“I can’t do this!” she screamed. Her brow furrowed as she fell back in the bed, exhausted from pushing for over two hours.
I swallowed the ball of tears that was welling up in my throat and encouraged myself, “you’ve been here, you can help get her through this. Don’t be afraid.”
“Look at me, Mandi. You CAN do this and you WILL. You are strong. Now get ready and push as hard as you can. We’ll get through it together.”
Her eyes met mine and I began to see an inner strength replace her pain. I gently lifted her leg, took a deep breath, and began to count her through the next contraction.
My sister had her first baby this weekend and it reminded me so much of my own labor and delivery stories. I had the privilege of being with her through every part of the delivery and I was so proud to be a part of her story. It’s an experience that I’ll never forget for the rest of my life.
Child birth is such a beautiful reminder of what life looks like when we go through trials. There are five things I’d like to share that have helped me get through mine, in hopes it will be a source of encouragement for when you go through yours.
Joshua 1:9, “Have I not commanded you? Be strong and courageous. Do not be frightened, and do not be dismayed, for the Lord your God is with you wherever you go.”
Trials will leave you feeling scared and weak, but if you remember who is with you, you have the power to cast fear aside and replace it with boldness and courage. He is made strong in your weakness. You will overcome any hardship when you put your trust in Him.
2. The result of any trial is wisdom and strength. Remember, there is purpose in your pain.
It was interesting hearing the doctor coach Mandi in the last half-hour of her labor. I’ll never forget when she leaned down to Mandi and told her, “I can tell you’re resisting when you feel the pain you’re pushing into, but that’s what you need to push through. That’s the body’s way of giving you a focal point. That’s what will get your baby out.”
I mean, HELLO? How accurate is THAT? I can’t tell you how many times I’ve resisted trials to avoid pain or suffering, when that’s exactly what I needed to push through in order to see the beauty on the other side. I realize this is God’s way of developing us, teaching us to lean harder on Him when we know we can’t endure it on our own. When we choose comfort over pain it prolongs the trial, or even worse, avoids it completely. When we boldly walk into the struggles of life, no matter how painful it may be, the reward is wisdom and strength.
3. Learn to rest when given the opportunity, to gather the strength to get through the next phase.
It was so difficult for Mandi to rest between contractions. For her, and most women, that’s due to a mix of adrenaline, pain, and hormonal shifts. But if I’m being honest, which I am, I think I have such a hard time doing this, in daily life. I’ve recognized that when I don’t stop and allow myself quiet time, to pray and get in God’s word, I become restless. I find that even when my day only allows for five minutes of quiet time (which, a lot of times, that means in the bathroom- am I right mommas?) I’m calmer and more prepared to take on whatever else gets thrown my way.
Matthew 11:28, “Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest.” Your trial isn’t yours to carry alone, give it to Him and He promises to give you the rest you need to strengthen you. You aren’t alone, you can do this.
4. Remember that you were made to overcome whatever you face, regardless of how unequipped you may feel.
It was right at the end of labor that my sister needed help the most. Her energy was depleted, her spirit faint, and her pain the strongest. This was when she needed reminding the most. Esther 4:14 says, “…And who knows but that you have come to the kingdom for such a time as this?” What a wonderful reminder that whatever we are facing, we were made for this moment, regardless of how we feel! Sometimes, we have to detach ourselves from how we feel so we can attach ourselves to reality.
Mandi had a choice to make, give up or fight. She chose to fight, even when she felt she had nothing left to give. And the result was priceless, a strength she’d never known she’d had and the birth of a precious baby girl.
5. When you overcome your trial, you are fully equipped to share your story with those who need to hear it the most.
I’ve had four babies of my own. My first two were c-sections and my last two were vaginal. Yeah, I did it in reverse. I’m extremely proud of my story and the strength I possess as a result of going through them. But seriously y’all, I cannot tell you how empowering it was to watch my story and my trials impact my sister go through hers.
Whatever you’ve faced, I guarantee you there is someone else out there who has gone through something similar. God desires us to share our trials to empower others to overcome their own. His intention is for us to connect with others by sharing our stories, to encourage one another and draw us closer to Him.
Proverbs 20:5 words it beautifully, “the purposes of a person’s heart are deep waters, but one who has insight draws them out.”
You have a unique purpose that gives you an insight that no one else has. There’s never been, nor will there ever be another story etched in time quite like yours. This makes you invaluable, uniquely made, and more precious than gold.
Pushing past the fear of being known and sharing where you’ve been and what you’re going through is tough, but the benefits are great. Being transparent and authentic will yield a deeper relationship with the people you love and draw you closer to the one who loves you more than anything.
Allowing myself to be a part of my sister’s story added to the impact of my own. Sharing who we are not only benefits others, but has a residual affect on ourselves. I’m stronger because of her and I’m so thankful to have been able to be a part. I’d love to hear some of your own stories of overcoming trials and how they have impacted others! Your stories encourage and strengthen me along my journey! If there’s a trial you are facing, I would love to hear about it so I can pray for you.
Please share them with me by going to the contact page of my website and filling out the form.
If I don’t hear from you, hope you have an awesome week!
If I told you I began this journey with nothing but excitement and expectation I’d be lying, and I feel like that would be a pretty poor way to start this thing off right. The truth is, I am starting it with excitement mixed with a little fear of the unexpected and anxiety about opening my heart up to you, to the world. But coincidentally, God has given me a story that I just can’t shut up about and that bodes well for someone who has always been a sort of chronic, over sharer. That personality trait hasn’t always suited me well, but in this case, it helps drive me forward. It paves a way for action when I would otherwise stay stagnant.
When God gives you a story too great to keep to yourself, it’s difficult to sit back and let it go to waste. I’ve lived a fairly comfortable life, not ever really going without. From the outside looking in, I had it all. My life at 33 was full. I had four beautiful, healthy children, a loving and adoring husband, a beautiful home, and a loving community of friends and family that I did life with. But something was always missing. No matter what I achieved, who I did life with, or how successful I was, there was always this nagging voice inside me begging, “isn’t there more?”. It lingered like a toothache, easily dismissed but always present. It began to claw away at my life from the inside out, like a beast contained for far too long. She was tired of being caged and growled with anticipation and hungered to be let out. Fear kept the lock tight and insecurity hid the key.
God began to unravel the life I had so He could begin to build one that would realign me with Him, and it was one of the hardest things I’ve ever done. In the unraveling, God made an everlasting covenant of peace with me. I would never be able to experience it if I continued to do life with only parts of Him.
Giving my whole life to Him freed me to boldly step into and discover my calling as a writer, a speaker, and a survivor in Him. I began to set aside the fears and insecurities that once kept me hidden amongst the crowd, but stepping into this life required me to unlock the beast of my past and let her surface and be heard. She came out fierce, clawing away at life. I could feel her claws against my ribcage as she spoke for the first time in over twenty years, and it tore away at everything I was.
My struggles dealing with PTSD associated with a suppressed sexual attack that occurred when I was 13 years old began when I was a 33 year old. Up until that point I thought burying it deep in the darkest parts of my mind would heal me, but instead, it grew. She grew. As the years passed by, she remained quiet as I took lead over my life, hitting milestone after milestone, achieving more than most. It wasn’t until a fateful drive back up to the place she was birthed that the memories of my attack would no longer stay confined.
Discovering who I was, and all that God had for me required me to let go of confining her. The journey of healing thus far has had many ups and downs, trials of remarkable battles that ended with extraordinary victories. Healing is equivalent to enduring a second trauma. The work involved is much harder than anything I’ve ever endured before, but such is evident for things that are worthy of fighting for in life. Shedding the life I once knew birthed a life that was filled with an inner peace and joy that I’d never experienced before. God began to pave a way of discovering who I was in Him, showing me along the way just how loved I was, regardless of what I could do or who I could please.
It’s actually pretty funny, I’ve lost a lot in the process thus far, but what I’ve gained is worth more than I could have ever imagined. Life with Him broke me from the bondage of my past and freed me to be truly known. It’s so freeing to be me, authentic and genuine, and caring more about what Jesus thinks than anyone else.
So, let me introduce myself! I am Nikki. A truly known and loved woman of God who wishes to open her heart up and share it with you, because I want my light to shine bright and I believe the more I use my voice to share my story of transformation, the brighter my light will shine on a dark world. We were made to be connected, intertwined with love. Our stories are the doorway to a world overcome by a multitude of lights, too bright to be put out. So join me and lets rise up, together and shine!