I am very excited to introduce you to Stefanie. I met her while I was at Trinity, and I have gotten to know her better through her blog in the years since then. I am always encouraged by her honesty, her thoughtfulness, and her devotion to the Lord… And I would be lying if I said I didn’t always admire her Pinterest-worthy outfits, her various adventures, and her beautiful pictures! Today she shares how the Lord has used motherhood to teach her to place her trust in him, and she reminds us that God has always proven himself trustworthy.
I have to say I am humbled Lindsey asked me to be a part of her motherhood series. These women that will be sharing have such neat stories and I can’t wait to hear from all of them over the next several weeks. Personally, I love reading series like this one because I believe that in our “social media” age motherhood, just like many things, can be misconstrued.
On one hand, we can have this false image that being a mother is amazing and having children will “complete” you, or so says a mom on Facebook. It can appear that for some life is never hard – their child is beyond cute and you can’t seem to figure out how they can look so put together in the selfies they post holding an iced Starbucks latte in one hand and their adorable baby in the other. And if you are a mom already, you may be wondering why you can’t even find time to brew your own cup of coffee at home let alone get dressed to head out for a latte.
On the other hand, you may have read too many statuses of moms complaining about their child never napping. And if you think those are bad, just wait until the time change. You won’t ever sleep AGAIN. And unfortunately you most likely had a mom approach you in the grocery store parking lot when you were pregnant informing you that your life will be over once your baby arrives. And as you fumbled with your keys to quickly unlock your car, this mom continued to follow you sharing gruesome details of her birth story.
I can say these things because I have (unfortunately) experienced both misconstrued views, and spend (probably too much) time on Instagram and Facebook. I had a false image of what motherhood would be like, and God has thankfully torn down what I thought motherhood would be like, and taught me much, much more. And my son is only two and a half. So I have a long road ahead of me and a whole lot more learning to do.
My journey into motherhood began when I got pregnant in September of 2011, and on May 26, 2012 our little son, Jacob Lawrence, was born. There are so many things that God taught me that first year- what it means to be selfless and basically throw away my to do list for the day, how to serve when you feel like no one is watching, and most importantly, how to survive on 4 hours of broken sleep. But it wasn’t until Jake was almost 9 months old that God really started working on my heart, specifically in the area of trust.
“God’s thoughts are not our thoughts, and God’s ways are not our ways. For as the heavens are higher than the earth, so are My ways higher than your ways and My thoughts than your thoughts.” Isaiah 55:8-9
In February of 2013 we were surprised to find out we were pregnant again. And even though we weren’t expecting that positive test, we were thrilled that Jake would have a little brother or sister so close in age. It wasn’t until 14 weeks later that we were shocked to find out we had lost our little baby. There were all sorts of emotions that came with that loss, but ultimately, after the D&C and sadness had passed, I felt God asking me this important question: do you trust me? I think this is a crucial question when anyone goes through a trial of any kind. Do I still believe God is for me? Do I still believe He is good? Do I still trust Him enough to follow Him where He is leading me? This question began as we (unbeknown to us) entered into a season of infertility.
“You are working in our waiting, sanctifying us. When beyond our understanding, you’re asking us to trust.” Sovereign over us, Aaron Keyes
The hardest part about this season was trusting God’s plan, mainly because it looked so radically different than the plan I had in mind. Shortly after our miscarriage my husband was transferred to New York. As we were looking for homes we confidently told our realtor we needed to make sure our future home had at least three bedrooms because we would get pregnant again soon. I was pretty sure I knew what motherhood would look like for me over the next year, but God obviously had differently plans.
“I believe that I will look upon the goodness of the Lord in the land of the living. Wait for the Lord, be strong, and let your heart take courage; wait for the Lord.” Psalm 27:14
And then there came the waiting. Honestly, in our day and age- who likes to wait for anything at all? We like to perfectly plan out everything- even when we want to have babies (obviously, myself included). And when that doesn’t go according to our plan, we panic. And there are a plethora of infertility blogs and articles ready to give you tips to help you get pregnant on your schedule. Eventually I turned what was supposed to be our newborn’s room into Jake’s play room and slowly became accustomed to the idea that we may not get pregnant any time soon. And while I “knew” God was the creator of life, it wasn’t until we were in our season of infertility that I really began to know it.
One of the greatest lessons I learned during our waiting was how to sit in the middle of an unwritten story and still be at peace. There were months that I spent counting how far apart our kids would be in age if I got pregnant that month, and along with those thoughts came me questioning if Jake would even be close with his next sibling. What came during the waiting was a lot of worry and grasping for control. And sadly, I was worrying about something I didn’t have control over. That’s why finding that peace was so important, and that peace for me came when I chose to trust that God was working out something bigger than I could have ever imagined even when I couldn’t see. It was during these months that turned into years that I learned I needed to trust in who God was and not what my circumstances looked like at the moment. This verse was one that I clung to so closely (and still do):
“They do not fear bad news because they confidently trust in the Lord to care for them.” Psalm 112:7
The Lord eventually brought me to a point where I wasn’t so concerned about wanting to know when I would be a mom again and when Jake would have a sibling, but rather I wanted to be so confidently trusting in His plan for my future that I could live in the present worry free. I remember seeing this pin on Pinterest and so desperately wanting to be the Proverbs 31 woman who laughs at the days to come because of her confidence in the Lord.
“God of mercy, sweet love of mine, I have surrendered, to your design. May this offering stretch across the skies and these hallelujahs be multiplied.” – Multiplied, Need to Breathe
It was the summer of 2014 when God showed us a little glimpse into the plan He had been so intricately putting together during our season of waiting. God began to make it very obvious that He indeed did want me to be a mom again, but in a way I hadn’t expected. He wanted to make me a mom again through adoption. And I can’t tell you what a privilege it is to be called by God to adopt a child. He is already teaching me so much through the process and I know I have much to learn. I could write a whole separate blog post on that alone! Above all, God showed me that if we surrender to His plan and trust Him with our story, He will use us in ways we never imagined.
“My life is a story about Who God is and what He does in a human heart.”- Shauna Niequist
It’s true that my life looks absolutely nothing like my “original plan” three years ago. God has used motherhood to teach me so much about Him and myself. He has showed me how He grieves with me when I experience loss, He sustains me during the times when He asks me to wait, and He does indeed have a plan for my little life in the big story that He is writing. And the question I had to ask myself through it all was, “am I going to trust God?” Not just for the big things like miscarriages, infertility, our children’s safety or future. But also for the little things. Like kids waking up from naps WAY earlier than you planned. Do I trust and believe that God will give me the patience and energy to get through that (now unexpected) long afternoon? Or do I trust that God will carry me through these sleepless nights? Do I trust that God will provide a community of moms to connect with in our new city? And every time I have asked that question and taken a step of faith toward Him even when I don’t see the big picture, God has met me right where I needed Him to. If God has called you to be a mom, trust that He will sustain you. Trust that He will give you the patience, love, and energy you need to show your child His love. And trust that He will use the hard and difficult times for a greater purpose than you ever imagined.
***Stefanie is the wife to a wonderful man and momma to a rambunctious toddler. She’s a former event planner and an extrovert. She loves Jesus, reading, coffee shops, traveling, photography, running, the Fall, trying new recipes, all things stripes, Thai food, theology, and hanging out with the hubs and their little man. Recently her little family has felt called to pursue adopting a child from Ethiopia, and you can read more about that here.