The myth that followers of Christ walk under rainbows and through roses is a lie. That day in my backyard opened the door for genuine conversation with my Savior, but I still wasn’t happy with Him. Why me? Why my parents? Why now? At this point, my mind was damaged from the pitfalls of depression. The Holy Spirit, along with the doctors was mending it back together. My Bible reading and Scripture memorization took on a new meaning. The discipline was no longer something to assuage guilt; it was a lifeline to my daily survival. I had notecards and flip books filled with scribbled scriptures I committed to memory. I read my Bible with fresh eyes clinging to truth, questioning a lot of things for the very first time and it was good.
My husband and I went through a sort of boot camp in our marriage as well. He watched, helplessly, as the girl he married turned inside out. Although he loved me right through it, any time a loved one goes topsy-turvy, especially your spouse, the bond between you takes a hit. Our friendship came through that period deeper than it had ever been before and praise be to God, he helped heal the rest.
There were a lot of tears as the Spirit held me accountable for years past. Falling on my knees, I grappled through past sins and begged for forgiveness. God taught me the real meaning of grace during that time. The more I acknowledged that my Savior saw me, the more I began to see outside of my selfish bubble and see others around me. I also started walking. I would walk and pray. I would walk and pray and memorize scripture. Life was getting bearable. I could see my purpose outside of myself, and that is enough to exhale deeply.
I began teaching at a local high school and loved pouring into the kids. They taught me as I taught them and together we went created this wonderful dynamic. I was. . .fulfilled. As the years ticked by, my relationship with God grew. I admitted He saw me and part of me embraced the fact that He loved me as is. The other part of me wanted to earn favor, to make up for lost time, to prove my worthiness. How many times do we look in the mirror trying to enhance the reflection when in the eyes of God, all He sees is the perfection of His Son?
In short, I defined myself through my work. I became The Teacher. I lived and breathed it. I also embarked on a health journey and was in the best shape of my life. Discipline wise, I was knocking it out with a very strict routine, one in which I defined my worth. Eventually, God pointed this out to me. What?! I’m not doing anything bad. I’m reading your Word. I love my job, teaching kids with learning disabilities. I’m taking care of my temple. I’m serving in our church and honestly learning to love You every step of the way. Because He could see me, He knew I was clinging to myself for assurance, and that just does not work.
Truthfully, fear still lurked in every cell of my body. I was honest with my Creator. I didn’t trust Him, and He knew it. I was entirely dependent on self, instead of holding Him at arm’s length, I turned towards Him, but not forehead to forehead, not eyelash to eyelash.
Time was ticking away, and Jeromy and I still had not even attempted to increase our family with a child. By this time, we had been married seven years. The grandparents were scratching their heads while ours were bowed still focused on our “to-do” list. Eventually, Dear Pop, Jeromy’s beloved grandfather, gave us a swift reality kick and almost a year later we received the news that we were expecting our first baby.
Joy and excitement bubbled between us for eight months. We were going to be parents and rode the high of that emotion for a while. I looked to the Lord for assurance, because on the edge of my adrenaline was this nagging doubt, this voice saying, “You can’t do this. Remember those horrible thoughts you had once upon a time. You’re going to damage a child. You can’t love this child. You aren’t capable.” I tried not to listen, to block it out, but depending only on my strength, not God’s.
Five weeks before my due date I began experiencing what I thought was gas pains. It turns out I was in full blown labor and Baby boy Williams was coming soon. Shock is the only way I can define the emotion that transferred between Jeromy and I during that day. They tried to stop the labor, but to no avail. He was coming. Luckily, he was no true preemie. At 6 pounds and 4 ounces, Zachary Steele Williams was perfect. A little jaundiced, but we’d take it considering the risks
Galatians 5 challenge is all about pursuing one fruit during 2016. Mine is peace and through the telling of my story I hope to share a little of what this journey looks like for me. I invite you to join me.
Galatians 5:22-23 The Message
But what happens when we live God’s way? He brings gifts into our lives, much the same way that fruit appears in an orchard—things like affection for others, exuberance about life, serenity. We develop a willingness to stick with things, a sense of compassion in the heart, and a conviction that a basic holiness permeates things and people. We find ourselves involved in loyal commitments, not needing to force our way in life, able to marshal and direct our energies wisely.
Amanda Williams is a forty-year old wife and mother of two who can still swing her pony tail and display just a tad of sass. She is also a Jesus loving girl who realizes she is nothing without the One who saved her. Amanda has two degrees specializing in serving students with special needs and is currently working in the field of Leadership Development. She is a Christian author, speaker, blogger, and publisher who loves serving beside her husband at her local place of worship, First Baptist Church of Ocala.