At all Costs

Boy, has it been awhile friends!

It’s hard to believe Hudson is already seven months old. Today! Today is his seven monthiversary. Let’s just say, life with a baby is wonderful, radically new, sometimes crazy hard, and thoroughly life altering.  I adore my new role, but it is not without challenges. I’m learning much, and God is refining me in new ways. There’s a whole lot of sanctification going on over here.

I haven’t been writing as much as I’d like (I hope to rectify that soon), but today I have a piece featured at Risen Motherhood. Hooray!

You can find the article, At All Costshere. Hope it encourages.

Love, Ami

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https://www.risenmotherhood.com/blog/at-all-costs

*This picture may not be used apart from this blog.

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That’s going to come out of me?

He was an irresistible week-old newborn, and it was his first Sunday at church. When his mom held him to her shoulder he bore the trademark “I’m just gonna mold completely to your body” newborn snuggle. Talk about baby fever right there!

And then I thought, “That is going to come out of me? That baby is huge!”

Now, it must be said that this little guy is a perfectly average, healthy baby. He wasn’t a 16 pounder.

Though you’ve likely read between the lines, (and noticed the picture) I should probably bring some of you up to speed. I suppose you can tell that I haven’t written in awhile. I guess there is less need for deep processing in the happy, hustling and bustling seasons. Well, I do write all the time these days, but technical reports for work don’t really seem to count.

Anyway, for those who don’t know me in real life or at least on Facebook, I am 5 1/2 months pregnant with our first child! Hooray!

And he’s a boy! We are so delighted to be having a son. He’s a gift long prayed for. The feeling of little kicks from the inside, hearing his heartbeat, seeing him move on ultrasound; these are among the best things I’ve ever experienced. We already know his name, but I’ll save that story for another day.

But I digress. I met a sweet little newborn at church. He was adorable; thoughts of awe and terror simultaneously flitted across my mind.

“Wow God you are amazing!”

“But someone that big is going to come out of me?”

Being pregnant has produced its own set of fears. Fears about labor and delivery. Fears about parenting. Fear that something would happen to our baby—There I’ve said it out loud. It’s uncharted territory, a completely new avenue in which I am learning trust.

I’ve wanted to be a mom for as long as I can remember. It’s one of those desires that had to be stripped away for me to see what it had become. An idol. It was a dream I had begun to worship, something I thought I had to have to be happy. It was a good desire I had let turn into an ultimate desire.

You may remember that my first husband and I tried to get pregnant for a year and half before he died. God did a lot in my heart over that year and half. But the battle was real and intense. So often I prayed for a child. So often I tried to hold my hands open to the Lord.

And when Jon died, all the hopes and dreams of being a mom shattered also. I remember when I started my period about a week after he died: I crumpled on my bathroom floor and sobbed.

So here I am, turning 35 tomorrow and pregnant! They say I’m of “advanced maternal age.” That makes me smile.

And I am amazed at God’s goodness and grace. In the years of widowhood He taught me much about living with open hands. He was good when my hands were empty. And He is good now.

The day I found out I was pregnant, I again knelt on the floor, tears streaming. Y’all know I have a strong relationship with crying.

“Lord, even from the very beginning this baby is yours. I hold my hands open to you. Do what you want with this little life. I pray you would give us grace to point this baby to Jesus. ”

But sometimes open hands are hard.

We’re five and a half months down this path, and already we’re trying to make decisions for the good of our son.

Am I eating the right foods? Taking the right vitamins? Drinking enough water?

Do I go get a Tetanus shot because I cut my toe on a screw?

The flu. Severe dehydration. “I think we better go to the hospital.”

In all this I’m starting to understand that trusting God with our son is life long. We can try to make the best, most informed decisions but ultimately God is sovereign.

He is weaving this little one together in his mother’s womb. Our son is fearfully, and wonderfully made. How much richer are those words now! God will do what brings himself honor and glory.

We’re going to make mistakes. Sometimes we’re going to have no clue what we’re doing. Maybe a lot of times. I’ll probably freak out. Meltdowns will happen—both from me and the baby.

Sometimes we’ll even sin against him. What?! I’m not going to be a perfect parent?

I see your looks of incredulity, but yes friends it’s true.

Therefore, as I learned to preach the gospel to myself in marriage, widowhood, and marriage again, so must I learn it now.

I’m well aware that my highly sensitive heart and strong need for introspection can lead an internal dialogue of fear. We all have our sin tendencies. So I have to change the dialogue.

  • God is the perfect parent. Therefore I don’t have to be.
  • If God did not spare His own Son, will he spare any omnipotent effort to do good to me? (or to my son?)
  • The cross and resurrection prove that the Lord is trustworthy. He always does what he says he will. Because I have been made alive, new, redeemed I can trust God.
  • My Father has promised to sanctify me. He is committed to transforming into the image of his Son. Therefore, he will give grace to admit when I am wrong. Grace to say, “Mommy is sorry. Please forgive me.”
  • God loves our baby far more than we do.

It still feels surreal sometimes. In a few short months we’ll be responsible to keep a tiny human alive, to meet his needs, to instruct him, to protect, to shepherd him. We pray many things for our baby, but most of all we pray he would know Jesus.  Because who’s the real Shepherd? Who’s the real Provider and Protector? It certainly isn’t me.

That I think, is the sum of what God has called us to do—point him to the marvelous grace found in Christ alone. We are channels, channels only to the one who is the answer to all fears, to the one who fully satisfies.

Fear. With the force of many waters.

fear not“What if something happens to him?”

My friend’s voice broke, her tears flowed. Fear. Anxiety. Unknowns.

We put our hands on her and prayed that test results would come back negative. We prayed for God’s protection. But we also affirmed that God is good even if He chooses not to heal.

We prayed for peace, rest, and calm hearts. We prayed that ultimately God would be glorified, that He would use this circumstance for the sake his kingdom.

My own tears formed. Empathy was deep in that moment, and I understood the struggle. Her words took me back to when I asked the same question.

I thought of the journal entries.

12-26-12
Father consume our hearts with you. Use us as instruments for the sake of the gospel.

12-27-12
Because I deserve every ounce of God’s wrath, any drop of blessing makes my cup full and overflowing. It overflows because Jesus has imparted all of his righteousness to me and has given me every spiritual blessing.

12-29-12
Lord, thank you for protecting Jon. At the emergency room, you kept our hearts in peace. There is still time to prepare for surgery. For now, it’s as simple as a change in medication. Truly my cup runs over.

Following the first trip to the ER we had a time of overwhelming tenderness and affection. I remember my husband pulling me into a bear hug as he said, “I just love you so much. I can’t even contain how much I love you. I just want to be near you and never let you go.”

Jon was always lavish in his affection, but these days were radically sweet.

It was a Saturday. I sat with my coffee and Bible in hand, having time with God while Jon slept in. Anxiety trickled at first. But then the dam broke, slamming me with the force of many waters.

1-12-13
Oh God, what if you’re giving us this sweet time because something is going to happen to him?

At that point, there was no reason for me to consider that he would die. The question was born solely out of fear.

Lord, your word says ‘perfect love casts out fear.’ You are perfect love. I don’t want to even imagine  facing death, but I know you would give grace. I will love him and cherish him as long as you allow me to, but Jon is yours. Oh Father, I need your help! Please cast this fear from me.

And He did.

“Fear not, for I have redeemed you; I have called you by name, you are mine. When you pass through the waters, I will be with you; and through the rivers, they they shall not overwhelm you; when you walk through the fire you shall not be burned, and the flame shall not consume you. For I am the Lord your God, the Holy one of Israel, your Savior!…You are precious in my eyes, and honored, and I love you.” Isaiah 43:1-4

1-19-13
Father, I’m still so overwhelmed. Waiting for answers… I feel helpless. God, we’re both emotionally drained. Why can’t they see what is wrong? Please help us to trust you—to trust that you are sovereignly in control of all things, even congestive heart failure and pulmonary edema. Please provide the right timeline for surgery.

Fear not. 

You are mine.

When you pass through the waters—Trials and suffering will come because the world is still broken. We still live on a fallen Earth. Brokenness and deep waters will be there until Jesus restores all things and makes them new. But for his chosen ones, there is great promise. ‘I will be with you.’ The God Who lovingly and masterfully formed me also chose me, purchased me. This God says he will be with me. The God whose love has no boundaries says that he will walk with me. He will protect. This God says my soul is secure. On the cross, Jesus already absorbed all of God’s wrath toward me.

It seems that a season of suffering is coming. We may be tested as silver is tried, but Lord, I believe you will bring us again to the place of abundance (Psalm 66:12). If we need the fire to more accurately reflect you, then it is good. Your name be glorified.

Jon died a week later. Though my mind had flitted to death, it still came unexpectedly. No one thought he would die.

Tonight I asked God to protect my friend from this path. Our God is big, and he is able to do abundantly above what I can ask or think. He is able to heal.

However, with confidence I could say, “No matter what, God is still good. He is big enough when fear hits with the force of many waters.”

This God was with me. This God carried. Even now, my cup runs over.

And if her biggest fear becomes reality, this God will carry my friend also.