Coincidentally or not, after sharing last night about the very real spiritual battle we face when we’re trying to stay on track with God, today has been an in-the-trenches kind of day for me. I woke up feeling off, with a bad headache and some dizziness throughout the morning, and then this afternoon I started having sharp pains on my left side.
Sometimes it seems it can take about two seconds for fear of “all of the things” to creep in and take over our thoughts, and that’s exactly what I had to work hard to fight against as I tried to stay calm and make a reasonable assessment of what was happening with my body earlier.
Of course my radar was up about baby’s well being. Naturally, I started running through symptoms in my mind, checking myself against all of the signs I know to be a red flag at this stage of pregnancy. Aside from a number of contractions that put me in the hospital for a few hours when I was 28 weeks along with Henry, I’ve not been quite so close to driving myself over to the hospital while pregnant before. It is SO easy to start thinking about all of the what ifs and the dangers and the negative possibilities, when the place I want to rest is as far away from that kind of mindset as possible.
But it doesn’t take much, does it?
If I were to pay close enough attention to it, I think I’d recognize fear in myself every single day. I’m not someone who lives in a constant state of fear at all, but I am a mom to small children, which seems to be enough to do the trick 😉 Add in some defining life experiences: witnessing major car accidents, Jason being hit by a car, the cancer scare we waded through last year, losing someone so very close to my heart, a miscarriage, trips to the ER late at night with each kiddo, living in a very dangerous place on the other side of the world, navigating life as a minority in some challenging and spiritually dark places…it’s not hard to go back to those life changing pieces of my history and filter my life view through them if I’m not cautious.
I absolutely know that this is not at all where I’m called to park or how I’m supposed to live as someone who puts her trust in God.
It’s still hard sometimes.
If I’ve learned anything through my very hardest and scariest moments–especially those that have occurred since I truly began serving Christ with my life–it’s that I’m no better off for all of the worrying. I don’t accomplish anything good by fretting it out. I do get somewhere by praying, and I’ve seen the power of God work mightily on many occasion–always to bring a level of peace, and sometimes even, to bring about complete resolution.
Today, as I rested on our bed and began to really worry if baby was ok, I remembered to pray before letting my mind wander to every possible scenario. And my heart rested, which made all of me more comfortable and calm. But when I got up and the pain returned even stronger than before, I was right back to that place of fear again in an instant, because I’m pregnant and human and easily tempted to worry before claiming God’s provision of peace.
I might have so easily jumped the gun and decided to go to the hospital in that moment to check on baby, but I remembered again that the outcome of this pregnancy and this baby’s life is not mine to control. I have to trust, every day, that the circumstances by which I live and move and have my being are not in my hands. As I carry him or her to the end of this pregnancy and into the world, our baby’s life isn’t in my hands, either.
I can’t be foolish about the care of our little one. But I can’t let fear take hold of me while I do my best to lean into my own heart and instincts. I encourage other mamas to trust their instincts all of the time. Why is it that our own advice is so much more easily applied to others than it is to ourselves?
In the end, I pushed through (and admittedly worried through) another half hour or so of the pain, until I could get our little brood where we were headed to meet Jason and I could sit down.
Do you know that thing that happens when you’re feeling so incredibly sick (or you’re sure a bone is broken, or your lungs are so tight that you can’t breathe), and then you get to the dr. or the hospital and it seems like at least some of your symptoms are suddenly, miraculously (and little bit obnoxiously) gone?
Sure enough, I just needed to get to what felt like a place of safety to settle in, rest and breathe in deeply the truth that I can trust my instinct. I needed to surrender to the fact that God could bring resolution and peace to me, whatever the circumstance. I cozied up with Eloise on our picnic blanket just as soon as we arrived at our church’s outdoor baptism, soaking in the worship music and the testimonies being given and the summer sunshine. And after a little while, having put my focus back on life-giving truth, the pain subsided.
I swear today was a spiritual battle just as much as it was a physical one. It’s hard to try to articulate that here, especially when I want to be so careful to speak a universal language with those who land here with me, and I know that sometimes this talk of spiritual things can get sticky. But I think it’s important to share candidly and honestly that we can trust this very tangible truth:
“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.” Ephesians 6.12
The struggle is real, and I mean that in all sincerity and not as a lighthearted joke. I am both weary of and grateful for the battle we face, because when we face it, we know that we are warring for a much greater good in the end. There are harder days to come than what we can know now, but there is hope for so many beautiful ones, too.
I will cling to what I know to be true in the hard–that God is in control, that He is worthy of my trust, and that He is a good, good Father who cares for the places where aches run deep. He loves with authority, casting out our fears and offering new hope every morning.
better for today’s wrestling,
“For God has not given us a spirit of fear…” 2 Timothy 1.7