Friday, September 7, 2012

Fear or Faith - Which Will It Be?

On Wednesday, my husband went out of town for three days.  I only reached 36 weeks on Monday, and in the past I have had too many pre-term contractions and have felt way overdue by this time.  I had had the passing thought of, "What if I go into labor while he is out of town?"  Well, that afternoon I started to have some strong Braxton Hicks contractions.  I thought, "OK.  Fine.  They are only Braxton Hicks.  They are strong, but not regular."  They increased in frequency and intensity, but were still irregular:  Some strong and some not, some 5 and some 11 minutes apart.  I did not feel great, so I asked the older kids to put the younger kids to bed, while I went for a walk to pray and worship.  Oh, I thank the Lord for such wonderful and obedient children.  They are incredible kids!

I walked and talked to God, and I sang songs of praise.  I had contractions constantly and knew that walking could actually encourage labor, but I needed to spend the time with the Lord, so I walked.  Some contractions made me stop in my tracks.  I began to time them and they were 5-10 minutes apart of varying strength, but I talked to God about fear and faith.  I remembered that He has given me confidence throughout this pregnancy that I would carry this baby to term.  I remembered how God has healed us.  I remembered that God has kept us safe and sound throughout this pregnancy, and now is not the time to forget His assurances and to begin to fear.  I trust in my God!

I went inside and the older kids did the evening chores, while I sat on the ball and directed them.  They were pleased to help.  The contractions eased up a bit.  I took a bath, drank water, and continued to thank God for His protection.

Praise the Lord!  I slept well that night and had no more contractions.  I had only a few contractions the next day and today, and none were strong like the ones from Wednesday.  In fact, I feel so good today that I could almost forget that I am pregnant, despite the big belly.  I can even touch my toes and put on my shoes without any issues.

I believe it was a test of my faith.  Which way will I turn?  Will I lean on my own understanding based on my past experiences or will I trust in the Lord with all my heart?

God's word trumps my experiences.  It makes no difference what has occurred in any of my past pregnancies.  Science and reason say it matters.  God is bigger than that.  Nothing is impossible for Him!  His word is true!  I will believe His word and I will not base my beliefs on my experiences.

Again:  I will not interpret His word through my experiences.  My experience will reflect the truth of His word!  Praise the Lord!  He is worthy of our praise!

Update:  I am now 38 weeks pregnant.  I have not had anymore contractions like I did that first day that my husband went out of town.  I truly feel it was a spiritual attack and a temptation to give into fear.  I think things could have turned out differently if I had given into fear.

My husband had a small surgical procedure done about two days ago.  I was not worried about going into labor while he recovered, but even so I did have more Braxton Hicks contractions than usual that night.  I also had some stomach pain, which hurt intensely with every contraction.  The uterine muscle did not hurt, but my gut hurt on the top left side.  I woke up constantly through the night.  I also had a scary pregnancy dream.  Spiritual attack?  I think so.  I talked to God about it in the morning and had a great day, and then another great day today.

Every difficult event in our lives can either drive us to fear or drive us to trust our Savior.  I choose to trust my Savior.  He does not keep us out of every fire, and sometimes He allows us to be thrown into the lion's den, but he does keep us safe when we put our trust in Him.  He is our refuge in times of trouble.  Daily, I am amazed at His faithfulness.

God Works All Things Together For The Good of Those Who Love Him...

I am amazed at how God works things out for His good purposes.  This morning started out well and quickly fell apart.  I was dumbfounded by my children's behavior and their lack of motivation to accomplish the goal set before them.  I did not want to act in anger or in fear (remembering that God is love and that nothing matters except faith expressing itself through love), so instead of getting anxious and irritable and barking orders at them to get it done, I let them carry on as they were and when the time had come for us to leave for our co-op I simply said that they had not pulled it together in time, we were not going to be late, and so they would not be going today.  I can do this, because I am not currently teaching and they are in this co-op for extra-curricular and social purposes, not as our primary source of education and learning.

I left the older kids home (with supervision) to work on their studies, which they would normally do after co-op, and I took the younger two boys to their preschool and kindergarten classes.  They were so enthusiastic about going that I did not want to disappoint them in their second week, and they had done nothing wrong to lose the privilege.  I told their teachers and my older children that in the future we would either be early or absent.  I am not going to be late week after week after week, and I am not going to get stressed trying to get out the door with six kids.

OK.  That was background information.  Also, circumstances were such that I had too many bags and samples of "friendship bread" to share, which I wanted to take to co-op to give away to any interested takers.

Because of these circumstances, I ended up in the Encourager's Room at our co-op, a place to fellowship with other homeschool parents when not fulfilling an obligation to the co-op.  I would have been helping out in pre-school (just because), but I was too embarrassed about being late and needed to take the bread to the Encouragers Room.  I introduced myself to several moms who were new to me and we began talking about our families.  One thing led to another, and I ended up sharing about how God's love is more important than anything else, which led to sharing our testimony about how God healed us.  I was amazed at how my testimony was received, and how God was using our testimony to bring hope and healing to another family (maybe more).  I was amazed at how I was able to answer all of the questions asked of me.  I was amazed at how I answered without fear.  I was amazed at how God touched several lives through my testimony and through the power of His Word.  Several of my beautiful new friends said that our meeting and my sharing was God ordained, and I concur.  God arranged it!  He encouraged them through me, and I too am strengthened in my faith because of our meeting and my fellowship with them.  Amazing!

It happened because one bag of friendship bread didn't get to a friend in time, because my children failed at their task, because I acted in obedience to God and chose not to get angry, because I swallowed my pride and took my little ones to their classes late with profuse apologies, and because I was too embarrassed to stay and help in pre-school.  (Note: pre-school was overwhelmed today with extra help and totally did not need my help anyway.  How cool is that?!?)  God IS amazing!

Indeed, He works all things together for His good purposes.

Update 1:  I am very happy to report that all of the kids pulled it together the following week and we accomplished everything and got out the door on time with absolutely NO stress.  It was so very wonderful!

Update 2:  Praise the Lord!  Really, He is amazing!  One of the ladies that I shared with, the one who told me that she knew that God had ordained our meeting that morning, went home and considered all that we talked about, and being very encouraged, she quit her special diet and all of her pain medications and has been absolutely fine all week!  I just want to say that I did not encourage her to take this step of faith.  It was entirely between her and the Lord!  God caused me to be there to share.  He used my testimony of His work in my life to encourage greater faith in her.  Wow!  I can truly understand how Paul was able to say that it was God who worked in Him to will and to act according to His good purposes.  When we trust Him and obey Him, He can take us where He wants us to go and use us for His very good purposes.  Amen and amen!!!

Repetition, Duration, and Intensity

I have noticed that I repeat myself a lot.  There is purpose in it.  This is how we learn.  This is how we internalize what we learn so that it becomes a part of us.  This is how God designed us to learn.

I have learned much scripture in the past year or two because I find it, pray about it, talk to God about it, share it, ask for faith to believe it, talk to others about it, remember it, apply it, and repeat over and over and over.  I write about it.  I try to remember the references.  I look it up again and again and confirm that I have the words correct.  Sometimes I use hand motions to help me to memorize it, and sometimes I teach it to my children.  They are internalizing it, because it is repeated and lived out daily.

God has changed us by the renewing of our minds as we replace the lies with His truth through Repetition, Duration, and Intensity!

My children believe that the Word of God is the Truth, because they see (over and over again) the changes in me and in each other as we believe and obey what we learn from His Word.

Think about it.  When we hear something often enough, our minds accept it as truth.  Advertisers know this.  That is why they want to put their products and advertisements in front of us as much as possible.  Politicians know this.  They spend much on campaigns to get their name and face and slogans imprinted in our minds.  Satan knows this.  He whispers the same lies in our ears over and over and over again, and we believe them, thinking that these are our own thoughts.  We are to listen to the voice of the Good Shepherd, and we do not listen to the voice of the stranger.

Repetition, Duration, and Intensity!  I will put God's word in my heart that I might not sin against God. Repetition, Duration, and Intensity!  That's how I learn.  As I walk and talk with God about His word, I learn and internalize the Truth.  God is Love!  I am made in His image!  I am made to love!  I am commanded to love!  I get it!  I believe it!