“The place inside where I fell apart was the perfect place for Jesus to enter and rest” Bonnie Gray, Faith Barista.
I've been attending a Ladies Bible study since we moved last month. This church family has already been such a blessing to us. It took us at least a month to find a church the last time we moved. I honestly think God knew how much we would need the encouragement. The feeling of being home. Up against so many gigantic changes in our lives, we needed a center. An anchor. Having a church family reminds us that that anchor is Jesus. Has He ever let us down? No. Being surrounding by the body of Christ reminds us of this love, and keeps us from getting discouraged. And trust me, in the midst of pregnancy hormones, it's easy for me to fall into discouragement. Discouragement was our Bible study topic this past Wednesday. We’re listening to a series by Cathy Dickinson called Taming the Giants. And discouragement, one of my greatest adversaries, was the first topic we tackled.
It's easy for me to think back to the last time I held a tiny baby in my arms. How depressed I felt. How much of a failure I felt. Being a new mommy wasn't like I thought it would be. She was colicky, she was teeny tiny, she wouldn't eat. I felt so alone. So emotionally drained. I would weep every day. And then, I realized that my hope had been misplaced. I was looking at motherhood with the expectations I had made. I thought life with an infant should be a certain way. I thought mothering should go as planned. I thought I would instantly be in love with this little tiny child, and my world would be complete. I thought she would make me completely happy. I thought that giving my child a bottle would make me a less than perfect mother. I was looking at my plans, instead of my Savior’s.
At 32 weeks pregnant, I’m starting to face these memories again. I’m being tempted to fall back into discouragement. Voices are whispering “You can’t do this, remember how hard it was the first time? Why do you want to face this again?”
These are my demons. These are the thoughts that draw me back to a time of desperation. These are the memories that my Savior is asking me to face. He's asking me to trust. He's asking me to take a moment to look back, but to not live in fear.
He's asking me to let go of my ideals, and to let Him provide.
As I look at the busy little girl in front of me this morning, it's hard for me to believe that she was once an infant. She's a chatter box, dancing and singing through each day. Just this morning she serenaded me with a made up tune, full of bits and pieces of real songs she knows, complete with a dance she was making up as she went along. She's so joyful, so healthy, so filled with life.
God had a plan. He created her with a purpose. That plan is unpredictable. It's unique. Her story is different than any other.
As is mine. My road to motherhood was different. Those early days as a first time mommy are not something I exactly want to repeat. So can this time be any different? Will this time be any different?
I really can't say. The first time around taught me that birth plans and early-mommy-hood plans can't truly be written out. They can't be fixed. I will probably come to some points of discouragement again, some points of desperation. The choice will be in how I face it. Will I face it on my own, or will I turn to Jesus? Will I give Him those pieces? It honestly took several weeks with a little newborn for me to do this. It took time for me to give up my own plans and ideals and grasp hold of Him, the author and protector of life. My prayer is that my heart is surrendered beforehand this time. That already, I'm ready for what the days may bring.
And I also pray for joy. For a smooth transition. I pray that this little man will come into this world, into this family, without the intense discouragement and depression his momma faced before. Because, if anything, I think I've learned to live in the moment a bit more. I've learned to soak up the sunshine, and enjoy the blessings. I've learned to take pictures with my eyes, let the moments soak into my heart. Laugh a little easier. Give more hugs and kisses to my bab(ies). And turn to Jesus when discouragement comes knocking on the door. Because discouragement isn't from Jesus. It can't be from Jesus. No, His mercies and blessings are for the good of His people. His plans are beautiful ones.
And so, I rejoice in Him today. I thank Him for a busy little 2 1/2 year old, who keeps this pregnant momma moving all day, I thank him for a busy little baby boy, who jumps and kicks when he hears his big sister singing. I'm thankful for a hard working husband, who comes home in time for dinner, Lego building with his little girl, and paints my toes for me while we watch our favorite shows on tv. And I'm thankful for Springtime, the promise of new life. How can I feel discouraged on such a day?
“The Lord upholds all who fall, and raises up all those who are bowed down. The eyes of all look expectantly to You, and you give them their food in due season. You open Your hand and satisfy the desire of every living thing” (Psalm 145:1415, NKJV).
“ Praise the Lord, O my soul! While I live I will praise the Lord; I will sing praises to my God while I have my being” (Psalm 146:1, NKJV).
“Happy is he who has the God of Jacob for his help, whose hope is in the Lord his God” (Psalm 146:5, NKJV).