Embracing the Season You’re In

Embracing the Season You’re In

After my daughter was born, I worked hard for almost a year to get back in shape. I’m now seven months along in my second pregnancy and those abs are nowhere to be seen, touching my toes is a distant memory, shaving my legs is a terrifying mix between Helen Keller and Edward Scissorhands, and waddling is my main mode of transportation.

While it’s difficult to work hard at something only to watch it fade away, I have to remind myself what this season is going to produce: a sweet baby boy who will turn our family of three into a family of four.

When we were first trying to get pregnant, the doctors told me the odds were stacked against us because of my struggles with endometriosis. I had surgery, and we were so blessed by our baby girl. I had been told I would need surgery again if we wanted to try for another baby, and yet our little boy surprised all of us. I’m so incredibly thankful to be able to feel those little baby kicks and hear that strong heartbeat.

Our Christian walk is the same way. We have to learn to embrace the season we are in—whether it’s a season of difficulty, a season of dryness, or a season of celebration—knowing that God will use each one to produce something. When we are struggling, God is always there pruning, plucking, watering, and sometimes uprooting so that we can enter a new season of producing fruit.

Embracing a hard season is almost always easier said than done, but for anyone currently in a period of mourning or heartbreak, I encourage you to reflect on Isaiah 53:10—Yet it pleased the LORD to bruise Him.

We know that the only reason God was pleased to bruise Jesus was because He knew the bigger picture. God didn’t take delight in the suffering of His Son, but in what was accomplished through it.

We don’t take pleasure in our pain, but in the knowledge that God will use it to accomplish His purpose for His glory. The same way that I know my sweet season of pregnancy will produce a baby boy, scripture promises that our seasons will always produce fruit when we choose to delight in the Lord:

“He is like a tree planted by streams of water that yields its fruit in its season, and its leaf does not wither. In all that he does, he prospers.”  – Psalm 1:3

Are you in a season of pregnancy, missing the days where you could see your toes? Embrace that rounded belly and praise God for your sweet miracle. Are you in a season of motherhood, wondering if you’ll ever have another moment of rest or privacy? Embrace the exhaustion that comes from a long day of loving hard, knowing these moments won’t last long and soon you will be wondering where the time has gone.

Recovering From Postpartum Depression

Recovering From Postpartum Depression

In the months before my daughter was born, I talked with several friends who had struggled with postpartum depression and anxiety. I wanted to make sure I was prepared just in case. But nobody told me I might not recognize that I was depressed.

I’m thankful for a doctor who did recognize the signs, even as I told her everything was fine. Looking back, I don’t know how I missed it. Words I constantly found myself using were: overwhelmed, guilty, disconnected, failure. I kept asking myself, “Why can’t I just get over this?” But there’s also so much JOY that comes with new motherhood, and I told myself that the extreme highs and lows were just a part of that new season. I told myself the fog was from the lack of sleep. I told myself that the sadness I felt to the depths of my soul was hormones.

When it finally felt like I regained control of my life, I was left wrestling with the question, “Who was that?” Who was that person who shut out her husband and friends, struggled to make simple decisions, and woke her baby up every few minutes to make sure she was still breathing? I didn’t know how to find myself again.

For anyone who feels lost, wondering who they are, here are the words that reminded me:

I am chosen by God, holy and dearly loved. (Colossians 3:12)
I am sanctified. (Hebrews 2:11)
I am anointed. (1 John 2:27)
I am loved. (1 John 4:10)
I am the salt of the earth. (Matthew 5:13)
I am the light of the world. (Matthew 5:14)
I am healed. (Isaiah 53:5)
I am victorious. (1 Corinthians 15:57)
I am HIS. (Galatians 2:20)

How Will I Know?

How Will I Know?

Two years ago, I was in a Bible study and we were reading in Genesis discussing when God spoke to Abram in Genesis 15:7-8. Abram responds to God’s promise by saying, “But how will I know?” Clearly Abram was a man of great faith; in the very verse before, it says Abram believed the Lord and He credited it to him as righteous and later in Hebrews, Abram makes the Bible’s Hall of Fame because of his great faith. Yet he asks the question, “But how will I know?”

This ended up really resonating with me because I can’t count the number of times growing up that I would follow up the statement, “I’m saved,” with an internal, “But how do I know?” I always repeated the sinner’s prayer whenever I heard it because I wasn’t sure it stuck the last time and several times I closed the Bible somewhere in Exodus because I was so discouraged. I lived a long part of my life – too much of it, really – like I served a bipolar God who loved me one day and was angry at me the next.

In the first year of being married to Matt, the entire foundation of my faith shifted, changing the way I saw God and also the way I saw myself. It started in a conversation when I asked Matt if he had ever doubted his salvation, and his simple, “No” made me realize there was something vital I was missing. We studied scripture together until I finally understood what it meant that Jesus died for all of my sins: past, present and future, and that repentance was about changing my mind, not needing to “reclaim” my salvation. With this new foundation in place, I found myself developing a real hunger for scripture that I had never felt before and spent months learning about the grace, the covenants and the promises written throughout the Old and New Testaments.

Matt and I were able to start praying together in a whole new way – with the authority of the righteous. As my mother-in-law likes to say, “We refused to live beneath what Jesus died to give us.”

And then we hit a road block.

I had been having severe abdominal pain for several years and the doctors told us something came back on one of my tests, suggesting that we might have trouble having children in the future. At the time, we were told that if we wanted a baby, we would need to act quickly which meant changing the plans we had made for our lives. Suddenly there was all of this pressure to make decisions and every month that the tests came back negative, I could feel my spirits sink. So many people told me, “If it’s part of God’s plan, it will happen” and I found myself again asking, “But how do I know?” I had poured over all of these promises but nowhere in scripture did it say, “You will have a baby.”

In June, God brought me back full circle to Genesis 15. In my head, I was thinking ‘I get it, even those with great faith have doubts’, but the verses continued to come back to me so I decided to open my Bible and read over the passages again. This time, God revealed two new things to me – the first, who did Abram ask “How will I know?” He asked the question to the Lord; it wasn’t something he just asked himself. He was expecting an answer. And the second, how did God respond? Scripture says that God – the creator of our universe – responded by meeting Abram at his faith level and making a covenant, an unbreakable promise, for Abram’s sake. As Matt says all the time, our God doesn’t change. The same God who met Abram where he was at is the God I know today.

Feeling encouraged, I let my heart cry out to Jesus during my prayer time, asking for and expecting a response. I wanted to know without a doubt that my heart was aligned with the Spirit in my desire for a baby. I don’t know what I was expecting… probably a bird call or a chime or some sort of sign that I had heard others share about, but what I got was a sweet promise spoken directly to my heart of a healthy little baby. Two weeks later, I had my first positive pregnancy test.

As I look at my little girl now, one thing I want for her is that when someone asks her if she has ever questioned God’s love for her, it’s the easiest thing in the world for her to say, “No.” I want her to know that, without a doubt, our God is always for her.