Time flies when you are enjoying pregnancy, managing work and ministry projects and then a pandemic hits! Since we announced our pregnancy, I haven’t had a chance to write about being on the other side of waiting for this promise. I can officially say I’m one of “those ladies” who loves pregnancy. It feels like such an honor to be a vessel for a miracle. I get to hold this growing life as the Father knits him together and prepares to release him on the earth, full of destiny, calling and significance. I have the privilege of speaking the first prayers over him that his little ears hear, singing the first songs of worship over him that he is soaked with, so many “firsts” that are already happening for him in the womb. This isn’t a passive waiting season. It is so active. He lets me know it too! He loves fiery prayers, warm baths and coffee like his mama 🙂 Yes, I definitely had some of your typical discomforts especially in the first trimester, but thankfulness took up all the room in my heart. Waiting has a way of shifting your perspective. Even when it is uncomfortable, it is a miracle! We waited almost 4 years, finding ourselves in multiple moments where breakthrough was postponed, little lives were lost, and we learned to lean deeper into Jesus and grow forward. (those stories are in the posts from 2016-2019 if you’d like to read them) This pregnancy– my fourth- is here to stay. Bless you Jesus. Every step of moving into a promised land is intentional and the Lord gives wisdom for each one. I want to share one of the gifts He gave me early on in this pregnancy to help me take this promised land with confidence.
Last November, we’d been recognizing signs of pregnancy & I’d been putting off taking a test just to see what my body continued to do. One particular night Zach was working late and I was watching “Call the Midwife” (where my BBC show fans at??). In this episode, Sister Julienne was caring for a newborn baby who was fighting for their life. She held him and prayed the following scripture over him. The words lept out of her mouth right into my spirit: “Do not be afraid, for I am with you. I have summoned you by name. You are mine. When you pass through the waters, I will be with you. When you pass through the rivers, the waves will not overtake you. When you walk through the fire, you will not be burned. The flames will not set you ablaze. For I am the Holy one of Israel, your redeemer.” They were so alive to me that my spirit started buzzing. Immediately the Lord said to me, “hold onto this and take a test in the morning. “
The next morning, I did what He asked. I got ready for the day and waited for the test result. I’d taken what felt like countless tests over the last several years. Normally, I’d rather just wait and see what my body does but this time I had a word from Father. I took it this morning because He asked me to. Anything He asks, even as small as taking a pregnancy test, He will always have my “yes”. It’s the number one core value of my life. Three minutes later, there it was – two lines translating to “Yes, You are pregnant”. A swirl of familiar but new feelings filled my heart. I relayed the news to Zach and we both calmly celebrated. The unspoken feeling in both our hearts was “We’ve been here before. Let’s proceed with caution.” There is nothing wrong with caution, but we have to let our hearts be searched and find out if what we are calling “caution” is actually fear wearing a mask of “reason”. I took my breakfast into the study where I spend time with Jesus in the morning and I sat down to hold my heart out to Him and all that was bubbling in it. As I sat with Him, He nudged me to read into the verse He gave me the night before. I googled the part of the verse I could remember and found it was Isaiah 43.
1 But now, this is what the Lord says—
he who created you, Jacob,
he who formed you, Israel:
“Do not fear, for I have redeemed you;
I have summoned you by name; you are mine.
2 When you pass through the waters,
I will be with you;
and when you pass through the rivers,
they will not sweep over you.
When you walk through the fire,
you will not be burned;
the flames will not set you ablaze.
3 For I am the Lord your God,
the Holy One of Israel, your Savior…
18…Forget the former things;
do not dwell on the past.
19 See, I am doing a new thing!
Now it springs up; do you not perceive it?
I am making a way in the wilderness
and streams in the wasteland…”
Tears streamed down my cheeks as I read. Every word felt specially crafted for me and this baby. As I read the chapter in its entirety, I could feel my “caution” being exposed as fear, and before it even had a chance to speak, the Lord had already given me His word that silenced it. He wanted me to be so confident in His word over this pregnancy that He spoke it to me before fear had any potential place to enter. He gave that gift to me the night before I found out I was pregnant because He knew what was coming in the morning. He always prepares us for what is ahead when we keep our ear and eyes turned to Him.
I grabbed a hold of that verse like life depended on it, because it did. The life of my son was coming forth from that promise. When the Lord speaks a word to you, it comes with the promise & power of life. His words always bring life because they are carried by His breath and all the life giving power that formed the universe is contained in that. Confidence swelled in my heart and pushed caution further and further out. I processed the verses with Zach that night and we received them together. I wrote them on the white board on our fridge so I would see them every morning & declare them. The word of the Lord never returns void and always accomplishes its purpose. Every time fear would try to come tell me that early-pregnancy was a familiar place that I’d been here before, I would remind fear of what the Lord had spoken, and it would flee. Some days it felt like it took more effort than others, but every time I submitted myself to God’s word and resisted the enemy, fear & anxiousness fled. “Submit yourselves to God, resist the devil and He will flee from you.” James 4:7.
The morning of our first ultrasound at 8 weeks, fear tried to knock again. In times past, most ultrasounds had only contained news of loss of life for us. They hadn’t been fun or joyful. They tried to knock the wind out of me. I pressed into Jesus and He said “read my promise again”. As I read this particular morning, He made a distinction to me. “This isn’t just my promise to you. I’m speaking this promise to the child growing in you. It is for both of you as individuals.” I opened the eyes of my Spirit wider to see what He was saying. He impressed on my heart that He was speaking the first three verses directly to baby Brinson. “Do not fear, for I have redeemed you; I have summoned you by name; you are mine. When you pass through the waters, I will be with you; and when you pass through the rivers, they will not sweep over you. When you walk through the fire, you will not be burned; the flames will not set you ablaze. For I am the Lord your God, the Holy One of Israel, your Savior…” He said, “I’ve already summoned him by name and he is mine. When he passes through the “waters” of birth, I will be with him. When he walks through the “fire” (“ring of fire” is a term often used in one of the last phases of delivery) he will not be harmed. He will be born passing through my presence.” Good gracious, it wrecked me again. One of the first words the Lord spoke directly to this little boy and I got to hear it with him.
Then the Lord took me down to verses 18 and 19 and told me those were mine. “…Forget the former things; do not dwell on the past. See, I am doing a new thing! Now it springs up; do you not perceive it? I am making a way in the wilderness and streams in the wasteland…” I was to declare them, root myself in them, drive a steak into them and anchor myself to it. Every time the enemy would try to tell me I was in place I’d been before, I would remind myself (and him) that I’ve been called to “forget the former things.” Forget the former miscarriages, losses, deferred hopes, grief… SEE with faith filled vision the new thing the Lord is doing. Fix my eyes on it and don’t look backwards. He’s brought me to a new place and it will not have the outcome of the past. The Lord is the one who makes the way in the wilderness. Its not contingent on anything from me except trust & faith in Him to do what He’s spoken. Full transparency – it took me a minute to really kick fear out to the point that I didn’t even hear it’s voice, but as I continued to press in and renew my mind, it happened. I don’t hear its voice any more. I’m taking possession of this promise.
There is a beautiful parallel between how we are called to inhabit a promise from Father in our life and how the Lord guided Israel into their promised land. Israel had been in the desert for 40 years and finally stepped into new terrain. But, even though they were setting foot in the Promised Land, it wasn’t inhabited by them yet. There is a difference between stepping into something & possessing it. The land had other inhabitants that had to be kicked out. How often does this happen in our hearts when the Lord calls us to a higher perspective or revelation? Its probably happened to many of us even during this COVID19 pandemic. We’ve seen places where our former ways of thinking or places we derived security from left us lacking peace and confidence of goodness. Let those things be exposed and be encouraged by the fact that they are being revealed so you can kick them out. The Lord commanded Israel over and over to “TAKE POSSESSION” of the promise. Taking possession of something is active, fierce & deliberate. In the beginning of Deuteronomy, Moses stood before the Israelites as they prepared to go to battle and take possession of their promised land. To stir their courage and faith, Moses recounted how the Lord had delivered every one of their enemies into their hands thus far. (Testimonies of Gods past faithfulness fuel our faith for future breakthroughs) They had already conquered many kings on their journey because the Lord gave them supernatural victory and delivered each one into their hands. I can imagine, however, back on the day of that very first battle, as they gathered to march to war before they’d seen tangible evidence of how the Lord would bring victory, there were some mixed emotions. They were no army to match the military forces of kings when you looked at them in the natural. In fact, scripture tells us that all their “fighting men” died in the wilderness. They had zero military training or experience but they’d been commanded to fight. The Lord wanted all confidence taken out of man and put on him.
Deut 2:24 recounts that first battle in taking possession of the promised land. Look at what the Lord told Moses before they marched: “SEE I have given into your hand…the king & his country. Begin to take possession of it & engage him in battle.” The Lord spoke assurance of victory to Moses before they stepped foot towards the battle field. Before they ever moved to fight, the Lord was declaring the outcome. This is exactly what He did for me through the verses in Isaiah. But even after the Lord told Moses to go fight, Moses was hesitant. That was a big command that would mean death for Israel if the Lord didn’t show up. Instead of going straight to battle (prompt obedience), Moses sent message to the foreign king to see if he would let them peacefully pass through his land. The king refused. (coming up with a “compromise” with God that blends obedience with an easier route never works out well & actually prevents us from receiving His best for us) Then the Lord spoke to Moses again “SEE I have begun to deliver the king & his country to you…conquer and possess it.” One word kept jumping out at me. He keeps repeating: “SEE”. He wasn’t speaking this as if He were annoyed with Moses’ hesitation saying “See, I’m trying to tell you…”. He was commanding the eyes of Moses’ spirit to “SEE”! It was as if He were healing him of the blindness of doubt and opening Moses’ eyes to higher truth. “SEE in faith that every word I speak will come to pass. SEE the battle through the leans of my power and faithfulness, not the natural probable outcome. SEE your victory Moses!”
The Lord said the same thing to me as I stepped into this promised land of pregnancy: “SEE Madison!” He summons our spirits to full attention to look with faith-filled vision over areas of our life where a battles are taking place. In this wild time where the world feels full of fear, anxiousness & uncertainty, I believe He is declaring it over many of us: “SEE!” It is a command and a healing word. He commands us to see our lives through the lens of His spoken promise. As we do, the blinders of doubt and fear fall away. The bold confidence of a warrior rises. If He spoke it, we can SEE it in faith & march into what ever is ahead, even if victory hasn’t manifested yet in the natural. Maybe He’s commanding you to SEE today? Is there an area of your life that you need to adjust your lease & SEE through eyes of victory? See your victory over every weapon that would rise against you as you journey to your promised land. “He who promised is faithful.” Even though weapons rise against us (or a pandemic, financial set back, fear, anxiety…), they will be thwarted…it is the inheritance of the servants of the Lord (Is 54:13) SEE that promise over your life today and take heart!