Hello friends! So, last month, I spoke at a Women’s event at my Church and I was hoping to share the audio podcast from that night in the days after I spoke. Sadly, the audio file was corrupt and I was left unsure how to proceed in sharing my story. I decided to post it in manuscript form here. It has taken me all month to get up the nerve to post this; for many reasons that I don’t need to divulge now. But I do want to ask you, please only read this post if your heart is open to receive it without judgement or condemnation. Please consider that my words are my personal testimony and behind these word are very real people. A real husband and wife with very real, young children. If your heart or mind is in any way hardened toward me or my family, then please read no further.
So I really wanted to begin like this, by asking you to listen to my story as a close friend would. Be slow to judge, cherish my words as if they were written on your own heart. This is where true love and understanding can reside.
Oh and one last disclaimer: This is a long post (and void of any pictures).
The title of my message is “Unplanned” and this is just one part of a much larger message in a much larger context. You see, a few years ago, God placed a message on my heart. And I didn’t know at the time how strong the message was going to become. I had no clue how God was shaping me and calling me to deliver this message. But I have to warn you, this is a heavy message. And it is not one I really want the responsibility of sharing. But over the past year, God’s calling on my life has been so undeniable, and there has been so much confirmation, that I have had to push my own fear and insecurities aside to share this message as best I can. This is going to be a long post, because the subject matter is not only heavy but it is also very much unaddressed in the Church today, which is truly a travesty. The overarching message, which I hope I can thoroughly and lovingly convey to you is about the VALUE OF LIFE. I can already see the thought bubbles coming out of your heads, so I will jump right on in and say, yes I am talking about “Pro-Life” as our politically minded society has labeled it. But can I just start by saying, this is not a political topic. This is a biblical, foundational topic. If you are reading the same bible that I am reading, then the message of Life is literally inscribed on every. single. Page. It is GLARINGLY obvious. I am sorry if I am being forceful at the moment, but trust me, this is NOT my viewpoint. It is God’s viewpoint. And as I said before I want to offer it to you with as much love as I can muster. In this space there is no condemnation, I am declaring that over us all, now, myself included because I am going to need it! Unfortunately, culture has believed a lie and reasoned their way around a “Pro-Life” stance- yes even in the church! I am here to say, it does not matter what situation a child is born out of. That child is a blessing, has a purpose and was predestined from the creation of the earth. DO NOT LET ANYONE TELL YOU OTHERWISE!
MY UNPLANNED LIFE
Whew, is that a heavy way to start or what? I’ll try to do a better job to lighten the mood and make you all question my authority to deliver this message- trust. So let’s go back.. Let me take you back to an awkward high school teenager falling in love with the star athlete, and most outspoken Christian guy in town. Somehow I ended up dating this guy, I really want to name him “Tim Tebow” for the duration of my post because that’s basically who he was in my mind. #eyeroll. I obviously had some misplaced affection issues going on, but what teenage girl doesn’t? I too was a Christian, and trying to walk with God through the selfish and hormonal years of young adulthood. So, “Tim Tebow” and I graduated high school and went to colleges several states apart but remained “dating” as best we could. There was a lot of “on-again-off-again” happening, and I will spare you the painfully embarrassing and childish details that come with young relationships. But I will tell you 2 things: 1. I knew I wanted to marry this guy from the get-go. And 2. We remained abstinent for the MAJORITY of our 7 year dating relationship. So here comes the second big undiscussed topic in the church- Premarital sex. Honestly, during college “Tim Tebow” and I were kinda alone on a “virgin island”. I was pretty outspoken about wanting to remain a virgin and lived a very straight laced life, which starkly contrasted the typical college experience in America- and the lives of many of my friends. Again, I am not saying this to brag but to lay the scene for what happened next. I got pregnant. No, this was no virgin birth. But it certainly was Unplanned. Actually it was more than unplanned, it was starkly opposing to “my plans”. But, after a while of feeling a lot of feelings, and wanting to take control of certain things that I felt were crushing me, I backed away from my convictions. Society makes it easy for people to do this. Imagine how much easier it is for young adults, who are getting very little/No guidance on the subject of pre-marital sex from a very God centered, and Love centered place… I’ll circle back around to this thought in just a bit.
I want to take a moment to talk about the mother of all women for a moment, in regards to this time of my life. Eve.
I have a whole other, longer, message on Eve, and the first sin, but I feel it is important to mention it in part here.
The serpent, the most “subtle and crafty” creature of the field approached eve. “And He (satan) said to the woman, can it really be that God has said, You shall not eat from every tree of the garden? And the woman said to the serpent, We may eat the fruit from the tree’s of the garden, Except the fruit from the tree which is in the middle of the garden. God has said, You shall not eat of it, neither shall you touch it, lest you die.” (genesis 3:1-3).
Just like the serpent is described as subtle, his setup before Eve’s sin is very subtle as well, so much so that we almost miss it all together. The serpent already knew the command that God gave to Adam and Eve in regards to the tree in the center of the garden, but instead of drawing her initial focus to that one tree himself, he set’s it up in a way that it’s as if Eve brings up the tree rather than the serpent. The serpent does not say, “Hey can’t you not eat from THAT ONE tree in the middle of the garden?” is says, “Can it really be that you cannot eat from EVERY tree in the garden?” (paraphrase). Eve knows the truth. So she sets the serpent straight by reinforcing a sentiment that comes from a loving father. I imagine she is perplexed by the serpent, thinking, “of course we can eat from the trees! God is a loving and fulfilling father, he wants us to have more than we need!” Eve’s initial thought is not doubt. It is one of respect.
But the enemy, the serpent, quickly takes Eve’s mind to doubt by restating her exact words back to her as a question, “But the serpent said to the woman, You shall not surely die.”
I wish I could count the number of times I have let a question of the enemy rule my mind and ultimately lead me to sin. Even when it is something I know to be true. The most visible instance I can think of was my long standing conviction to remain a virgin until I was married. A conviction that both “Tim Tebow” and I shared. We dated for YEARS, through long distance, many breakups and getting back together, lots of trials, and remained true to that conviction. Until… well until we didn’t. And for me it was letting the whisper of the enemy drop my guard and try to take control of my own life. I felt desperate to move our relationship forward because I desperately wanted to marry this guy! And I thought, there is only one way left that i can help move us to the “next level”. There wasn’t any malice in my heart, and honestly I would have justified letting go of my conviction on the premise of love, “I love him.” Just as the devil asked eve to question if should would really die if she ate of the fruit; he was asking me if God really cared about my virginity anyway. “What does it really matter?”
I think this doubt that the serpent planted in Eve’s mind is the exact same doubt that is plaguing many people today. The alternative to believing in God is in fact doubting his existence and further doubting our own morality. “Lest we surely die.” And the enemy asks us, “surely you will not die– if you don’t believe in Jesus Christ as Lord and Savior…?” This is the most dangerous lie of all. The most dangerous philosophy, created by the enemy, is the one that suggests there are many paths to God and eternal life. But the Word of God makes no mistake. Jesus says, “I am the way the truth and the life. No one comes to the father except through me.” If you believe otherwise, then you do not believe it was necessary for Jesus to die on the cross and raise to a new life 3 days later.
What happens next for Eve, is what happens to all of us when we let our convictions falter and let the lies of the enemy enter our mind. Sin. And in Eve’s case it was the first sin.
PREGNANT WITH TYLYN:
So, When I found out I was pregnant, I was a mess. I was hysterical to say the least. I was so afraid. I was afraid that everyone that knew me was going to think I was a big flaming hypocrite and that it would potentially erase any of the seeds I had sown among my non-believer friends. I was terrified to tell my family. And most of all I was terrified that I was going to be raising a baby alone. And that had nothing to do with “Tim Tebow’s” thoughts or feelings or decisions. It was all my fear and insecurity. But thankfully, God was with me. Thankfully, I had already developed a personal relationship with God and I knew his word well enough to make 2 rational decisions. #1 – I was keeping my baby ( “I’m gonna keep my baby”). And #2 – I decided that I was in no way going to push the subject of marriage on my boyfriend. Because I was rational enough to know that if I would have begged and pleaded him to marry me (like I really wanted to do) that I would NEVER be positive if he wanted to marry me for ME or if it was just out of obligation. So I kept my mouth shut. And I waited for 3 very. Long. months.
I promise I am trying my best to condense this backstory down to something short. But it is relevant to my “Now” story… So, let me paraphrase a bit. Once I was about 4 months pregnant, on 9.10.11, “Tim Tebow” proposed to me- of his own free will!!! HOORAY! #LOL. We got married a short 8 weeks later. Side Note: No one wants to be a pregnant bride! And no one wants to be around a pregnant bride. So just try and avoid that travesty #LOL. And then a couple more weeks passed and our beautiful baby girl was born! I felt healing and restoration to the depths of my soul. I truly felt like everything was just as God has ordained it from the beginning. That is not to condone having babies outside of marriage, but to prove that God does work all things together for good, even when they are our own mistakes and downfalls. It was never My plan to start a family this way, it was not my husbands plan, and I don’t even think it was God’s plan for it to happen that way. But I do think God was able to make a way for His Ultimate Plan! I felt like God’s promises for my life and my now husband’s life were fullfilled in the sweet precious innocent baby.
HADLEY AND JACSON ARE BORN-
Now let me fast forward through the next couple years pretty quickly. When our first baby was 6 months old we found ourselves pregnant again, AGAIN completely unplanned. And honestly I was just as fearful as I was the first time around. Again, afraid of judgement of others, afraid of personal sacrifice, afraid of relationship sacrifice… you get the picture. But once again, God proved to me that he is in control, he knows what is the BEST thing, while I was perfectly content to settle for a good thing. Then another 2 years passed and we got pregnant again! And this time we were having a SON! My husband and I really didn’t think we would have a son. Alas, God gives good and perfect gifts! I had to hold back sobs when we were in the ultrasound room, learning his gender, because I was so overcome with God’s Goodness!
WAR IN MY MIND:
I had 3 beautiful, happy, healthy, Unplanned babies that I loved with my whole heart! I did everything that I thought was best for them and more! I took So. Much. Pride. in motherhood and I made sure to let it show. But inside I was letting some fear and insecurity from long before I had kids, grow. When my son was 3 months old, I was faced with the possibility that I was pregnant again! And this time, way sooner than ever before. (All birth control jokes aside). But something else was different this time too, I was waging battles (in my mind) for my marriage. Insecurities had been developing, and I started looking at the past and wondering if my husband really had chosen to marry me or if he did it out of obligation. Our relationship felt distant. I felt like I was doing everything in my power to be an amazing wife and mother, sacrificing my own desires for our family and I just wanted to be seen.
Now, I can’t speak for my husband, but I know he was feeling a lot of the same things. We were both striving for admiration from the other, shouting, “look what I am doing!” In a way that cultivated a spirit of ‘who is doing more and who is doing it better’. Now, you have to know that neither my husband or I like conflict and the “fighting” that I am referring to, was really a lot of stuff that actually went unspoken. And because it went unspoken it bread more and more insecurities and it let the devil manipulate our minds and the way we viewed our marriage. Being someone that doesn’t like conflict, I was wise enough to reach out to a friend and ask her to pray for my marriage. And I am so glad I did. You guys I am going to say it now and again later, but the Devil DESPISES marriage. If he can cause division between you and your spouse he will! I have been told the devil lives in your mind, and for me, that rang so true about this season of my life. The war I was fighting for my marriage was a war that lived in my mind – conjured up by the greatest deceiver of all time.
But because I knew and loved God, I was fighting. I wanted to fight for my marriage, and that is when God gave me a Word. The word that has spurred this message and prepared me for a much darker season to come. I began to read and study women of the bible, starting from the beginning. Eve, Sarah, Leah. Leah. Leah. When I read about Leah I found that I WAS Leah. I related to her on a level that I never had before. If you are at all familiar with the story of Rachel and Leah, then I can say with positivity every woman everywhere, would rather be Rachel in that situation.
If you don’t know Leah’s story, let me tell it to you now. In Genesis chapter 29, Jacob sees his uncle’s daughter Rachel coming over a hill with a flock of sheep and he immediately loves her. The bible describes Rachel as “beautiful in form and appearance.” And that, “Jacob loved Rachel”. He loved her so much that he promised his uncle he will work for him for 7 years to be given Rachel’s hand in marriage.
PAUSE: Didn’t I say everyone wants to be Rachel?! I mean, who doesn’t want to be described as beautiful and basically LOVED at first sight?!
Ok, so Jacob’s uncle is kinda a trickster and on the wedding night he sends his other daughter, Leah, into the marriage tent to marry Jacob instead. Now, the bible describes Leah as having “weak eyes” which most interpret to mean that she wasn’t attractive. But more importantly,SHE WASN’T CHOSEN. Jacob didn’t want to marry Leah- he clearly wanted Rachel. So he goes to the uncle, upset about being tricked (let me remind you Jacob was a trickster himself) and ended up promising to work another 7 years if he would be given Rachel as his wife as well.
So here you have 2 women, who are SISTERS, both married to the same man. I don’t know about you, but I have 4 sisters! Anyone else here have sisters? Well let me tell you, sister rivalry can be something fierce. I am pretty sure my sister and I almost knifed each other when we were caught wearing the other’s clothes. If I have that reaction about sharing clothes with my sister imagine my reaction if I had to share a husband with her!
And the funny thing is, the husband, Jacob, he knew a thing or 2 about sibling rivalry. You see Jacob had a twin brother. But being that birth order was of such importance during the time, Jacob fought with his brother in the womb, and was born grabbing onto the heel of his brother Esau. Esau may have come out first but Jacob wasn’t done fighting for favor. He legitimately tricked his brother into selling him his birthright for a bowl of soup and then tricked his father into giving him the blessing that was meant for Esau. Jacob weaseled his way into the promise of God. And then here he finds himself with 2 wives. And these women had some sibling rivalry issues of their own. Marrying Leah, was never a part of Jacob’s plan. And I don’t think Leah “planned” on getting married to someone who didn’t love her. And I know Rachel didn’t plan on being barren. (but that is a whole other can of worms).
Now to the really REALLY good part, Genesis 29:31-35 says,
“31 When the Lord saw that Leah was hated, he opened her womb, but Rachel was barren. 32 And Leah conceived and bore a son, and she called his name Reuben,[c] for she said, “Because the Lord has looked upon my affliction; for now my husband will love me.” 33 She conceived again and bore a son, and said, “Because the Lord has heard that I am hated, he has given me this son also.” And she called his name Simeon.[d] 34 Again she conceived and bore a son, and said, “Now this time my husband will be attached to me, because I have borne him three sons.” Therefore his name was called Levi.”
Rachel was barren. Leah was having son, after son, after son. Let me point out God is not the one saying “Leah is unloved.” That was Leah’s narrative over herself. I know this because God does love us. God wants intimate relationship with us. Leah was looking to Jacob for Love when ultimately she already had it. She was merely displacing her desire on someone that could not fulfill it. Each time she had a child she was like, “Jacob look at me! I am such a good wife! I am such a Godly woman. I have given you these sons. I have nursed them all for a year (or more), I have sleep trained them, I have potty trained them, I have kept a nice home, I cook you organic, gluten free, paleo dinners. Everyone else can see all I am doing! Why can’t you?!!
Lexie as Leah:
Am I deflecting much..? But honestly, in my married life I, Lexie, have often identified myself as a Leah. When reading this bible story, of course everyone wants to be Rachel. Everyone wants to be loved and adored by their husband. I will go as far as saying that woman so desperately want the love of a man that they think getting married is the end all be all to their happiness. Let me debunk that theory for a moment. It Will Not. In fact marriage brings more hardship and hurt and pain than a heart would ever desire. The apostle Paul writes, “But those who marry will face many troubles in this life, and I want to spare you this” (1 Corinthians 7:28).
For me there was always insecurity in the fact that my marriage was ultimately the result of an unplanned pregnancy. Since our relationship had started 7 years prior, I know it may be easy for outsiders to say, well they were bound to get married “eventually” anyway. But that was never the way I felt. I had a heart that desperately wanted ”Tim Tebow” to CHOOSE to marry me years before we became pregnant. I hoped and prayed that he would finally see me and decide that I was in fact “the one” and that he would come to the conclusion that the “timing was right”. But because those conclusions were drawn while a baby was growing in my womb, there was lots of extra room for doubt to grow as well. The devil resides in the mind. I know, I already said that! He can find the small insecurities and speak lies directly to them until the insecurity grows. For me this insecurity was always the whispers of, “you aren’t ‘the one’”. Maybe you have heard the meme that in every relationship there is a “reacher” and a “settler”. Meaning that one person is “reaching” to attain a mate that is slightly out of their league while the other person is “settling” on someone that is maybe in a league beneath them. Well I let this little seed of a lie that I was “the reacher” and my husband was “the settler” grow and grow in my mind.
I felt like Leah’s story could have been written like this:
When the Lord saw that Lexie was not “the one”, he opened her womb. And Lexie conceived and bore a daughter, and she called her name Tylyn, for she said, “Because the Lord has looked upon my affliction; for now my husband will think that I am good enough.” She conceived again and bore a daughter, and said, “Because the Lord has heard that I am “the reacher”, he has given me this daughter also.” And she called her name Hadley Hope. Again she conceived and bore a son, and said, “Now this time my husband will see me and praise me, because I have borne him a SON.” Therefore his name was called Jacson…”
And in the midst of feeling all these feels and thinking on all of these things, again none of the things I was thinking were from God, I found out that I was NOT pregnant with a 4th baby like I thought. so I pocketed the Word that God gave me and did my best to fight the battles against my marriage that resided in my mind. Only they didn’t only reside in my mind…
WAR OVER MY MARRIAGE
Let me fast forward another 6 months. At this time Jacson was 9 months old, and I just discovered with certainty that I was indeed now pregnant with our 4th baby! And because I was trying to live out the Pro-Life message in my heart, I decided I was going to surprise Tyson with the news in a fun way. I ordered this silly mug from a friend, that said, “We have a Winner” with a little sperm swimming through a target. The day after I ordered this silly mug, a bomb went off in my marriage. While I was fighting a war against my marriage in my mind. My husband was fighting a war that had materialized into much more.
Let me remind you once more how badly the enemy hates marriage. And let me impart this scripture before I go any farther, Ephesians 6:12, “For our struggle is not against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the powers of this dark world and against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly realms.” And I would caution you to withhold your judgement because you may be inclined to sympathize with me and despise my husband. But I caution, that would put you in the wrong position to receive the rest of what I have to say. I told you that I basically married Tim Tebow, so your shock at this might help you understand my own personal shock and unbelief when I found out that my husband was engaged in an affair. Because it is still very painful and emotional to recount my feelings in the aftermath of what I had learned, I am going to give very little details. But I don’t want your mind to wander and assume the worst. My husband and I have and are navigating through our wilderness together, with God at the center. I can’t say much more because 1. He has his own testimony to share. And 2. I don’t want to give a false narrative or a statement of “we have arrived!” when honestly we are in this for the LONG HAUL!
When someone walks through a season of grief it is VERY lonely. It is lonely even if everyone around you knows your situation and offers you support. So imagine that same extreme grief only nobody knows- because of fear and judgement and because quite frankly the church doesn’t address the subject head on. So, I felt very, very alone. Only I was not alone. God was so very close to me. Not only did I feel his presence and his comfort in my despair but it became increasingly clear that God had been preparing me to walk this dark path. Not only was I not alone because God was with me and because he had prepared me; but he had also put a life inside of me. I wasn’t alone because I was physically growing a baby inside of me. A baby conceived with my husband out of love and intimacy. I can’t make any true speculation as to how or if I would have acted differently had I not been pregnant, when my world broke into pieces. I can wonder if I would have found it easier to consider walking away from my marriage. But the honest to goodness truth is, there was nothing easy about what I was facing. But I wasn’t alone. I wasn’t alone because God was with me, and because God had prepared me, and because God’s timing is ALWAYS perfect, and because God had put a blessing inside of me, and because God told me to read about woman in the bible who held onto the truth that a baby is a blessing even in the bleakest situations, and because God knew what I was going to walk through and because God knew it was going to be a lonely journey, God gave me one more thing to remind me that I was not alone. God put a person on my doorstep. I am not trying to be metaphorical here. God literally sent a human being to my doorstep 1 week after my life shattered, and that person was my friend Whitney. I opened the door and saw her standing there her eyes welling up with tears and immense grief and I knew, that she knew. I had no idea how she could possibly know, in fact it was rather impossible, but with God, nothing is impossible. And when I saw her standing there and I saw that she knew, I was filled with so much joy and so much hope. God knew I was incapable of releasing this secret myself, so he did it for me and sent me a friend. And if you need to know what being a Godly friend looks like, just look at Whitney. Not only did she KNOW what I was walking through, but she listened. She actually asked questions. You know when someone knows something that makes everyone feel a little uncomfortable so everyone just avoids it. Well Whitney is the opposite of that. She knew that some things deserve the time and the space to be talked about in a safe environment. And she offered me that space. And it wasn’t just a one and done kind of conversation. She continued to probe and offer me time and space to share things with her. She also offered me time and space to be a recluse and hide from the world. But she made sure I knew, without a doubt that I wasn’t forgotten, and that she saw my pain. I feel like this little delivery to my doorstep is a whole entire post of its own. I wish I could just dig into it and we could explore how to be THIS for the people we love. But, if you hear ANYTHING, HEAR THIS- God is so so GOOD! So I was not alone.
LEAH WAS NOT ALONE
And here we are reading about Leah, who feels all alone and that no one see’s her and that her life is not turning out how she had planned. But like I said, God saw her all along. Let’s look again at Leah’s story, she says I bore Jacob a son, surely he will love me. I gave him another son, now he must see me. I birthed a third son, Now my husband has to love me...Now this is where her story is gets magnificently cool that no one but God could make it so. The verse immediately preceding the verse about her first three children says, “And she conceived again and bore a son, and said, “This time I will praise the Lord.” Therefore she called his name Judah.[f] Then she ceased bearing.”
There are 2 incredibly powerful messages in this one simple verse that I think are so miraculous I can’t help but want to cry. The first is that Leah made a sacrifice in her praising the Lord. And the second is that her sacrifice moved the Kingdom to earth.
Thankfulness is a Sacrifice! DON’T TRADE A GOD THING FOR A GOOD THING
Leah had to literally die to herself, deny her own wants and needs in order to be Thankful for what God had already given her.
So what is sacrifice? In the old testament people gave sacrifices to God as a way to pay dividends for their sins and to remain in covenant with God. But we live post cross, with a resurrected King. So are we still asked to sacrifice in order to remain in God’s covenant? Yes. In fact this is one area where I believe modern Christianity has it wrong. I have heard so many Christian speakers “preach” on the topic of “self care” and even into the category of “self help”— If you are a busy mom, at the end of her rope, you just need to carve out some time for yourself… But this is the farthest thing from Gospel truth! Jesus said, “Whoever wants to be my disciple must deny themselves and take up their cross and follow me” (Matthew 16:24).
This is the revelation that I believe Leah had between having her third baby and having her fourth baby. She learned to deny herself. Her desire was to be seen by her husband, to be found beautiful and more importantly to be loved. I don’t think the process of denying self is easy to do. I think it is in fact a daily sacrifice- one that we must always be aware of.
Now, don’t get me wrong, taking time for yourself is not a bad thing. It is my warning however, that you don’t trade something that is a “good thing” in place of a God thing. God never wanted to deprive Leah of feeling loved. He just wanted her to drink from a never ending source of love. Him! When we look for good things in the world to fill us, or to gratify self, they will always run out and dry up. But God has so much more in store for us! He truly knows the desires of our hearts and wants to grant them to us so they never run out!
There is a verse in Psalms that says, “I will offer you the sacrifice of Thanksgiving and call on the name of the Lord” (psalms 116:17)
This verse begs the question. If thanksgiving is a sacrifice then is Thanksgiving hard to do? I would say it is easy to offer thanks when someone gives you a gift or pays for your meal or offers to babysit your kids! Yes Please! But what if your life is filled with stress, financial difficulty, health issues, loss of loved ones, persecution or a broken heart? Is it easy to be thankful in these circumstances? The bible again tells us that it is in fact in line with God’s Will, for us to remain thankful even in times of trial. “Give thanks in all circumstances, for this is God’s Will for ‘you in Christ Jesus.” (1 Thes 5:18).
- A kingdom moving act. Praising God Brings The Kingdom Closer:
I am so thankful that Leah shifted her focus back to God because when she praised God for the blessing that was her fourth baby, she brought the Kingdom closer to earth. Did you know our praise releases the power of the Kingdom that is to come? Leah’s praise over her 4th baby, released amazing power for the Kingdom of God that was to come. She praised God and she named her baby Judah. Leah’s praise literally moved the Kingdom closer to earth, and through her son, Judah, the messiah would come. Because, do you know who Judah is?
Judah is the father of Perez. Perez was the father of Hezeron, the father of Nashan, the father of Salmon. Salmon is the father of Boaz, whose son is Obed, and Obed is the father of Jesse, whose son is David; and through David the Messiah was prophesied to be born. Through Judah the savior was born. Through Leah– through Leah’s praise, the Savior, our Lord Jesus Christ was born. And vise versa is true as well. Jesus Christ saved Leah through Judah.
I don’t know what changed Leah’s heart between baby 3 and baby 4. I don’t know if she had to walk through an immense valley of grief. But what came out of the other end was redemption. She realized that the only place she could find the love she was seeking was in God. So she praised him, for all he had done and was going to do. She stopped focusing on what Jacob thought of her and put her focus on the only One that matters. She didn’t care if Jacob Chose her because God CHOSE Leah for So. Much. More!
I am so thankful that Leah shifted her praise to God. Because she did, I can too! Because she did, You can too! Because God Loves you! It doesn’t matter if the rest of the world stands against you, because God is with you and God is for you.
Through the Wilderness:
Do you want to know what happened to me next? I went through a very dark depressing pregnancy with my 4th baby Emmy. But God brought me through my wilderness. God revealed several truths to me, and I too was able to look at my circumstance with new eyes.
It would have been easy for me to play the victim card or to be selfish and abandon my marriage. But God was calling me to deny myself, and to pick up my cross in order to be his disciple. Daily, literally hourly, I chose to deny myself. I don’t say this to be seen as a martyr. But to show the beauty that can come when we choose to be true disciples of Christ.
You can not follow God without dying to yourself. YOU CAN NOT! If there isn’t a huge transformation that comes when Jesus Christ enters your life, then continue to seek Him more! Because when you are seeking TRUTH, he will confront parts of your heart and mind that are out of alignment with who He is and His will for your life. It is HARD to die to yourself. But it is worth more than EVERYTHING the world has to offer and so much more than all the self gratifying you could do in a lifetime.
The second truth God revealed to me as I continually praised Him was to change my focus to one of thanksgiving. The verse, ““Finally, brothers and sisters, whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable — if anything is excellent or praiseworthy — think about such things and the God of peace will be with you” (Philippians 4:8). So I made a list: “it is true that… it is noble that… it is right that…” And I would look at the list every time despair tried to rule my mind. Even in the darkest places there is LIGHT! And it was in my darkest places that Jesus literally became my best friend.
When it came near the end of my pregnancy, my friend Whitney offered to throw me a baby shower. At that shower she declared this verse over myself and my baby. “Do not remember the former things or consider the things of old; Behold! I am doing a new thing! Now it springs forth.Do you not perceive it. I will make a way through the wilderness.” Isaiah 43:19
There was a very real darkness that I birthed along with the birth of my 4th baby. And it made room for God to do a NEW Thing in my life and marriage.Again, I can not and will not speak on behalf of my husband. But in every way we are looking to the future ahead with great anticipation for the NEW, GOOD THINGS that God is going to do. My mother in law, a very wise woman, explained marriage to me in this way: consider a triangle, where the husband and wife are on the two bottom corners and God is on the top, center point. The husband and wife are, by nature, separated. It is only when BOTH, the husband and the wife, are fully seeking God, that they can come together, and become ONE with Christ! My husband and I are both continually, daily seeking God, and God is making ALL THINGS NEW, in our marriage, in our testimony, turning our insides out so that others may hear our testimony, declare, “DO IT AGAIN, GOD” and take it as their own.
But it’s not really about me. And Judah made a way through the wilderness for many generations to come, by carrying the genealogy of Christ in his blood. But it’s not about Judah either. It’s about Jesus making a way, for us! Even where there seems to be No WAY, God will make a way! He did it for me. I guarantee he will do it for you! No, Scratch that, God PROMISES He will do it for you. You need only to be still!
A New Kind of Beautiful.
And now, well, it’s growing increasingly obvious that I am pregnant with my 5th baby blessing. I would have liked to think my Leah moment too ended with my 4th child; where I was able to stop looking at my husband for the love that I wanted, and instead surrendered to the unconditional love of the father that was always mine for the taking. But then, God gave us another, unplanned pregnancy- this time only 3 months after baby Emmy was born. Again, to be brutally honest, it just didn’t seem right to me. It took another 3 months to come to terms with having another baby and understanding how this was God’s plan for my life. Even though, I trust God, and I have been tried and tested in lessons of selflessness, God is asking me for more! In my rebuttal, “but God! I just want to be beautiful again! I just want to be seen as something other than someone’s mom. I want my body back! I want the time and intimate care to give to my marriage (which NEEDS IT)! I want to watch my kids grow, and I want to grow out of the stage of always having a nursing infant! God! Please! Don’t you want to give me the desires of my heart yet?!”
And during those months of questioning, God gave me another word. He said, “Lexie, I am going to make you a new kind of beautiful. The kind that the world does not see very often.” It was spoken so clearly to me, not just a fleeting thought, but the words were an answer from the spirit. Just as every woman everywhere, one of my hearts cries is to be beautiful. God told me that He is revealing a new beauty in me. Worldly beauty is a dime a dozen ladies! Or in the words of the Proverbs 31 woman, “Beauty is fleeting, but a woman who fears the Lord is to be praised.” When we focus on a God given desire like ‘revealing our beauty’ from a worldly perspective, we will never be enough. It is another way we trade a God Thing for a Good Thing. Where the world says your beauty is defined by your clothes, hair, makeup and pocket book, God says that your individual beauty will be revealed through Him! Now, I still can not imagine others looking at me and saying, “Wow! Look at that mom with 5 young kids! She has her hands full. But what grace she carries it with! Her selfless service is truly beautiful!” Yes, it’s hard to imagining that THAT is what the world sees when they look at me. But I am convinced it is what God sees!
The Message of “Unplanned”
And now, God has given me a voice. And a scary, message to walk out. But the message God gave me is not about me. It’s not about my family or my husband. I told you at the beginning that the message God gave me was even more scandalous than pre-marital sex and even more scandalous than affairs. The message is about Life. And trusting that ONLY God can give and take away life. Women, We have been told a lie, and too many of us are believing it! Eve. Sarah. Leah. Tamar. Rahab. Ruth. Bathsheba. Mary. They fought against culture, immense persecution, loneliness, injustice and fear to carry forth children. To carry out a destiny and a plan and a hope. They legitimately paved the way for the messiah by standing firmly for Life. Do not let culture tell you that your situation or mistake is too great for God to use. Don’t believe the lie that the unborn life isn’t worth fighting for- Fight! Fight against judgement and persecution for that life!
In 1994, Mother Theresa said, the greatest crime being committed in America is abortion. And that if we can permit mother’s to kill their own children than we have no conviction left to say that any sort of murder is wrong.
One last thing to leave with you. When Jesus was on his way to be crucified, when he was beaten and bleeding, wearing a crown of thorns, a group of women were following behind him wailing. He stopped and spoke to them, and what he said, may be the most important words that Jesus prophesied in scripture. “Daughters of Jerusalem, do not weep for me, but weep yourselves and for your children. For behold, the days are coming when they will say, ‘blessed are the barren and the wombs that never bore and the breasts that never nursed!’ Then they will begin to say to the mountains, ‘fall on us,’ and to the hills, ‘cover Us,’ For if they do these things when the wood is green, what will happen when it is dry?” Luke 23:28-30.
Does this scripture confuse you as much as it confuses me? And why, while on his way to the Cross, does Jesus stop and say this? Why now? I could give you my own thoughts on this, but instead I ask that you would go home and read this scripture again. Read it in context. Read it over and over. Meditate on it. Let God work it out with you and through you. Wrestle with its meaning and it’s call to action. Because God’s word is True and Ultimate, look not to the world for the answer but pray and ask God for His wisdom.
Because, I don’t think Jesus ever cares about “changing our mind” in regards to political topics. I think he cares about changing our Hearts. He didn’t come to “change the minds” of the Pharisees and the lawmakers, but to inhabit their hearts, and live in communion with them.
My prayer for anyone reading this today, is the daily cry of my heart, these lyrics from Elevation worship declare is perfectly.
“I need you to soften my heart
And break me apart
I need you to open my eyes
To see that You’re shaping my life
All I Am, I surrender.”
Lord, break us open, so that we may receive more of you! You are so real. God you are so good. You desire personal relationship with each one of us. It is not reserved for a few, but available to all who reach out at take it as their own! We need you God! Soften our hearts. Break us apart. Shape us and mold us, to follow your will. Make us new. Make us selfless. Fulfill us in only the way that You can Lord! Amen.