When trials come: taking heart in the midst of heartbreak – Part I

I’ve been a little silent on social media lately, and this story is going to let you in on why.  If you read through part 2, you’ll see it doesn’t have the ending that we all hope stories will have, but there is still good within the story, and I want to share that with you.  Honestly, sharing this will probably benefit me more than it will anyone else so thank you for letting me share!  I want to be as real as possible with this so it will have to be in two parts.  With out further a due, I invite you to share in a big part of my life from this year.
need to start off with a quick back story from the beginning of 2016– January to be exact.  Zach and I had talked through out the latter part of 2015 and felt like January of 2016 was the time we’d like to start trying to grow our family.  I’d been the one pushing for it and was so excited at the thought of kiddos – that is until January arrived.  When we came to the time we thought we’d start adding some arrows to our quiver, all of a sudden I wanted to pump the breaks.  I didn’t feel excited, I didn’t want to be pregnant, I wanted to wait.  This wasn’t normal for me -I’d been thrilled about this in the last half of 2015.  Strange!  What was going on?  I quickly realized that what I was experiencing wasn’t from within me, it was a source outside of me trying, through fear, to keep me from stepping into our next chapter as a family.  From January through March, the enemy bombarded my mind with lies about pregnancy and motherhood that I had to recognize and replace with God’s truth.  Pregnancy isn’t a nightmare & children aren’t unbearable burdens.  Every time I opened any social media outlet, it seemed like there was a blog, status update, photo or snapchat of a “flaming martyr of a mom story” about torturous pregnancies, monster children, feeling alone & in the dark with no way out, seeing no reward in motherhood, kids sucking the life out of you and it never coming back etc. etc.  I started to think “Why in the world would anyone want this?”  I realize now that those things were being strategically placed in front of me to attempt to instill fear and keep me from the promises of God over our family.  I’d like to take this opportunity to give a sidebar word to the wise:  Mom’s, I urge you to be careful what words you release into the world about motherhood and children.  The role of mother is a sacred gift.  It is the biggest sacrifice you will probably ever make, but it is still a gift.  As mothers, your words are powerful.  I’m not encouraging anyone to be fake – hopefully you can tell from my posts that I’m all about transparency!  I’m not saying you shouldn’t share when you have a struggle.  You should!  Let that stuff out.  Be real, be authentic, be transparent.  What I am saying is that if you have to resort to constant extreme negativity to make your voice heard, maybe the world doesn’t need that released to the masses.  Yes, I realize there are challenges, pains, and moments where you’re ready to throw in the towel.  I realize we all need a safe place to vent and share struggles, but share those with people who will love you and speak life into you.  Don’t share them with masses of total strangers and leave your words with no message of hope.  This world doesn’t need more negativity to feed on.  **It also doesn’t need more fake projections of a perfect life** It needs to see authentic people who have lived through a struggle and found hope and victory on the other side.  The world needs to see strength to be inspired to be strong.  As believers, if our story doesn’t show hope & victory yet, then its not over.
Ok, I’m off the soap box.  Back to the story, for those first three months of 2016, I prayed, pressed into truth and worked to kick the enemy out of my mentality towards motherhood.  I knew what I was hearing in my mind wasn’t truth and it wasn’t from God, so it didn’t belong in my life.  It finally broke off in March and by April I was totally, joyfully and eagerly ready to be pregnant.  We were so excited to see what the Lord would do now that I’d come out of that season!  I was thinking it would be an immediate pregnancy-victory.  You know, how perfect would that be?  Celebrate victory over a three month battle against negativity towards motherhood by getting pregnant – yes!  Take that devil!  Close the chapter, draw the curtain and onto motherhood.  Nice idea, right?  Well, I thought so.  Month one and two went by and no pregnancy.  It was still very early on and we’d been told that it usually doesn’t happen immediately, so my joy was still high and I looked forward to the next month where I was sure we would get pregnant.  As months 3 – 5 passed, I began to feel a twinge of disappointment in my heart each month when I would realize I wasn’t pregnant.  I’d sit in my bathroom, sometimes with tears rolling down my cheeks, after seeing a negative test or after the evidence came that my body was not growing a baby.  I’d give myself a pep talk about how Father’s timing is perfect and I’d remind myself that He had never failed us…but those twinges of disappointment were still there.  There is a Proverb that says “A hope deferred makes the heart sick, but a longing fulfilled is a tree of life.”  (Prov 13:12)  I was feeling the first part of this verse, and to be honest I didn’t like that my heart’s response to not getting what I wanted when I wanted it was disappointment and sadness.  That sounds super selfish when you look at it that way, doesn’t it?  Well, I took that to the Lord & I told him that.  “Father, I don’t like that my response to not being pregnant each month is sadness.  I know you offer supernatural joy that is not contingent on my circumstances and I want to take hold of that in this.  I want my response to always be thanks and praise for who you are, weather I see a positive test next month or not.”  I can have the exact same response to two opposite outcomes because of who He is, not because of what life looks like.
In these months I began to focus less on pregnancy, and more on letting Father refine my heart.  My desire to have a baby was wonderful, God-given, and still strong but I’d taken it down from a pedestal in my heart that it didn’t need to be on and I worked to put the joy of the Lord back there.  The first few months I pressed into this response, it didn’t come effortlessly.  I would feel discouraged with a negative test but I would choose to worship in the face of discouragement.  Worship has a way of aligning our perspective with heaven’s.  It sets our hearts on things above and not on things here.  As I practiced this month over month, thanks and praise did begin to become my natural response to something that would normally tempt me to be discouraged. (Side Note:  We are called to co-labor with Christ to produce the kingdom in our life – that means we have to put in some work folks!  We have to renew our minds with Him.  Its not about works, because Jesus has given us access to all we need for life and godliness, but we do have to choose to cooperate with Him.  We can’t sit and beg for our lives to show fruit that we haven’t worked with Him to cultivate in ourselves).  As I co-labored with Him, my heart went back to the scripture “Give thanks to God in ALL circumstances, for this is Gods will for you in Christ Jesus.”  (1 Thess 5:18)  It doesn’t tell us “give thanks to God when things go the way you want”.  It says give thanks in ALL circumstances.  This is His will for us, not because he’s a heartless King and doesn’t care how we feel.  It’s the exact opposite!  He asks this of us because he knows the benefit that thankfulness brings to a heart.  I’d also like to point out that it says “Give thanks IN all circumstances”, not “Give thanks FOR all circumstances.”  He doesn’t expect us to be thankful for every struggle, sadness, or trial.  He asks us to be thankful IN them.  We can go through a challenge and still see His hand working all things for the good even when the situation itself may be undesirable.  We can move our eyes from our trial and fix them on Him and find thankfulness for His nearness.  Thankfulness is a huge cure to discontentment.  We can give thanks in every circumstance because God’s goodness and love for us don’t change with our circumstances.  Our thanks should always be rooted more in who He is than what He does for us in life.  He is always good.  He is always faithful.  He is always love.  He is always truth.  He is always for us.  When our circumstances don’t seem to declare these things, we can give him an offering of praise because we know who He is despite what our circumstances may be tempting us to believe.  I’m of the personal belief that praises we offer Him during seasons of struggle are some of the absolute sweetest to Him.  They are praises of a warrior who is standing tall in battle, refusing to surrender to circumstances.  We aren’t offering the praises to manipulate Him or to try to persuade Him to move his hand on our behalf.  We are offering them because he is Jesus, He is King, He loves us, and we know He is for us.  If you’re not at that place of defaulting to thanks and praise yet, like I wasn’t in this situation in these months, just tell Him and he will help you!  He loves to give us his strength and walk us into freedom.
By the time month 6 & 7 rolled around with no pregnancy still, I can honestly say that my heart was being made new.  I didn’t feel the sadness like I used to.  I still hoped & longed for a positive test, but I didn’t fall apart when it wasn’t there.  On Halloween morning, in month 7,  I was in my bathroom holding an unused test it in my hand and I said “Jesus, no matter what this is about to say, I love you.  You are so good to me.”  I said it with a smile on my face and tears in my eyes, not because of any result, but because of where I saw He had taken my heart.  Again – I wasn’t necessarily thanking and praising him that I wasn’t pregnant if I was a negative.  I was thanking and praising Him for who he is and his good plans for us, regardless of the test’s answer.  Its ok to long with your whole heart for something, as long as that desire doesn’t cause you to put your contentment in something other than Jesus.  On this October morning my heart was different from the times I’d been here before.  I was ready to take the test with peace in my heart no matter what.  I took the test and there it was – a beautiful, urine-decoded (+).  I slumped to the floor hands over my face and all I could say over and over again was “Thank you so much.  Thank you so much.  Thank you so much!”.  Those of you who have experienced that know its hard to put that joy into words.  It is a precious feeling!
Telling Zach was my second favorite part of that morning.  It was so much fun to celebrate together.  It came at such a wild time for us because he was leaving in 4 days for a 6 week school in Tampa, Florida.  We would basically be apart for my entire first trimester, but I didn’t mind!  I was so thrilled that I was pregnant and that we wouldn’t have to wait until he got back to get this baby in my belly J  Plus, in his favor – he would miss what can be the moodiest part of pregnancy so how convenient is that for all parties involved?  We decided to tell our immediate family & closest friends together before he left since we wouldn’t have another opportunity until my second trimester to tell the news together and it was so much fun to share that joy with them.  It was a bittersweet send off for him four days later.  We were beyond grateful for the new adventures the Lord was giving us in multiple areas of our life but we would miss walking through them together in person.  Alright, by now I have probably blogged your ear off, so I will post the rest of the story tomorrow!  I hope you come back and share the rest of it with me. Before you get excited, I will warn you that it has an unexpected end that we would never wish for , but it does end with hope J

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