Blessings in the Midst of Trials

Blessings in the Midst of Trials

It’s pretty obvious that every single person on this earth will experience trials. Neither rich nor poor, black nor white, male nor female can escape the probability of being tested in their faith. It will happen. And yet the outcome will differ drastically. 

Some will crumple under the pressure, giving up all hope, while others will find a way to thrive. Every circumstance is different, but truth of the matter is we all have control of how we perceive and react to our situation. 

We can either wallow in despair of our suffering or we can look for the hope that exists, because blessings can be found in the midst of trials. 

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Dear Friend: A Letter About Infertility

Dear Friend: A Letter About Infertility

Dear Friend, 

Today, I told you I was expecting our second baby knowing that it would cause a storm of emotions inside of you. I didn’t know how to tell you, and honestly, I was afraid. I didn’t want to cause you any pain, yet I knew that there was no way around it. 

The moment I found out I was expecting, I immediately thought of you. 

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Breastfeeding vs. Formula Feeding: 4 Tips to Help You Decide - Part 2

Breastfeeding vs. Formula Feeding: 4 Tips to Help You Decide - Part 2

This is Part 2 of a 3 Part Breastfeeding Series in honor of National Breastfeeding Awareness Month. 

From the onset of pregnancy, women find themselves bombarded with expectations of being the perfect mother.

How do you decide what’s best?

How do you wade through all the conflicting research and opinions from your family and friends to pick the absolute best? 

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Coping with Societal Expectations in the Postpartum Season

Coping with Societal Expectations in the Postpartum Season

This piece is Part 8 of a 9 Part Series called I Am Not Defined By My Weight, inspired by Rachel Hollis' book "Girl, wash your face". 

I’ve been trying to write this post for about two months now, and I don’t know why it’s been so hard.

It might be that I still consider myself in the postpartum season even though I think the medical field refers to postpartum as the 6 weeks after delivery.

Yet, as any woman who has given birth will tell you, the after-effects of labor do not disappear after 6 weeks.

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Loving My Body in Pregnancy

Loving My Body in Pregnancy

I Am Not Defined By My Weight - Part VII Pregnancy

This piece is Part 7 of a 9 Part Series called I Am Not Defined By My Weight, inspired by Rachel Hollis' book "Girl, wash your face". 

My pregnancy did not meet all of my expectations. I had to stop running mid-way through my pregnancy due to pelvic pain, and I gained way more weight than I wanted (maybe 35-50 lbs.). Even still, I loved the journey I was on.

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Grace In The Postpartum Season

It’s almost been a year and a half since I had my first child and I have yet to achieve and maintain my pre-pregnancy weight. I hit that pre-pregnancy weight once and then, life got in the way and I gained a few pounds back.

I didn’t really think about it while I was pregnant because I loved being pregnant. For one, I no longer had to suck in my stomach for pictures. Instead, I highlighted the big belly. My boobs were bigger and I just felt amazing, beautiful and powerful. Yes, I was at my biggest, but there is something special, something different about carrying life inside of you.

I also didn’t focus too much on the scale. The only time I really thought about it was right before a doctor’s appointment.

Then, after Natalie was born, everything was different.

My postpartum body was different.

My feelings towards that same body that carried life were now different.

First, I could no longer hold my pee for very long. Once I had to go, I HAD TO GO. And try doing jumping jacks…. yea, not happening.

I could no longer suck in my stomach either... You know, when you stand in front of the mirror sucking it in to see how skinny you can get?

And that dag on lower belly pouch!

What once brought awe and admiration now brought disgust and shame.

I started to believe that in order to have a joyful and happy life, I needed to get back to my pre-pregnancy weight… my pre-pregnancy body.

But that was all a lie.

We Need Grace

In truth, I don’t need to get back to my pre-pregnancy weight to find joy. Instead, I need to give myself grace.

God designed every aspect of our body. He designed the hair on our head, the color of our eyes, even the size of our boobs! Trust me – as a child, I prayed for bigger boobs and that obviously was not in Gods plan.

Just as He designed our individual gifts, He knew what our specific trials would be. Instead of allowing the suffering to be in vain, He used it for His glory and His purpose. There is hope in those trials. There is hope in our suffering. There is hope when we look at our bodies and see how imperfect they are.

And not only this, but we also exult in our tribulations, knowing that tribulation brings about perseverance; and perseverance, proven character; and proven character, hope; and hope does not disappoint, because the love of God has been poured out within our hearts through the Holy Spirit who was given to us.
— Romans 5:3-5

He knows our struggles, even the struggles we have yet to encounter. He knows how we will react and despite everything, He promises to be there with us.

He is not the one who put the stipulation to only gain 15 lbs in pregnancy. He is not the one who said anything greater than a size 12 is too big. He is not the one who said my body is not enough.

I am.

God has just asked us to glorify him through the caring of our body.

So, whether you eat or drink, or whatever you do, do all to the glory of God.
— 1 Corinthians 10:31

Our Humanity

Have you ever thought about some of the reasons why we hate ourselves?

Is it the evidence of humanity? The evidence that we are not God? That’s exactly why we hate our bodies because we see how imperfect they are. And it kills us.

But He gives us grace. He loves us no matter what. He’s called us to love him, and in doing so, to love his creation - which includes us.

So when you look down and see that lower belly that won’t go away. Know that God still loves you. He’s still there in the midst of your self-loath. He wants you to run to him so he can comfort you. He knows that it’s hard here on earth and he has a present for us when we join him.

When we step on the scale and see that atrocious number. Know that it’s just a number. It does not define who we are.

God defines us.

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God Strong

He knew you would struggle to lose weight. He knew that you were going to hate that scale. But he hasn’t left. He calls us to him every time. We alone are not enough, but He is. He is in the midst of this trial. He is using this time to mold you like a lump of clay that has yet to be formed. Every opportunity is another opportunity for him to create the beautiful masterpiece he has envisioned.

Even Paul struggled with some of his physical imperfections.

…Therefore, in order to keep me from becoming conceited, I was given a thorn in my flesh, a messenger of Satan, to torment me. Three times I pleaded with the Lord to take it away from me.  But he said to me, “My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness.” Therefore I will boast all the more gladly about my weaknesses, so that Christ’s power may rest on me. That is why, for Christ’s sake, I delight in weaknesses, in insults, in hardships, in persecutions, in difficulties. For when I am weak, then I am strong.
— 2 Corinthians: 7-10

He was given a thorn in his flesh, a tool Satan used to torment him. God could have healed that ailment, but instead, he offered grace. God’s power is made perfect in our weakness.

Momma, don’t lose heart. Don’t focus on how imperfect or ungodly you are. Don’t allow Satan to use your postpartum body as a tool to pull you away from your heavenly father. Instead, run to Him.

Yes, God could have prevented you from gaining 50+ lbs. Yes, He could have ensured your skin was elastic enough to not be permanently scarred. Yes, he could have created your baby to have a smaller head to prevent 2nd or 3rd degree tears. But He didn’t. Instead, He is calling you to return back to Him during this season, to comfort you and show you that you are made perfect through Him.

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Count it all joy, my brothers, when you meet trials of various kinds, for you know that the testing of your faith produces steadfastness. And let steadfastness have its full effect, that you may be perfect and complete, lacking in nothing.
— James 1:2-4

God is here to love us despite our humanity.

Deployment - Take 2

This piece is Part 2 in a 4 Part Deployment Series covering my 4 deployment taskings in my Air Force Career.


Although unexpected, the second deployment tasking was a dream deployment. It was the same location as the first tasking, but this time, the job was everything I had ever wanted. It was like a glorified party planner meets executive assistant for the Air Force, also known as Protocol.

Although the deployment was a few months away, I needed to leave right away for a training back in the states and was set to depart two months later.

 
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On my last day of training, I notice something seemed off so I took a pregnancy test and lo and behold two little pink lines showed up on a pregnancy test (more like 15 pregnancy tests).

 
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Y'all, I was in shock. You would think I would be excited, especially since I miscarried less than two months prior, but the first thing that went through my mind was heartache and confusion.

Why would God give me a dream deployment and then take it away in a matter of weeks?Especially, when two months prior, He called my first baby home... Why now? Why would He call my first baby home? 

I was angry. Not at the fact that I was pregnant, but at the fact that I would have to go home and tell everyone that I could no longer deploy.

I am going to take a bunny trail here and say that in the military, there’s a stigma that some women get out of deployments by getting pregnant. Right before I left for training, I foolishly told people that “I would never be one of "those people” and now I was one of “those people”.

Whoever exalts himself will be humbled, and whoever humbles himself will be exalted - Matthew 23:12 ESV

A Humbling Experience

The bible clearly tells us that when we exalt ourselves (glorify ourselves) we will be humbled. That, my friends is what God was doing. He saw me placing myself on a pedalstool. Rising above all the other ladies who have gotten out of deployments and reminded me who was in charge.

The month following the miscarriage, we did everything we could to get pregnant again. Not to toot my own horn, but everything was timed perfectly yet, nothing happened. The following month, we found out I was deploying, so no more "trying" to make a baby.

Again, God had other plans. All the charting or temping (check out the Fertility Awareness Method) couldn't get us pregnant when we wanted to and apparently, didn't help us when we decided to stop trying.

David and I were intentionally trying not to get pregnant and God decided it was time.

Are you picking up what im throwing down? We try for a baby, and nothing happens. We try for no baby and BAM two little lines on 15 different pregnancy tests remind me that the Big Man upstairs is in control.

In shock, I made my way back to England and tried to gather the courage to tell my husband, my commander and everyone else that I would not be deploying due to an unplanned/unexpected pregnancy.  Thankfully, the news was well received and the girl who went in my place was extremely excited to deploy.

Funny story - poor David was on an emotional roller coaster. One minute he is prepping for me to leave. The next minute (13 days later) I tell him hes going to be a dad!

His respone "You need to quit messing with my emotions".... romantic right?

Now, we fast forward to present day... Baby girl is 1.5 months shy of turning one and I get notified that the Air Force wants me to deploy again. Deployment tasking #3.

Lessons Learned

1) There is very little that you can actually control in your life. Realize it and embrace it. 

2) There is no good in pride. I was so prideful about who I was professionally that I allowed it to steal my joy when I found out I was pregnant. 

3) You might never understand the why. I don't know why I had to miscarry my first baby, nor why God blessed me with our baby when i finally had a job I wanted, but I know that all these pieces will fall into place and the picture will be revealed on the other side of heaven.