Throwing Up and Being Stretched: Lessons in Surrender and Perseverance

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The second trimester of pregnancy has the reputation of being the most enjoyable for many women. Thankfully, the nausea and throwing up has subsided for me. However, as Mr. E and I waved farewell to those two pregnancy symptoms around week fifteen, we’ve been greeted with a few new ones…namely, congestion, sinus headaches and growing pains. Thankfully, I’ve been sleeping a little better, but last night around 3:30 a.m. I woke up with some painful cramping; nothing alarming just my uterus and stomach muscles stretching to make room for Baby E’s growth spurt this week.

It’s beautiful and exciting to see evidence of Baby E’s precious life in the form of a little baby bump. But I cannot say it’s all together enjoyable! Like most growth that takes place in our lives, it’s uncomfortable and even painful at times. In fact, I was on the brink of tears this morning when I first arrived to work in the office.

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Speaking of working in the office, that has proven to be another opportunity for growth this past week. While I’m extremely thankful to still be able to work and serve our team and student community, I’ve struggled adjusting to my new role. Stepping into this new position, I anticipated that it may be a challenge for me because I knew just how much I enjoyed the opportunity God’s given me to work with and serve young women the past few years. I also knew that I’d be learning, developing and exercising administrative skills that don’t come as naturally for me. While I like to think of myself as an organized, professional and responsible person who is willing to learn, I’m not exactly the most “tech-savvy” person. Those who know me well can attest to this!

One of the things that originally brought me comfort in the transition from Dean of Women to working in the office was the fact that I’d have more opportunities to connect with our co-workers. However, last week proved to be a busy one for most of my co-workers (including Mr. E) and much of the hustle and bustle took place outside the office or after I got off work in the afternoon. To be honest, I felt a little isolated both at work and at home. So much so, the highlight of my day was whenever the phone to rang or the FedEx/UPS came to our door. At home I found myself being tempted to wallow, but thankfully choosing to spend some extra time with Jesus (and maybe watching a little too much “Call the Midwife”). Believe it or not, I don’t consider myself to be an extreme extrovert. In fact I regularly enjoy spending some time by myself. However, I am quickly being reminded of just how highly relational God has made me. Tasks are a definite priority for me, but so are people.

In response to this, my goal this week is to find new ways of relating with and loving on those God’s placed around me. During this season in my life that may look like spending quality time with others (which I absolutely love), but it may also mean quietly praying for others and sharing words of affirmation with those I love through cards and things of that nature. For Mr. E and I it may mean finding new ways to love and support him by choosing to be understanding, patient, helpful and affirming. I’m also learning to cherish the quality time we do have together before going to bed each night and on “date day.” With God’s help, I’m learning to be flexible and adapt.

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So far, both our pregnancy and life’s recent changes have served the same purpose, namely, to unite me to Christ and the Cross. I’m daily being reminded of just how much I need Christ and the salvation that He brings. He’s in the process of making me more like Himself. This process of change brings with it opportunities to throw up my hands in surrender and trust as I’m being stretched outside my comfort zone.

This isn’t the first time God has lead me down a path that is challenging and uncomfortable. However, I’m thankful for each and every time He has invited me on these difficult journeys because it’s during the difficult and uncomfortable seasons in my life that I’ve witnessed the unmistakable miracle of how perseverance yields fruit when I choose to be trained by it. I have seen the harvest that times of patience has brought, and with sincerity of heart I can testify that it is good–very good!

Good character is not formed in a week or a month. It is

created little by little, day by day. Protracted and patient effort

is needed to develop good character.

HERACLITUS

Presently, this reminds me to not give up too quickly. To be careful not to give into the self-pity, anxiety and apathy that often tempts me to abandon the path God has me on in order to venture my own way. I’m reminded how important it is to not quit too soon, lest I leave before the harvest comes in. The harvest I’m speaking of  illustrates the God-given potential that  each one of us holds when we plant seeds of discipline, love, joy, peace, patience, goodness, faith, meekness and self-control–seeds that will blossom in our garden one day, a breath-taking garden that draws others to Christ.

Practically, God is calling me to discipline myself to spend time with Him each day. He’s calling me to love others even when it’s inconvenient and I want to be selfish. He’s calling me to choose joy even when I don’t feel like it. He’s calling me to invite Him to be my peace and to help me patiently persevere. He’s calling me to allow His goodness, faithfulness and gentleness to impact my heart in such a way that I begin to reflect these same characteristics in my own life. And finally, He’s calling me to exercise self-control when I’m often tempted to abandon the path He has me on in order to venture my own way.

In the midst of both my physical and emotional discomfort, God is reminding me there is no such thing as hopeless when our eyes are fixed on Him. God transforms the impossible into the possible. He offers the unpromising a promise. He gives strength to the weak. He encourages the discouraged. And He comforts the lonely heart in a way no one and nothing else can!

Consider it pure joy, my brothers and sisters, whenever you face trials of many kinds,

because you know that the testing of your faith produces perseverance.

Let perseverance finish its work so that you may be mature and complete, not lacking anything.

JAMES 1:2-4

While my circumstances may seem petty compared to some, my prayer is that what God is teaching me through them will bring encouragement to you no matter what you may be facing. You may be facing a storm or trial that’s bigger than what I’m presently walking through, but I want to remind you that God’s promises and truth remain the same! Be encouraged knowing that the same comfort and truth God’s offering me through His promises are more than enough for whatever you are presently facing or may encounter in the future.

Love,

Mrs. E

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One thought on “Throwing Up and Being Stretched: Lessons in Surrender and Perseverance

  1. Wow – thanks for sharing this. Helps me process my own situation right now. It is key to remember that character is gradually formed and growth mostly comes through challenge. Not my favorite truth because that means difficulty but the end is sweeter than the trial, intimacy greater than autonomy, and Gods will grander than my own.

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