time and time again. Every piece of herself. Her desires. The grief. The feelings. The doubts. The unworthiness. She keeps enduring.
That's what I learned most from Hannah. Her faithfulness in coming to the Lord with every broken piece of herself in waiting as His plan unfolds for her life. And by the end of the book, the way her vision of having a child was transformed into a gift that was not her own but for God's purposes.
The process of waiting and struggling with her desires for so many years led Hannah to deeper faith and surrender, a new vision of the gift of a child, and a vow to do the will of God. And that's ultimately what God needed from her. It all worked according to His plan.
The process of our waiting can do the same.
Hannah, you're my girl.