This article originally appeared on Gospel-Centered Discipleship.
I once heard a speaker call a fellow Christian an “EGR,” i.e. “Extra Grace Required.” In my immaturity, I followed suit in using the acronym when confronted with my own “EGR’s” in daily life. How unloving; How hurtful.
Surely, in the Christian life, we’ll face those who frustrate us whether it be by action on their part or due to the wickedness in our own heart. We aren’t going to naturally love everyone. But in the Bible, that’s exactly what we’re called to do.
Put on then, as God’s chosen ones, holy and beloved, compassionate hearts, kindness, humility, meekness, and patience, bearing with one another and, if one has a complaint against another, forgiving each other; as the Lord has forgiven you, so you also must forgive. And above all these put on love, which binds everything together in perfect harmony. (Colossians 3:12-14 ESV)
Commands to love others aren’t hard to find in scripture but this passage stuck out to me like an accent wall.…
I wanted to share an update but felt unsure of how. The typical “Baby Allen coming soon!” announcement just isn’t within our reach. We hope the above statement is true, but only God knows. So, this is the best way I found to say…we’re pregnant again.
I was hesitant to share this. I feared what people would think of my decision to announce our fourth pregnancy to the world so early, given our struggles with miscarriages. “They’ll think I’m presumptuous or just plain stupid. What if I miscarry the day after I share the news? Then I’ll be so embarrassed!” Most people would advise me to keep quiet, reminding me the world doesn’t need to know. But I feel this urgency to push past the discomfort.
If I’ve learned anything in this season, it’s that pregnancy isn’t really about me anyway. It’s not about 9 months of pampering and getting everything I want, it’s not about receiving my ticket to the mom club, or the attention you get from virtually everyone—strangers included.…
Before my mind could muster up some Christianese answer like, “God is good all the time.” or “You know, it is well with my soul.” my flesh spoke for me, “It sucks and I hate my life.”
I hated typing those words as much as you probably hated reading them. Words so ungodly I feel the shame of them even now. They uncover what lingers in my heart: discontentment.
I thought about the state of my hardened heart as I watched everyone at the table eat their cake. I envied the ease of being able to eat what you desire and bear no consequence. If I would have grabbed a slice, I’d be sick later, not to mention all the other symptoms that would erupt, including those which contribute to our fertility issues. Then my mind pondered the unbelieving women who pop pills and smoke or take illicit drugs as their bellies flourish with life inside.…
There’s a permanent indentation in my couch. The toll of first-trimester exhaustion from two pregnancies, as well as the miscarriages that ended them, has made its mark on our lives. That once new couch is just one evidence of it.
It’s been there from the beginning, delivered with it’s appalling “new furniture smell” as I fought off morning sickness. But as my nausea faded, along with the little life inside my womb, my body sunk deep into the fleeting comfort it provided. It comforted for a time, but as all false refuges do, it left me unsatisfied.
A Time to Mourn
As Solomon reminds us in Ecclesiastes, there’s a time and season for all things. Certainly, there’s a time to mourn and a season for healing, both emotionally and physically.
…a time to weep, and a time to laugh; a time to mourn, and a time to dance; (Eccl. 3:4 ESV)
When sorrow swoops down like a hawk in hunting, stealing our health, taking our loved ones, and breaking our hearts, we must weep for what was lost and mourn what will never be.…
I read the email explaining the fertility paperwork and a thousand emotions bubbled up from within. “This is so overwhelming. I don’t want to do this!” I lamented and tossed my phone onto the ottoman. My husband kindly reminded me, “We don’t have to.” “We do have to! I’m not ready to stop trying, but I don’t want to do this!” Tears filled my eyes and my voice raised with every word.
I retreated to the bedroom crying monstrous tears. Squeezing my eyes shut, I burrowed my face into my pillow as if to will away the pain. It’s so easy for most people. Why is it so hard for us, Lord?
That thought echoed in my mind for some time. I knew all the truths to apply and the thoughts to cast away, but can I be honest? After losing three babies back to back to back, some truths feel less than comforting.…
I’m unsure of how to express all that I feel, but I know you see all that resides within my heart. You see my longings and my fears, my gratitude and my restlessness. Within my heart are the questions to which you alone have the answers. Will you allow our third baby to grow? How long will this baby live? Can I emotionally survive another loss, if you so choose? You know, Lord. And that has to be enough for me. Please, help my heart to rest in you—the Creator and Sustainer of life.
Creator. You are the God who created all things. You knit me together in my mother’s womb. I praise you for opening my womb and creating life again where death has reigned. I praise you for this tiny life I already love so much, despite my honest and shameful efforts to not grow attached. Thank you, Lord, for the gift of carrying this baby for however many days you have already decided.…