A few days ago, I finally knelt down in front of my pantry and pulled out three empty cracker boxes, crumbs shuffling around at the bottom, and shoved them into the kitchen trashcan. I put the tomato sauce and corn & black bean salsa from Aldi onto the canned vegetable shelf, and pulled the lidless raisins from in between jars of pizza sauce to set them back near other dried fruit. The pantry was just one of the many places showing signs of neglect from the last 8 weeks.
After discovering we were pregnant, I wasn’t surprised by the nausea that began, like clockwork around week 6, and the extreme fatigue that accompanied it. I wasn’t surprised that my one load of laundry a day rule –washed, dried, folded, and put away–turned into a once a week event of Mark helping me fold a mountain of laundry just so Beckett could have clean pajamas to wear. I wasn’t even surprised at the intensity of the cravings for things I haven’t eaten in years — Steak & Shake’s cheese fries, Crazy Bread, Cool Ranch Doritos.
We have been dreaming for a while of having a fourth child, and the pregnancy was not unexpected. Nope, what took me by surprise was the deep fear I felt before I even took a pregnancy test. The calendar was a clear indicator for me of what we had imagined and even hoped would be true. But, for several days, I refused to say anything to Mark or take an at-home-pregnancy test. If being pregnant became a reality than all my fear associated with this pregnancy also became a reality.
It is not a fear of a difficult pregnancy, or even losing this precious miracle–though, we have walked through miscarriage, “Crib for Sale” and my heart aches deeply for those who have also walked through it, especially multiple times. But, this was not the fear fluttering around inside of me, just looking for a good place to set up camp.
Walking, this past year, through my sister-in-law’s fight with leukemia has left me still declaring that God is good, but wondering what that really looks like. In the last year I have learned that He is faithful, but He is not afraid of suffering like we are. He is good, but His good plans do not often align with our ideas of good plans. He is mighty & able, but His timing is different and healing does not always come all at once, but sometimes in painfully slow increments.
My fear indicated that I was believing a lie. The enemy taunted me with something that sounds like this, “Look at what your God has allowed your precious sister to walk through, what might He allow for you or your baby?” For several days, I tried to combat the fear by simply ignoring it–but, that gave no relief, just moments of forgetting.
I only began to experience freedom from my fear when I dragged it, kicking and screaming, out into the light. I told my husband and a dear friend exactly what the enemy was taunting me with–they reminded me of God’s deep love for me. And, then, I followed Jesus’ example and talked back to my adversary. I told him,
“You are exactly right.” Not what we typically say to the enemy, right?
“You are exactly right. I do not know what God might allow me or the ones I love to walk through on earth. I have very few guarantees about my time here, but I have some eternal promises you cannot touch. I have eternal life with my Father waiting for me and the worst days on this earth are the closest to Hell I will ever get. Philippians 3:20 tells me, I am a citizen of heaven, where the Lord Jesus Christ lives. And I am eagerly waiting for him to return as our Savior.”
I have been declaring since my sister-in-law was diagnosed in February that we can trust His love and it is a sermon I keep preaching to my own wandering, wavering soul. If your enemy is taunting you with a lie that produces fear, worry, or unrest, let me help you.
- Bring the Lie into the Light. The enemy loves isolation and secrecy–have you ever noticed he most often comes after you when you’re alone (or lonely)? Find a Jesus-follower you can trust and tell him/her the enemy’s lie he is trying to sell. (If you don’t have someone, e-mail me at JenniferSDykema@gmail.com and let me speak life to you).
- Talk Back to the Enemy. Use the truth you know or search the scriptures until you find something you can shout back at the enemy. Say it aloud–he is not all knowing and he cannot read your mind. Let him hear you declare God’s truth every time he tries to sell you that lie. Here’s a great place to start finding a scriptural truth to throw back at him.