𝐑𝐄𝐌𝐈𝐍𝐃𝐄𝐑: God uses every season. Nothing, absolutely NOTHING is ever wasted with Him.
This is a photo of me, taken just before the world fell prey to the current covid-19 pandemic. I was in London, travelling freely with my sister, taking alot of photos of things that caught our eye, trying new foods, walking through boutique clothing stores, and getting to enjoy the the sights and culture together with her. If someone had told me 4 years earlier that this was something I would be doing, I would have laughed at them.
You see, 4 years prior to this trip, my daughter Sienna was born. The photo you see above as the header in this post? That was what motherhood looked like a year before that trip (evidence that God got me through the year she was born). Now look at this photo below:
This was the first year she entered our world and a real reminder of those very dark and very agonising nights. Stark differences.
Till today, she is one of God’s greatest gifts to my husband and I. But it did not come without great pain. In fact, her birth marked one of 3 of the most traumatic experiences of my life. I was head deep in vomit, excruciating eczema issues, milk issues, refusing to eat/drink questions, sienna’s chronic inability to sleep unless held problems, battling an unhealthy body image, and this was amidst many other things. While I had help, I was also juggling work after a few months (I was shouldering my own emotional baggage along with the emotional baggage of 50+ brides at the same time) – I was exhausted, I was overwhelmed, and I felt lost. It was an incredibly lonely season I walked through, and I often wondered where was the end? When would I see light in the tunnel between the feedings and crying and sleep deprivation?
I also regularly asked myself – what had become of me? Was I wasting time and opportunities with each passing day? Would I ever have back what I was living before this season?
Oh how I wish the me now, could have told the me then, what I learned over those painful but precious days/months/years. I would have sat her down and told her these things:
1) 𝐆𝐨𝐝 𝐰𝐢𝐥𝐥 𝐮𝐬𝐞 𝐭𝐡𝐞 𝐡𝐚𝐫𝐝𝐞𝐬𝐭 𝐦𝐨𝐬𝐭 𝐩𝐚𝐢𝐧𝐟𝐮𝐥 𝐜𝐡𝐚𝐩𝐭𝐞𝐫𝐬 𝐢𝐧 𝐨𝐮𝐫 𝐥𝐢𝐯𝐞𝐬 𝐭𝐨 𝐛𝐫𝐞𝐚𝐤, 𝐬𝐭𝐫𝐞𝐭𝐜𝐡, 𝐚𝐧𝐝 𝐠𝐫𝐨𝐰 𝐲𝐨𝐮. Like a seed in the winter, it is buried in the dark, under the coldest and harshest conditions, before he brings light and warmth for the new growth. But He always, and I mean always, makes what comes out of that winter, better than what existed before. And the new is always finer, and more beautiful.
2) 𝐁𝐞 𝐟𝐚𝐢𝐭𝐡𝐟𝐮𝐥 𝐢𝐧 𝐰𝐡𝐞𝐫𝐞 𝐆𝐨𝐝 𝐡𝐚𝐬 𝐩𝐥𝐚𝐧𝐭𝐞𝐝 𝐲𝐨𝐮 𝐫𝐢𝐠𝐡𝐭 𝐧𝐨𝐰. Even if that does not feel good. That to me then, looked like putting away desires to book jobs, not replying emails and phone calls immediately, not listening to the pressure that said if I did not act now everyone would forget me. It meant tending to milk stuck in breast pumps, applying endless amounts of eczema creams so her pus would stop oozing, or holding my baby for more hours in the day than I wanted, every day. It meant learning that freedom isn’t a loss of being able to go out anytime I wanted with whomever I wanted, but learning to be okay with sitting at home and seeing my baby growing under a warm roof and enough food. It meant putting certain dreams on hold, saying goodbye to other ones, and being at peace with what God filled in my basket right now, and not in the timing I wanted.
3) 𝐃𝐞𝐚𝐫 𝐠𝐢𝐫𝐥, 𝐆𝐨𝐝 𝐢𝐬 𝐞𝐧𝐨𝐮𝐠𝐡 – the me then did not know this, and it’s taken me years to understand it. But the stripping away of my ‘freedom’, my job, the things I loved doing like travelling, my friends and family, and even date nights with my husband, showed me what I held onto too tightly for my happiness and security. And while some of those things were returned to me a few years after the birth of our daughter (albeit in slightly different forms), I learned in the interim without them, that God was forging a faith that didn’t depend on those things for joy because God doesn’t want to give us half. He wants to give us FULL. He did not want to leave me in a pool of temporary joys that disappear or disappoint, but an ocean of lasting joy that doesn’t break even when life gets hard. And that joy is found in His presence alone.
I will tell that girl in that season, that this joy cannot be made in the easy and the comfortable sinews of life, but in the stony and thorny pages where it is pressed and refined. I will say to her, to hang in there, wait. Because God is faithful in the making, and the fruit He is growing is worth every tear shed. Trust Him. He will be enough. He IS enough.
I am glad God did not give me an easy season. While I still hate the pain from it, I know now that His plan was to not let me be content with a weak shakeable faith, but to shape in me one that is iron clad – one that has its foundations on the unshakable. It rests on Christ who cannot be moved, and has already won every victory.
So, if you are in a hard season, lean in closer and be still at His feet. Separate yourself from the voices that tell you otherwise, and let yourself be loved by God. You will find Him faithful and ever enough.
“𝘐 𝘬𝘯𝘰𝘸 𝘸𝘩𝘢𝘵 𝘪𝘵 𝘪𝘴 𝘵𝘰 𝘣𝘦 𝘪𝘯 𝘯𝘦𝘦𝘥, 𝘢𝘯𝘥 𝘐 𝘬𝘯𝘰𝘸 𝘸𝘩𝘢𝘵 𝘪𝘵 𝘪𝘴 𝘵𝘰 𝘩𝘢𝘷𝘦 𝘱𝘭𝘦𝘯𝘵𝘺. 𝘐 𝘩𝘢𝘷𝘦 𝘭𝘦𝘢𝘳𝘯𝘦𝘥 𝘵𝘩𝘦 𝘴𝘦𝘤𝘳𝘦𝘵 𝘰𝘧 𝘣𝘦𝘪𝘯𝘨 𝘤𝘰𝘯𝘵𝘦𝘯𝘵 𝘪𝘯 𝘢𝘯𝘺 𝘢𝘯𝘥 𝘦𝘷𝘦𝘳𝘺 𝘴𝘪𝘵𝘶𝘢𝘵𝘪𝘰𝘯, 𝘸𝘩𝘦𝘵𝘩𝘦𝘳 𝘸𝘦𝘭𝘭 𝘧𝘦𝘥 𝘰𝘳 𝘩𝘶𝘯𝘨𝘳𝘺, 𝘸𝘩𝘦𝘵𝘩𝘦𝘳 𝘭𝘪𝘷𝘪𝘯𝘨 𝘪𝘯 𝘱𝘭𝘦𝘯𝘵𝘺 𝘰𝘳 𝘪𝘯 𝘸𝘢𝘯𝘵. 𝘐 𝘤𝘢𝘯 𝘥𝘰 𝘢𝘭𝘭 𝘵𝘩𝘪𝘴 𝘵𝘩𝘳𝘰𝘶𝘨𝘩 𝘩𝘪𝘮 𝘸𝘩𝘰 𝘨𝘪𝘷𝘦𝘴 𝘮𝘦 𝘴𝘵𝘳𝘦𝘯𝘨𝘵𝘩.” (𝘗𝘩𝘪𝘭𝘭𝘪𝘱𝘪𝘢𝘯𝘴 𝟺:𝟷𝟷-𝟷𝟹)