Special Delivery: My Birth Story
October 27, 2014
Tonight, as I lay my little one down with a full tummy from his first middle of the night feeding, I can’t seem to keep myself from staring at this tiny miracle from heaven and reflecting on these past two weeks- they really have been like nothing I have ever experienced in my life. Although a lot of it has been hard work and exhausting, I truly have felt so much of God’s grace carrying me through.
I have reached a deeper revelation of my life verse, Philippians 4:13, for sure! I didn’t know how much I would stand on that scripture as I entered this new season of motherhood, especially in the delivery room.
Wow, the delivery room…
…that is a place and time I truly will never forget.
Not only because it was where I got to gaze into my son’s eyes for the first time, but because the Lord used that place and time to strengthen, heal, and restore three very important relationships in my life. I had planned on sharing the experience of the birth of our first child only with my husband, but like so many other times before in my life, God had other plans.
My husband was an amazing coach and was by my side for the first 15 of the 25 hours of labor alone with me. Because many hours had passed after my water breaking (I was sleeping at home when it happened in the middle of the night), the Dr informed us that I risked infection the longer I didn’t enter into hard, active labor. After my husband and I prayed, although we truly did not want any artificial intervention, we took the advice of the Dr to start on a small dosage of Pitocin. We wanted what would be best for our baby and wanted him to be safe.
Although I knew it would be difficult, I laid hold of my conviction to deliver my son naturally without an epidural. The pain was extremely intense, yet I kept Philippians 4:13, the name of Jesus, and my heavenly prayer language on my lips at all times. I knew that I did not have to endure this experience alone. God especially reminded me of that with the compassion and encouragement of my husband the entire time and then even more so when I heard my mom come into the room.
To be completely honest, my mom and I’s relationship wasn’t where it once was many years ago, but I’m here to testify that God did some major healing and restoration that day! I talk in more detail in my book, Yielded in His Hands (eLectio Publishing, February 2015), but to put it simply, I reached a point because of so much hurt, disappointment, and rejection from so many people in my life that I told myself that I couldn’t rely on anyone any longer, especially my mom.
Of course I loved her, but I kept her at an arm’s length away because I didn’t want to risk being hurt once again. I was a big girl now, I didn’t need my mom. But in that delivery room, although I had no idea, I needed my mom.
I remember looking up at her and crying out to her- even calling her “mommy” at one point, which I NEVER called her that before in my life. I truly believe it came from my spirit and the deep recesses of my heart. Having my mom there in that room, massaging my back, encouraging me, and holding my hand was one of the most special moments I have ever experienced with her in my entire life. I am so thankful for it and will treasure it forever. (Thank you, mom…I love you a bushel and peck and a hug around the neck!)
As the hours went by, another person who I struggled to fully embrace entered the room- my mother-in-law. Our relationship had become very surface-level over the last few years because of the same reasons as my mom and I’s relationship- I feared rejection and disappointment and put up walls around my heart, loving at a distance. She never stopped loving me and never stopped praying for me, even in that delivery room. I am so thankful for her prayers throughout the whole laboring process and so thankful for our now restored and renewed relationship.
I find it so absolutely beautiful that God would take such a physically painful experience and make something so wonderful and life-changing in so many ways for me. I saw years that the enemy had stolen from me be restored to me in an instant and God is healing and restoring even more still.
I thought that the birth of my son would be the only miracle I would witness that day, but God had so much more in store for me. I thought that day would be about me becoming a mother, but God had so much more in store for me as I got my mother and mother-in-law back that day. His love completely overwhelms my heart!
So now every time I look at my son, and I think about how much I love him and how I would do anything to give him all that he needs, I am reminded of how much God loves me and cares about all aspects of my life. I am able to pour out that same love without hindrance to all that He places in my life. I am forever grateful, Lord!
Strength to Endure All: A Life Hidden in Christ
May 23, 2014
After I received the phone-call from my mom, I rushed home, and looked for anyone from my family, but no one was around. I ran up to my room trying to figure out who to call. Worry and fear gripped my heart, as thoughts of what actually happened circled my mind. I immediately started to have a panic attack and fell to the floor in the fetal position, crying and hyperventilating. Within a few minutes, my aunt, step-dad, and boyfriend were surrounding me trying to calm me down. I wanted to know where my mom was and why she wasn’t there. “What is going on,” I cried out.
My aunt then uttered these words that are now forever etched in my mind, “Honey, your dad is dead. Someone shot him in the head and killed him. His body was dragged across the street to an abandoned building and the building was set on fire. They were able to identity his body this morning.” My mind couldn’t comprehend what I had just heard. This sounded like something out of a movie or a forensic science TV show, not my life! I immediately went into shock and couldn’t stop shaking or crying.
Yesterday, I was instantly transported back to this traumatizing memory that changed my life forever. After almost six years, the man who murdered my father was finally charged with a guilty sentence. He will serve up to 45 years in prison as a punishment for his actions.
And while most people are shouting: “That man should burn in hell!” I am preaching, “You MUST forgive!” because I know the severity of holding onto the wrongs that others have done to us. It simply is not worth it, my friends.
“For if you forgive other people when they sin against you, your heavenly Father will also forgive you. But if you do not forgive others their sins, your Father will not forgive your sins.” Matthew 6:14 (NIV)
I don’t know about you, but I have fallen short of the glory of God many, many times, and I need my sins to be forgiven because I need the Love and Presence of my Heavenly Father from now until eternity. No matter what the sin is (how big or how small you may think it is), it WILL separate us from God. I NEVER EVER want to be separated from Him.
Although I made a CHOICE to forgive the man who took my dad’s life right after it happened, I wrestled with so many emotions and thoughts after reading the articles describing the horrendous acts of murder that turned my world upside down in November of 2008. Seeing the photo of this man as he was escorted by two police officers out of the courtroom with his stone, cold eyes looking straight back at me made my stomach churn. My heart was pierced and so many different emotions rose up in me.
Avoiding haunting memories and traumatic thoughts was the main reason I chose not to follow the murder case as the years went on. Immediately, I chose to forgive and move on with both my life with Christ and my now husband. I did not want to live in the trauma. It wasn’t that I didn’t love or miss my dad terribly. It was because dwelling on all of this wicked and demonically influenced tragedy would never bring my dad back. I knew that justice belonged ONLY in the hands of the Lord. Most of all, I longed for that man to repent of what he did and find a life-changing relationship with my Jesus like I had found. I still pray for that to this day.
I can’t say that I have found the strength to pray a prayer like this or the strength to forgive from solely within myself. My strength does come from within though, but it is the power and might of the Holy Spirit who has given it to me. My life verse from the Bible will forever hold true, and I will never stop standing upon the promise of Philippians 4:13: “I can do ALL THINGS through CHRIST who strengthens me.” I’m so thankful for that promise.
In the midst of darkness or struggle, I know Jesus will never abandon me (or YOU). Although, my earthly father is gone, I have a Heavenly Father who loves me more than anyone could. I cling to Him when the trials and storms of life try to overtake me, for He is my anchor of hope. I cling to and stand upon His Word that is full of promises – promises of His love, mercy, and grace, for He is my Rock and firm foundation. I cling to my Jesus and the voice of His Holy Spirit, for He is the One who gives me strength and courage to endure every trial I could ever face. I urge you to accept the forgiveness of the Father today and find strength in Jesus to learn to walk in total forgiveness, even in the midst of the darkest of trials. Oh what freedom and peace you will find!
I will leave you with the lyrics of a song I wrote after another trial I faced in November of last year, that seem to fit so perfectly right now:
In YouVerse 1:You’re my desireLord, You are my everything
It’s in You I find
My purpose, my meaning
So take my life
Display it for the world to see
So that You, my King
Can receive Your glory
I’ll hide my life
In You, Jesus Christ
It’s You who gives me strength
To rise above the storm
Oh yes, My life
Is a living sacrifice
So that You can shine
And draw all men to Your heart
I live and move and have my being
When I stand in Your name
Your blood cleanses me of all my shame
The Father sees what You’ve done
How You died on the cross to save us