By January, we had spilled the news to everyone: we were expecting for the fifth time. From the time that I knew I was pregnant, my anxiety soared. It’s one thing to be expecting your third child. It’s another when it’s the fifth pregnancy in five and a half years of marriage and your oldest living child is nearing three. Ahem.

And this time, the fatigue and exhaustion played just as dirty as the anxiety.

I spent my time avoiding the doctor. Yes, really. Before this pregnancy, I’d miscarried two babies and carried two babies to term (even post-term) and had healthy children.

This baby was my tie-breaker.

I started crocheting a “crochet mood blanket” to keep me busy. I was supposed to make a new square each day that used yarn correlated to my mood. It’s currently sitting in my project bag, only a third of the way finished with the “moods” having long ago given way to “pretty colors.” The real point is that it was meant to be a time waster, a project to keep my mind off of the pregnancy, and as long as I wasn’t too tired or nauseous, it did.

I finally went to get a pregnancy test at the health department at the end of January. When I went, my blood pressure was sky high. I even talked to the nurses about taking medication to help calm my nerves through the pregnancy.

For a year of shalom, I was off to a rocky start. All I knew by the end of the month was that I desperately needed something to change. I couldn’t keep up with my girls anymore, my anxiety was out of control, and I had no idea what to do.

So I kept going. I kept reading God’s Word and praying big prayers. I kept up the house when I could, and I started learning what it means to rest in grace for the days when I couldn’t.

I’d be lying if I said I have it all figured out, even now. I still crave the order that brings a natural peace, but my life doesn’t work that way. My mind doesn’t work that way. Not yet, anyway. So I take lots of grace days, days when I just remind myself of God’s faithfulness and the Spirit’s work in my life. And I am faithful in the ways that matter. Even if it isn’t always in keeping a clean living room. Or kitchen. Ahem.

But now? I can say that shalom isn’t about bringing order to our lives so much as it is being a calming presence. It may mean making things more orderly, but that’s only a fraction of our lives. And the best place to start that calming presence? In our hearts. Something I need to remind myself of daily.

This post is part of a 31 Days series on Raising My Ebenezer, part of my story and my own testimony of God’s goodness and faithfulness. As the song Come Thou Fount says, “Here I raise my Ebenezer, hither by Thine help I’m come.” For the month of October, I’ll be writing our story, outlining the Ebenezers in recognition of His mighty hand on our lives. His doings and His workings because of and sometimes in spite of our best efforts. My hope is that you’ll see a lot of Him and little to none of me. Because in the end, it is by His help that we have come this far.




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