The Land of His Presence

babieI have a coworker who has a four-month old baby at home. She has never been shy about sharing the fact that she did not want this baby. She did not expect to get pregnant so quickly (within days of her birth control running out) and loudly resented the fact that she was too new of an employee at the time to qualify for short-term disability so she had to take her maternity leave unpaid. After she gave birth she struggled with post-partum depression and has had difficulty adjusting to life with a newborn.

Incredibly, she is already eight weeks into a second pregnancy! She did not want to be pregnant the first time and REALLY does not want to be pregnant this time. She has cried to me multiple times already about how she is too overwhelmed with her newborn to deal with another baby. To compound matters, she has had debilitating morning (all day) sickness to the point where she can hardly eat anything and has missed quite a bit of work because she never feels well. She has complained that she has the worst luck and it’s so unfair for this to be happening to her. And guess what? She just had her first ultrasound and surprise, it turns out she’s having twins! TWINS! Considering that twins are often born prematurely, she will very likely end up with three babies under one year of age at the same time.

It is very understandable why she would be stressed out about this. Having three babies that were unplanned so close together is enough to overwhelm anyone. I have expressed compassion and sympathy towards her. I have tried to convey hope, offered to pray for her, and have given her a shoulder to cry on. But inwardly, I am struggling a bit with her reaction to all of this. Everything (and I do mean everything) out of her mouth regarding her baby and her pregnancy is filled with negativity. She has so openly expressed the fact that she doesn’t and didn’t want any of them that I have trouble not feeling a little angry about it. A child is a blessing from God. How can you resent such a beautiful gift?

Granted, much of my reaction is clouded by my own disappointment. I have a chromosomal disorder that makes it extremely unlikely that I will ever get pregnant. Being the oldest of the Rebekahs on this blog, even if everything were working as perfectly as it should, the chance of my getting pregnant is rapidly decreasing because of age. And there’s still no husband in sight even if those first two things weren’t true.

I had a guy a couple of years ago who promised me the world. And one of the things he promised me was a baby. He went on and on about the storybook life we’d have once we got married. He said there was no price he wasn’t willing to pay in terms of fertility treatments, supplements, adoption options, etc. to make this dream a reality for us. He assured me that we had a secret weapon – the power of prayer, and that He would make me a mother. He took my hurting heart in his hands and promised me the thing it most desired. But things don’t always go the way we plan and sometimes promises are broken. Rather than give me a baby, he got another girl pregnant instead – while we were still together.  For some reason the end of that relationship represented a dying of my hope of ever becoming a mother.

Listening to my co-worker complain incessantly about a gift she’s been given that I will likely never experience has been difficult. I wonder why God blesses people who don’t want children with them, and withholds them from people who do. In the end, I remind myself that God knows what is best and it is not for me to judge. He knows what is best for me; He knows what is best for my co-worker and what is best for her children. I work to remain compassionate to my co-worker who truly does have a lot on her plate. I am quite sure that if I were in her position, I would also be very overwhelmed. I would likely also express some fear and negativity, but I would never feel that I didn’t want them.

I know that my feelings border on covetousness, occasionally even camping right in the midst of the Land of Covetousness. Sometimes I even get stuck in Selfishness and Despair. During times of repentance, praise, and gratefulness, I’m able to wander far from that land, but I’ve yet to leave it completely behind. The truth is that I spend far too much time there, living right on the border. And it’s dangerously close to another border – the border of Bitterness.

Bitterness is a very dangerous place. The Bible says that a root of bitterness can trouble you and defile many (Hebrews 12:15). That means that it doesn’t just wound the person who is bitter, it also wounds the people around them. Bitterness can take on a power all its own. It can act as a poison, gradually choking many aspects of our lives without us realizing it. We are supposed to love one another. Bitterness smothers love.

Bitterness is a cancer.

It spreads. It damages and tears down. It destroys. It is not of God. It creates a rift between us and God and we cannot have a right relationship with Him if we don’t deal with it.

So it is clear that the lands of Covetousness and Bitterness should be avoided at all cost. Thankfully, there is a simple (though not always easy) solution for the problems of covetousness and bitterness.  For both, repentance is in order. It takes admitting to God that our feelings are wrong and that we need some direction to get out of those ungodly lands.

victory-and-praise1

When I start feeling bitterness, I know the cure is forgiveness. There is hurt in my past that still needs to be dealt with. When I start feeling covetousness, I know the solution is to start counting my blessings. I need to praise the Lord for His goodness. I need to focus on all the wonderful things I have, rather than the few things I lack.

Sometimes we make things more complicated than they need to be, but God has laid out a clear plan to live in the land of Contentment, Peace, and Praise – The land of His presence! I am praying that my co-worker will find her way to the Land of His Presence and that it will change her. I am praying that He will grant her peace in this situation and give her a deep, unconditional love for her children. Let’s all commit to spending more and more time in His presence.

In His Love,
Rebekah L.

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16 thoughts on “The Land of His Presence

    • She has considered abortion, but says she’d never go through with it. Thank God. She doesn’t like idea of adoption because she doesn’t want the twins split up from their older sibling so she concludes her only option is to be punished (her word, not mine) with kids she doesn’t want. I’ve told her I’m praying for her, but that’s as far as our discussions on spiritual matters have gone so far. She truly does need prayer and that is where my focus should be.

  1. Sad sitution. I would be overwhelmed, too, but it sounds like she is hurting at a much deeper level, that she is confortable being the martyer, which is one reason she will not consider other options to help the situation. Sadly unwanted children create wounded children, who will one day be trying to pick up the broken pieces of their own hurts.

    But I don’t want to minimalize her pain, either. and I’m sorry for yours. That’s so hard.

      • Right and that’s where the holy but comes into play. We can say, “this is not fun, but…” and then turn to God, or we can create new wounds. Children can feel unwanted even in the womb.

  2. “Punished”? Oh my goodness. She must be going through terrible stress with all of this. The sad thing is, all the negativity spoken over her children has an effect on them spiritually. I sincerely pray God showers her with unconditional love for them

    • Yeah, that word took me back too. That prayer is exactly what I have been praying over her. I’ve been praying that God would grant her peace and fortitude to handle the situation and especially that He would give her a deep, abiding love for her children.

  3. Very moving and challenging story. I can relate to both you and your friend. It took my wife and I a long time to conceive and I desperately wanted to have children and at times got jealous of those who had children and had pangs of frustration when others had unintended pregnancies. Similarly, when we finally had children, I can appreciate how challenging, time-consuming and stressful they can be. One other item is that the hormones associated with pregnancy can significantly change a person’s outlook; my wife went into a deep, hormone-induced, pre-partum depression during her first pregnancy which she eventually came out of.

    I do not have any great advice other than continuing praying to God and being supportive of your friend. Eventually (at it may be take five years or so when they are older and she is less overwhelmed), she will likely be very grateful for the blessings of her children.

    Peace,
    W. Ockham

    • Yes, I have tried to remind myself that she is in the throws of hormonal peaks and valleys and much of what she is feeling may be tied to that. I feel a lot of compassion for what she is feeling, but I have trouble with the words she is using, if that makes sense. Thank you for your comment, it is helpful to hear from someone who has been on both sides of the fence. God bless.

  4. Oh how truly sad this whole situation is! I believe with all my heart that the LORD has you there for a special purpose. You have been her compassionate friend. Pray about your relationship with her as the LORD would lead. I do not mean to sound like I have all the answers but would you pray about possibly adopting the oldest child? You would have a child you desired, you could love and cherish and she would have less responsibility. She could observe your Christ-like love to the child and be a wonderful example to her, a mentor. Showing Christ’s love to her and the children could change her life eternally. I will continue to pray for the whole situation. May the love of Christ be with you.

    • As of right now, she has indicated that giving up any of her children for adoption is not really something she is considering because she doesn’t want the twins to be split up from her older child. I actually see this as a good sign because at least there is a part of her that loves them enough to want to see them stay together. Being single, it would be very difficult for me to take on a child without the help of a partner, but if I knew it was God’s will I would do it in a heartbeat.

      Ideally, I think it is best when children can have both a mother and a father in the home. I understand this is not always possible and there are many wonderful single parents out there, but I still think in most cases having two parents is best. That being said, my co-worker is not a single parent. She is married and seems to have a decent relationship with her husband. Considering this, my feeling is that the best thing might be for her to get some help; spiritual counseling, therapy, maybe a nanny, certainly Christ and that together her and her husband can work through the negative feelings she has towards her children before it has a lasting effect on them. In the mean time, I will continue to offer her love and support and to seek God for His will in this situation. I pray that she will find the light of Jesus and that He will give her hope and peace and help her to do His will, whatever it may be.

      I do believe that if I am meant to be a mother that God will open the door at some point, perhaps through a situation like this, perhaps another way.

      • You have much wisdom dear one, I am glad to hear that she is married. I too will be praying for the whole situation. May the light of Christ continue to shine through you.

  5. Lord, this is so hard. Please, please save this woman from whatever pain is inside that makes her not desire her children. You already have amazing plans for her children, and I pray that you would guide them so that they would choose to follow you in them. Please heal their mother of her hurt, her bitterness, her belief that you are punishing her. Help her to learn to love you and her children. Please also fulfill your promise to give Rebekah the words/actions needed to encourage and impact her. And Lord, for those who desire children but feel hopeless about it, send comfort and faith. You know that I deal with this worry, too, and that it’s hard to trust you for something that seems so impossible. But you understand, and you feel what we do. Please help us to have faith in your plans and your abilities, for they are boundless, and give us peace about whatever you have. You are good, and I love you!

    • Thank you so much for this prayer. It really got right to the heart of the matter for both my co-worker and for myself. I pray the Lord bless you and keep you in your journey. I pray He give you peace while you wait and help you to trust that He knows the desires of your heart and has good plans for you! God bless!

  6. Rebekah, what a difficult position for you to be in – trying to help your co-worker rejoice over the gifts she’s been given while still feeling the sting of being denied those gifts yourself. What a blessing you must be to her, and I’m sure she has no idea that your encouragement comes at a high cost to you.

    Abba, I lift up my sister lamb. Do you see her little bleeding and deeply wounded heart. Let me set her in Your lap where You can minister to those places. I thank You that when You’ve finished and set her down again, she will carry the fragrance of You with her wherever she goes.

    I know Your plans for her are for good and not for evil. You have a future and hope in mind for her that she has not yet conceived. Strengthen her, Abba. Give her grace to minister to her friend in the midst of her pain.

    Thank You for your healing power, and for loving us like You do.

    In Jesus’ name, Amen.

    \o/

    • Thank you for this. Your prayer touched me in a deep place and brought tears to my eyes. We serve a good God who knows just what we need, when we need it. God bless you.

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