The Joys and Trials of Surrender

Thy Will Be Done, Part 2

This is part 2 of yesterday’s post. I’m going to skip the introduction and just resume the story. If you haven’t already, go back and read part 1 here. Today’s post ends in a dark place, but be assured the light is coming! Please come back tomorrow and don’t leave the story hanging here.

The Joys and Trials of Surrender

THY WILL BE DONE

Sure enough, less than two weeks later, I knew I was pregnant even sooner than I was physically supposed to be able to know. I felt the awareness of new life within me almost immediately. I can’t explain this and I did not have a similar experience with any of my other pregnancies, but somehow this time was different.

I wish I could tell you that I was overjoyed that God’s will was done in my life, but I would be lying. I continued to struggle with my attitude and though outwardly compliant, inwardly I was having a very hard time surrendering. I still wasn’t convinced I was ready for this challenge. I still doubted if God would come through. I looked ahead to yet another move looming on the horizon and wondered how I could give birth and move at the same time.

"The darkest hour is just before the dawn." ~ Thomas FullerIndulging my doubts robbed me of my joy. Instead of delighting in and bonding with the tiny life growing within me, I felt resentful. Instead of focusing on the joy of the moment, I was fixated on my fear of the future. I dreaded telling family friends of my pregnancy because I knew by this point it would not be received with celebration by the vast majority. Heck, I was having trouble celebrating myself! How could I possibly expect anyone else to rejoice with me when I wasn’t really rejoicing?

Everybody’s happy to celebrate with you as long as it’s only your first or second baby. By the third, they start asking if “it was a mistake”. When the fourth baby comes along, you start hearing how crazy you are and by the fifth, people are like, “No really! You need to stop this!” Announcing a sixth pregnancy, I learned that some people at this point just get downright angry at what they perceive to be stubbornness.

People told me outright that I was in over my head and deep inside I knew they were right. I knew I don’t have what it takes to cut it as a mother of a big family. But years ago when I had started tentatively down this path, I was sure I had heard God reassure me that He would be “more than enough”; that He would make up for my gaps and inadequacies and failures with His wisdom and all-sufficient abundance. So I answered the call.

JOY

Towards the end of the first trimester, I finally began to accept and even joyfully embrace God’s will. It had taken a while, but I was finally coming around to God’s way of thinking. Children are a blessing. All children are a blessing.

See also: Our Tribe of Ten

I bought a few new maternity clothes as my own private way of celebrating my child. After five pregnancies, it was time for a new style! My swelling belly meant that I could no longer hide God’s work in me and I was finally ready to display His handiwork with a smile. I started narrowing down names and even picked out the special hymn I would sing as I rocked my baby to sleep.

I showed up excitedly for my next pregnancy checkup eager to hear the flutter of the tiny heartbeat, but there was only silence. The midwife assured me there was no need to worry and scheduled me for an ultrasound the next day. For 24 hours, I lived with the uncertainty of whether this child I had finally received with joy was dead or alive.

At my appointment the following day, I was delighted to see my baby wriggling all over the place and hear the strong heartbeat. I went home with two fuzzy black and white pictures, evidence of the miracle God was working in me. I hung one on the fridge as my public display and nestled the other in my planner for my more private moments and to remind me that my life’s schedule was in God’s hands, not mine.

The experience of nearly having my baby taken from me made me realize how much I really wanted this child and the degree to which I was actually enjoying my pregnancy. The doubts finally loosened their grip on me and fell away.

See also: 10 Ways Motherhood Changed Me Forever

“Lay Me Down”, by Chris Tomlin
A Jubilant Song of Surrender

TRIALS

That didn’t mean life suddenly got easier. I had a number of other issues I was dealing with at the time unrelated to my pregnancy—major tragedies like deaths of loved one, minor irritations like getting my first cavity, and a host of trials in between like having a family of mice living in our walls and listening to them scratch and claw every night until we were able to get them out.

At every turn, I seemed plagued by problems and harassed by trials. My energy and my emotions were wearing thin. I could feel myself beginning to break apart inside. I desperately tried to keep up appearances on the outside that I was fine, hoping I could just hang on through this storm until it passed.

Only it didn’t pass. It intensified.

We drove from Alabama (where we were stationed at the time) to Dallas to spend Memorial Day weekend with my family. My husband planned to go back home after the weekend and come pick the kids and I up a week later.

Early in our visit, the cumulative strain of traveling with a bunch of young children and all the other issues rattling around in the back of my mind led me to an ugly place. I opened the door of my heart and the doubt and fear came flooding back in with a vengeance.

Suddenly, I felt I had been duped by God and been played a fool. Quietly within my spirit, I challenged God’s will for my life. “If you’re not going to be ‘more than enough’ for me like you promised, then I want out of this deal.

I cringe as I tell you with stinging tears of regret that I laid down my ultimatum to God. “Either you show up like you said you would and help me carry this heavy load, or I’m done trusting you with my family. If you won’t hold up your end of the bargain than neither will I.

That night, I started spotting.

Listen to this beautiful song, “Thy Will” by Hillary Scott.
These tender lyrics were birthed in her by her own experience of surrender and loss and they mirror my heart perfectly.

Read Part 3 next: Wrecked for Good

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