In September, we welcomed our 2nd son into the world! He's so precious and has such a sweet spirit; and, I love him more than I ever thought possible! The process of getting him here, however, was painful.
For the last few weeks of the pregnancy, I could feel Satan trying to steal my joy. There were so many times I let him. I was exhausted and overwhelmed by many things at the time and I simply didn't feel like fighting the lies he was throwing my way. I had opted for a natural birth at a birthing center this time around; and, to say I was freaked out about the impending pain would have been a massive understatement. Fear coupled with exhaustion made my mind a breeding ground for the lies of the enemy to multiply. On top of that, the mom-guilt kicked in. I spent way more time talking to my first son in the womb because I had nothing else to do - no distractions. This time around I had a toddler. I wasn't able to spend the time with my second as I had with my first. We were unsure if we wanted more children so it could very well be my last pregnancy. I wanted to make the most of it and enjoy every minute of it. But, that didn't seem to be happening because I was so consumed with fear - fear of the unknown, fear of being inadequate, fear of pain.
I had been studying Gideon. It was a study my husband bought for me years ago that I was very excited about doing, but once I began I started to wonder if that was really what I was supposed to be studying at that time. It didn't resonate with me and I considered not completing it; but, I'm so task list driven that I continued the study so I could check it off my list. As I got further and further along into my study and into my pregnancy, I saw how God was using it to reach me right in the midst of what I was going through internally. Gideon was a weak man whom God used mightily. What's that saying? "God doesn't call the equipped; He equips the called." He does this to display His glory and splendor. He weeded out so many of Gideon's troops for battle that is became painstakingly obvious their victories were solely God's doing. There was no possible way the Israelites could take credit for winning. He rendered them incapable so they could see He is more than capable.
I consider myself a very capable and independent woman. I can handle a lot. But, it isn't about me. It's about Him. I was diagnosed with gestational diabetes this pregnancy and I had to have him by 41 weeks because of this. I was induced in a hospital with my first son and I really wanted my body to kick into labor naturally this time around. Well, it didn't. It had to be nudged....repeatedly. And, let me tell you, it was excruciatingly painful. I had prayed and prayed for minimal pain (I know, a pipe dream in childbirth) and that my body would kick into gear when it needed to, and that just didn't happen. Nothing happened like I thought it would. It took time - a lot of time. It took pain - a lot of pain. It took patience and me facing my fears of pain and inadequacy. God was showing me throughout this process that He is sovereign. Things may not happen when or how I want them to happen, but they never happen outside of His will and authority. He has the final say - always.
I, myself, couldn't handle the pains of childbirth and everything that led up to it, but each time I had a contraction I would pray for Jesus to help and strengthen me. A previous 'me' would have said "I've got this. I can do this." No. That wasn't true then and it isn't true now. I don't 'got' this. I can't do this - or anything for that matter - without Him. He is my strength. And, apart from Him I can do nothing. I don't enjoy feeling incapable and inadequate, but it was necessary in my journey to get me to cease relying on myself and fully rely on God, who is more than capable and always more than enough.
Jesus said that we will have troubles in this world, but He also promises that it will all be okay because He has overcome the world (John 16:33). We all go through painful things. It's part of life. In childbirth, on the other side of the pain is the promise of a child. The same is true in life. When we come to the place where we cease relying on our own strength and instead look to God to be our strength, He will empower us to push through the pains of life and grab hold of the promises waiting for us on the other side. Jesus promises in His Word to never leave us (Deuteronomy 31:6, Hebrews 13:5). He promises in His Word that He will be with us through the storms of life (Isaiah 43:2). He promises that He will work all things together for His glory and our good (Romans 8:28). He promises to give us more of Himself when we seek Him (Matthew 7:7-11). Don't you see? Jesus is our promise.
Faith was the word God had given me for 2018 and, boy, was it put to the test! He was sifting me and allowing me to be brought low, to a place of total dependency on Him, in order to cultivate in me a willingness and desire to submit to Him no matter the circumstance.