I’m honored to be guest posting over at LIFE by Ashley Pichea today. Here’s the link if you’d like to read my two cents on spiritual warfare.
It’s funny how different a childhood perception of being a grown-up is from the real deal. In my childhood opinion, I would arrive at the pinnacle of success when I was a wife and mother. Why else would I spend so many hours mothering my dolls as a little girl? As a teenager, I babysat so many kids that surely I had gained all the necessary tools to be a good mom. Well, since I didn’t exactly have a husband or even a potential husband when I reached the college years, I ended up pursuing a degree in education while holding jobs that involved working with kids.
After I had the husband and the career, I naively I felt it was my right to be a mother. Why shouldn’t I raise children of my own when I’d spent the majority of my life caring for or educating others’? But it just didn’t happen right away. Or for quite a while. That was a difficult season for me, but one for which I’m incredibly grateful now. The selfish, arrogant outlook I had was one that I now see for the ugly thing that it was, but at that time I couldn’t comprehend that it’s not a right to be a mother. It’s a gift.
I will never know how much different my view would have been had I not gone through the waiting process I did to finally have a positive pregnancy test. As I walked through the hallways of the high school where I taught and looked at girls who didn’t even want to be mothers pass by with the swell of motherhood for all to see, I asked, “Why them and not me?” When I discovered that so many beautiful, Godly women I knew and respected had waited for years to have their chance at mothering only to be unable to make it so, I had a difficult time accepting the way things are.
I’m ashamed to admit that these were my feelings, but I’m grateful for a God who loves me enough to help me accept His sovereignty. He gave me knowledge of the life growing inside me just when I needed to learn a bit more about who is really in charge of life and its length.
My first child’s life was incredibly short. After about seven weeks of life, around the time that her sweet little eyes and ears would be forming, I learned that she lacked a heartbeat and that she was lodged in my Fallopian tube instead of my womb. That day changed my life. I grasped for the first time that every life is fragile, including mine. I realized that I was going to really need God to help me accept this loss. And I began to learn that I was far from alone in this world of mothers of miscarried babies. Most of all, I began to comprehend grace for what it truly is.
I began looking at expectant moms in a way that was much more healthy. God gave life to the child inside for a specific reason, and it was not up to me to question why. He is the giver of life, and He has determined that “to everything there is a season, a time for every purpose under heaven:” (Ecclesiastes 3:1)
In the years that have followed that difficult season, I’ve grown to love and appreciate my first child’s sweet life. It, too, had a purpose. Not one that included the two of us snuggling this side of heaven, but something of so much worth that I cannot begin to express it in words.
I now know with such a sense of urgency and power that each life is a gift. When God blessed me with my sweet little boy a year later (a gift I humbly realize was truly from God), I know that I held him tighter than I would have had I not first gone through loss. When his teething cries and clingyness prevented me from sleeping or accomplishing my to-do list, I could not allow frustration to settle in for long. When he now wears me out with his boyish antics and his battles of the will, I can still look at him and know. He is God’s gift to me, placed in my life at the absolute perfect time, and not because of anything that I did to earn it.
When I get hung up on God’s grace and how unworthy I am of it, I see the face of my boy, whom I can hug, kiss, and tickle all day long, and remember that I am indeed so unworthy, yet I have been blessed with grace beyond comprehension.
I also think of the precious child that paved the way to giving me an outlook that goes beyond me. The one who is resting in the arms of my Father as I accept that it’s best to relinquish my agenda and desire for control and just let God do His thing in His time.
My child in heaven has helped me accept that it will be okay when illness plagues us, bills are due before we have a paycheck, and people intentionally or unintentionally hurt me or my family. God continues to pour grace upon me to accept the sovereignty of His mighty hand while He gently holds that little life that lived inside me for such a short time.