Unwanted Fear of the Known

Trials are teaching tools straight from God. If we don’t learn the intended lesson, the Lord will bring the same type of trial in our life again until we learn. Sometimes it’s a certain type of person, other times it’s a physical pain or discomfort, and the list goes on. With our second child came Postpartum Depression. Many factors contributed; mainly hormones.
The physical affects the spiritual, the outcome depends on how you respond and react.
Apparently, I had a lesson or two to learn. Apparently, I haven’t learned the lesson yet since I’m experiencing the same symptoms in this pregnancy as with pregnancy number two. I am thankful for the privilege it is to be able to bear children and the countless blessings of the three we have so far. I find it very difficult to be thankful, however, for crazy hormones and lack of feeling like myself.

“In every thing give thanks: for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus concerning you.”~1 Thessalonians 5:18

“You’ll never be you again. You’re a different person in a different stage of life. You have children now, you cannot be the person you used to be. That’s ok.”, advised a wise mentor recently. Not exactly what I wanted to hear, but a little comforting anyway. No need to cry out to God in exasperation anymore with, “I just wanna be me!!!” God is forming a new me. I’m already a new creature because I’ve accepted Christ as my personal Saviour.

My dear husband reminds me of the advantage we have this time if I do get Postpartum again. We’ve been through this before. Our communication has improved since and we’re on the same page. I have access to some all-natural resources if necessary. We have an idea of what to expect. We can pray with understanding and ask God to remove this outcome, or to allow my hormones to change back to sort of normal quickly. And, as we did with the last pregnancy, we can find out if this baby is a boy or girl so that there won’t be any surprises (hopefully!!) during labour and delivery with all the crazy hormones already present! Knowing 18-19 weeks in advance gives me time to bond with baby boy or girl before he or she is on the outside. I am convinced that this helped the last time.

Something else we’ve been reminding ourselves of is the wonderful blessing from God that sweet Clara is now. The first 7 months of her life were a very difficult time for me, but oh the laughs and joy she brings now is beyond worth it!

I admit that I do fear another Postpartum experience, but I know my God is greater. If He sees fit to bring this trial again, He will give the grace to endure and more! We’ve seen Him faithful, His grace has never been insufficient. The last few months have forced me to draw closer to God and He has opened my eyes to more of Himself in all His greatness. I may not be ready for such a trial in my own power, but

“I can do all things through Christ which strengtheneth me.”
~Philippians 4:13

When it feels like your world is falling in..

turn to Jesus and thank Him.
When you get a specific answer to prayer, turn to Jesus and thank Him.
When He brings trials in your life that seem to heavy to bear,
turn to Jesus and thank Him.
When you’re having THE best day of your life, turn to Jesus and thank Him.
When you stub your toe and feel like giving up, turn to Jesus and thank Him.
When you get an encouraging text, turn to Jesus and thank Him.
When you get hate mail, turn to Jesus and thank Him.
When you meet someone and become instant friends,
turn to Jesus and thank Him.
When your child throws their crumbs on the floor for the hundredth time,
turn to Jesus and thank Him.
When your child spontaneously says, “I love you very much”,
turn to Jesus and thank Him.
When you wonder how the bills will get paid, turn to Jesus and thank Him.
When the sun is shining and you’re feeling energetic,
turn to Jesus and thank Him.
When your child cries in the middle of the night and all you want to do is sleep, turn to Jesus and thank Him.
When someone gives you a gift, turn to Jesus and thank Him.
When your heart is breaking over someone dear who is hurting,
turn to Jesus and thank Him.
When you don’t know where to turn, in the good times or the bad,
turn to Jesus and thank Him.

Jesus is the Great Physician, the King of Kings, the Lord of lords, my Saviour, He’s wonderful, my Counselor, the Prince of Peace, the Mighty God,
He is my unfailing Friend, my Rock, my Shepherd,
the Anchor for my Soul, my Advocate,
my Redeemer, my source of joy, He gives me a purpose for living,
and I want Him to be my all in all.

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“Now we exhort you, brethren, warn them that are unruly, comfort the feebleminded, support the weak, be patient toward all men. See that none render evil for evil unto any man; but ever follow that which is good, both among yourselves, and to all men. Rejoice evermore. Pray without ceasing. In every thing give thanks: for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus concerning you.”
~1 Thessalonians 5:14-18

The Most Precious Beast

Our second. The now middle child. That different-looking Eskimo baby. The siren. The wailer. That inconsolable, unreasonable, independent child. The incessant whiner.
The Beast.

When I found out we were expecting our second, we were thrilled! This baby would be 14.5 months younger than our first. Sure, I “knew” it would be difficult having two under a year and a half old. I thought I fully comprehended all of the trials, the physical exhaustion. Then it was time, and seemingly suddenly, she was born.

But I didn’t like her. That, I did not expect. My first thoughts went like this, “What? It’s not a boy? Oh. Where’d all that jet black hair come from? She’s loud.” The labour and delivery aspect was a breeze compared to our first. I expected to have that overwhelming love rush over me upon first sight of baby #2…but it wasn’t there. I was confused and felt slightly numb emotionally. This was not expected.

The comments people made about how different she looked from our first, questions about where her black hair came from, and so on would normally have made me defensive. I didn’t feel anything though. Nothing. I simply tried to plaster a half-hearted smile on my face while agreeably replying, “mmhhmm”.

After two very trying and exhausting days in the hospital with an overly demanding newborn, we brought home our new “bundle of joy”. I tried to mask my disappointment, but the only thing I could think to like about her was that unique black hair and her porcelain face. As a mother, even though she was a newborn, I felt I should be able to conjure up some non-physical quality to like. I found none. She was exhausting. Her cry was deafening, still is. I didn’t know what to do with a baby I loved, but did not like.

If you have ever had symptoms of post-partum depression, you might be able to relate. If not, please understand that the love I’ve had for this child has always been strong. It was the like that was lacking.

Our first child, the happy and easy going little girl, loved her new baby sister and was a wonderful help to me. One of the reasons I believe God had given us that little soul first was to help us adjust our new reality. This became our “new normal”. It was a real blessing to have a toddler who could play alone without demanding my attention. This new baby epitomized the word demanding.

Some of my memory of the first few months of her life is non-existent. When she reached the 7 month old mark, I began to like her for who she was instead of only being able to grasp at physical qualities. She did have the cutest rolly polly legs though.

Other mothers would tell me how sweet she was. I truly thought they were blind, believing they would not intentionally lie to me. Love believes all things (I Corinthians 13:7).  In any case, I totally missed the “sweetness” they referred to. All I saw was one “bad” kid. She was just so different.

“…but they measuring themselves by themselves, and comparing themselves among themselves, are not wise.”~II Corinthians 10:12b

The “different” one just turned 1.5 years old and she is so precious. I no longer refer to her as “the beast”, not in public, nor in private. She is still a siren, she is still demanding, she is even more independent, she is still a complete extremist, she still has a whine that grates on every fiber of my being,
but
I’ve discovered so many qualities that I not only like about her, but love. She can be ultra cuddly, she is thoughtful, she greatly desires to communicate, she has a good memory, she is playful, she loves music, she likes to tease, she is by far one of the best huggers ever, she loves deeply, she is as tough as nails, she is forgiving, she loves chocolate and berries, she could never be described as a fussy eater, she enjoys alone time, she loves to look at books, she has an unlimited amount of energy, she just might be our little hockey player, she thrives in a familiar setting with familiar people, and the list goes on.

She is “the middle child”. I really like her a lot. I will always thank God for giving us this precious soul. The Lord uses her daily to show me my weakness and the ugly things in my heart (sin) that need to change. He also uses her to teach me how to love unconditionally, like He has, does, and will.

“But God commendeth His love toward us, in that, while we were yet sinners, Christ died for us.”~Romans 5:8

Perhaps, dear reader, you can relate?

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Fear and Faith Can’t Live Together

“I can pray and quote Scripture when I get scared at night if Scott’s home and usually by the third verse of Psalm 23, I’m fine.” I state boastfully. “But I can’t stay overnight by myself. I wouldn’t sleep a wink! I’d be listening to every creak and crack convinced a bad guy was going to break in while I’m alone with the wee ones.” I state confidently to a couple of ladies.
My frank and earnest pastor’s wife, Mrs. Fosmark, pipes up immediately, “Oh, so God can take care of you for short periods of time, but not for a long time?”
“Uh…well, ya.” I reply with a shy grin  and nervous giggle.
Patty adds her two cents worth, “My husband once said to me, Faith and fear can’t live together. After many years, fear is no longer something I often struggle with.”
This struck me immediately. What a concept! Living without fear. I used to be quite fearless, but I like to justify it so I say I was “naive”. Before I had kids, I wasn’t generally scared of: being home alone, hornets and wasps, centipedes and spiders, driving in a storm or at night, people texting while driving/drunk drivers, triple-checking all the doors and windows, strange sounds, creaky boards, dogs biting, driving alone, walking on ice, speeding up for a yellow light, expired food, choking, the sharp edges of a table, standing on the couch, slippery floors, smoke in the air, highway driving conditions, demons, etc.

“In God have I put my trust: I will not be afraid what man can do unto me.”~Psalm 56:11

How can I boldly walk up to a stranger and with confidence inform them that they can trust God with their eternity (Romans 10:13), when I don’t even trust Him to get me through a night alone here in my short lifetime on Earth?

I trust God with my eternity, but not with my measly here and now? That is not logical. That’s ridiculous actually. Yesterday, Scott said that love is built on trust. I want to love God more. I want to show Him by trusting Him, especially when I am fearful.

“Fear thou not; for I am with thee: be not dismayed; for I am thy God: I will strengthen thee; yea, I will help thee; yea, I will uphold thee with the right hand of my righteousness.”~Isaiah 41:10

“And He saith unto them, Why are ye fearful, O ye of little faith? Then He arose, and rebuked the winds and the sea; and there was a great calm.”~Matthew 8:26

“Trust in the Lord with all thine heart; and lean not unto thine own understanding.In all thy ways acknowledge Him, and He shall direct thy paths.”~Proverbs 3:5-6

Those pinchy creatures found in bathrooms!

Those pinchy creatures found in bathrooms!

Aside

than never to have loved at all.”~Alfred, Lord Tennyson

“So, is this it? Or are you going to be like the Duggars?” asked everyone for the last four months.
“Oh no, I’m so done! I’d cry for days if I got pregnant again. I might die, too.” Was my quick, exasperated reply. Until…This last week. The past seven days, when I was convinced I was pregnant. The first few days I ran around town buying pregnancy tests and being an unwise steward of God’s gracious provision. I’ve since repented of that sin.

A test here, a test there. It’s only $1.25 plus tax, right? Wake up early and hope the hormone levels are high enough to know once and for all. God’s in the business of testing and growing my faith, though. I hid boxes and negative result after negative result, avoiding any conversation about the possibility of pregnancy with my dear husband. It had been plenty long and I’d convinced myself I was pregnant. Husband dear happened upon a test, inquired, and then we were both in happy shock at the possibility.

On day six, I finally gave it over to the Lord and accepted the fact that I would only know in His time. As soon as I awoke this morning, I rushed upstairs to take the last test we could afford. My hopes and dreams were dashed. It was confirmed once and for all that there is no baby inside me. Perhaps there was, but there definitely is not anymore.
When the possibility of a baby growing inside of me again first arose in my mind, I simply shook my head. My emotions were not what I expected though. I was happy, within a couple days I was attached, within a few days I was dreaming of the possibilities. My biggest concern wasn’t whether or not my body could handle a fourth pregnancy in a row, nor was it even the overwhelming amount of extra effort it would take to care for our other three. My biggest concern was, “How will we stand up to the backlash of this one? We’re gonna get a tongue whipping from every angle!” I wondered how we would explain this to our friends and family. (Read: fear of man) How would we digest the hurtful remarks and lack of joy and excitement from those whose opinion we care about most?
We comforted ourselves with the fact that if indeed a baby was growing inside of me, it was clearly from God. We had taken every measure possible to keep this from happening. In the end, it didn’t really happen.
I only spent 7 days beginning to love a soul I thought existed, another soul that I thought God had decided to give to us. I have friends who’ve had little souls growing inside them for months and never got to meet them face to face. These friends rarely mention it and I often wonder if their heart still aches. In heartache and loss, I’ve experienced only one single piece of sawdust compared to their forest of trees.  I know there’s only one reason they can go on, and it can only be the comfort and strength that comes through a relationship with Christ Himself.

“Be careful for nothing; but in every thing by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known unto God. And the peace of God, which passeth all understanding, shall keep your hearts and minds through Christ Jesus.”~Philippians 4:6-7

I admit freely that I have no real concept of the emotions involved in the loss of a baby in a womb, but to anyone reading this…You can take comfort in the fact that that wee soul is safe in Heaven surrounded with a love that only the Creator can give. That wee soul never had to experience pain, tears, heartache, loss, consequences of sin, and the list goes on. And if you’re a born again believer in Jesus Christ, you’ll see that wee soul someday. Face to face. Maybe even sooner than you think!

“But of that day and hour knoweth no man, no, not the angels of heaven, but my Father only.”~Matthew 24:36

I Deserve a Day Off

“I have a right to a day off once in a while, you know!!”
“You know what, I haven’t set foot outside this house in 4 days now.”
“Everyone I know gets at least one day off a week. When’s mine?”
“The day of rest is the most tiring one of my whole week!”
“I deserve a vacation, pah-lease!!!”

What a loud mouth my selfish heart is sometimes. Who am I kidding, all the time. I’m thankful for the Holy Spirit and my new nature. I am reminded, I have no rights. I’m about to say something that no one really wants to hear…The only thing I deserve is condemnation, judgment, hell. Those are the hard facts. I’m a sinner like every other person on earth today, so the wages/payment I deserve is separation from my loving God for eternity.

“For the wages of sin is death; but the gift of God is eternal life through Jesus Christ our Lord.”~Romans 6:23

The only reason I’m not getting what I deserve is because of the sacrifice Jesus paid on the cross for my sins (and everyone else’s)…and because I personally received this gift of forgiveness by asking for it. You can’t have it unless you ask.

“For whosoever shall call upon the name of the Lord shall be saved.”
~Romans 10:13

If you aren’t 100% sure where you’ll spend eternity, please read this. http://www.jimberg.com/bridge-tract.php

So, back to the point. Yes, my “job” is 24/7. Yes, it is very tiring…but,
do I deserve a day off? No.
Will I be thankful for the Lord’s provision of strength and energy? Yes, always. Will I take opportunities for a break when presented with them? Probably every time. 🙂

Discontentment or Investment? The choice is yours.

Have you ever wanted a gift that was not your own?
Have you ever wished you could live someone else’s life,
fast-forward to the next season,
just walk a different road? I have.

“For the good that I would I do not: but the evil which I would not, that I do.”~Romans 7:19

The gentle snoring of my husband beside me and soft breathing of my children a mere hallway away remind me as I lie awake that I am here. Now. This is my life. I am exactly where God wants me to be. But am I where I should be spiritually? Am I content in the here and now? Does my heart speak to me, “I’m better than this. These four walls should not contain me day after day. I have more to offer than this.”

“The heart is deceitful above all things, and desperately wicked: who can know it?”~Jeremiah 17:9

Where does my joy abide? Do I truly find joy in serving Jesus in the daily monotony as much as I sing about it on Sunday? Do I really believe I’m investing in eternity?
The thoughts of my selfish heart take a back seat and the Holy Spirit shouts with such confidence, “Train up a child…”(Proverbs 22:6)! Make disciples! You’ve been given a precious gift! Provision. Spiritual, physical, emotional, financial. 24/7 to invest in 3 precious souls. What are you waiting for? Get your eyes off yourself and look to Jesus, the Author and Finisher of your faith. With eternity’s values in view.
By God’s grace, I will.

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