Let me paint you a picture: Three years ago, when I was pregnant with my first, my faith was tested in a way I never fathomed. I’ve always been on the healthier, physically active, slightly thinner side. So when my perfect pregnancy was shattered with a Gestational Diabetes diagnosis, I was floored. I didn’t even know what Gestational Diabetes was! My care providers scared me out of my mind while my birth educator told me it didn’t have to be a big deal; that I could still have the birth that I wanted: all natural.
The closer we got to my due date, the more confused I got. My “training” said to avoid induction, but my care providers said they would induce me at 39 weeks, no matter what. Why? Because GD can cause your baby to grow too big and the probability of a still birth got exponentially higher the longer you waited. But my birth classes said my body wouldn’t grow a baby that was “too big” for it to push out. My birth plan included laboring at home as long as possible, limited baby monitoring, and freedom to move into whatever position I needed to be in. The hospital plan was to induce me, keep me at the hospital my entire labor, constantly check my progress and have continuous fetal monitoring which altogether removed any freedom I’d hoped to have. I wanted to believe my body would do exactly what it needed to do, but I didn’t trust it. Since this was my first, I continually questioned everything anyone told me. Maybe my body can grown a baby too big… I was no longer considered “low-risk” so were my natural birth classes wrong on all fronts or just some? I was terrified. I was stuck. I couldn’t trust anyone, which made me scared, nervous…anxious. My care provider even had the nerve to mention decapitation at my appointment the day I was starting the induction process.
So where do you turn when you’re lost? When you’re so stuck in your head of worry and doubt, you just want to hide in a mound of pillows to cry, scream, or sleep and escape your reality?
I turn to God’s Word. It brings hope to the hopeless. Restores trust in the unbeliever. Renews strength for those beaten down by their present situation. So, in the above scenario, I went to social media and asked all my friends to share their favorite verses that helped them through tough times. Since then, I’ve composed a list that I’ve returned to again and again. When I was pregnant with my second, I actually wrote these out as therapy, because, once again, I was second-guessing my decisions. Below are the 20 verses that restored my trust, my peace, my hope and my strength:
- Though outwardly we are wasting away, yet inwardly we are being renewed day by day. For our light and momentary troubles are achieving for us an eternal glory that far outweighs them all. So we fix our eyes not on what is seen, but on what is unseen, since what is seen is temporary, but what is unseen is eternal.” 2 Corinthians 4:16-18
- “Trust in the Lord with all your heart and lean not on your own understanding; in all your ways submit to him, and he will make your paths straight.” Proverbs 3:5-6
- “And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.” Philippians 4:7
- “‘Though the mountains be shaken and the hills be removed, yet my unfailing love for you will not be shaken nor my covenant of peace be removed,’ says the Lord, who has compassion on you.” Isaiah 54:10
- “Peace I leave with you; my peace I give you. I do not give to you as the world gives. Do not let your hearts be troubled and do not be afraid.” John 14:27
- “Do not be anxious about anything, but in every situation, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God. And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.” Philippians 4:6-7
- “When I called, you answered me; you greatly emboldened me.” Psalm 138:3
- “For the Spirit God gave us does not make us timid, but gives us power, love and self-discipline.” 2 Timothy 1:7
- “You will keep in perfect peace those whose minds are steadfast, because they trust in you. Trust in the Lord forever, for the Lord, the Lord himself, is the Rock eternal.” Isaiah 26:3-4
- “May the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace as you trust in him, so that you may overflow with hope by the power of the Holy Spirit.” Romans 15:13
- “But those who hope in the Lord will renew their strength. They will soar on wings like eagles; they will run and not grow weary, they will walk and not be faint.” Isaiah 40:31
- “So do not fear, for I am with you; do not be dismayed, for I am your God. I will strengthen you and help you; I will uphold you with my righteous right hand.” Isaiah 41:10
- “For I am the Lord your God who takes hold of your right hand and says to you, Do not fear; I will help you.” Isaiah 41:13
- “But he said to me, ‘My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness.’ Therefore I will boast all the more gladly about my weaknesses, so that Christ’s power may rest on me. That is why, for Christ’s sake, I delight in weaknesses, in insults, in hardships,in persecutions, in difficulties. For when I am weak, then I am strong.” 2 Corinthians 12:9-10
- “God is our refuge and strength, an ever-present help in trouble.” Psalm 46:1
- “For I know the plans I have for you,” declares the Lord, “plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future.” Jeremiah 29:11
- “I consider that our present sufferings are not worth comparing with the glory that will be revealed in us.” Romans 8:18
- “Be joyful in hope, patient in affliction, faithful in prayer.” Romans 12:12
- “Truly my soul finds rest in God; my salvation comes from him. Truly he is my rock and my salvation; he is my fortress, I will never be shaken.” Psalm 62:1-2
- “But blessed is the one who trusts in the Lord, whose confidence is in him. They will be like a tree planted by the water that sends out its roots by the stream. It does not fear when heat comes; its leaves are always green. It has no worries in a year of drought and never fails to bear fruit.” Jeremiah 17:7-8
You see that last verse? The one in Jeremiah? I’ll be the first to admit I’m not too familiar with the book of Jeremiah. However, on a particularly low day, God led me there. He gave me this image of a strong oak tree, planted firmly by the river…unstoppable…immovable…solid and beautiful. I wanted to be that tree. I decided to put my confidence in Him. In what He created my body to do and in the fact that He was in the outcome, no matter what happened. This image was further ingrained in my heart when I opened a Christmas present from my dad. He had just meant to give me a keepsake after we hiked a small portion of the Appalachian Trail. How could he have known, that small necklace, with a tree on one side, was exactly what I needed? That it would reduce me to tears as I tried to explain why it meant so much? God used my dad that day. And I wore that necklace during my 17 hour labor and delivery of my first. I wore it all 7 days that she was in NICU.
My prayer with this post is that you can find a few verses, or even just one, that impacts you so deeply…that speaks directly to the core of who you are…to help you get through whatever you may be facing. I’m pretty active on social media, so I see what you’re posting. A sick family member, an accident, a diagnosis, a strong-willed child, an impossible job or two…or three, an absent husband, guilt, shame, hopelessness… God wants to meet you in the dark places. He wants to find you, hold your hand and say “It’s ok, I am here. I will help you through.”
Do you have a favorite verse you’d like to add to my list? Please share in the comments, you never know who it may speak to.
Lord, bless this busyness ~ Jenn
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