Answered Prayer

February 18th is a day that I will always remember. I spent practically the whole day in full communication with God. Not just a one-way talk, but he was talking strongly back at me. I felt him, I heard him, and I fully trusted him. It was the week that our baby boy was due, and I anticipated that I would feel all kinds of anxiousness and sadness, but like I had written about several posts ago, I had an overwhelming sense of peace. Like a kind of peace that I truly did not understand. I was planning to take a pregnancy test the next morning and was in high hopes just like every month before. On that day I started reading Mark Batterson’s book “The Circle Maker.” I couldn’t put it down for a solid hour while I read the first few chapters, talking about prayer. Praying boldly, specifically, and confidently. It was like God speaking through that book to me telling me to not worry, trust him, and go to him. And I did just that. There were several times throughout reading where I set the book down, looked up, prayed out loud….like very confidently prayed, picked it back up and kept reading. At one point I threw the book down, went into my nursery and started writing a prayer.

Here is that prayer:
“Heavenly Father, I want to praise your name, for the future baby you are going to bless us with! Lord I praise you for the test I am going to take tomorrow morning! It is through you all things are possible. I am drawing circles of prayer around this baby and I pray your will be done. I pray that line is bold, like my faith. Lord you will not forsake us, I know you won’t. You promise that you won’t and I have faith in you! Lord, I pray you keep fear and doubt out of my heart, keep the enemy far away. YOU are all that matters. Lord hear my prayers and hear my cries. Bless me so I can bless others. I ask these things and pray this prayer in your precious son’s name, amen!”

When I tell you, I was in communication all day, I mean I was in communication all day. Constantly praying, constantly trying to be in his presence and feel his remarkable peace. There was something in me that just longed for him throughout that day, to trust him, and feel his love.

A few hours later, I was back in that nursery writing another prayer:
“God please please please hear me! God, I pray you bless us with a baby. Please let this be it! Your will not mine be done. God, we long for this. I long to be a momma. God please hear my cry. Lord I pray so hard this is the time you bless us again. Help me to use my testimony and share your grace and love. God you have pulled me from my sin and from my own selfishness and brought me closer to you. I will raise up this child to have Christ in them. Lord you are the living God and you will never forsake me. God, I pray you hear me. Lord, bless this daughter of yours again with a baby. I will forever be grateful. I love you Lord. I love your son. And it’s in his beautiful name I pray this prayer, amen!”

To be honest, these prayers were not very “thought out.” They were in the moment, vulnerable, scribbled on to scraps of paper and taped up on the wall in a matter of minutes. It’s what I was thinking and what I was yearning for that day and God, without a doubt, heard me. He didn’t just hear me, he answered me.

That next morning, I will never forget, closing my eyes waiting on the results of that pregnancy test. I closed my eyes and prayed. “Lord, I believe you are going to do this. I believe you are going to make this happen. I know you give and take away and believe you are going to make this happen. I trust you.” I just remember telling him how much I believed him, how much I trusted him, and how much I wanted to share his answered prayer. I wanted to share his goodness in my life and in my story.

When I opened my eyes and saw that positive sign on that test, it was like an out of body experience. My tears were uncontrollable. Like completely uncontrollable. I remember being in the bathroom sobbing for a good 10 minutes before picking myself up on the floor. I went directly into that nursery, my knees hit the floor, and I looked up at that wall full of prayers for the little soul that God was already forming inside of me. He heard me. He answered me. I believed in him and he showed me how perfect his timing is and how powerful his handiwork is. My God knows what he is doing, he has had a plan for me all along. He has been molding me and going to work in my heart, and I am forever grateful for his perfect plan. His glory truly does outweigh the sufferings that we go through in this world. His glory and his ways are the only ways I want to be in. No one can tell me it is a “coincidence” that we found out we were expecting the same time our boy was due. It’s not ironic or happen stance….it’s God. Come to my house. Look at my wall. It’s God. The way he has worked in my life in the past year makes me so grateful to be his daughter. And it makes me proud to call him my father. His ways are perfect. His timing is perfect. In the midst of the hard times, he comforted me, he was there, he held me close when I needed it, and he grew my heart greatly in the places I was weak. He is still working on me, always will be, and that’s also what’s so great about him. He never gives up on me.

Now, for those who ask, “Where was Anthony during this cry sesh?” Well, he had already left for work really early that morning. I did not call him immediately…I actually didn’t call him at all. After I finished my hysterical sobbing episode…I went out on the hunt. I took that pee stick, got in my car, and went to go find my husband. What was my plan? I don’t know. Wave the pee stick around in the air, cry, and jump in the air towards him hoping he would catch me. Honestly, that was my plan. However, after an hour of driving up and down Donaldson pike looking for my husband’s work van I knew this was the dumbest idea I ever had…. I couldn’t find him. So back home I went. Turns out, Anthony wasn’t far behind me. He came home early to see me, so I left the test in the bathroom and quickly sat on the bed when I heard him come home. He came upstairs and I told him I had “just taken the test” but didn’t have the guts to look yet. So, he went into the bathroom to inspect. After a good 30 seconds of inspection… “You’re pregnant…..”

“I know! I lied! I went searching for you and couldn’t find you!”

I told him how I had known for hours and all I wanted to do was see him, tell him, and hug him! He was very excited, a bit on the nervous side, which I understood, but we were and still are so thankful and blessed. There is no one I would rather walk side by side with in this life than that man. God has blessed me tremendously with him.

I am elated that I am in the process of growing another sweet little soul to add to our family. I am elated and doing the best at not letting fear, doubt, and worry creep in. He’s in control, not me, and I keep reminding myself about that. I am excited to continue to share about this journey I am on, through the ups and the downs, and I pray this can give hope to any women that may need it. No matter what situation we are in, He’s in control, and there is no better control than the one who created us all.

“Writer’s Block.” I think that’s what they call it?

I’ll be honest. I have been waiting…like anxiously waiting to be able to write about being pregnant again. This makes day 5 that I have sat down and tried to write this post. I have had soooooo much to say and all of a sudden, it’s like I can’t form a sentence to save my life. There is one thing I know for sure. Our God knows us. He knows what we need, when we need it. Finding out that I was pregnant again, the week that our boy was due was no coincidence. God knew what I needed. He knew that answered prayer would rock my world, grow my faith, and cause me to undeniably see Him. I am beyond blessed, beyond grateful, and am still just as prayerful for this baby now as I was before I knew God was forming this little blessing inside of me.

I will say, the past few months have not been all rainbows and butterflies, although I try for it to be. My human nature has tried to take over many times. Fear, doubt, worry, all try to sink on quite often. I would be lying if I don’t still hold my breath almost every time I go to the bathroom and let out a sigh of relief when I see nothing concerning. I am almost 15 weeks along and most people say you’re “in the clear” after the first trimester, but I’m one who won’t feel fully “cleared,” till this baby is in my arms snuggled up to me. I can feel the worries, but I never let them over take me. With the help of the Holy Spirit, I’ve been able to keep it mostly at bay and have an amazing sense of peace throughout this pregnancy. I can’t let the worry and doubt overtake me because where does that leave my trust and hope? I choose everyday to focus on putting my hope and trust in Christ because I’m wasting my time and energy in wallowing in my worries. I am in no control here. He is. And for me, that is so comforting.

Instead of racking my brain on all the situations and events and feelings I have that I can write about, I wanted to ask the opinion of those that read this. What do you need? What do you want to know? It can be anything. Maybe this is just the enemy trying to block my brain every time I sit down or maybe this is God trying to tell me to stop talking about what I want to talk about and start asking others what can help them? So here I am, opening the floor up to you. Feel free to comment, shoot me a message, or whateverrrr you wanna do. I have a lot I can share and a lot on my heart but feel like I have 40 different arrows pointing in all different directions. So if you have a specific arrow pointing in a certain direction, let me see it.

Today

My God is so so so awesome. I can’t put into words how amazing our Father is. He knows how to pull each one of us close to him, under his arm, right when we need it. He’s never too late. He knows what each and every one of us needs, not just what we think we need…but what we truly need. He knows how we can grow, how he can mold us into who he wants us to be. And it is such a beautiful thing when we let him mold us.

To be honest, I have sat down at my computer every day for the past week ready to share. I have been so excited for the last few months to share this awesome news (that I am so excited about) but I haven’t been able to type a single word. I have so much I want to say but I must address one thing before the sharing starts.

As soon as we made the announcement that I am pregnant again (PRAISE!) I have had a very overwhelming sense of guilt. With every group of people, family, or woman I tell that I am pregnant, I am also very hesitant. There have been so many women I have met, prayed for, and shared stories with that I know are trying for this same blessing. My prayer every day is that my news will give them hope and encouragement and my hope is that my news doesn’t cause an ounce of sadness in any other woman or couple’s hearts. I can relate to that longing feeling, I can relate to the “I want this so bad, it hurts,” feeling and it is a very emotional thought for me to think my news could be a trigger for any hard feelings on anyone.

It’s one thing when I can look someone in the eyes and tell them, be gentle with them, hug them hard, and be tender towards the tears that they shed for me (and also for themselves.) But it’s another thing to sit behind a computer, talk about our exciting news, and feel the weight of so many people that may read what I write wishing they were in my shoes. Here, where I can’t hug them, I can’t be tender toward what they feel in that moment, and I can’t wipe any tears that might come flowing. This is something I have honestly been wanting to avoid because of that sole reason.

I say all of that because I’m just being honest. It’s been heavvvvy on my heart. But, this morning I read multiple prayers I wrote from the week I found out that I was pregnant again (written both before and after I found out.) I promised God. I gave him my word that I would use his answered prayers as a testament to him, his glory, his goodness, his faithfulness.

So here I am. I’m back at my computer, this time forming words which are turning into sentences. I am excited to share God’s answered prayers with you over the last several months, I feel like I’ve been waiting forever for this! I am beyond blessed and undeserving of his grace, but I am so incredibly grateful for it. I pray that over the next several posts, I can give hope to those who need it. I pray hard for each person that may feel a hole in their heart when they read and that God fills it with exactly what you need.

Today, I just wanted to share my heart and share where I’ve been the past couple weeks. But, I am also beyond excited about this precious soul that I am growing inside of me and I am ready for this excitement to make its way to those around me. It’s not about me, it’s about the glory of God and prayers that I prayed along with many others that came to fruition. That’s the center of this. It always points back to Christ!

I will share more soon. As for today, remember when you feel anxious, go to the One who can truly bring you joy.
“When anxiety was great within me, your consolation brought me joy.” Psalm 94:19

“What We Feed Grows”

It does little good if we declare and defend the truth but fail to demonstrate it in our lives. Let me repeat that. It does little good if we declare and defend the truth but fail to demonstrate it in our lives.

While I was doing my morning reading, I came across that quote I had written in my bible and felt compelled to share it. Throughout a lot of my life I have proclaimed to love God. I have proclaimed that I am a Christian. I have defended what I think is right and wrong. However, my daily actions, thoughts, words, and living were done through my own selfish desires. I lacked looking at my actions through God’s perspective. I set my heart and my mind on things of this world, not on things above. This is something that I am still working on, but I am so glad I am finally working on it vs living a lie to myself and to others.
Yes, I am a Christian. Yes, I believe that Jesus Christ died for you and for me. If I proclaim this to people around me, would that come as a surprise? Tell me 3 important things about yourself? Pretend someone were to ask you that question every day. If you were to proclaim that Jesus is Lord, would someone be taken back by that? In my life, it used to. My actions, my talk, my living did not demonstrate Jesus. I could put him at the top of my “priority list” all day long but, until I start showing Christ, what good am I doing?

Remember, what you feed grows. I used to fill my time with so many things that were no good. Friends that I never had relevant conversations with, going places that weren’t the best places to be, drinking myself under the table, relationships that meant nothing, drugs, selfishness, lying, stealing, and to be honest, that’s the tip of the iceberg. “And you’re going to sit there and write about being a Christian?” lol. Yup. Because although I’ve done a lot of things I am not proud of, my God has never left me. When I turned my back from him, he waited on me to come back, even continued to do what a Father does, and pull me back in. I always thought to myself back in high school and college when I was the farthest from God I’ve probably been, “You know better, and you’ll get it together, this is just a phase, everyone does it.” And a lot of people do. I’m not a stickler now, I understand people’s thought process. Wanting to “have fun” and I have never or will I ever look down on anyone who is pleasing their own desires in this life, no matter what that desire looks like. Because I’ve been there. I’ve been right there with you. We are human, and we will fail, there’s no way around it. But, I will say this. The more I fed my own selfish desires and stopped looking at my life through my father’s eyes, I now consider it a lot of wasted time. I spent a lot of time with people that I don’t speak to, don’t see, don’t even have their numbers anymore. I spent a lot of time out of it, confused, lost, and just living for the day. And for what? To have my version of fun at the time. I filled my time with a lot of things that didn’t truly matter, and it took a toll on me.

I’ll be honest, it took moving, changing jobs, changing some friends, changing my mindset and my outlook on life, to even start breaking many of these unhealthy habits. But for each habit I broke, for each step I took that was closer to where I was wanting to be in life, was like one chain being broken after another. And let me tell you, breaking chains is God’s work. He’s the one that’s got the key. Not you, not your friends, not your parents, your spouse, boyfriend or girlfriend. The Almighty is the only one who is strong enough to break whatever chain that has a hold of you. What you feed grows. What are you feeding yourself? What are you feeding your time with, your relationships with, your mind and soul with? Be honest with yourself.

Then tell me, what are 3 important things about yourself? If one of those is proclaiming Christ, is that something that would surprise the people that surround you? Set you heart and mind on things above, not of this world! Stop declaring and defending the truth, start demonstrating it! It’s not always easy but I will say, it’s the most freeing thing you can do. I am nowhere near where I would like to be. I still mess up, I still fail, I still need chains broken, I always will. But I desire Christ more than ever. And what we desire usually determines what we do. So, I feel at a better place now than I have in the past because I used to desire the temporary. The here, the now, the world, and letting that determine what you do is far from freeing. I tell you what I wish I would have had someone tell me a few years ago (and I still tell myself now.) Don’t lie to yourself. Stop acting like you’ve got it together because you don’t. You can’t do this life alone, you’ll never be able to. Set your pride away, stop declaring Jesus and start demonstrating Him. Stop seeing life through your own eyes and look at this life through God’s perspective. We are deformed through the sin of this world. But through Jesus we are transformed back into the image of God, how He created us in the first place. Walk in His image, demonstrate Him the way we were created to. Feel the chains break, feel the freeness, and I promise there is no better version of “fun” than that.

February

I was anxiously awaiting this month and honestly had been dreading it. As our due date approached, I thought it was going to be rough, emotional, hard, just all the feelings. But I kid you not, I entered into the month of February with the most peace. It truly was the peace of God. I remember being at church one Sunday at the beginning of February and as I sat there, I smiled at the little baby boys around me. I remember thinking….”that outfit is so cute.” Then immediately though, “did I just think that? Am I really dry eyed right now?” In that same church service I SANG “Blessed be your name.” I got through the words “you give and take away.” I remember leaning over to Anthony and telling him “I feel good today.” It was a really really cool thing to experience true peace from God and then see happiness stem from that peace.

Does anyone have any prayer requests? I’m sure many of you have heard this question being asked. Have you ever genuinely drawn a blank? Like hmmm I don’t really need any specific prayers, I don’t know anyone who needs any prayers, so you sit in silence and wait….I’m sure we’ve all done this before. I CHALLENGE you….STOP drawing blanks. FIND people that need prayers. At the beginning of the year, I remember feeling so consumed by our issues and feeling consumed with my own fears and doubts and wants, I knew I had to get out of that negative headspace. Get out and find others to pray for. Never be afraid to ask someone….do you have anything that you need me to pray for? Fill your prayers with others names and just watch God go to work ya’ll. It is truly amazing.

As Christians, we should never draw blanks on having people in our minds and in our hearts that need prayers. If we’re drawing blanks, we’re not doing our job! Praying hard for others and seeing God answer those prayer and go to work in other people’s lives can grow your own faith abundantly and trust me it’s such an exciting and awesome thing to be apart of someone else’s story! Prayer is so so so so so powerful. It is our direct line to the Almighty King. I hate the phrase, “all I can do is pray for you,” or “can you at least pray for me?” LIKE WHAT. That is the BEST thing that can be done. Please, never underestimate the power of prayer and the power of that direct line of access to our Lord. USE that direct line ya’ll. Use it day in and day out. We stay connected and attached to our phones alllllllll day long. It’s sad how much time we stay connected through a stupid device. How bout we stay connected to the direct line of access that has our Creator on the other end of it for a fraction of the time we’re on the line that sucks the life out of us. It’s a simple change in habits but it can take a lot of effort. I promise you, you won’t regret the effort you put into it when you see how much better the communication is through the line connected to our Lord.

This point in time became a turn around for me. Not just for my faith but the way that I acted in it. Having uncomfortable conversations were no longer uncomfortable. Trying to speak boldly about God and what He was doing in my life became easier. And the consuming feeling that I thought was drowning me was beginning to let me breath again. Our duty is to reach out into other people’s lives and spread His light, even when ours feels a little dim.

“I Need You More than I Need a Baby.”

Let’s be honest. Getting pregnant and having babies can be straight up consuming. It can be hard, stressful, overwhelming, and full of anxiety. All of these emotions seemed to be over taking me at the beginning of this year. For women who have had trouble getting pregnant, miscarried and are now trying again, or have had any kind of issues with infertility you may be able to relate to some or maybe all of this.

The first time Anthony and I found out we were expecting it happened very quickly (one and done) to be brutally honest. It was a surprise to both of us that we “just didn’t have to really try.” I look back at some of the comments I probably made when we first got pregnant and want to punch myself in the throat. Although, this fact was true, I didn’t quite think about the way I told others or my response to others on this matter. So to make a long story short I am going to say this: For those of you who are pregnant or want to talk to others about when they are getting pregnant….please, tread lightly. You never know what that woman is or has gone through. So, when you feel the need to complain or whine about your own pregnancy just stop. There are many women who would LOVE to be in your shoes. And for some who want to openly ask others when they are going to have kids, why they haven’t yet, or however you want to word that over invasive question…just stop right there. Stop and don’t go back.

Back to the beginning of the year. Anthony and I have been trying to get pregnant since our doctor gave us the green light after our loss. So, this became the first time we’ve ever really been actively trying to get pregnant. Let me tell you…it can take a toll on a girl. And I don’t say that meaning physically (that can be the fun part) but I’m talking mentally and emotionally. Ovulation tests, planning, put a pillow underneath your lower back lol, take your temperature, do this, don’t do that, holy smokes the things people tell you and the things you read “to help.” Like what? Pretty sure I did and used none of it the first time we got pregnant. I hoped and prayed it would be just as easy to get pregnant the second time and my former doctor led me to believe it wouldn’t take any time at all. I’ll never forget going in for my check up after our loss and the last thing that doctor told me as I left was “see you when you’re pregnant again, probably in November.” THANKS DOC for the false hope. See you never.

When it came to getting pregnant again, I tried so hard to keep my two boxes. If anyone has every experienced miscarriage this thought process might help. It did for me. I tried to keep two separate boxes in my mindset. One box was for grieving and sadness of the loss of our boy and the other box was optimism and excitement about God blessing us with another child. Two separate boxes for two separate feelings. I did good for a few months keeping those boxes apart from each other, I knew I needed to for my mental and emotional sanity. Unfortunately, a few months ago, mostly in January, I completely let those boxes crash into each other. Like really hard. My fear of getting pregnant again consumed me. We had only been trying for a few months, but man when you’re really actively trying it can feel like years. Ya’ll know what I’m talking about, right? There’s the two weeks you have to wait to ovulate, the consuming feeling to make sure you’re “in your window” then the dreaded two week wait to know what that stinkin test is going to say. Well if you’re like me, a week and half up to two week wait, because I can never make it to see if I start. I spend at least 50$ on pregnancy tests every month, I test too early, then just HAVE to test every day until the day I’m supposed to start. Like who does that? Me, I do, because I am so incredibly impatient, and I guarantee I ain’t the only one! The process is tiring, hard, and draining. I felt this after months of trying and my heart aches and longs for women who try for years. I think of my mom who tried for eight years…eight. She finally got pregnant after seeing a fertility doctor but man, an 8 year journey. I know many women are in my mom’s shoes when it comes to that kind of waiting and my heart goes out to them! I have not been able to relate to that length of time by any means.

For me, as of January I was just completely consumed. Consumed with fear of trying to get pregnant again. Why wasn’t it happening as fast I thought? Why was I so scared it wouldn’t happen again? If I do get pregnant again, it’s going to bring up a lot of different kind of fears and what will that look like? As February (the due date of our baby) quickly approached, I could just feel the enemy working in my heart. He wanted me to be fearful. I was trying to control everything in my life. All the things I said I didn’t want to do like buy ovulation tests, trying this or that, blah blah blah, I was doing them. I was trying to force God’s plan for me. I was still praying hard for our future baby, but I was not trusting God with His timing or giving Him control of my life. I was praying but trying to micromanage everything from down here.

I had mentioned how I had a breakdown in one of my ladies’ classes at church toward the end of January. It was a breakdown that I am so glad I allowed myself to be vulnerable and ask for help and prayers because as I have said before, I left there that day feeling as light as a feather. I found a new prayer that day and it was one I knew but it was one I had to pray often to truly believe it for myself.

“I need you more than I need a baby. Help me to long for you more than a child. Fill me with your love, peace, and comfort whenever I feel like I am lacking, because with you, I lack nothing. I need you more than I need a baby.”

My God knows my wants, He knows the longings of my heart. And he is ultimately in control of my life and my future. I need to fully trust Him with it. I knew and still know that I need God more than I need anything in this temporary life, but I need to WANT Him more than I want anything in this life. I need to long for His love, for His ways, more than my own desires. I do think God hears us when we long for things in this life and I believe He wants to bless us and answer our prayers, I believe that whole heartedly. But the way I was living and letting getting pregnant consume my mind, I was not allowing God to be in control of my life. I was telling Him I wanted to be while I was trying to hold tight of the reigns. When I finally stepped back and realized I just need to relax, let God be in control, let Him take the reigns, and just enjoy the days that He is blessing me on this earth, I finally felt like I could breath again.

I went into the month of February feeling light. Feeling happy. Feeling strong. Three things I thought would be a complete struggle as this month approached. Anthony and I both stepped back and said okay let’s just chill. We wanted to just enjoy ourselves again and not overthink the whole thing. He had been so sweet throughout those months that I was kind of a crazy person. We both want to get pregnant again, but he knows how to keep me sane and keep things light hearted and not so over whelming. He keeps me laughing too by asking all the time “is it time to make my donation??” HA, a man’s way to ask his wife if she is ovulating…. his sense of humor won’t get old. He has such positive attitude, I am so thankful to be doing life with him. I think when I stopped, slowed down, stopped trying to rush our future to happen, is when I finally let God take control. Our God is good and we all need Him more than we need anything in this world. Constantly give him control of your life and He will constantly work for the good of you and His kingdom.

 

 

If any woman who has been through this or something similar and wants to give any advice, bible verses, or thoughts that might help other women in this process, please feel free to leave comments! I was informed that no one was able to leave comments on my posts for a while but have just had that problem fixed (still don’t know what I’m doing over here) but feel free to share so we can link arms with one another and give support!

WeAreWorship Podcast

I am extremely honored and blessed to have been asked to be apart of the we are worship podcast a few weeks ago. Just an honest sit down talk with two awesome, genuine people. So grateful to have been apart of this and hope God uses it to bless others! Click Here to head over to WeAreWorship to take a listen, or listen below:

Marriage & Miscarriage

 

Let me start this post off by saying this is my personal experience. I can’t speak for anyone else, the emotions they felt, the position of another’s marriage, or the struggle that they went through…by any means. This is me and my own.

Losing our baby caused a lot of emotions, struggle, strength, and pain in my marriage. My husband is by far the most amazing human being I have ever met. I think the month of September was the closest I have ever felt physically, emotionally, and spiritually to him. We were each other’s support 24/7. He physically saw everything unfold in that nurse’s station bathroom and although it brought him so much pain, I am glad he was there to witness that pain and have that moment for our family because we were in it together. Although he wasn’t physically feeling the pain I felt, he felt it fully emotionally. He was there, witnessing it, and in that painful loss for our little family, it strengthened our bond tremendously.

Anthony’s arms were my saving grace for a good month. He would come home and hold me. When he sensed me being quiet, becoming numb, he always made me talk to him. “Tell me what’s on your mind, I need you to talk to me, how are you feeling.” He was so good about being there for me to try to lift me up out of my own hole. And he did just that. My husband has been a saving grace to me in this season of my life. It felt like it was us against the world and nothing could ever break us. We were stronger than ever.

Fast forward about 7-8 weeks…that’s when satan really decided to go to work. He went to work on me and my heart and it targeted my marriage. When I eventually stopped trying to be a recluse and got out to do things again, we finally got back to our regular routine with work. It was really nice to be around people, talk to people, have normal conversations that didn’t make me constantly cry. It was nice. But when I came home, I was anything but nice. I think I put so much effort into talking about other things, put so much effort into putting a smile on my face, acting like I was totally fine, and in all honestly it was exhausting. People seemed to stop asking me “how are you doing.” We stopped having conversations about the thing that seemed to be on my mind at all times, so I stopped talking about it. I would come home and my sweet husband would be in a positive mood (that man is always positive.) He would sing to me, talk about his work day, ask me how my day was, and all was fine….or should have been fine. But I became resentful toward Anthony. Why? I think for a while I tried my best to put on my happy face, ya know, fake it till you make it kind of thing. By the end of the day when I got home I just didn’t want to fake it anymore. I wanted to be upset. I felt like it was somewhat wrong of me to try and truly be happy. And this my friends….this was Satan. He is always working in our lives to gain a foothold. He found that foothold on me and tried to use it against me. He tried hard to draw wedges between Anthony and I. It’s the enemy’s way of screwing with our mindset to where we constantly put blame on others, so he can cause a wedge in the relationship. That’s exactly what he was trying to do in my marriage.

I would be angry for the smallest of things and those small things became big wedges. He stopped asking me to talk to him about how I was feeling, he stopped truly asking me how I was doing, a whole day would go by and we wouldn’t speak about the loss of our boy and it angered me. It angered me to the point it would consume me. There were some moments I would be angry with him solely for the fact that he was happy…
One night in October we had plans. Actual plans. We were going to go to dinner with friends, I wore a dress, did my hair, it was a big night. Still to this day I am not sure what started this fight, but I remember getting in the car, my temper was fuming, and then immediately got out of the car and screamed at my husband “we’re not going.” I marched inside, sat on my couch, and sobbed. Like hysterically sobbed.

Here came my husband behind, “I don’t know what you’re…” he started to speak but I immediately finished his sentence. “I don’t know what is wrong with me!” I was screaming at the top of my lungs at him. “I don’t know what is wrong with me, I don’t understand how I feel, I’m lost Anthony. I’m supposed to be pregnant and I’m not, I don’t understand what’s going on with my body, I don’t understand why I feel absolutely crazy. I’m sad, I’m confused, I feel isolated, I feel insane. I’m sorry you have to deal with this, but I can’t explain to you what is going on with me because I don’t understand any of this myself.”
My sweet husband didn’t fight me on it. He had been so patient with me the past several weeks. He came and sat by me, loved on me, kissed me, talked me off my ledge for that day and on to dinner we went. These episodes happened more than once, more than I like to admit, but I am so thankful for my husband’s patience with me. He is seriously a saint.

Now being honest, there are two very big factors that played into me acting down right awful and they technically could be considered the same thing… the devil himself and hormones! Looking back, I feel so bad for my precious man because he took the brunt of the waves that came crashing in on myself for a while. I sometimes needed someone to unleash my pain on and he often was my go to. I would never let myself get angry at God, I just couldn’t allow my heart to go there, so I let my anger go the very person that means the most to me on this earth. I hate that I reacted towards him the way that I did…and on such a regular basis. But when I finally stepped back and stopped blaming my outbursts on hormones, confusion, and resentment, I started trying to put my guard up against the real culprit. I was not going to let the enemy himself steal any more joy from my marriage.

No matter what struggle we may go through in life, the enemy will try to use that struggle against us. Never forget, he is out to steal, kill, and destroy. He will do the best he can to use any suffering in our life to cause us to suffer more, to struggle spiritually, relationally, emotionally, mentally, in any way he can. He saw how strong me and Anthony became. He saw how close our bond and how much stronger our faith was becoming. My sweet husband has stayed so strong, so positive, so admirable in my eyes through our struggle and for a while I unfortunately became weak. I became negative, unpleasant, and angry. Now don’t get me wrong, there’s times I look back and think “girl, you had a right to be all of those things.” And I think it’s completely normal to feel those feelings. But did I have a right to target those negative, angry, unpleasant emotions towards my husband? By no means! God put us on this journey together to walk hand in hand and lift each other up, not push each other down. I think sometimes no matter what negative situation I am in, I tend to target those feelings toward someone, and it’s usually toward someone that is closest to me. I’m sure many of you can relate to that. I hate that our human spirit is so quick to cause harm to our relationships. Instead of listening to that human spirit, we must try to listen to the holy spirit within us instead. That spirit guide will always lead us in a positive healthy way vs leading us down a dark and dangerous road.

I know that there are many marriages that struggle after losing a baby. It’s hard to stay on the same page, to stay positive, and hopeful….honestly all of these things are hard in any marriage. I always try to remember to step back and really attempt to see what the root of the problem is. It was never Anthony. It’s not all the things he does or doesn’t do. The root of the problem isn’t even the fact that we lost our baby. The root of the problem is that fact that very often my joy is being stolen, and my thoughts are being altered by the enemy himself. When we find the root of the problem, that’s when we can go to work against the problem. And to let you in on a little secret, the root of all problems whether it’s selfishness, greed, pride, impatience, harsh talk, unkindness, you name it, it always points back to one person. Realize it and go to work.

Ephesians 6:10-12 “Finally, be strong in the Lord and in his mighty power. 11 Put on the full armor of God, so that you can take your stand against the devil’s schemes. 12 For our struggle is not against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the powers of this dark world and against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly realms.”

God. Nothing is too small for Him.

Confession.

For quite some time I looked for God in all the wrong places for all the wrong reasons. I did a study in the fall, to be honest, it was my first real study devotional I’ve ever done on my own. It was “Discerning the Voice of God” by Priscilla Shirer. If you haven’t done it…I highly recommend it. This morning I decided to go back through it to read some of my own answers and I wanted to share a few of them with you.

After the first week of study I wrote this:
“I always look for God in big ways. I look for big miracles, big signs, and I’m learning God is big but He doesn’t always speak to us in big ways. Small moves and small steps of faith can lead to big changes. I always look for huge signs to “know” they are from God but, I don’t think that’s the right mindset. I need to learn to listen in the stillness. Obey the “small things.” I need to stop rushing through life. Stop, slow down, connect with others. Actually accomplish NEW goals. Stop being stuck. I think I get stuck with God because I get stuck personally. I need to work on that. I need to have my sights set on something greater, on Him. And have my actions be greater in this life. I want to do more because I know I can and because He will give me the talents to do so.”

I want to share this because this was a very small realization for me…yet turned to such a big impact. I feel like there’s many people who have the same thought process as I did when it comes to hearing and seeing God. We want more. We long for more. We long to know His will and His purpose for our life, right?

I got stuck for a while thinking I had to look ALLLLLL around me. Where is it. Where do I need to go next, what do I need to do different? Where do I move? What job should I have? What big life altering change will need to happen in order to do the will of God? STOP.

When I stopped having this mind set. I slowed down and looked right in front of me, I saw that God was putting opportunities right in front of my face to serve Him. In order for us to see the big miracles and big signs from God, He first wants us to open the door to what is already knocking on it. Notice I didn’t say hear the knock…we also need to open the door. God puts things into our life all the time that we can either open our eyes and see or be too busy and straight up ignore it. Things like simply reaching out and praying for someone, lending a hand to someone who needs it, giving someone in need a card or meal or a good ole fashion real hug. When you hear the Holy Spirit speak to you, put someone on your heart, or you feel the urge to do something that may even be a little weird to you…DO IT! What comes from following and obeying God’s nudges is beyond “small.” These small moves and small acts of obedience lead to big things happening!! I promise you.

I believe whole heartedly that you will hear the voice of God more clearly, the more you obey Him. They go hand in hand with one another. How can I expect the Father to give me clear direction in my life when I am constantly going against His word? Having an obedient life will lead to a more clear connection between you and the holy spirit.

Another thought I wrote during week 3 of my study:
“ Sometimes I don’t know God’s calling. I get certain ideas or thoughts in my head, but I don’t know if I put them there or if it’s the Holy Spirit speaking to me? At this point in time, I feel as though I am spending more time and prayer with God than I have in a really long time…maybe ever. I have such an urge to know what His will is for me and feel as though I am trying to seek Him daily. I feel Him present in my life and feel so blessed, although I feel like there is a move I need to be making, a change that’s coming, but I don’t know what that looks like. I have no idea. I can’t figure out what the change should be. Moving closer to home has really been on my heart but I don’t know if that’s my own selfish ambition or if it’s the Lord’s will? This is the challenge when it comes to discerning what is from the Holy spirit and from the human spirit. I pray He speaks to me and gives me direction in regard to this decision in life and also works in my husband’s heart to align His will for our family.”

Ya’ll. I can take myself back to this day and where my mindset was. I was struggling!! My thoughts from week three completely contradict what I first learned in week 1 one! I constantly tried to decipher some huge life altering change that I thought God was trying to speak to me. I had God’s power confined to one box. “Big moves.” That’s the only way I thought He worked. It reminds me of when I was young and I would lay outside at night staring up into the dark sky with all the beautiful stars. I would say things like “If I’m supposed to be with ______ give me a sign.” If you’re real, give me a sign.” “If I’m going to win tomorrow game, give me a sign.” And I would literally lay and hope to see a shooting star. I remember asking the same question for thirty minutes until I saw one and would be like BOOM! “Alright! It’s gonna happen…I’m 12 and already know who I’m gonna marry!”

LOL. Let’s be real…..many of us still do this. But in an adult version. We fit God into a big power box (because He is big) but we forget that He works in small ways. Sometimes we think it’s too small to be big, or it’s too simple to be supernatural. But the disguise of the divine is ordinary! Don’t let the enemy fool you.

The huge urge I had to move away in the fall…to run away from my problems, my life here in TN, to remove myself from a place where I felt heartache was a move I wanted to twist into “God’s will for my life.” I knew I wanted to be closer to family, that was the only positive in the whole idea, I really longed for that, but every other reason was to simply run away. On top of that, I had no confirmation from God that this was a move I needed to be making. I prayed about it DAILY and to be honest I heard…NOTHING. I was frustrated with God. I’m spending all of this time praying and reading, why are you being silent??
I was solely looking to benefit myself in that big life altering change. That idea did came from selfish ambition. I finally learned to stop praying for where He wants me and started letting Him use me where I ALREADY am. THIS! This was a game changer in life. THIS, is when I started to hear God, when I started to see Him so much more clearly.

Fast forward to present day and guess what? God answered those prayers about moving. He was being silent because I wasn’t supposed to move closer to my family, He wanted me to be patient. Sometimes God takes His time to work and, in that time, He wants us to grow. He wants us to be obedient. God worked and answered those prayers in a way I never even prayed. As of 5 days ago my sister, brother in law, niece, and nephew have now moved to TN and living 15 miles from me!! Talk about a way to answer a prayer! God has put me to work right here, where I already am, opening my eyes to see Him and His glory, all while He worked to bring my family TO me! He is seriously so cool.

I rarely come to that crossroad now where I question God, where do you want me? What do you want me to do? What is your will for my life? Why are you quiet? When I learned to open my eyes and say yes to the small opportunities God presented to me in the now….that…that is when He started showing Himself in big ways. God’s presence is in the simple, precious moments in life, in the stillness. It’s not all lightning and thunder. “Sometimes the biggest moves of God are wrapped up in the smallest assignments of obedience.”

“God give me what I need.”

I have a vivid memory of a prayer I prayed, the morning before we lost our baby that I have wanted to share for quite some time. I never wrote it down, but it is one I have not been able to forget. It’s one of those ‘smack you in the face’ realizations you have when the Lord allows you to see through His eyes.

Let me sort of explain a back story here.

During my pregnancy, I felt connected to my baby. I was right there connected in the present time, but I could not, for the life of me, connect to my future baby. This might sound strange…it even sounds strange to me as I type it, but it’s true. I remember even telling my sisters how I felt the morning after I lost him and how bizarre it was to say out loud.

I felt connected to him as he grew inside of me, as we saw him on the ultrasound pictures, and listened to his heartbeat. I felt connected as I tried to shop for baby chairs, learn about baby things, sign up for birthing and breastfeeding classes. I was there. I was in. But I could not envision past a baby room with grey walls. That was all I could see. I couldn’t picture me bringing my baby home, I couldn’t picture what kind of décor I wanted in his room, I couldn’t picture what kind of mom I would even be?  I was truly struggling with that. I felt like I was missing this ‘mother’s intuition’ that everyone speaks about. WHY could I not feel fully connected to this baby? What is my purpose in this life? I felt stuck not only in my pregnancy, but just my place in this life in general. I just felt caught in a pit.

The morning that we went to the hospital (for the first time) I remember waking up and spending some extra time in bed. I did some reading and knew I just needed God to help me in this struggle that I was in. I sat in bed sobbing while I prayed out loud to Him. I remember this, not just because of what I prayed for, but I remember because it was my first desperate prayer to God and it “just happened” to be the morning before our suffering began.
I remember sitting, sobbing, and praying to God to give me what I need. “Please, hear me, I don’t know why I feel disconnected, I don’t know why I feel lost, I don’t know what my purpose is in this life and why I feel stuck? Please give me what I need. Please just give me what I need.” I think I said that probably 10 times during that prayer.

I’ll never forget looking down at my stomach, holding it, and then crying even harder. In that moment I felt like God was telling me, I’ve already given you what you need. It’s growing right here inside of you. Why don’t you realize that? Here is purpose for you, your purpose is growing inside of you. In that moment I broke down even more. I broke down with joy, with happiness, and then a little sadness because I hadn’t realized He was already providing for me what I needed, before I ever asked. I just needed to see it through His eyes.
You can imagine the thoughts that ran through my mind about this prayer exactly 12 hours later, on our way to the hospital. “No, God No! This is what I need! I felt that from you this morning, when I came to you desperately. How can you take away, what you just confirmed was what I needed??”

Well. That’s just it. God knew I needed my baby. He also allowed me to lose my baby because I needed Him more. God knew through my loss, I would be desperate for Him, in a way I’ve never been before. I would be completely reliant on Him, on His word, on His promise. I believe God heard me when I begged for what I needed, but my prayer was a bit twisted. My vision was a bit blurred that morning. What if my prayer would have been, “God, what do YOU need? Take me and use me where YOU need me. What can I give YOU?”

It took me several weeks…more like months, after our loss to realize these things. It has taken a lot of prayer, a lot of grace, and a lot of tears to get me to this point. By no means, did it happen overnight. BUT, that is also one of the beautiful things about this. God has been at work in my heart. He has been at work on me hard, to help me understand heartbreak, to understand my own story, and to understand His why. And that’s truly all the matters. Him. His glory. And how my suffering, your suffering, our joys, our sorrows, our pain, our praises, how all of these can bring glory to His Almighty name.

When I think back on that prayer I prayed that morning. “God, give me what I need!” I can now think on it with comfort and not heartache. My baby boy is in the arms of my Father, he has never felt pain, has never felt fear, never felt the wicked of this earthly place. I am thankful for the words of a sweet girlfriend who shared wise words with me… “Our babies may not have had an earthly purpose, but they serve a heavenly purpose.” Ah, I can’t wait to meet him in heaven one day and see that sweet soul fulfilling his heavenly purpose. And as for me, my faith has grown tremendously. My God pulled me close and has yet to let go of me. He continues to reveal himself to me daily and it has been a beautiful thing. Has it been an easy thing? Far from it. But our faith endurance is increased in pain. My God answered my prayer…not in the way I wanted, not in the way I intended to even ask, but oh did He answer. “God give me what I need?” He did just that. My God gave me himself. He gave me love, He gave me mercy, He gave me salvation which I’ve always had but am truly grasping now, He gave me a mission field, He gave me hope, He gave me a tender heart. My God, He gave me life again.