I have been silent on here for quite some time. Partly because I have had a challenging time finding quiet space in my mind and schedule to write out my thoughts while chasing my girls. And mostly because in the past ten months I have been working on a new writing project that God has put in my heart.
Back in January, Jared and I got away for a few days by ourselves and it was then that I felt God nudge me to begin working toward a new blog for moms. I sent an email to some writer friends and began dreaming about what this could look like.
A month later, I traveled to Austin to attend the IF:Gathering, an amazing women’s conference featuring some brave, honest women sharing their stories. After hearing many inspiring stories of women following God’s calling on their lives, I felt a confirmation to continue to move forward with the project.
The only thing is, as much as I felt that confirmation, I also felt trepidation.
Revisiting Old Fear
One morning at the conference while listening to the song, “Good, Good Father,” I burst into tears. I asked God, where are these tears coming from? He answered by helping me see a vulnerable place in my heart that needed some healing.
If you’ve followed this blog since the beginning, you know that right after I launched this blog, I was diagnosed with ovarian cancer. What I didn’t realize is that I have carried a misconception in a deep place of my heart since that diagnosis. With the desire to launch this new blog, it bubbled to the surface in a prayer to God:
Last time I took a step of faith and started a blog, I found out I had cancer. If I start a new blog and follow what I believe You put in my heart, what will you allow to happen to me this time?
Wow. I didn’t know that deep-rooted fear had lodged its way in my heart and it’s interesting how it can reside there for quite some time until a circumstance will arise and force that fear to the surface.
All weekend I grappled with this fear. Are You a good Father? Do You really have my good in mind? If I take a step of faith here, will something else happen to me?
It felt like all of the questions I had grappled with during my diagnosis had risen to the surface again. As I boarded a plane back to Cincinnati, I didn’t necessarily feel like I had great resolution to all of those questions, but I felt a renewed confidence that I could trust God with all that hung in the balance. I also felt continued confirmation to move forward with the new blog even if it felt a bit frightening.
Getting the Blog Ready
For the next several months, I pressed on toward the goal of getting this new blog up and running. I found a wonderful web designer in Nashville, formed and met many times with my lovely writing team, and spent many of my early mornings, late nights, and nap times writing.
It hasn’t been smooth sailing; we’ve hit several roadblocks along the way. There have been moments when I’ve questioned if putting so much effort into this blog was really what I felt led to do. There have been moments when I’ve wondered if I was nuts spending precious time I didn’t have writing. There have been moments when I’ve doubted if I had what it takes to lead this team and keep it together at home as well. But each time God has reconfirmed this is where He wants me and to keep pressing on.
It’s been really exciting to see everything come together. We are so close to our launch date and have been busy working on the last details.
Fearing the Worst
What I had feared all those months ago came bubbling to the surface when I started bleeding unexpectedly. You may remember that my original symptom when they found my ovarian tumor was bleeding, and so every alarm bell sounded in my head when this happened.
I would love to say I handled this scare gracefully but I will be the first to admit I freaked out. All of those memories of enduring chemo and dealing with the realities seven years ago came rushing right back to the forefront of my mind. I tried to not “go there” and stay focused on what was true in my present day, but to be honest the memories haunted me.
As the spotting continued, my fears intensified as I had to wait through the weekend before getting any answers. I knew if I was going to make it in one piece to Monday I needed to be honest with God about all that I was feeling.
I kept saying, I can’t believe this is happening again. It’s just like old times. I get ready to launch a blog and the bleeding starts again. God, why would You allow this?
I knew His heart toward me was good, but these circumstances felt confusing, like lifting a scab off an old wound.
The next morning I woke up with my mind racing. I decided I needed to get my journal and Bible and talk with God about all of these fears. As I sat down with my coffee, a verse popped into my mind that I had heard at the MOPS conference a week before. I looked it up:
“He will protect His flock like a shepherd, He will gather the lambs in His arms,
He will carry them in His bosom,
He will gently and carefully lead those nursing their young.” Isaiah 40:11
I sat on my couch with all of these feelings and thoughts, trying to process what God was up to. Why would He be bringing me right up to my fear again? And why now in the midst of launching this new blog, just like last time?
Then a quote came to me from a Beth Moore study I had read in the past. I don’t remember it exactly, but the point is – God cares more about us meeting the Healer than He does about our healing. For whatever reason, that unlocked a truth I needed to hear in that moment:
Regardless of the outcome, God wanted me to know Him in a deeper way.
And it seemed He wanted me to press into this concept of God not just being my Father but being a gentle Shepherd—something I haven’t thought too much about beyond the words in Psalm 23.
I asked God, What do you want me to understand about You being my Shepherd? Where do I need that truth in my life?
I realized in my perception of God, I don’t have a problem knowing that He has the “whole world in His hands” and is fully in control of the big things of life. But I do struggle with knowing that God tenderly loves me—not just as a Holy Father but as Someone who pulls me close and gently reassures me. Through this scare I felt God wanted me to press in a little tighter to the tender side of Him.
Speaking of perceptions of God, I have to add a disclaimer here because as I was doing a little looking on the internet about this concept of the Shepherd, I kept seeing photos like these:
Who is that?? I don’t think that is really an accurate picture of the Jesus I know because it makes me feel like he’s a softy. And maybe a bit weird. Jesus being a Shepherd to me means Someone who is fierce enough to fight off anything that harms me (think: bears attacking His beloved sheep), but tender enough to reassure me of His love.
I’m so relieved to share that after two exams by my oncologist and gynecologist and an ultrasound, they found nothing alarming and chalked the bleeding up to an off month. I breathed a deep sigh of relief for the rest of the day.
But then the next morning the bleeding began again.
I felt like in that moment I had to choose to trust the doctors but most importantly, my Shepherd. I surrendered how I felt things should go with shaky hands and asked God to “gather me in His arms” just like the verse said. I knew the alternative was freaking out and it didn’t get me anywhere but stressed. I knew I needed Him to fill me with peace rather than me try to muster it up on my own.
Thinking back to the quote about God being most concerned about my healing, I realized God brought healing to my heart through this scare because in that moment when my situation wasn’t instantly resolved, I wasn’t overly stressed. Yes, I still was concerned but I felt a peace that My Shepherd’s love for me was not only unconditional and powerful but tender and gentle. I could trust Him to give me what I needed even if it wasn’t what I envisioned.
Thankfully in a day all seemed back to normal but these last few weeks have definitely deepened me. Not only in knowing God in a fuller way, but in being vulnerable with those close to me, facing my fears, and giving grace to myself when I fall apart.
It’s funny to consider it now in hindsight because all of those things are what this new blog is all about. Maybe I just needed a reminder of how important those virtues are in my life and how much mamas like me need this message.
Launching the Blog
I couldn’t be more thrilled that our blog launch date is almost here. We are finishing up some last minute design details but we plan to have it officially up in the next two weeks.
And in case you’re wondering, our blog is called TextingTheTruth: Real Moms, Real Grace. The name is born out of the idea that a group of moms text the truth to each other about our lives and we receive Biblical Truth and grace back about our situations. It is created to celebrate, empower, and encourage moms by using the format of a text message conversation between friends to bring light, perspective, and truth to the realities of motherhood. We are very excited about launching it and would love to have you hop on over and check us out very soon!
We’d love for you to follow us:
Facebook page: https://www.facebook.com/TextingtheTruth/
“The Lord is my strength and my shield;
in him my heart trusts, and I am helped;
my heart exults,
and with my song I give thanks to him.
The Lord is the strength of his people;
he is the saving refuge of his anointed.
Oh, save your people and bless your heritage!
Be their shepherd and carry them forever.” Psalm 28:7-9