Unfulfilled Longings| By Jasmine Beard

Lord, I will exalt you and lift you high,

for you have lifted me up on high!

Over all my boasting, gloating enemies,

you made me to triumph.

 O Lord, my healing God,

I cried out for a miracle and you healed me!

You brought me back from the brink of death,

from the depths below.

Now here I am, alive and well, fully restored!

O sing and make melody, you steadfast lovers of God.

Give thanks to him every time you reflect on his holiness!

I’ve learned that his anger lasts for a moment,

but his loving favor lasts a lifetime!

We may weep through the night,

but at daybreak it will turn into shouts of ecstatic joy.

I remember boasting, “I’ve got it made!

Nothing can stop me now!

I’m God’s favored one; he’s made me steady as a mountain!”

But then suddenly, you hid your face from me.

I was panic-stricken and became depressed.

Still I cried out to you, Lord God. I shouted out for mercy, saying,

“What would you gain in my death,

if I were to go down to the depths of darkness?

Will a grave sing your song?

How could death’s dust declare your faithfulness?”

So hear me now, Lord; show me your famous mercy.

O God, be my Savior and rescue me!

Then he broke through and transformed all my wailing

into a whirling dance of ecstatic praise!

He has torn the veil and lifted from me

the sad heaviness of mourning.

He wrapped me in the glory garments of gladness.

How could I be silent when it’s time to praise you?

Now my heart sings out loud, bursting with joy—

a bliss inside that keeps me singing,

“I can never thank you enough!” -Psalm 30

Recently, I layed in my bed and had a desire to cry. All day long I had suppressed the pain that was inside of me. I wanted to cry my eyes out into my pillow because of the absence of the very thing I longed for. 

But then I felt stupid, ungrateful, and more mixed emotions, “What will crying solve?” I thought to myself.

“There are people dying of cancer, people who are going hungry tonight, yet I want to cry about this? Jasmine, snap out of it, pull yourself together!”

So, in that moment I made a decision to suck all the tears that were surfacing back,suppressed my emotions, and tried to fall asleep. As I pouted, tossed and turned, and tried to fix my eyes on Jesus and more important things I felt the spirit say, “read Psalm 30”. I was not sure if I heard Him correctly but, then I heard Him again. I put off reading the chapter until the next morning. 

The next day, as I sat in the corner of a coffee shop and read Psalm 30 verses 11-12 stuck out to me. They read:

“You have turned my mourning and clothed me with joy, that I might sing praises to you and not be silent. O Lord my God, I will give you thanks forever!”

In that moment I realized that God acknowledged my pain. Although, my pain was small in comparison to so many others, God acknowledged how hard my circumstance was for me.

Ever since childhood I have had a burning desire to be a wife and a mom. But year after year, nothing. At times I wondered does God even care about this kind of pain?

I tried to believe the lie that the longing inside of me was because I was not focused on Jesus enough or because I was not grateful enough.

“Maybe if I was more grateful”, “Maybe if I served more”, “Maybe if I prayed away this longing” I would not have bouts of crying about a longing that is at the very core of who I am.”

But that is not true.

Being more grateful and serving more are great things and should be encompassed into all that we do as Christians, but they do not change a longing or desire inside of us.

The truth is when we have deep longings and desires that beautifully align with God’s word and are living with our eyes fixated on God we can trust that He cares. He cares about the longings, the pain, and the heartache that the waiting season can sometimes bring.

“Make God the utmost delight and pleasure of your life, and he will provide for you what you desire the most.” Psalms 37:4

We can trust that if God has placed a godly desire in us such as marriage and parenthood that He will be faithful to bring that desire into fruition.

Today, I want to encourage you to not hide the longings or desires that are deep in your heart. Bring those things straight to God so that He can comfort you and in due time give you the desires of your heart <3.

Jesus and My Mental Health| By Emily Lawson

I will praise thee; for I am fearfully and wonderfully made: marvelous are thy works; and that my soul knoweth right well. My substance was not hid from thee, when I was made in secret, and curiously wrought in the lowest parts of the earth. Thine eyes did see my substance, yet being unperfect; and in thy book all my members were written, which in continuance were fashioned, when as yet there was none of them. Psalm 139: 14-16 (KJV)

I am finally to the point of pregnancy where I feel like a normal person. I am also to the point where I can begin to feel the kicks of the tiny human growing inside me. 

Yet, with the excitement and thankfulness I have, worry at times still consumes me. 

“I haven’t felt him today. Is that normal?”

“That was a really quick movement, not his normal stretches. Is that normal?” 

“My oldest just kicked me so hard in the stomach. Is that going to cause an issue later?”

“Ugh, healthy food is so blah, I just want some salty chips. Am I ruining my baby?”

When I was pregnant with my first, I had such high anxiety levels, that I had to go to a counselor for five weeks. I was too anxious to take medicine. I was too anxious to call the doctor. I could not function at work, literally having to walk away from my desk several times to hide away and cry. I would cry over everything. I spent forty dollars on three pairs of pajamas and a robe for the hospital (really, a decent deal!). The next day I had a panic attack at work thinking I had spent too much and wouldn’t be able to afford diapers for my new baby. 

The counselor helped how she could, releasing me with some breathing exercises and telling me to use my husband when I felt overwhelmed. 

And though those breathing exercises helped me through a few moments, God saw me through that entire time period. Though I felt like I was drowning at times, and I felt that there was no way I could make it through, He was able to guide me through those last (very long) seven weeks of pregnancy, and hold my head above water. I knew during that time, that although these feelings would consume me for periods of time, that’s all they were. Feelings. They weren’t the truth. They weren’t real. They were the conclusion of my brain believing the lies that the enemy laid before me.

God’s eye knew the outcome of those feelings. He knows the outcome of my current pregnancy. He knows what I’ll be going through each and every second of the rest of this pregnancy. He knows the outcome of my children’s lives. 

He knew when my son would take his first steps, as I fretted and compared to other children His age.  

He knows when my son will finally get over this picky stage and will eat normal food, all the while I fret if he is getting enough nutrients to make it through the day. He knows the exact moment that my second will be born. 

In His book, each and every one of our thoughts and actions are written. He knows what we cannot see and He knows what is to come. 

It is all in His plan and no matter the degree to which I worry and panic over it, He knows the outcome. 

And here is the exciting part. 

As scary as my mental health was to me, it was not enough to scare Him away. The scariest thing that my brain could think up, was put in its place when God stepped in. When I thought that I had gone too far, He never let go of my hand.

I am not saying that it went away. My brain still got overworked. I still had moments where I sat in the fetal position on the floor of a room with no windows and cried. I still had bad moments. 

However, when I allowed God into those moments. When I reached out and just let Him take over, I had peace in the midst of the storm. My heart was still racing. The tears were still flowing. But I had the knowledge that this was temporary. That though I felt detached from everything, I could still take small steps to ensure that I was moving in the right direction. 

Life is hard. The enemy will do everything in his power to throw loops and hills and potholes in your path. But clinging to the one who holds tomorrow in the palm of His hand is the one thing that can keep us grounded. 

God knew those seven weeks would be grueling. He also knew that I would make it through those seven weeks from the moment I was formed in my own mother’s womb. 

He wrote my story, just as He has written yours.

Life is hard. But nothing is too hard for God. 

Ah Lord God! Behold, thou hast made the heaven and the earth by thy great power and stretched out arm, and there is nothing too hard for thee. Jeremiah 32:17 (KJV)

If you are struggling with your mental health, I encourage you to reach out. Don’t let the enemy keep you in a pocket of fear and wondering. Talk to the doctor. Take the medicine. Try the exercises. Write out those feelings. Don’t lay down in the darkness. Cling to the Lord as He guides you where you need to go. My experience is not unique. I didn’t take the medicine then, but coming out the other side, I know that it would have saved me so much anxiety. Pregnancy Anxiety and Post-Partum Anxiety and Depression are real things. Don’t let anyone tell you that “It’s just hormones, it’ll pass.” Address the issues and remember that you need to take care of yourself so you can enjoy every little thing this new adventure has to offer. Pregnant or not. Feelings are real. They exist in you, and dealing with them is the best way to get past them. Don’t settle for mediocre. You were worth sending an only son to die on the cross for you. You are worth the effort to feel better! Feel free to reach out to me directly also at @the_modest_wife on Instagram if you ever need to talk. You’re worth it. Never forget that!

Millennial Mom, a Million Worries| By Tori Savoy

I always knew motherhood could be overwhelming, but little did I know that it began as soon as you become pregnant.

I thought, “I have a whole nine months to prepare.” 

However, nine months is not enough. 

There are so many things to consider and worry about when it comes to growing a life inside you. They tell you to keep your weight within a certain range, and each time you step on the scale you want to cry in defeat. My pregnancy book says to eat at least 8 servings of fruits and vegetables a day to make sure my baby gets the proper nutrients. I start each day planning to do this, but in the beginning, the nausea was overwhelming and all I wanted was to drive and get some french fries. Now that I am later in my pregnancy, I am too tired to grocery shop or meal prep. 

Somehow I expect myself to workout just as hard and often as I did before pregnancy. Several other moms have done it, right? But what about this paralyzing headache, lack of energy, and oh, the occasional cramps? Could I hurt my baby more with my intense workouts?

The mom guilt is real, and the pressure is on.

Then there are all the things to consider for when the baby arrives. What carrier is safest? Breastfed versus formula? Is your baby’s mattress free of chemicals? 

Do not even ask for other mom’s opinions on the best stroller, you will get 20 completely different suggestions. 

Preparing for motherhood is even more stressful in this day and age with social media glamorizing motherhood or trolls demeaning mothers on their choices. Not to mention the ever-changing research you can find online for just about every topic.

Be sure to get your vaccines while pregnant and have everyone around you vaccinate, or you are dooming your child to death. 

Having a son? Be ready to be mom-shamed or called a “monster” over your circumcision choice. 

Bonus points if you post a breastfeeding photo to your instagram to empower women. 

However, be ready for negative comments no matter what side of these arguments you fall on. 

Before you know it, your due date is quickly approaching, and your to-do list is several pages long. You have baskets full of clothes to wash (who knew you needed to wash brand new clothes??), last minute items to shop for, and your “pinterest-perfect” nursery to complete. 

With all these lists and expectations, it is so hard to enjoy the beauty that comes with pregnancy like the sweet little kicks, imagining who your little one will grow up to be and who he/she will look like, and the excitement of becoming a mother. 

While I am a fan of making lists, sometimes it really does take some of the fun out of things.

I must admit, it is so easy for lists, expectations and other people’s opinions to directly impact my everyday walk with God. 

I make lists of how I think I need to live my life (30-minutes of intimate worship, three Bible chapters a day, long-drawn out prayer time). But ultimately, this can quickly become overwhelming, and also puts God in a box.

I can easily spend hours reading other people’s opinions on God’s word, Christian life, and even politics. When I compare my Christian walk with others, I either end up feeling prideful or incompetent, quite like when we compare ourselves to other mothers.

Instead, I should be soaking up every moment God has created. While He is in that 30-minutes of quiet time I set aside, I have to be always listening in the simple and mundane tasks of each day. 

Sometimes, we just need to throw out lists, expectations and the opinions of others that so easily overwhelm and just soak up the beauty of being a child of God. 

Psalms 46:10, God says “Be still and know that I am God.”

He is there in the stillness, not the checklists that keep us busy or our ability to be a “perfect Christian.”

Whether you are overwhelmed by pregnancy and motherhood, or your walk as a Christian, I want to encourage you to just take a moment to soak up each and every moment. Deplug from your mommy forums or pull away from those to-do lists. You are doing the best you can, and what matters the most is that you are present in the moment. 

Your child is not going to spontaneously combust because you do not use 100 percent organic products, and God is not going to strike you down because you chose to skip tonight’s reading for some much needed worship time.

Your child needs your affection more than a spotless house, and God wants your heart over how many chapters you can breeze through in your Bible plan. 

Drop the lists and all the overwhelming opinions, and be still. You got this momma! 

“When I am overwhelmed, you alone know the way I should turn.” Psalms 142:3 (NIV)