As this year begins, I am so thankful for the lessons I learned in 2014. They will guide me this year as I seek to deepen my relationship with God. I have many
resolutions goals for 2015, including to BE STILL (Psalm 46:10) every day to listen for God speaking to me. (My first goal was to start off the New Year with a blog post, so I’m barely getting this one in by my self-imposed deadline!)
Lesson #1: PRAY about everything (Philippians 4:6)
The darkest moment of 2014 for me came on 3/26 with a simple phone call from my OB. It quite possible was the darkest moment of my entire life, to this point. Upon hearing the possibility that my baby girl had a defect “not compatible with life”, I checked out. No clue what my OB said from that point on during the phone conversation. I called my husband, then I called my friend. From my conversation with her, all I remember is her advice to pray. For the first time in ages, I got down on my knees and prayed as though Caitlin’s life depended on it. Hearing the advice from her – and that was God at work – and following the advice brought a peace to my life I had never known. In my darkest hours, His light guided me to safety. He saw me turn to a friend, and used her to return me to Him alone. I pray about everything. I still stumble and don’t always turn to Him first. When I get there, however, He greets me with his peace-filled open arms. A smaller scale example: in December, we noticed Caitlin (who had previously babbled A LOT) wasn’t babbling very much. My husband brought up his concerns and we discussed taking her in. Given our health scare during the pregnancy, we are SUPER aware of everything to do with her now. I prayed about it. Not where I turned first, but I did get there. The result? Caitlin started babbling again. I know skeptics will scream “coincidence! She’s a baby!” Skepticize on (pretty sure I made that word up) but MY GOD answered my prayer. Praise to Him for His wonderful ways.
Lesson #2: God has a plan! (Jeremiah 29:11)
I know, I know. This is pretty much my life mantra now. But it’s true. Hindsight is 20/20, but GOD’s vision is always 20/20. Blindly trust Him. He is working in you even if you don’t know Him well.
In 2009, I had a minor surgical procedure. Following that, I became unsure of continuing on with my OB. I ended up having him care for and deliver my second child in 2010. In 2011, I changed OBs. You may think I am being dramatic, but God leading me to my current OB/GYN saved my life. HE orchestrated that before I even had a real relationship with him. Upon being discharged after the incredibly scary delivery of my third child (scary for my health, not for my perfectly healthy, beautiful baby girl), my husband basically said he had no faith I would have survived under my previous OB’s care. She placed me on bed rest, he would not have. Many women with placenta previa experience bleeds in their pregnancy, especially in the third trimester. I believe this increases if it’s a complete previa (which they knew I had). I had not one instance of bleeding, and then it turned out I had placenta accreta which is even more severe. Her actions saved me, thanks to God’s plans for my life. Praise to Him!
Lesson #3: The better you know His word, the better you hear Him.
“Your word is a lamp to my feet and a light to my path.” — Psalm 119:105
For a long time, I believed God didn’t speak to me. I kept waiting for His voice, or an incredibly obvious sign from him. It’s only recently I learned that God sounds like me. He sounds like you. He is the voice in your head, the feeling in your gut. But wait! – Satan also sounds like me and you. By knowing God’s LIVING word, you can discern His voice from the devil. God will never lead you away from what His word says is true. I learned that the negative things that are whispered internally come from the devil, not God. It’s easy to give in to that and listen to those awful things or be led in a way we feel tempted. Satan thrives on that. The better you know what God would say, the better you are able to hear him. I know now that when I am feeling overwhelmed, stressed, over-extended and I hear “Be still” or another of my favorite memorized verses, that is God speaking to me. He’ll use what you know to speak to you. In your voice. Stop waiting for a big, booming male voice. Listen to the random thoughts that come in your head, think about what is being said, and if you don’t know who it is, turn to the Bible, the LIVING word, to find out if it’s God. The deeper your relationship with him becomes, the more clarity you will hear when He speaks.
Another important lesson I learned, but won’t spend much time on because this is a longer post than I intended, is to lean on your community in good times and bad. Find a church, find a person. I am so incredibly thankful for all the wonderful friendships God led me to through my church, and especially for my dearest faith friend who set me on the right path. Feeling a sense of community won’t always happen instantaneously, but keep seeking it. God will put the right people in your path. Embrace them, lean on them after you seek His guidance.
Blessings to you all in 2015! It’s going to be a great year!!