What does “standing firm” mean? It means standing your ground, refusing to abandon your beliefs, take a firm stand, and refuse to budge or be moved… I could go on with the meanings but I trust you get the picture. It is a fairly straight forward statement. In times of trouble it can be difficult to stand your ground. Fear and anxiety knock on your door and threaten to derail your faith. Challenges can seem so HUGE that you don’t know how you are going to face them. Stepping out in faith or standing in faith at this point seems impossible, feels like a waste of time. You feel like giving up, helpless even. But I urge you not to lose your faith. Exodus 14:13 “Stand firm and you will see the deliverance the Lord will bring you today.” Today may not be TODAY, but your today is coming! Your deliverance is coming! Refuse to be shaken out of your faith…stand firm! Do not lose faith!
1 Corinthians 16:13 Be on your guard, stand firm in the faith, be courageous, be strong.
It happened on a Friday evening. My husband and I were watching tv in the evening. As usual, I fell asleep on the couch! About an hour into my sleep, I had to go to the bathroom! Oh the joys of being pregnant! I remember lying there wondering if I could delay my bathroom trip by a few more minutes! I decided to get up anyway, as I got up, my water broke! What the heck I thought to myself, what is going on? My heart started pounding as I made the short trip to the bathroom. I must have been in so much shock, I didn’t say a word to my husband at that moment. As I got to the bathroom door, more water!! Now I started panicking, I remember telling my husband that I thought my water had broken.
I have never been in such a state of panic in my entire life! Having lost a child at 40 weeks didn’t make my state of mind any better. I was scheduled to go in for a c-section the following Tuesday so my mind wasn’t prepared for this! Getting dressed seemed to take for ever! Every minute felt like an hour as we prepared to go to the hospital. My mind was now in over drive. I didn’t want to be standing around, let alone walk downstairs to the car in case the baby fell out! I laugh at myself now, but at that time it wasn’t funny! I really didn’t want to risk anything.
We got to the hospital, and I must say, I was feeling a bit better, I wasn’t as panicked as I had been when we left home. They ran some tests on me, and announced that I was going to be having my baby that same night via emergency c-section. My blood pressure was high at that moment, most probably because I was in shock. They strapped some gadgets on my stomach that monitored my baby’s heart rate. I must say I hated that bit as at times I lost the baby’s heart rate because she was lying so deep in the womb. It was a nasty thing to do to me as it brought back the memories from when I lost my first baby. They had struggled to find the heart rate and here I was trying to monitor another baby’s heart rate.
I went into theatre shortly before midnight and at 23.54hrs on 27 September 2013, my beautiful daughter was born. We have named her Tamara, which means palm tree. The palm tree in the bible represents abundance, growth, being upright, fruitfulness. “The righteous shall flourish like the palm tree, they will grow like the cedar of Lebanon” (Psalm 92:12). Refer to “About Tamara” tab for more notes.
Life always seems to bring us something new to worry about each day. We worry about our jobs, our families, our lives, almost everything that matters to us brings us some form of worry at one point. We worry about the possibility of things going wrong or things not going the way we want them to. We worry about the possibility of things not happening for us at all! It seems we move from one worry to the other.
As I get closer to giving birth, I find myself thinking about the day I give birth. I worry about the possibility of things going wrong. What if my baby doesn’t make it? I find the past trying to overwhelm me. I fear not being able to recover if that were to happen. But the thing is, I cannot let those kind of thoughts take over my mind. I cannot allow my mind to dwell on negativity. Maybe it’s just me, but I find most of the times, the mind is conditioned to think negatively. I find myself battling this “conditioning”, replacing the negative with the positive.
I have spent the last year or so, teaching myself to focus on the positive, on the good things in life. I have spent time “reconditioning” my mind. Thus today I find myself looking forward to the day I give birth. I look forward to seeing my daughter! I look forward to spending time with her, nurturing her and being a mother! I am at peace knowing that in a couple of months my daughter will be here. I thank God for giving me the strength to overcome my worries and my fears. I also thank my husband who has been my support, my strength and my prayer warrior. I could not have done it alone.
Romans 12: 2 And be not conformed to this world: but be ye transformed by the renewing of your mind, that ye may prove what is that good, and acceptable, and perfect, will of God.
That moment in life when you realise that things have to change! You are tired of the same old nonsense everyday! What do you do? How do you make the necessary change? How you move from one level of life into another. Do you just wake up and say let’s do this, or do you gradually fall into change? I am one who has never liked change and to certain levels I have even been afraid of change! I get pumped up and make a list of all the things I would like to do differently… and then tell myself I’ll start tomorrow! Tomorrow comes but I still find myself doing the same things and then I tell myself oh I’ll start tomorrow. Of course the trend continues until its next month, next year even!
Let me give an example of weight loss! Growing up I was never overweight, I was skinny all the way from primary school through to my twenties. When I started taking birth control pills I just ballooned and ever since I have always struggled to drop the weight. So when I fell pregnant back in 2011, I piled on more weight. After the baby, I weighed a shocking 85kg and that’s when I decided to work harder to lose weight. I planned to eat healthier and exercise more. I started out great (pumped up!) then after a couple of days I went back to my old ways. I told myself oh well, I can start again tomorrow can’t I? Truth be told, I wasn’t happy with what I saw in the mirror, but what could I do? This weak person who can’t stick to change was holding me hostage! So there I was, unhappy but without the willpower to change my situation!
I can think of so many other things I have wanted to change, things I have been unhappy with, things I have the power to change but sadly enough have never had the courage to. Today I ask myself, what stops me from becoming the person I want to become?
I was recently reminded of a story I heard long ago. The story is of a boy who brought a lion cub into the village he was staying in. He thought the cub was cute and that it was a good play mate. Against all advice to get rid of the cub, the boy kept it and the cub eventually grew into a big lion. One day as they were playing in the bush, chasing each other, the boy fell down and cut his leg. The lion came and licked the blood on the boy’s leg and all of a sudden the suppressed lion instincts came rushing forth. The lion tore the boy apart, rushed into the village and killed everyone. All of a sudden the cute lion cub had turned into this huge killing beast! This is a sad story, but so it is in our lives.
Think about it for a minute, what is that one thing that you know is wrong but cant stop doing? That one thing that you hide away from everyone else because it’s wrong? It’s one of those things that you know you should stop, you know its a bad habit, but you enjoy it so much, you like it! But you cant stop because after all, it’s not hurting anyone is it. No one knows about it so it cant hurt them can it. But what happens one day when you get found out, when it gets out of hand? The things we think are okay and harmless will one day grow into this huge mess that will tear us apart unless we deal with them. This story challenged me to look deep into myself and identify the things that are wrong but I think are cute and harmless. I hope it challenges you too!
For some time before falling pregnant, I strongly felt I could not walk the pregnancy journey again. I know it’s the opposite of how I felt at the beginning when all I wanted to do was try again. I felt I could not endure the journey again because of my fears, worries and hurt. It was at this point that I heard God say to me, “Who are you to say you cannot do this again?” I let go of my fears and chose to try again. Here I am now in my third trimester, getting closer to seeing my baby.
I have had days where I have felt some pain in my body and the immediate temptation is to panic. You want to know what every single sensation is, why it’s happening and if it will affect the baby. If it wasn’t for pregnancy forums on the internet, the doctor would have been tired of me already. I have been through pregnancy before but it sure doesn’t do anything to ease the worries. I have had to monitor my blood pressure and avoid stressful situations…so far I must say I’m doing well. My blood pressure has been good and hasn’t been any cause for concern. God has been my strength through all this. I spend most of my days working in a stressful environment. I work for a person who can be very unpleasant for long periods of time. So managing to stay calm has been a major feat for me!
Doctor’s appointments have been a joy to go to. Seeing my baby grow each month has filled me with so much joy. Scans have shown that we are expecting a baby girl so I am very much excited! My husband and I agreed a while back that he would name the boys and I would name the girls. Settling on a name hasn’t been easy but I believe I have found the right name for her.
Ultimately, the pregnancy journey has been exciting for me. I have a couple more months to go and I pray that God remains my strength.
Psalm 91: 2 I will say of the Lord, He is my refuge and my fortress, my God, in Him will I trust.
Have you ever felt like the life you’re living is not yours? This is really not how you pictured living your life at all. Remember when you were young and you had such great and mighty dreams and you pictured your life being so grand and beautiful? Or was that just me? You saw yourself living in this big house with a big yard, driving the car of your dreams and getting the most out of your life. I must admit I saw all these things for myself. I saw a big house, fancy car, married with beautiful kids and having the means to do more with my life.
In all this, I never pictured a life full of disappointment and constant hurt and confusion. I never pictured a life where I felt I had no other choice but to endure what was coming my way. People say you have the power to change your circumstances by the things you do or say, but have you ever felt this was just words being said to make you feel worse about your circumstance? What if you have been trying your best, does it mean it hasn’t been good enough? Does it mean you are a loser and have no hopes and ambitions? It is in these times that I ask myself if God is testing me or it’s the devil playing cruel tricks on me.
In times like these I find myself constantly battling to keep my faith strong. The hurt and disappointment grows into giants. It must be how the spies sent out by Israel to spy out Canaan felt. Numbers 13 31 But the men that went up with him said, we be not able to go up against the people; for they are stronger than we. 32 And they brought up an evil report of the land which they had searched unto the children of Israel, saying, The land, through which we have gone to search it, is a land that eateth up the inhabitants thereof; and all the people that we saw in it are men of a great stature. 33 And there we saw the giants, the sons of Anak, which come of the giants: and we were in our own sight as grasshoppers, and so we were in their sight. It was one man who had faith, only one who saw things different. Caleb the son of Jephunneh, of the tribe of Judah, in Numbers 13 verse 30 And Caleb stilled the people before Moses, and said, Let us go up at once, and possess it; for we are well able to overcome it.
Sometimes the trials feel like they are giants and I am just a grasshopper. But I pray that God gives me strength to be like Caleb.
Luke 17: 6 And the Lord said, If ye had faith as a grain of mustard seed, ye might say unto this sycamine tree, Be thou plucked up by the root, and be thou planted in the sea; and it should obey you.