It was New Year’s Eve, and I had no idea. Even as we drank our special drinks, and counted down, and cheered, and kissed–I had no idea.
I had no idea I was pregnant.
And I had no idea how hard this year was going to be.
I didn’t know that my world was about to flip upside-down for the third time.
But God did.
I knew how, several years ago, my struggle with infertility had led me away into a desert place. I knew how my barren womb, led me to also have a barren soul. To a place where I was so thirsty and dry inside, it felt like my soul had become a wasteland.
But what I didn’t know, until this year, is that pregnancy can lead you into the desert as well.
I didn’t know that you can have a pregnant womb, and a barren soul–at the same time.
But now I know you can.
Because, I did.
In early January, I found out I was pregnant with our third miracle. This came as a great surprise, just as it has every single time. We were shocked, excited, and praised God for this tiny miracle we did not see coming.
A few weeks into pregnancy, all the pregnancy symptoms began: the exhaustion, fatigue, nausea, bloating, digestion “issues”–which I will spare you the details, and just a general feeling of “blah” all the time.
Now, I had experienced “pregnancy sickness” in my other two pregancies, but this time, it just felt so much worse.
Maybe it was because I now had two children to care for, or perhaps that I’m older than I was before–but for whatever reason: I did not handle it well.
I just remember, so many mornings, I was so tired, I could barely crawl downstairs to pour Selah and Jesse a bowl of cereal, or pop their frozen waffles into the toaster.
I just remember being in the bathroom a lot–so much that my 6-year-old was sliding me notes under the door.
And I just remember feeling so sick and tired–all the time, and putting on movies for my kids, and crying in my bed, wishing there was someone to come clean my house, and cook my family dinner.
This lasted for several months, and I wish I could say that I handled it all like a super-Christian. But I didn’t.
Somehow, my physical state pushed into my spiritual one–and it pushed hard. It pushed me hard–all the way to that desert place, that I had thought only existed during infertility.
That I thought I overcame.
But here I was again, in the wilderness.
Feeling dry, and thirsty, and so desperate inside.
“What is happening to me?”
I’m telling you this, because, if I don’t, you won’t get the full picture. You know how on Facebook, and Instagram it can seem like some people live impossibly happy, easy lives all the time? Well…
No one needs to see how great my life is.
What people need to see, is how when I am in a total wilderness, how great my God is.
(And that’s why I’m talking about this, and not just skipping over it like it didn’t happen.)
I’m telling you, I was in a low place.
January, February, and March…which are usually difficult months for me anyway–were especially hard this year.
Those three months felt like three years. When my pregnancy sickness finally began to lift, I spent the next month sick with other illnesses. I got the stomach flu, then the actual flu, colds, viruses, sinus infections. I was beginning to wonder if there was some spiritual attack happening to me?
I don’t know. But somehow how I felt physically, really affected how I felt spiritually.
I felt like I lost myself somewhere.
I felt like I couldn’t hear God, I couldn’t think, I couldn’t write, and I had nothing to offer anyone. I was just trying to survive. And this is why my blog was so quiet for months.
My cup not only felt empty, but bone dry.
I know some people are really good at sharing their struggles while they are going through them. But I am not one of them.
I couldn’t even find a language for it.
One day, I wrote in my journal, that had been blank for so many months…
“I’ve never felt more barren…than now.”
And I meant it. With tears.
I want you to hear this:
Seven years ago, infertility led me to realize my desperate need for God.
But this year, pregnancy led me to realize my desperate need for God. All over again.
And I say this with tears–
the truth is, whether my womb is empty, or full–
I desperately need Jesus.
My soul thirsts for him, my body longs for Him.
In a dry and weary land, where there is no water. (Psalm 63:1)
My soul is barren apart from Him. In every possible way.
You see, I knew this, in my head. But this year, I learned it in my heart.
All of us have barren souls apart from Jesus. Our souls are a barren wasteland–dry, cracked earth, where nothing can grow–until God comes. Until Jesus comes. Until the Living Water comes and pours out His Spirit on us.
And we are all desperate for Him.
There is no fountain, but Him.
There is no River, but Him.
And He is the only one in all Creation who makes us alive.
On the inside.
Infertility, pregnancy, post-partum, motherhood, marriage–all of these things can cause us, at times, enter into wilderness seasons and desert places.
The good news is this:
Jesus is not afraid to enter desserts. And He is called the “Living Water.” And He comes, at the weakest cry.
I know, because,
He came at mine.
And He will come at yours.
This is His promise, not mine, and can be trusted:
“Remember not the former things,
nor consider the things of old.
Behold, I am doing a new thing;
now it springs forth, do you not perceive it?
I will make a way in the wilderness
and rivers in the desert.” (Isaiah 43:18-19)
He makes a way…in the wilderness.
He sends rivers…in the desert. Even the driest desert of our souls.
He invites all who are thirsty to His fountain. He doesn’t require money, or status, or fame. He only requires one thing: thirst.
“Come, everyone who thirsts,
come to the waters;
and he who has no money,
come, buy and eat!
Come, buy wine and milk
without money and without price.
Why do you spend your money for that
which is not bread,
and your labor for that which does not
Listen diligently to Me, and eat what is good,
and delight yourselves in rich food.
Incline your ear, and come to Me;
hear, that your soul may live;
and I will make with you an everlasting
my steadfast, sure love for David.” (Isaiah 55:1-3)
Are you thirsty? Are you striving? Are you carrying a heavy burden?
He invites you, to come to His fountain.
He will satisfy you.
His word says, “Draw near to God, and He will draw near to you.” (James 4:8a) This is a promise.
During those “months of despair” I experienced this winter, our pastor reminded us one Sunday to immerse ourselves in God’s word. It was so simple, and yet felt extremely challenging. I knew right away, the Lord was talking to me through this challenge. And I needed to stop waiting until I felt better to start reading my Bible again. I needed it now. While I was feeling awful.
So I began opening it again. And then again. And again. And, sometimes my mind was too foggy or tired to hear it. But other times, His word pierced through all my fatigue, and touched my spirit. And just for a moment, I felt alive.
Little by little, He watered me, with His word. He held me up. He held my hand through the wilderness. And He was so gentle with me.
He led me to His quiet waters, where my soul could drink again in Him.
He brought my body back to health and strength again, and He brought my soul from barren to beautiful, again.
Not because of me, but because of Him.
And I need Him to do it again, every day. To open my blind eyes, to who He is, to see His beauty. To kneel at His stream, and drink His water.
So if you’re thirsty…whether it’s because of infertility, or pregnancy, or post-partum, or motherhood, or loss, or grief, or marriage, or any other thing–He knows. And He invites you again to His fountain.
So come dear one, come,
and crash down at His stream,
Drink it, drink it down, cold, until your bones tingle.
Until every dry crack is filled with His water.
Until you overflow.
Come, drink as much as you want,
as often as you want,
until your soul is satisfied,