I had a lot of expectations for Beckett's first few weeks of life - I would spend time cuddling and bonding my newborn as I soaked up his sweet smiles and little noises and filled my camera with pictures of his "firsts."
While all of those things have come true, I certainly didn't expect to spend 2+ weeks with 80% of my body covered in the most painful, itchy hives I've ever experienced. I didn't expect to find myself in tears at 3 am - not because I couldn't console my infant, but because I felt as though my body was literally failing me and no doctor could provide an answer or offer relief.
But that has been my reality for the last several weeks.
And while there have been some miserable moments, I have also been overwhelmed with awe at how God has used this situation to teach me a powerful message - to draw me to him, and to completely transform my prayer life.
Above anything else, I have learned the power of peace - and the peace that comes with trusting our Heavenly Father and giving thanks in all circumstances.
"Consider it pure joy, my brothers and sisters, whenever you face trials of many kinds."
It's so easy to say, and so hard to do.
Yet this past week I experienced something completely new - finding true, complete peace while still in the midst of utter physical pain. As I called out to God and turned to him I was continuously reminded that the devil is always at work, looking to prey upon us in our weakest moments. While my body was failing me I came to realize that it would only be worse if I allowed Satan control over my mind.
And so I called out to God - again and again and again - for healing and direction yes, but also to carry me through this journey, for mental strength, for patience, for a clear mind, for power over Satan's temptations and discouraging thoughts, etc.
And God responded in an amazing way. Despite the pain and discomfort I began to feel his presence in a completely new way. I felt bathed in peace, revitalized to make it through another day, and able to give thanks despite circumstances.
"Let the peace of Christ rule in your hearts, to which indeed you were called in one body; and be thankful."
In the midst of this journey, I started a women's bible study at church - Pricilla Shirer's "Armor of God," which I highly recommend (as well as the movie War Room). The study is about putting on the Armor of God as laid out in Ephesians, plus the overarching power and importance of prayer. Coincidentally (hah!) this past week focused on the "shoes of peace" and how the Enemy uses instability/discourse/upset to keep us from Christ. Ms. Shirer presents the argument that it is only God's peace that allows us to stand firm amidst the storms of life - and that such a state of peace is activated through thanksgiving.
"But now in Christ Jesus you who were far away have been brought near by the blood of Christ. For he himself is our peace"
So today I give thanks for these weeks that haven't turned out like I've expected, but that have brought me greater peace than I've ever known.