There is just so much to share. Over the past few weeks I have been completely overwhelmed with blessings, specific answers to prayer, and an awareness of God's incredible, perfect timing in our lives. I've written countless blog posts in my mind and cannot wait to share with you all some of the lessons and truths that I've learned through the journey of this pregnancy. But for now, with my sleep-deprived mind working at half-speed, and my window of opportunity only as long as my children will nap, I'll share just a few of my prayers during this pregnancy and the answers that came.
I prayed for a healthier, easier pregnancy that would allow me to be a good mom to my boys.
A third trimester that was considerably easier than either of my other pregnancies. I had far fewer headaches, less fatigue and nausea, and fewer aches and pains. Sure, by the end I felt pretty much like I'd been run over by a bus, but a smaller bus. I struggled quite a bit in the first half of my pregnancy with depression and irritability, but in the second half I felt my spirits lift considerably and felt much more able to love on my little boys every day. I was far from perfect - they have never watched so much tv as they have in the last few weeks - but I think they felt loved.
I prayed for a healthy baby.
Our precious baby girl was born whole and healthy. She has the same condition in her trachea as Lucas had in his larynx, and so we have another squeaker baby. But, it's nothing that hurts her or puts her at risk in any way, and we know she'll grow out of it. Considering my enormous anxiety that something terrible would come of having had to take loads of painkillers again during this pregnancy, my prayers for God's grace to cover over my little girl's health were answered with a resounding YES.
I prayed for financial blessing for my husband in his work, and for our family to "catch a break" that would allow us to be relieved of some burdensome debt.
The week before Madelyn was born, Ben received his healthiest paycheck in over six months. A few days later, we received our tax returns, which were generous, and which came much earlier than we expected. The timing was extraordinary - Ben had just the right number of days to settle bills, pay off a good deal of our debt, and pay for some needs and even a couple of "wants."
I prayed for a better job for my sister.
This one may seem random, but it's been a burden on my heart for years. The week before Madelyn was born, my sister got a new, full-time job with better pay, health insurance, and other benefits that will be an enormous blessing to her. I'm still praying for my sister-in-law to find the perfect job, but I know God has it for her.
I prayed that we would be able to be able to share the birth of our child with certain loved ones, and for my kids to be well cared-for during our hospital stay.
We had my parents with us in the delivery room when both boys were born, and we wanted to share this birth with Ben's mom and sister, since they now live close. The logistics were daunting, especially making arrangements for our kids (our two boys and Heather's son). God provided exactly what we needed for all of it to come together, and Becky and Heather were able to be with us when our baby girl made her way into the world. It was an incredible experience for all of us and such a blessing to get to share it.
I prayed to see Jesus work in my husband's heart and mind.
We've made no secret of Ben's recent struggles with his work and personal struggles with anxiety and depression. While his job challenges remain largely the same, the transformation in his heart and mind over the past year has been amazing. I certainly can't speak for everything that God has taught him, but from what I can see, God has spoken so much truth to Ben about who he is in Christ, and Ben has learned to surrender everything to God and walk in the quiet confidence of His goodness. God has brought some wonderful, wise, Godly men from our church to walk alongside Ben as friends and mentors. My heart is incredibly full to see how Ben is in turn reaching out to minister to other men, in the church and outside of it. What a privilege it is see the man I have always loved deeply become more and more a man after God's own heart.
I prayed to see Jesus work in my heart and mind.
This one was, of course, the most critical prayer. Without the continued work of Jesus in my life, I would never have made it through this pregnancy, let alone be able to face the coming days and years with joy and peace. Through this season, as I struggled with my own depression, anxiety, and doubts of God's goodness, He pursued me relentlessly. I learned (again, and again) to surrender, to choose obedience over my emotions, to allow Him to do in and through me what He wanted. And in the process, I learned new and deeper truths about my the lover of my soul, about who He is and who I am in Him. I know that our "new normal" as parents of three will bring many challenging days, but I can rest in knowing that Jesus has the answer for every problem and question that we will face.
I really can't do justice to the intricate way that God orchestrated every part of this pregnancy and birth to allow His glory to shine. My words are completely inadequate to pass along to you every beautiful truth that He has taught me in the recent months. But trust me, it's good. He is good.
p.s. If you'd like to read the story of Madelyn's birth, head on over to my other blog - A Work in Progress... but give it me day or two. :)