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postpartum and peace

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Postpartum.

It is something you can’t fully comprehend until you experience it for yourself. It’s unique to every woman and no two seasons are the same.

I am extremely fortunate (and thankful!) for all the women in my life who have gone before me. They have helped, encouraged, prayed for me and listened to all my emotional ramblings. My dear husband has been a gift in helping me fend off shame when my insides haven’t felt normal.

Because that seems to be the common thread for me: angst over whether what I’m feeling or wrestling with is okay.

Lies creep in stealthily:

You have God inside you, you shouldn’t be this anxious.

You know that 90% of life is outside of your control, get a grip.

I bet she doesn’t struggle like this.

It’s your job to figure out how to get rid of this heaviness.

If you have ever been in a postpartum season, maybe you’re saying, Yep, I’ve thought that.

But, why?

Why, when so many friends have preached the truth to me, do I allow the gates of my heart to stay wide open to whoever and whatever wants to enter?

If postpartum is a hike up a mountain, then Colossians 3 has been a most helpful walking stick.

Set your heart on things above. Set your mind on Christ. And His peace will act as “an umpire in the heart,” stopping shame or fear or condemnation in its tracks.

W. H. G. Thomas writes, “This word, translated here “rule,” suggests that which settles differences, especially where there is any conflict of thoughts and feelings. Under such circumstances “the peace of Christ” is to decide; and if it be asked how peace is able to do this perhaps the explanation is that just as peace with God is the result of our acceptance of Christ as Savior (Rom. 5:1), so the experience of peace in the soul, in union with Christ and through the presence of the Holy Spirit, will at once settle every difficulty, resolve every conflict, and show us what is the will of God.”

“The apostle says, Let it rule. The Greek word means arbitrate. Whenever there is a doubtful issue to be decided, and by one course your peace may be disturbed, whilst by another it may be maintained, choose those things that make for peace, whether for yourselves or others. Let God’s peace act as umpire.” F.B. Meyer

Postpartum is not the whole of your life. Jesus is your life.

Our own effort will never offer peace like Christ offers it to us. May I look back on this postpartum season and remember how imperfectly but diligently I practiced shifting my mind always back to Jesus. May I look around and inside months from now and see the peace of Christ directing, inspiring and protecting me.

And may it be so with you, friend!

“Good job, your body is back to normal!”

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Ten weeks ago I gave birth to a healthy baby girl.

This being my first pregnancy, delivery and postpartum experience, my expectations were low because as many friends and strangers told me: “Every woman’s experience is different.”

I didn’t know how my body would feel being pregnant. I had no clue what giving birth would be like for me. And I didn’t know what my body would feel like afterward. It was (and is) all new to me. 

I gained a healthy amount of weight while pregnant (sometimes surprising with all the crackers and Oreos I ate daily). Labor and delivery was relatively quick, due to a strong pain tolerance, a wonderful anesthesiologist and an episiotomy. Postpartum has been surprising in some ways and uneventful in others. I’ve encountered new emotions, extremely overwhelming emotions and downright joyous ones. 

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do you accept or ignore His many invitations?

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How many times do I forget what I long for most is always being offered to me?

As a worker bee and fixer type, I used to be a terrible receiver — praise, gifts, help, anything. (Although, until the past few years I don’t think I even would have used this language. I would have called it humility or service or ‘just the way I’m wired.’) I thought everything was my responsibility – to take care of, to handle, to figure out, to make the best, to help, etc. I struggled to bask in someone’s love for me without my effort to earn it and it was challenging to embrace another’s doing on my behalf.

But the gospel is just that.

Jesus, being perfect as I could never be, doing all that I could never do, so I could be given clear and constant access to God from now and for eternity.

I can’t work for it! I can only receive it. And not only does He invite me to receive salvation through saving faith in Him, He extends familiar and fresh invitations to me every day.

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