In March of 2010, as I was planning Savannah’s high school graduation, I found out that I was pregnant. We were not surprised at this news, because we had planned this baby (as much as is humanly possible.) I was feeling very sure of my ability to take on another child when a woman on the graduation committee looked me right in my eyes and said, “Well, Heidi St. John, I admire you! You know what you’re getting into and you’re still willing to have another one!”
I forced a smile. “You must LOVE kids!” she said.
I confess. I was a little irritated. “We love our kids,” I replied, trying not to let my tone reveal my true feelings. “We’re excited to have another little one in our home.” I’m sure she didn’t realize it then, but her words stung. They exacerbated feelings of doubt and insecurity that were already there. After all, this was not her journey, I told myself. It was ours!
Four months later, as I was listening to the commencement address at Savannah’s graduation service, my mind wandered. The small kicks and hiccups of our unborn daughter Saylor Jane left no doubt in my mind: I was so in love with this new little one! Our children had readily embraced the fact that they were going to be sharing a bedroom with another sibling. I was slowly collecting newborn clothes again (it had been five years since we had a baby) and searching Craigslist for a crib.
I thought I had gotten over the looks and condescending statements from others and I was feeling pretty good about our decision when all of the sudden my mind filled with doubt and worry. I thought about the sleepless nights that were ahead of me. I wondered how my body was going to hold up under the strain of another pregnancy. After all, I wasn’t a young girl anymore.
“For you do not wrestle against flesh and blood…” Eph 4
In case you don’t believe it yet, let me assure you, the devil is real. I felt his icy grip on my heart as my thoughts of confidence turned to doubt and worry.
When Savannah was born, I was in my early twenties. Now, I was facing pregnancy and birth in my early forties. What was I doing? I thought I had the strength I needed to run the race that was before me, but when I looked at the five children who had yet to graduate from high school and felt the kick of our seventh child within me, my knees went a little weak. What was I even doing?
“Take every thought captive …” I heard the Lord gently interrupt my wandering heart.
Satan wages his deadly war against us on the battlefield of the mind. I knew I needed to take my thoughts captive. “Lord, help me! Remind me of Your love and strength! Replace these thoughts with Your thoughts!”
God is so faithful. He gently comforted me and the feelings of insecurity began to fade as I repeated His name: Jesus, Jesus. My life is yours. This child is blessing, just like you say in Your word. Thank you that You can be trusted.
It was then that I knew it for sure: I was still at the beginning of a journey that would take me many more years to complete. I had completed eighteen years—and I was starting again, except that this time, I had the blessing of perspective.
Really, veteran moms are not much different than new moms aside from that one beautiful thing. Perspective changes you. It gives you a heads-up that new moms don’t have. Veteran moms know how fast time goes by.
If you are not sure where to get the strength you’ll need for the journey, I want to encourage you—because this beautifully broken mother of seven would like to give you a gentle hug and a high-five as I point you to the true well-spring of life and strength: Jesus.
That’s where strength is found.
He wants to make you strong… but you’ve got to come to the place of wanting His strength in order to find it. God doesn’t require strength for the journey, either. His promise to you is that as you come to Him, you will find strength. His gift is living water; hope for the hopeless, strength for the weary.
Run to him, precious mom. Strength is found in the arms of Jesus. Wherever you are, take a moment and talk to God. He’s waiting. He’s listening.
Lord, help me to be like Abraham, who, by faith, when called to go to a place where he would later receive his inheritance, obeyed and went… not because he knew the outcome, but because he trusted you.