Fact: life is hard.
No matter what situation you’re in, there’s bound to be a challenge coming your way. And that’s not being pessimistic. That’s just life.
How often do you feel you need help? Please read on for in case here’s something you need to hear today.
The Possibility of Hope
I’m not professing to have the answer to all situations. However, what I share today are a few hopeful moments that came across my path in the past few weeks.
For me, the challenge at the moment is being in the midst of a pregnancy. That’s one amazing privilege and adventure! But as the due date crawls closer I find myself overcome by a range of emotions…fears…situations. I battle to keep balance and I soooo want to do this right for this girl-baby’s benefit.
So, it feels like I’m facing a different challenge every other day. Not as big as some challenges in life…but when your actions affect a little soul coming into the world – and me being a new mom who usually likes being in control -…the challenges feel overwhelming.
However, when I look back over the past few weeks, as much as I can identify the challenges, I recognise Him. The Godly advice that came across my path was always there. IF I’m wise enough to open my mind to it.
Because I’m a word person, I think His guidance sticks in my head in the form of words…phrases. So here goes…a few of His words to me. Hopefully, they can bring a little light to one of your challenging days.
Perhaps you think this is one phrase no one should ever say to you. In movies they joke about husbands who dare to say ‘calm down’ when a woman reacts. But when it’s God that places these words in your mind…you kind of listen.
For me, a personal struggle has been to keep balance between working and being pregnant. I aim to please and hate to disappoint. But when you’re pregnant, things must change. I simply couldn’t go on as I used to. It was affecting me and there was the risk of my work worries affecting my baby.
It took one scare of early contractions at 33 weeks to make me realise that I needed to adjust my mindset. 4 days in hospital and I was different. I had to be. Mrs In Control even cried with the nurse about how I didn’t know how to do it all right. But the promise of a new life growing inside you forces you to change.
But change isn’t always permanent. Each week I have to remind myself what my priority is. And perhaps God also knew I needed regular reminders.
For example, one morning during my quiet time, all that came to mind was ‘calm down’. And I knew. Calm down about the people I’m worried about…calm down about work…calm down about keeping housework up to date. It doesn’t help to worry and it definitely doesn’t help little Lucy when I’m tense all the time.
And then, when my husband left for work that day and out of the blue he said ‘relax…take it easy…‘, you know it’s God confirming the message for the day.
Do those words make life less stressful? No.
- It changes how I respond to the stress that wants to enter my life.
- It helps me focus on simply getting the next thing done, instead of trying to handle everything at once.
- They help me enjoy a meeting with a colleague, instead of only worrying about clients.
- The advice makes me take 5 minutes just for myself in the still-empty babyroom, because I will never have those 5 minutes again.
- And it makes me enjoy an evening on the couch to rest, even if I couldn’t get everything done, knowing that rest will empower me to face the next day’s workload.
Calm down. It has more positive outcomes than you may think.
He Didn’t Give Us a Spirit of Fear
My other panic I had to deal with over the past few weeks was the idea of giving birth. Despite amazing prenatal classes – which helped resolve some fears – I became a little paranoid. What was going to happen with me and Baby-Lucy in just a few weeks?
Even the thought that it could happen at any time was overwhelming. How can I be prepared if I don’t know when it’s coming?
And what if something went wrong? What if everything went wrong?
Once again, taking those few minutes of quiet and searching for His view on the topic – rather than my own – was the ONLY thing that changed my mindset about this. Not people, not books, not knowledge…but His Spirit showing me the TRUTH of the situation. Then, I could look at THE TRUTH instead of the enemy’s LIE that I should fear what was coming.
So, what was the truth in this case?
Sitting in my chair, I was overcome with the image of Him WATCHING over her. Also, a few weeks ago I looked up at the babyroom roof and noticed that there were exactly three down lights installed. Father, Son, Holy Spirit. 3 Sources of Light will be LOOKING over her daily. And a friend who was sharing with me what was on her heart gave me one simple word…WATCH. And I knew…God, the trinity was WATCHING over Lucy. THAT was the truth.
I didn’t have to worry…He was taking care of her. There in her room in future, but also while she was still in my womb. And instantly, that realisation removed the intense worry I carried with me during that week.
Will it be easy? Probably not. Will it hurt? Yes. Is there risk involved? Yes. But He is with her and I can simply do my part. He will do the rest.
Of course, the challenge is to live with that new-found realisation the next day and the next. This is where I do believe the Word is powerful, because the phrase that stuck in my head was ‘He did not give us a Spirit of fear, but of….a sound mind’. 2 Tim 1:7
SOUND MIND. As His child I did not have to buy into the chaos of stress. I can choose to take up His truth and promise and advice. But it IS a choice. And I try to choose that every day.
But fear can return…
A few days later my fear was that I wouldn’t cope when the moment arrived. How will I handle my water breaking or the pain of labour? What if I freaked out? Once again I had to return to the TRUTH of the matter, not the fear that comes so naturally. The truth that God designed me specifically for a situation like this. He made me woman. He created me for this purpose. And gave me a SOUND MIND to choose His peace and believe His promise if being there for us…but it’s my choice to take up that sound mind or surrender to panic.
The Price of Pride
Here, I simply wish I could thank all of the wonderful women God placed in my life over the past few years. There are new friends in the city we moved to, old friends who came back into my life, neighbours, family…the list is endless.
What I realised recently however is that I have robbed myself of so many blessings, because, like I said, I like being in control. Being pregnant at 39 was a huge new journey for me, but I didn’t want to admit to some of my younger friends the mental challenges I was facing.
Some of them have already had their children and were more than willing to give me the love and care and proper advice I needed. But it took me months to realise their value and discover the magic of sometimes being vulnerable.
And it’s pride that does that.
Pride, which I thought I’ve dealt with in my life.
When a young mom who simply loves helping other moms showed up on my doorstep with a gift (book on motherhood) and I saw all the book club friends’ names inside the card…I realised how dumb I’ve been. These women have been on my doorstep for over 2 years. And although I made friends with a few of them, I could have embraced them more and shared my worries, instead of trying to always save face.
They cared unconditionally. They understood the challenges I was going through. These women would have shared their stories without expecting anything in return, without laughing at my questions and without judging my opinions.
I know this is because I always want to be the one who helps. But wanting to ALWAYS be the rescuer is fuelled by unnecessary pride, not just love for others.
May I be wiser in future and stop missing out on the blessing of people.
I don’t know what tomorrow will bring. You don’t know what you’ll face in future.
I’m just holding on to these few words, because if He helped me learn lessons and find hope in the past few weeks…He’ll do it again in my tomorrows.
What’s your biggest challenge? What phrase helps you through the day? What advice do you have for me on my mom-journey?
Thank you for reading.