Redemption in Surrender

Just one more hour. One more prayer. One more position.. One more.. These thoughts rattle around in my head and I wonder what I did wrong to end up here, flat on my back with the curtain up, a mask on my face, and an iv in my arm pumping medicine into my body to take the pain away. This was not the plan. It never was.

But that's the thing about surrender, it asks everything of you.

Forty hours of labor and seven hours of pushing mostly unmedicated, surely my baby would be in my arms.. right? Instead the operating room is calling our name.

Surrender. Let go. Trust.

This has been my theme this year, and really the past few years, if I'm being completely honest, even though I didn't know it. I never expected life to take a sudden turn shortly into our marriage with one health challenge after another. Infertility and a pregnancy overwhelmed with hyperemesis, homecare, and hospitals never crossed my mind. Neither did this.

All of it has left me asking, what is wrong with my body? Why am I not enough?

I know the answer to those questions. I know the truth. Nothing is wrong and I am enough.. But the voices of doubt still ring loud and clear. You should've done more, tried harder, been stronger.

But "should've" is a tricky word isn't it? It leads us down a slippery slope towards dangerous territory. It distracts from surrender by replacing truth with lies and less thans. It is a thief of joy. "Should've" has no place here.

Instead, let surrender take its place. So now I'm faced with a choice.. What am I going to believe?

I'm choosing here and now to believe the Voice of Truth. I am enough. I am loved. I am strong. This season is redeemed. All of this, in Him. It's a daily battle, one I'm still struggling with, but I'm not fighting it alone.

By the grace of God, this broken body of mine knit together a beautiful baby girl, and I say a thousand thank yous every day for this precious gift.


Damage Control

Sometimes the hard things in life seem to come out of no where.

We live near an elementary school and often young children cross our cul-de-sac and yard to reach the bike path that leads to the school. In the winter the snow is piled high, so I always double check to make sure there are no kiddos hiding in the path of my vehicle.  Last winter I was reversing out the driveway taking extra care to check for kids as usual when out of nowhere - wham! My car hit something solid.

The panic rose instantly inside me. The next 3 seconds seemed like an eternity as I realized what had actually happened. I had hit... the garbage can. Derek, being the wonderful husband he is, set it out at the end of the drive the night before so it would be ready for the garbage man (who comes incredibly early) the next morning. Maybe the garbage can was in my blind spot.. Maybe I was too focused on the giant snowbank where kids could be playing.. I'm not entirely sure, but I am SO thankful it wasn't a child. Despite my best intentions, what I had been trying to avoid (hitting something) happened. I had not been in a hurry to leave, was looking in all directions to check for danger, but somehow I was blindsided and damage occurred.

This happens a lot in life. Do you ever feel like you're going along in-control, even cautiously looking out for warning signs of danger, but out of nowhere something hits you like a ton of bricks? Maybe it's the news of an illness of a loved one or a big bill that you just weren't expecting. Maybe it's an argument with your spouse. Maybe it's a car accident. The list can go on and on.

Earlier this year I wrote out our hopes and dreams for 2015. Today I'm realizing there will always be things that come up and threaten to push me and you back down and put dreams on hold. Sometimes life seems to be full of these near impossible obstacles, but we need to go through them so God can prepare us to face bigger challenges with Him.  "Obstacles are opportunities to display God's power. And when we see God heal a bad marriage, turn around an impossible career, remove an addiction, or restore a rebellious teenager, it increases our faith. Setbacks and deficits are opportunities to display God's power and to build our faith." (7 Simple Choices for a Better Tomorrow; Merritt).

Over the past two years, Derek and I have faced many ups and downs. Many times I found myself crying out to God wondering if we would ever get a breath of fresh air. I was stuck in the negatives because of the weight of the compounding surprises that just kept coming up month after month. When going through difficult times, it is so easy to focus on the bad things that are happening (such as I now have to repair my tail light...) instead of focusing on the good things that come out of a bad situation (no children were hurt!). Given the opportunity, I do not think I would change any of the circumstances Derek and I have been through. Some challenges are as silly as replacing a damaged tail light because of a mistake and some are as big as not knowing how much life we have left to live because of illness. We are closer as a married couple, our relationship with God is stronger, and we have a lot to be thankful for!

"Sometimes He calms the storms in our lives. Sometimes He rides through it with us."

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"I have told you these things so that in me you will have peace. In this world you will have trouble. But take heart! I have overcome the world." - John 16:33