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Have you ever noticed that when something big is on the horizon, everything around you seems to intensify and push you to your limits, like something or someone is trying to throw you off course or convince you to give up and throw in the towel?
There’s a reason for that.
You don’t have to be around Christianity too long before you hear about the concept of Spiritual Warfare – the on-going battle between light and dark in the unseen spiritual realm. For those of us in Christ, the fight for our souls has already been won, but that doesn’t keep the enemy from doing everything is his power to steer us off course and, hopefully, away from the promises of God. The enemy basks in our doubt and delights in our fears. His sole intention is to steal, kill, and destroy – and he becomes especially active right before a child of God intends to step in faith and follow the leading of the Lord.
For me, April has been a month of intense warfare. Given that we are going back to our Reproductive Endocrinologist next week for our FET consultation, and our blog is about to go very public, it makes perfect sense.
Back in the fall, the Lord took me through a season of intense spiritual growth. Growth by definition implies change – and when it happens fast, although necessary and good, it can be confusing and very painful. I emerged out of these months stronger in my faith, quieter in my innermost being, and deeply humbled.
I’ve never before experienced that deep of a transformation in such a short time.
I was completely dependent on Him as He led me blindly through the blackest of nights – everything and everyone else fell away – and we were utterly alone, just the two of us. It was one of the most difficult and agonizing times I’ve ever spent with God, but at the same time, one of the most profoundly loving. Even as I was in the midst of darkness, fumbling, grasping, and unsure of my steps, I knew what He was doing. I could palpably feel His love as He gently led me along.
He was strengthening my resolve, fortifying my foundation, and solidifying the Truth in my very core. He wanted me to understand that He would be there, walking with me, tenderly embracing me, and faithfully sustaining me in a way that no one else ever could.
I am so grateful for that season.
He was preparing me for the road ahead – for a time such as this – when the enemy will wage war on my soul and attempt to take from me what God has purposed for my life. I know this was the first of many battles to come.
For the first few months of this year, I’d been moving along fairly well, finally having gotten used to the routine of being a SAHM and making steady progress on our blog. As a couple, we’ve been doing well and watching closely for the movement of the Lord, waiting for any indication that it was time to spring into action for our next FET.
I should have known that my first clue the time was approaching would actually be the efforts of the enemy coming through rather than the direction of the Lord.
The enemy would rather us not take that first step of obedience at all – whether it’s promoting a blog with God at the center, faithfully expanding our family for His purposes and glory, or anything in between – so he starts unleashing his tactical plan early and often. He took advantage of my circumstances, my still-fluctuating hormones, and my human tendencies at just the right time, intensifying and manipulating my thought- life in all regards.
Right after returning from Spring Break, for no apparent reason, my spirit felt crushed in a way that I hadn’t experienced in months. Within days, I felt the weight of being a SAHM settle heavily on my shoulders. The reality that I will be within these walls for years to come, many times alone and isolated, started to eat away at my resolve. I began to experience doubt about my ability to succeed and flourish in this role with the possibility of so many small children to care for coupled with the needs and wants of my husband and older children. I wondered if I could properly care for myself after all was said and done.
It didn’t take long for uncertainty to creep in and I began to question if it was really a good idea to use our embryos and expand our family at all. The small inklings of panic were slowly evolving into irritation, bitterness, anger, and even depression.
At the same time, progress on our blog came to a screeching halt. Out of nowhere, I was hit with major writer’s block. Our site needed changes, but resolving these issues took much longer than planned. As I lost momentum and focus, uncertainty continued to gain traction. Would I ever get this up and going? Would anyone even care? I doubt I’ll make a difference at all, so why even bother?
What’s more, any plans I attempted to make with friends were failing left and right. I tried over and over again to infuse some semblance of balance into my life and, even if it was marked on the calendar, it all fell apart at the last minute. My desperate need for community was met with longer bouts of isolation.
To top it off, my kids decided this was a good time to step up the sibling rivalry – so every afternoon was filled with fighting, tantrums, discipline, and tears. It started the minute they got off the bus and continued on and off throughout the evening until they hit the pillows for bed. Scott was making every effort to share my burden and provide me with opportunities for breaks, but ultimately, he had to sit on the sidelines, helpless to change the fact that this was my life while he was away working hard for our family.
And I sank deeper – how in the world am I going to do this?
And as all these thoughts were swirling in my head, my birthday came and went with little fanfare and celebration – which is really nothing out of the ordinary. Usually, we go out for dinner with whatever family is around and simply enjoy spending time with our loved ones. We’ve done this happily for years – but this time was different. The fact that ALL of our family was out of town or busy and couldn’t make it brought me to a huge emotional low. The isolation I was already feeling became overwhelming. I felt forgotten, like no one cared.
And all of it came crashing down on me at once.
And the sobs came long and hard.
But it wasn’t really about my birthday. And it wasn’t really about being a lonely SAHM. And it wasn’t really about where we’re headed with our family or the joys and hardships of parenting. Thankfully, the Lord has deepened my spiritual maturity to a point where I can now recognize what’s going on and fight against it before it takes complete hold of me.
It was all about the enemy ramping up his attack on my heart at a very specific time and feeding me LIE after LIE after LIE.
It took me a few days, but as soon as it hit me, I reached out to my closest friends and family in Christ and asked for help. These prayer warriors hit their knees on my behalf and launched their own spiritual attack on the enemy. Although I’d been keeping up with my own devotional and prayer time, by this point, I didn’t know how to pray for myself anymore and I just felt flat out defeated. The Lord positioned people around me to lift me up and remind me that He was with me and fighting for me.
And I began to feel a peace that had eluded me all month – but God didn’t stop there.
Out of the woodwork, blessings came in droves. In the matter of days, I was able to spend one-on-one time with some of my closest friends and one of my favorite spiritual mentors. People who had no idea that I’d been having a particularly hard month reached out to me to encourage me in one way or another – what they said was just what I needed to hear at a time when I needed it the most. We gathered with our small group, we visited with family, and Scott and I even had some time to reconnect on our own.
And just a few days ago, I chaperoned a field trip for my twins that I had NOT been looking forward to. I just wasn’t in the right state of mind leading up to this event and I was certain it was going to drain me to the point of no return.
It was one of the best times I’ve had with my twins in years – we went to Sparkles, built a STEM project, played, roller-skated, and danced our hearts out. The other children in our group were beautiful souls and I basked in the sweetness of their innocence and laughter. I got to simply enjoy being a mom for a day without having a to-do list in front of my face. My only “to-do” was to be present and in the moment with my boys.
I had no idea how much I needed this special time – it filled my heart and my soul – and we returned to school, and to home, exhausted and happy. But before we hopped in the car at the end of the school day, I received some unexpected icing on the cake. Both of their teachers pulled me aside and told me what wonderful children they are – and that we must be doing something right.
And just when I thought it couldn’t get any better, I visited a friend today who happens to also cut my hair. As fellow believers, as it often does, our conversation quickly turned to spiritual things as she highlighted and snipped away. Usually, we tend to share our thoughts back and forth, but today she took the floor and shared a God-story with me that absolutely crumbled me and brought me to tears. She said, for some unknown reason, she felt compelled to tell me right then and there.
I counted it as a great honor and privilege to be trusted with her words and to be the recipient of such a beautiful story – but it wasn’t until I got home that I realized she had just hand-delivered a precious gift straight from the Lord.
It’s a well-known fact that witnessing to others and sharing your personal testimony is not only meant to draw others to Christ, but it’s also meant to uplift others who are already in Christ.
She has no idea how much her words impacted me and restored my soul – but I plan to tell her. I left our time together in complete awe, totally uplifted in my spirit and my heart. It was an incredible, personal reminder that God is faithful. That He can make beauty out of pain and redeem absolutely anything, even when it seems all is lost. That He is in the details of our lives, from the beginning to the end.
God impressed it upon her heart to tell me today, not only so we could rejoice and celebrate her beautiful story together, but also so I could be encouraged because He knew I needed it at that very moment. I had no idea when I scheduled my haircut weeks ago that I was actually scheduling a divine appointment. God wanted me to know that He sees me, He sees our future, He knows our hearts, He knows our circumstances intimately, and He will guide, equip, and downright surprise us in the most wonderful ways as we walk out life with Him.
And it all comes down to this – those schemes from the enemy, those lies he put in my head, were no match for my All Mighty, All-Knowing, Sovereign God. With no more than a whisper from His lips, He positioned His people and obliterated the enemy’s hold on me. And when it happens again, because it will, He will walk with me, fight for me, and rescue my heart over and over and over again. He never tires of reminding His children of His unfailing love and faithfulness – and He will always take back what is rightfully His – me.
And all I can say, with gratitude in my heart and tears is my eyes, is this…
Thank you, Lord, for coming after me and for speaking Truth into my soul.
Let’s do this.
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