Guest-Writers

{A Time For Peace} Recovery for the Weary Soul

Written By: Jenny Jerkins

There are times that it seems like the demands of being a mommy, wife, and just overall being a woman close in on us.  We say yes to too much, we are shuttling kids everywhere, juggling careers and home life.  Sometimes it’s just overwhelming and we literally scream for Calgon to take us away, preferably to a tropical landscape with a pool attendant bringing nonstop umbrella drinks.  Or maybe that’s just me.  But I would venture to guess that we all have moments, whether we are moms, wives, or just women in general that we need an escape from the daily hustle.  We want to just “be” without a label.  Literally some days I just want to make it out the door without some kind of stain or snot wiped on me, but then it’s such a beautiful reminder of my role as a mommy and something I waited years to have.

Not long ago I had the opportunity to spend an ENTIRE WEEKEND with twelve other girl friends at the beach.  Hello! That’s a lot of hormones and personalities, and words, in one place.  But it was awesome.  It was such a relaxing time with no agenda, no tantrums, no schedule.  We simply just got to fellowship and uplift one another, sleep in, laugh until our sides hurt, and eat all the Oreos wanted without hiding in the pantry to do so.  I honestly think we consumed at least 8 to 10 packs of Oreos but I’m convinced all the laughing burned off those calories.

When I returned home that Sunday evening I realized how great for the soul that weekend was. And I also realized that I had grown much more weary than maybe I was willing to admit prior to leaving the previous riday.  Sisters, it’s ok to admit we are tired and weary.  We can’t do and be it all, and we have to take care of ourselves in order to be a better wife, mom, friend, employee, and all around woman.  That’s not being selfish.  It’s being real.

I have just five simple ways that help me recover when my soul is weary and when I feel like I physically or mentally cannot take another step forward – when I’m stuck.  These didn’t come from a self-help book and I am my no means an expert on this, or well anything for that matter.  They are just five simple things that work for me and I think are very practical and doable.

  1. BE IN THE WORD (aka, The Bible)

I know this sounds almost cliché to talk about, but it’s the number one thing that gets me out of a funk and the number one thing that also causes me to be in one if I’m not reading the Bible regularly.  I’m not talking about hours of reading or trying to obtain a seminary degree.  I struggle with setting that time aside as well.  It doesn’t have to be first thing in the morning, although I find it sets the pace of my day when I start my day with the Word.  If nothing else, find a great short devotional to uplift you and to set your focus on God for the day.  Two that I recommend are apps that you can download directly to your phone and they are amazing – She Reads Truth and First 5 (Proverbs 31 Ministries).  Get them.  They are specifically for women, and are short yet full of wonderful truths.

  1. FELLOWSHIP (Girl Time)

Spend time with other women.  Men don’t use the amount of words that we do in a day and they don’t require that bonding time that we do.  And quite frankly they don’t always laugh at the same things that we do.  Sometimes we just need to be together as women and talk about things that only other women will understand.  Grab some coffee, go for a walk, or just sit and chat.  Take time to pencil it in your schedule and hold it as sacred time for yourself. It’s such good, cheap therapy!

  1. FIND YOUR TALENT/INTEREST

We don’t all have a musical or even a remarkable hidden talent.  Do something that relieves stress and do something for yourself.  You don’t have to be amazing at it or have a talent that you are going to market and sale.  It’s just for you and something you enjoy.  And it is something that will take your mind off of “life” for a few minutes either every day (if you can swing it) or at least every week.

  1. ME TIME

I am a social introvert which means I love people and I love being around people, but I also require downtime to be alone.  I need to just sit a few minutes every day and sometimes literally stare at a wall for a few minutes, take some deep breaths, and relax.  Sometimes I read, sometimes I write, sometimes I watch my “trash” TV as I like to call it.  Maybe your “me time” can be combined with your talent and interest.  The thing is that you have to take some time for yourself whether it’s five minutes or an hour.

  1. DATE NIGHTS

We are very fortunate to have my parents close by who LOVE to have our son stay with them all the time.  They are retired and at the stage in their life where he is the center of their attention, but they also realize how important it is for us to have that time just the two of us to nurture our relationship.  Our kids need for us to have a healthy and happy marriage.  Now not everyone is as fortunate as we are and I realize that.  There have been times we haven’t had those opportunities as well.  You may not be able to afford a regular babysitter.  And as hard as it is and as tired as you already are, you can attempt to put the kids to bed a little early every now and then and watch a movie together or have a date night in.  Have some time together, again even if you have to pencil it in a planner.

Find yourself, find the Word, and find your tribe of people.  Rest in knowing you aren’t alone when the walls of motherhood and life are closing in on you.  We all get weary and we all need breaks. After all, we are all human.

Jen Jerkins headshotJenny Jerkins is a former engineer turned stay at home wife to Asia, and mom to the most spirited and hilarious little boy, Ethan who currently believes he is Batman.  Their battle with infertility led them to the greatest miracle of adoption.  Jenny desires to bring hope, encouragement, and the love of Jesus to others, and especially women.  She also loves to share the many candid moments of daily mom life where she is usually asking for Jesus to hold her.  Jenny resides in Augusta, Georgia where her southern accent is strong and her coffee is stronger.

You can connect with Jenny on Instagram (link: https://www.instagram.com/jen_jerkins/), Facebook (link:https://www.facebook.com/jenny.t.jerkins/), and Twitter (https://www.twitter.com/jen_jerkins/).

 

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Guest-Writers

{A Time to Love} Marriage Isn’t Perfect. And Neither Are We. 

Written by: Nichole Stern

I didn’t even like him.

More specifically, I didn’t like his friends and he was guilty by association. But then I got to know him and realized he wasn’t who I thought he was.

He showed up with a five gallon bucket of sunflower seeds, some Ghiradelli dark chocolate and his guitar on my birthday.

Flowers, Chocolates, and serenades.

What girl wouldn’t fall for that?

We weren’t Christians then, but we spent a lot lot of time in deep, philosophical discussions that lasted until the sun came up.  We’d both spent some time on the hamster wheel of success and found it lacking.

Searching for something bigger than ourselves, we didn’t realize there were God-shaped holes in our souls we were longing for Him to fill.

Within 3 months of our first date, Todd moved to South Florida for a job. I remember him telling me he couldn’t imagine being happy there without me, and I followed him a few months later. Though we’d vowed not to live together, we allowed circumstances to cloud our judgement and I moved into his one bedroom apartment on the water.

We started arguing almost immediately. With his new job, Todd was traveling about 95% of the time and I found myself far removed from everything I’d once held dear. I’d left a promising career, a city I loved, and a network of people I’d been doing life with for years…all to be a live-in dog sitter.

I love that dog, y’all, but have mercy!

Our relationship deteriorated as we continued to live together. We couldn’t agree on anything, and frankly, we were miserable.

Thankfully, miserable is often where God does His best work. And He had already started to work in our hearts.

We removed the physical aspect of our relationship and tried studying the Bible together. But while legalism may have made us look better on the outside, our hearts were still far from Him.

Each day on the way to work, I passed a little church, and like moths to a flame, we were drawn to eventually attendSunday services. The Pastor passionately spoke truth in love and he along with others there loved us in spite of ourselves. Just like Jesus.

God used the love we were shown and truth we learned there to change our hearts.

One Sunday morning in 2006, after hearing a message from Luke 18 where Jesus compares the prayers of the Pharisee and the tax collector, God showed me my Pharisee heart.

I saw all the ways I’d tried and failed to fill the void in my soul, and with the illumination of His great love, I finally sawHe was Who I’d been searching for all those years.

Overwhelmed by His goodness and grace, I surrendered my life to Him, vowing to follow Him the rest of my days.

I was counseled and prayed over by the women in our church, and rejoicing over my salvation, I couldn’t wait to find Todd to share it with him.

I walked down the hallway back to the sanctuary and saw Todd on his knees in prayer with one of the elders from the church. He too had felt God’s grace, mercy and forgiveness drawing him close that day, and as our perfect God would have it, we crossed from death to life on the same day.

Best. Day. Ever. 🙂

Never unequally yoked, washed clean and made new simultaneously.

What an amazing God we serve.

Salvation was radical for both of us. We went from being enemies of God to sold out for Christ almost immediately.

I moved out of our one bedroom apartment and while the world saw this as the ultimate end of our relationship, we knew it was a new beginning. We were starting our dating relationship over, the right way this time.

As a man made new, Todd pursued me with a newfound love and as we pursued Christ together, we fell in love all over again.

But as life would have it, the next couple of years brought us every trial we could imagine.

High pressure jobs, ridiculous travel schedules, purchasing a home, unemployment, cross country moves, cancer.

Each gave us new opportunities to find our peace in Christ. And as we sought Him, we found Him.

Every. Single. Time.

We married in May 2008 with a small ceremony on a little island off the coast of Savannah, GA.

Second. Best. Day. Ever. 🙂

I wish I could say our marriage has been perfect. That we’ve had no problems, challenges, or meltdowns. But that would be a lie.

Marriage is hard, y’all.

And as much I adore my man, I’ve had to learn (the hard way) that he makes a very poor god. Idolizing my husband and my marriage was a struggle for me. And once I thought I’d gotten through it, in reality, I’d only traded those idols with the idol of motherhood.

I desperately wanted children. More than anything.

And friends, ANYTHING we want more than Jesus is an idol. I’ve had to lay my dream of motherhood on the altar more times than I can count. And while I can’t tell you why we’ve not been able to have children, I can tell you God has used our struggle with infertility to weed out the idols in my heart and to help me learn to trust Him, to know that He is enough, even when I don’t understand His plans.

He’s also used it to strengthen our marriage.

Todd has faithfully held me as I’ve sobbed (read: ugly cried), he’s walked beside me through this hard journey of learning God is NOT a genie in a bottle whose wish is my command.

He’s seen me at my worst and continues to challenge and encourage me to seek God’s best.

Our marriage isn’t perfect. And neither are we.

We’re just two people who love Jesus and are committed to following hard after Him.

No matter what.

I stand in awe of the redemption story God has given us, and I hope our story encourages you. To have hope that those who are lost can be found.

And to believe that even when it’s messy and hard, this Jesus life is exceedingly, abundantly blessed.

NS
Nichole is a grateful Jesus girl saved by grace who has been called to live out Psalm 107:2 “…let the redeemed of the Lord tell their story.”
She serves on the Study Leader Team with Proverbs 31 Online Bible Studies. She is a writer and speaker who finds great joy in mentoring young women and helping others learn more about God through studying His word.
Nichole and her husband, Todd live on a little slice of awesomeness outside Raleigh, NC they call Manna Homestead. They share this space with rabbits, goats, chickens, bees, and their two dogs, Maverick and Charleigh.
Facebook: Nichole Stern
Twitter: @nicholestern

 

Guest-Writers

{A Time to Speak} Your Life Is Not a Competition

Written by: Victoria MacDonald

Of all the lies Satan uses to discourage women, I think one of the biggest is this: your life is a competition.

He wants you to believe you must be more than you are. More productive, more beautiful, more put-together, more accomplished.

He taunts you to believe you should be less than you are. Less of a mess, less needy, less emotional, less unique.

But the truth is, you are enough. Just the way you are. Just the way He has made you. You are so enough{2 Corinthians 3:5}, and your life is not a competition {2 Corinthians 10:12}.

God is not looking at you saying, “I really wish she’d look prettier and accomplish more, because that is what defines her, and I just don’t think she’s enough.”

No, He is looking at you saying, “My beautiful child, made perfect because of my Son, come closer. Trust me more. Love me more. Let me work more. Let go of all the striving and the worry and the pushing and the competition. You are my Beloved. Rest in that.”

There is grace for the process of sanctification. You are not in charge of your holiness. Your perfection is not in your hands. You make choices to sin or not sin, and you decide how to look to Him after those choices are made, and all of that is important, but if you are truly seeking God and looking to walk in His ways, then you will find Him {Jeremiah 29:11} and you will be made like Him (Romans 8:28-29}.

There is grace for today. You are living where you are supposed to be. You are who God has made you to be and who God is making you to be {Philippians 1:6}. If you are working with all your heart on what He has called you to do, then you are doing the work He wants you to do {Colossians 3:23}. If you are striving to trust Him, to be like Him, to follow His will, and to let Him refine you, then there is nothing more He asks of you.

Your life is not a competition. Stop believing you have to make it one.

 

VM.jpgAs a writer who has battled chronic illness for most of her life, Victoria shares about the suffering she’s enduring, the lessons she’s learning, and the grace in the midst of it all. You can follow her on Instagram (@victoria___anne).

Guest-Writers

{A Time To Speak} I Deserve This

Written By: Jenny Jerkins

Life can throw us all not just one but sometimes a number of curve balls.  One of those for my husband and I was a diagnosis of dual infertility.  Leading up to that moment, and even past the blessing of adoption, I went through a series of rises and falls in my emotions.  You name it and I held every emotion in the book at one point or another – frustration, anger, sadness, guilt, pride, failure.  All those pretty words that Christians aren’t supposed to feel, right? Wrong. We do. There are times I felt as though we deserved better.  After all, we were doing all the right things and in the right order like good engineers do.  The pride welled inside of me.  I became angry and resentful. And then there was the most shameful of emotions for me as an individual –guilt and failure.  I had failed God and this thing called infertility was His way of punishing me for it.  Guilty as charged.

I DESERVE THIS.

“I had mistaken God’s preservation for His punishment.  I had been tucked away in what felt like isolation, protected by what felt like obscurity, and all the while, my faithful God had been working hard on my behalf.”  – Cody Andras

I convinced myself that because of my past – one I had become very shameful of – God was punishing me and I deserved every ounce of it.  I had dishonored Him and my own body.  I was sentenced to a life of barrenness.  The punishment was fitting of the crime.  I deserved it.  End of story. 

But this wasn’t the end of my story. 

Does God allow consequences for our sins? Absolutely.  There will always be consequences to our actions because we live in a fallen world and because we are sinners.  But His ways of punishment are far different from what we often envision.  He is a merciful and just God.  He is our Father in Heaven who, yes allows consequence, but it is followed by His gentle correction and love.  It is just like any other parent/child relationship.  We warn our children of consequences, yet we still love them and never turn our backs on them no matter how hard they fall.  He gives us grace upon grace just as we do as parents. 

The years of unexplained infertility that I mistook for punishment was so far from what God was doing in my life.  He was breaking me, redeeming me, and performing a miracle that would come through adoption.  It unfolded detail after detail throughout our Adoption Journey. 

As painful as those years were – and even through the myriad of emotions – I could not be more grateful or in awe of God’s plans for our lives.  He restored the brokenness the first time we saw our son’s face.  Everything was made clear.  Every wrong turn led to the most perfect destination.  I am sorry for the wrongs I have made in my life, but God made them all right when He died on the cross and the moment blessed us with the most precious gift of parenthood.

“For the wages of sin is death, but the free gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord.” – Romans 6:23 (ESV)

If you are where I once was, don’t buy into satan’s lies that you deserve this – that you are a shameful human being who is sentenced to a lifetime of guilt and consequence.  If you have truly repented, God has already removed that sin from you as far as the east is from the west.  He is no longer keeping a record of your wrong.  It is forgotten.  It was purchased with His blood on the cross.  He will do something far greater in you and through you than you could have ever imagined. He is working hard on your behalf.  And although it is hard to see it at the moment, He is going to create beauty from your ashes.  You will rise and you will have a story to tell.

You are not stuck at the end of your story.

~ Jenny

Jen Jerkins headshotJenny Jerkins is a former engineer turned stay at home wife to Asia, and mom to the most spirited and hilarious little boy, Ethan who currently believes he is Batman.  Their battle with infertility led them to the greatest miracle of adoption.  Jenny desires to bring hope, encouragement, and the love of Jesus to others, and especially women.  She also loves to share the many candid moments of daily mom life where she is usually asking for Jesus to hold her.  Jenny resides in Augusta, Georgia where her southern accent is strong and her coffee is stronger. 

You can connect with Jenny on Instagram (link: https://www.instagram.com/jen_jerkins/), Facebook (link:https://www.facebook.com/jenny.t.jerkins/), and Twitter (https://www.twitter.com/jen_jerkins/).

Guest-Writers

{A Time to Search} Cease Striving, Start Seeking

Written by: Bethany McIlrath

Reconciling the Biblical call to cease striving with the command to continually seek is tricky when you’re in the midst of searching out God’s will for your life. You know that sitting on your hands doing nothing isn’t what God asks of any one. At the same time, you know that moving ahead without his leading isn’t obedience either.

There’s a way to seek without striving, though.

It starts with the object of both those Biblical passages: God.

Read more fully, those two competing charges have something in common: “Cease striving and know that I am God” (Psalm 46:10). “Seek the LORD and His strength; seek His face continually” (Psalm 105:4).

Just like living out the will of God is all about the Lord, so is waiting for clarity about His will.

I know how hard that can be.

Seasons of unemployment, a couple of cross country moves, non-traditional living arrangements, and several career fields later, my young adulthood has proved to be a case study in the awkward process of surrendering to the Lord’s will, even in the waiting.

Too many of my hours and days have been spent striving to find answers on job sites, Google, and housing portals. I feared irresponsibility. I feared laziness. I feared failure. So I did and did whatever I could to make something happen.

Sometimes I finagled something, other times I learned that you can make striving a full-time gig while accomplishing nothing. Through all of it, the Lord has been faithful.

God continues to seek us even when we forget that we ought to be seeking Him instead of striving to order our lives for Him on our own.

I’ve found seeking Him to be striving-free.

Seeking without striving looks more like:

-Settling into the truth.

-Taking a seat at His feet.

-Watching expectantly.

-Obeying in the small things.

-Looking to Him for provision for just today.

-Measuring God as sufficient.

As you find yourself searching for God’s will for your life, I pray you’ll give up on Google and other modes of striving more quickly than I have. He who call us is faithful- He will do it (1 Thessalonians 5:24.)

We don’t have to get with a program or keep up with the deadlines in our heads- we have only to be draw near and be still in His will. Stay close to Him, and you’ll get where He is leading you.

 

headshot pro onlineA learner at heart, Bethany McIlrath believes that listening to the Lord’s Word and being attentive to all that He teaches her through daily life is a priceless blessing. Eager to share about her Savior, you can find Bethany’s writing on her blog: Firstandsecondblog.com. She would love to connect with you on Twitter or Facebook as well.

 

Guest-Writers

{A Time To Mourn} When We Find Comfort in the Fellowship of Suffering

Written By: Christy Mobley

I was having an out of body experience. At least I think that’s what you would call it.

Actually it was more like levitating over myself while watching the doctor deliver the news. It was just like you see in the movies, except I wasn’t an actress and this wasn’t a movie. An actress can’t conjure up goosebumps that dot her arms and legs at a moments notice. She can shiver, and do the tears yes, but goosebumps … no way.

The goosebumps were the telltale sign this was me. This was my life, my doctor’s office, my conversation.  Funny how your mind can do that—make yourself feel as if you aren’t there and you’re watching the whole thing.

It would have been kind of cool if it weren’t for the crushing news.

I was in the sonogram room five minutes earlier and over-the-top excited. And yeah, okay, a little nervous. Today was my 20 week appointment where I would finally see my baby for the first time.

As the technician rolled the wand across my small baby bump, I sensed something was awry. Sonogram lady didn’t utter a word. There was no chit-chat or smiles. Her blank expression said it all. And the words she didn’t say, I concocted in my mind for her. They really need to teach those people to do a better job at “not” delivering bad news. They’re so obvious when they tell you nothing.

I have to admit, I actually had a gut feeling weeks earlier. Mamas just know these things. My belly didn’t look as big as I thought it should, but I passed it off as having a crazy hormonal imagination and put on a happy face.

After the ultrasound technician was done , I dressed, and a nurse ushered me into my doctors office where the whole “out of body” thing began. In hushed, direct tones Dr. P. told me the sonogram revealed I had very little amniotic fluid in my uterus and the problem was likely renal-a-genesis.

That was Latin to me, but translated it meant, my baby boy had no kidneys.

It was a death sentence.

Our baby was born on January 16th.

Stillborn.

An interesting term, stillborn. It means “dead at birth,” but to me our little boy was still born. Born to us, his mama and daddy. Born without a breath.

Our first baby bypassed the pain in this life and went straight on to heaven. We held him and kissed him and said our goodbyes.

Family, friends, and neighbors, showered us with love and a lot of really good food.

But the love didn’t stop the grief from coming in waves like the drawing in and out of the tide. Each day I saw a little more sunlight but then without warning I’d get yanked back into a sea of tears. However somewhere in the midst of pain I felt the presence of God’s comfort. A peace that whispered, all would be restored.

Over the months and years that followed I came to understand the real meaning of the verse 2 Corinthians 1:3, where it says our God is “…The Father of compassion and the God of all comfort who comforts us in all our troubles, so we can comfort those in any trouble with the comfort we ourselves receive from God.”

I couldn’t give breath to the baby I lost but through the experience of his death, God uniquely equipped me to breathe live-giving hope into other mamas. Mamas who suffered the heartache of encephalic births, miscarriages, ectopic pregnancies, stillbirths, down syndrome births, all sorts of high risk pregnancies and fetal anomalies. Opportunities to love on those hurting, popped up all over.

Every time I gave out a dose of hope I received back a heap of healing. A circle of comfort within the fellowship of suffering. A plan of restoration only God could arrange.

We went on to have more children. Our last son, Aaron, was born on January 16th, the very day we lost our first son. The morning we brought Aaron home I noticed the calendar date and I felt God smile. There was no coincidence here.

By no means do either my husband or I feel our third son was a replacement for our first but rather a “God wink”. An assurance to us of His great and unfathomable love. A gift of hope.

Dear friend, have you suffered a loss? If you have, know that God feels your hurt and holds your tears.
“You have collected my tears in a bottle. You have recorded each one in your book.” (Psalm 56:8.)
He’s also uniquely equipped you to be a presence of His love for someone else walking a similar path. I pray you will be able to find peace as you bring the comfort of hope into the fellowship of the suffering.

for linkedin (1)Christy is a wife, mother, mother-in-law, mentor, and a first time grandma! Her passion is to help women find their joy in experiencing God at work in their everyday circumstances.

You can find Christy on her blog Joying in the Journey.

 

Guest-Writers

{Time to Mourn} Receiving God’s Blanket of Grace

Written By: Vicki Johnson

Motherhood had always been a part of my story. After welcoming 4 sons and 1 daughter into this world without a hitch I felt that I had done my part to keep the Johnson name alive and well. Then we moved into full time ministry and I started thinking about new chapters opening up in my life.

But what happens when life throws a surprise party and you wish you hadn’t been invited?

I found myself unexpectedly expecting. Sure, this would only be number 6 for a girl who had at one time chosen 12 names for future children. The book, Cheaper by the dozen, offered a myriad of possibilities for raising a large family.  All for the glory of God, of course.

Soon it would start: doctor’s visits, weight gain, physical adjustments to a growing baby in utero. My life and sleep times would not be my own for who knows how long. Sigh. Inward groan.

My hubby was excited to welcome another player to the team and seemed unaffected by the alterations this little addition would make. But day after day, I grew to resent the fact that God, who is the one who opens and closes wombs, had allowed this to happen. Especially since I had developed an issue with blood pressure and residual weight gain from previous pregnancies. Truth be told, I didn’t want to be pregnant.  But I certainly couldn’t tell my pastor/hubby that. I think he could tell, anyway.

Near the end of my second month I noticed the faintest pink on the toilet paper. My stomach lurched at the thought that something could be wrong with me or the baby. I prayed, “Lord, please keep the baby safe. Help me to know what to do.” I didn’t see it again for a few days. And then it reappeared. I went to the doctor who did some tests to see if the pregnancy was progressing properly. Each day I prayed for God to help me as I struggled with the potential problems it indicated. Each day I reminded God that He got me into this mess in the first place.

I would not have chosen to get pregnant now.

I would have done things differently.  I’m sure God got a few chuckles out of that.

The miscarriage happened at the worst possible time. My husband and our two oldest were ready to travel an hour and a half away for a monthly regional youth gathering where my husband was in charge of the music. I was experiencing heavy bleeding and intense contractions but tried to be strong and self-sufficient when it came time to say good-bye. He asked me twice if I wanted him to stay. At first I said no. Then fear got the better of me and I finally said that I needed him with me.

Pregnant five times before this, I went through labor, delivered healthy babies, and everything had been fine. This time, my laboring resulted in loss. Death makes life real.

In Ecclesiastes 7:2 we read, “It is better to go to the house of mourning than to go to the house of feasting, for that is the end of all men; and the living will lay it to heart.” I lost a child that day. One for whom I hadn’t even prepared its first receiving blanket or newborn sleeper to wear because it was too hard to embrace the inevitable.

I also lost my fight against God. In mourning that tiny life I began to mourn the demise of my own conceptions of what my life should look like. I was challenged as to how far I was willing to trust God. He who opens and closes the womb also knows my blood pressure at this very moment. He knows my sitting down and my rising up; my struggles and my hopes and dreams. He holds it all in His hands.

A year later I lived in a different state but relived the same circumstance. But this time I had begun my condition with joy for what God would accomplish in me, receiving with the help of God’s Grace the developing life within my womb. I could look at baby clothes in the store and muse about the little one who might wear them. My husband entered a drawing for new baby stuff and I did too! Hopeful anticipation had made its home in my heart. I had even pulled out my collection of receiving blankets and newborn clothing and started preparing for the baby.

But it was not to be. My seventh and last pregnancy ended at 11 weeks gestation. It was just as messy and terrifying as the first miscarriage. But this time I had a greater appreciation for life and the One who created it and a deeper sense of mourning and loss for the child I would never mother here on earth.

“Blessed {and} enviably happy [with a happiness produced by the experience of God’s favor and especially conditioned by the revelation of His matchless grace] are those who mourn, for they shall be comforted!” (Matthew 5:4 – Amplified Version)

Even in mourning there is a receiving that is done, wrapped in the matchless, varicolored Grace of God.

vicki-johnson-picVicki Johnson creates a lot of drama in southeastern Pennsylvania where she lives with her pastor hubby, David, and her daughter, Esther.

She has written a Bible study entitled, “Following Christ – A Disciple’s Walk of Faith,” enjoys speaking, singing, working at 1075Alive/WBYNFM as a part time announcer, writing her blog at Gracefilledgirl.com, and generally encouraging fellow Christians to walk in a way that pleases God.

Her sign-off on the radio comes from 1 Thessalonians 5:24, “Faithful is He who calls you and He will bring it to pass.”