Today as the first installment of my Mother’s Day Series; I am going to share with you a good portion of my testimony which I have not really done yet on my blog. Before I start; I would like to emphasize that I give God all of the glory for continuing to work in my life through my trials. God never promised that we would always be happy when we have Jesus as our savior; instead he uses Paul’s testimony to tell us that Christians can have hardships far beyond our ability to endure. Through these hardships; God wants us to fully rely on him so that he can deliver us and heal us.
“We do not want you to be uninformed, brothers, about the hardships we suffered in the province of Asia. We were under great pressure, far beyond our ability to endure, so that we despaired even of life. Indeed, in our hearts we felt the sentence of death. But this happened that we might not rely on ourselves but on God, who raises the dead. He has delivered us from such a deadly peril, and he will deliver us. On him we have set our hope that he will continue to deliver us, as you help us by your prayers. Then many will give thanks on ourbehalf for the gracious favor granted us in answer to the prayers of many.”
2 Corinthians 1:8-11
I was saved as a young child and grew up in a Christian but very dysfunctional home. As the oldest of 4 kids I had to grow up way too quickly while we dealt with severe illnesses, divorce, remarriages, constant moves, financial insecurity, and a whole lot more. When I was young; all I wanted in life was to get married and have kids. I dated several guys throughout high school; the most serious relationship being my senior year with a guy that most people thought would last into marriage. When that relationship ended after graduation; a new one soon began with someone else. That guy was older and swept me off my feet into a quick engagement. During the engagement; I was having relationship problems with my parents and was told to find somewhere else to live mainly because of my attitude. I moved in with my best friend for about a week. I continued to try to mend my relationship with my parents even though I was not living at home. My fiance’ wanted me to meet him in Pennsylvania where he was visiting his family. I knew that if I did that; it would be even harder to reconcile with my parents. I felt that he was making me choose between him (who I had known for about 6 months) and my parents. When I insisted on staying in Delaware instead of meeting him in Pennsylvania; I could tell from his tone of voice that the relationship was over. By the time my fiance’ returned from his vacation; I was back in my parents home. We went out one evening and he broke off the engagement. Looking back I think that the Holy Spirit was working on my heart that week.
Shane and I started dating a few months after my previous engagement ended. We have been married since 2002. I jumped into a marriage expecting it to cure all of life’s problems but I carried a lot of my childhood baggage with me. I quickly found out that life’s problems didn’t go away just because I switched households and who I was accountable to. Our best year of marriage was our first. After that our careers (Shane-Military & Me-Nursing) and different shifts carried us in different directions and from there our marriage went downhill on so many different levels. We also experienced several difficulties which included me being in a major car accident (God totally and graciously spared my life). In February 2005; I found out that I was pregnant. I was so excited! I had always wanted children and had begged Shane so many times to start trying since we got married. I called and told a lot of my family and friends as soon as I found out. My excitement was soon crushed with pain and bleeding. At first the doctor’s didn’t say for sure that I was miscarrying. He ran some blood work and I had to repeat the blood work at two day intervals during that week. In my pain and while I was still hoping for the best; I wrote the following poem:
As I walk through the valley of the shadow of death;
You give me strength to sing.
Only you know why I am going through this trial.
I can rest in your comforting arms.
Not knowing what the future holds for this life inside of me;
I give this child to you.
Like Hannah gave you Samuel before he was born,
Like Abraham gave you Isaac before the sacrifice,
I trust your will.
When I rest upon wings as eagles;
You will give me strength.
I shall run through this valley and not be weary.
I shall walk and not be faint.
For a long time after my miscarriage; I was in emotional pain. I had a friend who was pregnant during that time and when I could I put my emotions into caring about her pregnancy. I held her baby shower at my house and offered support when I could. One morning I got a call from her right after I left work from an overnight shift (I think it may have been a double shift). She was in labor and asked me to come be with her and her husband in the hospital because her mom was not going to make it into town in time. As tired as I was; I excitedly told her that I would be there. That day was a day that I will always remember. Supporting her during that time was a huge blessing. And witnessing the miracle of a new life come into the world was amazing! Holding that beautiful baby somehow filled a hole in my heart. I don’t think that my friend understands how much God used her in my life.
When I found out that I was pregnant again in November of 2005; I was cautious and did not let everyone know. So when I miscarried again; I did not have to explain to a lot of people who offered their congratulations like the first time. During that time and for several months after; our marriage was in turmoil for several reasons. We almost did not make it before we got pregnant for a third time in May of 2006. I believe that God used that pregnancy to keep us together. We moved to Okinawa, Japan where Kendal was born. We chose the name Kendal back during our first miscarriage. In one name book; the meaning for Kendal is: “Ruler of the valley.” Based on my poem (above); we thought that it would be a fitting name for a baby who overcame the valley of death and lived. Since then God added Audrey to our family as well.
For seven months after Audrey was born; I dealt with medical issues including a couple of surgeries. On top of that; our family experienced another major crisis and I started to fall into depression. We left Okinawa and went home to deal with our family situation. During that experience I started to learn what it meant to fully rely on God for comfort and strength. Since then I have been allowing God to work on me in a way that I never have before. The biggest struggle for me has been the anger and bitterness in my life. Each time I experienced a crisis it just added to the problem. I did a women’s study dealing with anger; and since then I have grown tremendously. I have been able to truly forgive those who have hurt me just like Jesus forgave me on the cross. And I have been able to make time to focus on my relationship with God and my family. I journey with God regularly by praying, writing, and singing and He continues to heal me on a daily basis. I have not made it to where I need to be yet; but I am daily running the race and pressing towards the goal of being more Christlike. Through everything; God has continued to bless me and my family.
My message to Mother’s who have lost children or women who have not been able to have children (or to anyone experiencing hardships):
God wants to draw us into a closer relationship with him. He will always rescue us but sometimes it is in the midst of our hardships. He doesn’t always remove us from circumstances but allows us to go through them in order to draw us nearer to Him. My prayer is that you will find comfort in the arms of Jesus.