Don’t Throw Yourself Away

“What’s this?” My husband said holding something at the top of the stairs. “Why was it in the trash?”
He walked down the steps holding it in his hand.

It was a picture. Of me, when I was fifteen. I remember it was taken by my friend during a sleep-over at her house. I’m just standing there with my duffle bag over my shoulder. And I have kind of an awkward smile. My clothes don’t fit right. My hair is puffy.

“I hate that picture,” I told him. That was why I threw it away when Selah ran upstairs with it the other day in her hand, when she and her dad were cleaning out the basement.

“No,” he said. “Don’t do that.”

“Do what?” I said.

“You don’t throw pictures of yourself away. We don’t do that. We keep them. These are memories, Bekah. Someday people will want to look back on pictures of us–even if we didn’t like them.”

I never knew he felt this way. Or that he had such great conviction about it. My daughter didn’t see me shove it into the trash.

But he saw it in there, the next day, in the little wastebasket in our bedroom.

And he reached down, and pulled it out.

He pulled me out of the garbage.

And isn’t this just what Jesus does?

We throw ourselves away. We bury ourselves under the garbage. We wish away some of our years. Wishing they never happened. Not even wanting to remember. Who we were, or how we looked then.

We just want to forget.

But He…

He loves us. We are precious to Him. And He carefully reaches into the garbage, and pulls out that picture of us. Looks at it with love. Cherishing the awkward smile, loving the puffy hair. Loving the girl under those ill-fitting clothes. And all the confusion of who we were. And wanted to be.

Holds us against His warm chest. And whispers, so gently, and so firmly, “Don’t do that.”

“Don’t throw yourself away. Not ever.”

Don’t Forget To Add Love

I have a confession. My husband makes better chocolate chip cookies than I do. “It’s the dough,” he tells me. My cookie dough is always over worked, and my cookies are flat as pancakes. “You shouldn’t use that “thing,” he says. By that “thing,” he means my Kitchen Aid mixer. He calls it the “machine.” And gives me a look when I turn it on.

He turns it off.

“Cookies need love,” he tells me. “You need to get your hands in the dough.” He takes the metal bowl from the mixer, and takes an old-school wooden spoon and mixes the dough. “It’s too hard for me to mix that way,” I tell him. He looks up with his green eyes, sets the spoon down, puts his bare hands into the dough to make sure it’s mixed well. But not over worked.

He pops some into his mouth, “Perfect,” he says with a smile.

I sit at the counter and watch, like a student.

“See Bekah,” he says, “You need to add love,” he tells me. I push my Pampered Chef cookie dough scooper across the counter towards him. He purposefully ignores it. Instead, he takes two metal spoons from the drawer. “Why don’t you just use my scooper?” I ask. He gives me a look, shakes his head. Continues gently scooping with his two metal spoons. Until each one is carefully set on the tray.

And somehow, eight minutes later…his cookies turn out perfect. Every time.

“It’s because I add love,” he tells me. I can’t help but laugh. “Okay,” I say.

But I’ve been thinking about my husband’s cookies lately. I think about them when I’m making chili, adding in the spices, or cutting the tops off the strawberries. I think about them when I’m making the cookie dough. I hear his tender voice in my mind, “Don’t forget to add love.”

So, I do. I shut off the “machine” mode my mind automatically kicks into. And I add love. It’s those moments I stir just a little softer. I put my hands in the dough. I remember who I’m cutting the strawberries for. My daughter who squeals with delight like it’s Christmas morning when I hand her a bowl of them. My husband who will enjoy this dinner tonight, and needs a wife who will laugh across the table from him–and not frown, because she’s so busy doing all the “things.” And I think of my own mama body, that needs this food, these nutrients–to make milk for my baby boy, and energy, to care for this family, and myself–with joy.  And to do these things, finding pleasure in them. Because there is this secret, hidden pleasure you feel…when you add love.

And there’s a lump in my throat. Because I know he’s right.

You need to add love. It makes it taste better. 

It’s so easy to do it. To get caught in the routine, in the machine.

And sometimes you just get lost in it. The hustle. Like the dough whirling around in the Kitchen Aid mixer, beating hard against it’s metal sides. Because there’s always meals to plan, and food to buy, and cook, and clean off plates, and clothes, that need washed. Going round and round and round–in the machine. Like a carousel you can’t jump off of.

And sometimes you need a strong hand to reach over, and shut the machine off. And remind you to set all your gadgets down. And stick your bare hands in the dough. And…

Remember to add love. 

When you are cutting up the apples, and cheese, and turkey for lunch,

don’t forget to add love. 

When you are cooking dinner, and stirring the sauce, adding the spices,

don’t forget to add love. 

When you are filling the washer with dirty clothes, and pouring in the detergent and softener,

 don’t forget to add love. 

It’s the smallest thing, and yet the biggest thing. It is the most subtle and the most powerful thing you can do. And it somehow changes the world–their world, and yours.

And maybe that’s why God reminded us to “love” in 1 Corinthians 13…because He knew we’d forget. And He said…it’s not about how “spiritual” you are, it’s not about how much you can “accomplish,” or “do,” it’s not even about how much of your “self” you can give away–to your home, to your kids, or to other people. It’s about doing it with love.

“Love is patient and kind…it is not irritable or resentful…Love bears all things, hopes all things, endures all things…”

“So now faith, hope, and love abide, these three, but the greatest of these is love.” 1 Corinthians 13:13

It’s a small thing. But it’s the biggest thing.

The smile, the gentle touch, the laugh at their joke.

The way you stroke their hair.

They won’t ask for it,

But they will taste it when it’s there.

And so will you.

So roll your sleeves up, mama. Stick your bare hands in the dough. Let the flour fly like confetti. Sweep it up with a smile. Because this is your life, and theirs.

And it all tastes so much better when you,

remember to add love.

Tanya’s Testimony

I’d like to share my testimony to all the ladies out there. Keep on keeping on, and trust in God with all your heart and soul. He knows the plans He has for you.

Two years ago, my husband and I decided we were ready to start a family. Although we were no strangers to infertility, since we have close family on both sides who have struggled with it, we thought we’d be different. We thought for sure, we’d be pregnant within 4 months.

After a year, it became apparent that something was wrong. We went to the doctor. He made some suggestions. We tried again. Nothing happened. Just when we were about to start on our first round of fertility treatment, I found out I was pregnant. I’ll remember that over joyous, exhilarating feeling for the rest of my life.

I was shaking when my husband came home, couldn’t even find the words to tell him.

Then, at about five weeks, my HCG levels dropped quite badly and the doctor confirmed my fears – I was miscarrying.

I remember crying and sleeping for two days straight without the physical experience of it even having started.

It was during this time, when I was feeling more alone than I’ve ever felt in my life, that I turned to God.

I’ve always had an up and down relationship with Him – more or less every time I needed Him I seeked Him out. So, I turned to Him out of fury, anger and resentment.

It felt like He never, ever granted me anything I’d asked for. I remember reading your blog during that time, specifically the bit where you said you prayed to thank God for the reasons you weren’t pregnant. At first I laughed about it, it sounded ridiculous. Then, as resentment and anger turned to sadness and depression, I felt the need, more and more to talk to Him.

He was the only One who truly knew what I was feeling. So I started praying – every day I thanked him for a list of things I was grateful for in my life, each day adding something new to the list.

Soon, the mist of sadness started to lift, and although the desire still burned brightly in my heart, day by day, I felt closer to the Father who had a plan for me, and who’s plan was always better than my own. I prayed, over and over again for His will to be done, not mine.

And for some time, I felt relief. I didn’t react in anger or sadness every time I saw or heard of someone being pregnant. All I felt during that time, was the need for God’s will to play out in my life and for Him to work through me and touch others.

I’ve always been a shy and reserved person, especially regarding my faith – it’s not something I talk about every day. I like writing though – usually for my own entertainment. But somehow I scraped together the courage and started writing again, giving life to the emotions that I carried with me through the whole process. But it felt good sharing, and suddenly I was flooded with stories of women I knew and adored, who went through such similar experiences that it shocked me to know that there were so many, and that they’ve never talked about it to anyone. I believe this was a time of healing for me and all of them.

Then one day, during December, a close family member shared the news that they were expecting. For some reason, this just totally broke me again.

We always talked about raising our children together.

It felt like I was being left behind.

And although it was a very hard time for me, I refused to let it drive a wedge between me and my Father again. I started diligently reading my Bible, seeking comfort in His word. I got myself a book to help guide my prayers, which I felt were all over the place. It helped, tremendously.

I had good days and bad ones, but mostly felt like I was getting it together again, so when my husband suggested we see the doctor again, I was ready. Went through some procedures, got some medication again. I wasn’t feeling hopeful though – because I wasn’t putting my faith in treatments and doctors, I was putting my faith in God’s plan.

“I wasn’t putting my faith in treatments and doctors, I was putting my faith in God’s plan.”

And then, when I least expected it – one day when I was positively having PMS like symptoms and cramps, when I was bored and I was cleaning out my bathroom… I found a stick. I thought, well, why not? And there it was – positively positive. I am now 21 weeks pregnant.

It was only after I found out and started telling everyone, that I realised how many friends, family and acquaintances were praying for me.

I didn’t know they cared enough.

But God listened, because He hears every prayer, and if we ask in His name, He will grant us the desires of our hearts. In HIS perfect timing and according to HIS perfect plan.

–Tanya,  South Africa


Thank you for sharing this Tanya! Wow, tears fill my eyes. And we rejoice with you as you carry this little one in your womb!

If you’re reading this, I don’t want you to brush over the part where Tanya said she (in the midst of her infertility) began to thank God during her inability to concieve. I know it sounds crazy, but thanking God during infertility was something that brought me such release of joy and freedom from the weight I was bearing. If you want to read more about that, you can click here.


If you would like to share your testimony of how God has healed your womb, or how He has healed, or is healing your soul (whether or not you have a baby) please email me at [email protected] and check out the writer’s guidelines at “Want To Share Your Testimony?” I feature a Testimony each Tuesday, you can also subscribe with your email address, or follow along on my Facebook Page.

Love, Rebekah

Bonnie’s Testimony

 

It’s Testimony Tuesday! Bonnie is here to share her testimony with us:

A few short weeks after meeting my soulmate and future husband, we were already planning our lives together. Being an only child myself, we wanted to have both a boy and a girl and had their names already picked. We got married 3 years later at the age of 26 and began trying to start a family.

Much to my dismay, I struggled with secondary amenorrhea after going off the pill for the next few years. After finally seeking medical advice and having every test known to man to rule out any thyroid issues, ovarian cysts, or pituitary gland tumors, it was determined that the only way I’d ever conceive would be through fertility treatments and possibly in vitro.

I was told by the fertility specialist that it would take a “miracle” to conceive without treatments since I wasn’t menstruating, which is a crucial part of conceiving. My husband and I prayed for God’s wisdom and but just didn’t feel at peace about using “man’s” methods over His, and we didn’t feel led to adopt. So, we carried on praying and crying out for a miracle for another few years without any answer from God.

Finally, at the age of 34, seeking only God’s inexplicable peace and trusting Him completely for His plan in my life, I fully resigned to the fact that I would never become a mother.

I also tearfully told my own mother that she would never become a grandmother.

Although it shattered my heart initially, I gradually healed day by day with God’s grace and felt at peace about it.

Then, something completely unexpected happened. I got my period. And nearly 45 days later, I got another one followed by another one, a few weeks later. There was no logical explanation for it apart from God’s perfect timing! Then it stopped, and I found myself feeling incredibly sick in October of that year. I scheduled a doctor’s appointment and found out that I was eight weeks pregnant!

My heart rejoiced so loudly I could hardly believe it was true as I cried tears of joy! I’ll never forget that moment in which I told my mother that she was going to become a grandma! She hugged me tightly as we both cried the happiest tears ever while praising Jesus aloud and thanking Him for this unexpected miracle.

In June of 2015, I gave birth to our healthy precious son whom we named Alexander…just as we had planned nearly 13 years prior. He was and is our own little miracle baby!

But God wasn’t finished showing how miraculous He is.

Nearly two years later, I find myself expecting again…this time with a girl! God is so incredibly good and He makes all things beautiful in His time. If we fully trust in Him, He ALWAYS shows Himself to be faithful. Never give up hope when life throws “impossibilities” because with Him, NOTHING IS IMPOSSIBLE!


Thank you Bonnie for sharing this beautiful testimony of what God has done! And we rejoice with you over your son Alexander, and your coming baby girl!

And we also find encouragement to keep hoping in Him, even when there seems to be no hope from our bodies, or from the doctors. Like you said, “Nothing is impossible” with God.


If you would like to share your testimony of how God has healed your womb, or how He has healed, or is healing your soul (whether or not you have a baby) please email me at [email protected] and check out the writer’s guidelines at “Want To Share Your Testimony?” I feature a Testimony each Tuesday, you can also subscribe with your email address, or follow along on my Facebook Page

Love, Rebekah

 

 

Kay’s Testimony: Miracle After Miscarriages

“I would like to share my experience hoping that I could give hope to someone else. And to remind each and everyone’s heart that truly nothing is impossible with God.

Let me start by saying that God blessed me with a beautiful baby girl whom I easily conceived with no problems at all. She was truly a blessing. So, I never thought that giving her a sibling would be a challenge–since I was convinced that I could easily get pregnant.

After a while, I got pregnant and it was unplanned but nevertheless we were so happy! However, unexpectedly, it turned out to be a blighted ovum. We were sad but never thought it would happen again, since they said a blighted ovum is normal.

So after a while, we decided to try again. Soon, we got a positive pregnancy test. We were so happy, but after a week or two, we found out it was just a chemical pregnancy.

I was starting to get anxious and depressed.

We opted to do fertility workups, and another chemical pregnancy happened, then another blighted ovum to which another chemical pregnancy followed again. I was so depressed and anxious, but it was at this period of recurrent miscarriages that I remembered God again.

I was closer to Him and our relationship deepened. We decided to let go and rest for a while.

I was always holding to the word of the Lord, that His plans are for us to prosper and not to harm us to give us hope and a future. (Jeriemiah 29:11) But to our surprise, I got another positive pregnancy test. I was scared, yet hopeful at that time. I was traumatized from my past recurrent miscarriages. But with God’s grace after 5 miscarriages this one was the time were I was able to hear the beautiful heartbeat that i had been praying and dreaming for. Im currently 32 weeks now and everything is going well.

So I want people to know my story, hoping that I could give hope and remind all of you out there that nothing is impossible with our God. He forgives all our sins and heals all our diseases. I give Him all the glory for everything that I have.

—Kay


Thank you Kay for sharing your story of loss and heartache, but also your hope in God and the miracle He gave you. I love that you “remembered God,” in the midst of all of it, and I pray we can all be inspired to “remember God,” and put our trust in Him–no matter what we’re going through. We celebrate this new life within you and pray God gives you a healthy and beautiful delivery to this special baby coming very soon!

If you have a testimony of a healed womb, or a healed soul that you would like to share here on Testimony Tuesdays at Barren to Beautiful, email me at [email protected] ! To check out the writer’s guidelines see my page, “Want To Share Your Testimony?”