I thought I was doing everything right. Then the things that should’ve brought the greatest joy turned to heartbreak.
Life doesn’t always turn out as planned.
There I was, standing in front of a man who I didn’t know much about, except that he had a love for hunting and the ministry. I knew that I had rushed into marriage for all the wrong reasons, but backing out right before saying “I do” was entirely too late. The whole experience made me feel as if I had eaten a bag of concrete mix, and it was slowly forming solid concrete in my gut.
Fast forward six months. On the inside, I felt like the most miserable person alive; on the outside, I held it all together for the people around me. My husband had just accepted his first pastoral position, so we moved and began to restore love in a struggling community of believers. The problem was that there was no love at home inside this union. We tried everything. Determined that we had to stay together forever because God hates divorce, we also believed my husband’s ministry and the people he pastored would be hurt tremendously … so we kept trying.
We attempted marriage counseling, but he wanted just to stop the nonsense—as If I could just push a button and be better. I wanted to escape. I felt condemned, and he thought thumping me over the head with Scripture was going to cure me and snap me out of my delusion. I realized that when I said “yes” to his proposal, I was trying to please my family and his, as well as thinking I was being rescued. I honestly thought I could be happy with a husband who loved Jesus, a well-decorated home, and people who needed me. That’s what you think when you’re 21 years old.
A few months later, I was holding a positive pregnancy test in front of me, reading my future. It told me to get ready for another curve ball. Having a baby didn’t frighten me, but having a baby with this man who I hadn’t been able to fall in love with did. I felt as though I was being force-fed doom, and I would have to be strong and make doom look and feel good so that I could a) survive without losing myself and b) save anyone around me from hurting more due to my screw-ups. I was like a broken glass doll.
After following doctor’s orders perfectly, I reached the moment that would reveal “boy” or “girl.” My in-laws, also pastors of a church, had driven long hours to be with us for the occasion. As I lay there, I knew something was wrong, but I couldn’t tell anyone. I had become an expert at holding things in.
The doctor came in and announced it was a little boy! Then he shared that the baby had a very rare neurological disorder. He assured me I did nothing wrong, that it was one of those things that just happens. He then told me my baby would grow and kick, and it would feel like a normal pregnancy.
But when my water broke, the baby would die. He told me I was my child’s life-support system, and he couldn’t guarantee how long I would carry him.
The largest knots that I have ever had to swallow formed in my throat. Everyone around me immediately began to tell me that I needed to have faith, to believe, to pray. Inside, I knew my Creator was saying to rest in him. I knew the baby, Luke, was going to be with me for a shorter time than most mommies have with their children, but the Holy Spirit gave me a new perspective on the situation. Crazy as it sounded, I made a choice to listen to His voice; He wanted me to treasure this amazing experience.
Every day, I dedicated time to spend with a little boy growing inside of me, sitting in a room with candles lit and lullabies playing as I allowed God to heal me. Luke would kick, and I would smile and feel God’s love burst in my heart. I had so much peace that when my water broke at the seven-and-a-half month marker, I was ready for that unordinary journey. He had removed all fear and clothed me with a thick blanket of peace and rest.
I had a normal delivery (that is, as normal as it could have been) with no pain medication. Luke came out just as they said he would, with no sign of life, but I rejoiced inside and saw him running with the Lord, safe. Everyone, including the doctors and nurses, may have thought I was heavily medicated … but I was drunk in the Holy Spirit of my loving Father.
A few months after Luke’s birth, my husband and I got a divorce, and it was time to start over. Years passed before I could believe I didn’t deserve a label called “divorced,” and I could deal with the horrible thought of sharing Luke’s story with another man. I wanted and still want love more than anything in this life, but I had to learn who and what love truly is before Love could give me the desires of my heart.
Through every minute of destructive living, the Lord never left my side. He forgave me for making bad choices and not trusting Him first. He was merciful to me; He continued to lavish me with favor and remind me that no matter what I had done, no matter how things feel on the inside or appear on the outside, my label is LOVE! I am made perfect by that Love; I am a precious jewel that He carries in His pocket. When He decides to share me with another man, it will be everything I wanted and more.
As for motherhood … well, I am a now a mother to many. Because of these trials and His incredible favor, I have more nurturing to give away than one could measure!
It’s plain to see … He said that He would make all things work together for our good! (Romans 8:28)