Behind Closed Doors: A Renewed Soul

001_Blog CollageAs God prepared my heart with the discussion questions for this series I put them in an order that I thought would be most comfortable for everyone to approach. What I mean is that of the four questions we’ll be discussing this month I wanted the first one to be the lightest, if you will. My thought was that we could start out of a light, happy topic, dig into the hard stuff, and then finish off the month with another light and easy topic. The first topic was decided! It would be: a time, event, or experience with your husband in which you felt like it renewed your soul! “What an easy and fun topic to write on,” I thought. Well, once again God surprised me with his plans! As the five of us chatted this past week I quickly realized that the renewal of our souls is no topic to be taken lightly. I immediately found that we were talking about struggles, we were talking about things that were just not fun or even very pretty. It was in these times that we felt renewed by God though and our lives were transformed. God used our struggles to refresh us and on the other side of it all we came out not only stronger as individuals and as couples, but also as Christians. Once your soul is renewed by God, your love for Him runs deeper than ever before.

“And do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewing of the mind, so that you may prove what the will of God is, that which is good and acceptable and perfect.” Romans 12:2

{Leave a comment to let us know what you think & if you’ve experienced anything similar. Also let us know if we can pray for you specifically! Thanks for reading along!}


Jessica’s Story

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“We got lost biking in Potawatomi State park.  We had a standoff with a bull on some backroad in the middle of nowhere. Time moved slower and our conversations grew deeper.  We found ourselves again amidst the grassy fields and dirt roads.”

Read more.

Sara’s Story

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“For us taking time for just the two of us not only fun and exciting, it is necessary.  I have found that the most renewing times in our marriage have been when we take time away from the kids and focus on loving each other well. However it is important for us to have time to calibrate on our goals, our callings, where we feel God is directing, our needs, our parenting philosophies, and our dreams for the future.  In doing this we become better spouses and better parents.”

Read more.

Chelsea’s Story

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“I felt so much pressure and knew the baby was coming soon. I tried to remain calm in my breathing but I couldn’t. Everything was so intense.” Read more.

Brittany’s Story

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“The day is still so vivid in my mind. After Oakland was born he got sick the next day. His vitals weren’t great and his blood count was not normal. They needed to take him right away and perform a spinal tap. They thought he could have Meningitis or Group B Strep. Both could be life threatening.”

Read more.

Tabitha’s Story

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“We used to rent a town home with a community hot tub. Almost every other night we would find ourselves sneaking in after hours to sit, just the two of us, beneath the stars. But for us, true renewal – one that is deep and long lasting, came during a time of grief and not of rest.”

Read more.

Jessica’s Story

During our first year of marriage Brett and I lived in Milwaukee, Wisconsin. It was the first time I had ever lived far from family.  Thankfully technology allows us to stay connected.  I had daily phone calls from my mom, texts from sisters, and social media to keep in touch with friends.  There was never anywhere I could go where I couldn’t be found.

That first year was also one of our busiest.  Between the cross country move, Brett’s 2nd year of med school, finding my job, and finishing undergrad there was very little regular downtime to just relax and have a meaningful conversation.

When our 1st anniversary rolled around we planned a weekend getaway with the sole purpose of slowing down.  We booked a room up in Door County, a place known for its beauty and charm.  Very few people live there full time.  We were going up right before the tourist season kicked off and were excited for the change of pace.  One thing they didn’t advertise was the lack of cell coverage.  There was none.

At first it was alarming.  I couldn’t remember the last time I was that cut off.  No cell phone, no internet, just me and Brett and a sleepy town on the bank of Lake Michigan.  We got lost biking in Potawatomi State park.  We had a standoff with a bull on some backroad in the middle of nowhere. Time moved slower and our conversations grew deeper.  We found ourselves again amidst the grassy fields and dirt roads.

I thought of Psalm 23:3 “He restoreth my soul: he leadeth me in the paths of righteousness for his name’s sake.” And He did.  I never realized how much we, as a couple, needed to be reset.  We needed that time to learn to lean on each other before anyone else.  To remember that He is at the front of our relationship and that together we have all we need.

When we finally reemerged on “the grid” our phones started buzzing.  We reluctantly rejoined the world.  But having that weekend that was only ours was a breath of fresh air.

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Sara’s Story

For five years it was just the two of us.  We had settled into a good routine of following the Lord’s call for us and having fun loving each other in the process!  We spent time in the evenings recanting tales from our day and watching shows together.  We hosted parties for our friends, shared meals with our families, traveled, and worshipped together.  When we got married I knew that Benjamin had been called to be an orthodontist.  God has given him incredible skill and patience needed to treat patients.  In order to support his dream, I knew I would be working to support our family.  God had faithfully provided jobs in the cities we lived in and we were thankful.  We had made it through four years of dental school and were halfway through residency when our first little was born.

Then life changed as it does when a new human enters the world.  No longer were we dreaming up our next project, talking about our next outing or really even sharing specific things we needed prayer for.  No, instead our conversations all revolved around how long Winston had slept, when and how much he had pooped and how in the world was it possible that we needed more diapers?!  We took turns doing the late night and early morning feedings.  We would sit together in the evenings both a little worn for the weather and really not talking much at all.

During my pregnancy my mom had wisely encouraged us to book at trip for just the two of us when Winston was about 8 weeks young.  While I was a sad to leave him, I knew Winston would be in good hands.  And more than anything I was excited about spending time with just Benjamin!  To have time where it was just the two of us.  To actually look him in the eyes when we spoke and to talk about things other than the baby’s schedule.

Our trip gave us time to talk about all of the changes that had taken place in the previous weeks.  We shared how we felt about becoming parents.  We shared our hopes, desires and fears.  We were able to encourage one another and love one another in a fresh way.  With graduation around the corner and me preparing to head back to work full time there were big things we needed to discuss and this trip allowed us to dream, talk, and pray over the months ahead.  We had fun together, laughed together and ate good food together!  We came home refreshed {from great nights of sleep!} and ready to continue our adventures in parenting!

A dear friend imparted these words of wisdom to us: “When you have a child, they come into your life.  And when they are old enough they will leave to have a life of their own.”  While it is important for me to love and spend time with my kiddos, it is more important for me to love my husband and make time with him a priority because one day it will just be the two of us again.  It is important for me to be able to know what he needs, physically and spiritually.  It is important for us to be to be on the same page with God’s call on our lives.  For us taking time for just the two of us was not only fun and exciting, it is necessary.  I have found that the most renewing times in our marriage have been when we take time away from the kids and focus on loving each other well.  It’s not always a weekend away.  Dinners out just the two of us, where we can finish a sentence or a thought, are just as refreshing for our relationship!  Look, we love and adore our kids to bits and pieces.  We would not trade them for the world! However it is important for us to have time to calibrate on our goals, our callings, where we feel God is directing, our needs, our parenting philosophies, and our dreams for the future.  In doing this we become better spouses and better parents.

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Chelsea’s Story

Early on in my pregnancy I decided I wanted to experience natural childbirth. I wanted to do it for the typical reasons you hear (no unnecessary meds, faster recovery, movement during labor), but more than anything I honestly feel that women truly are capable of birthing their babies without medical intervention. I felt strongest about that, but having never experienced pregnancy before or even researched natural childbirth I didn’t know why it was such a resounding feeling – I just couldn’t shake knowing that I was fully capable of this. A few months in, a natural childbirth book was recommended to me. When the book arrived I dove right in. I was immediately hooked! It was written in such a positive way and really had me feeling confident about going through with a natural childbirth. I also hadn’t known at the time of ordering if by it has been written by a Christian mother who had been through natural childbirth six times! How inspiring! I read and read and read, I couldn’t put the book down. She spoke in scripture, she gave tips, and overall she reminded women that they could do it because God would provide in those trying times through the contractions, anxiety, and intense pain.

The time finally came and less than 24 hours before my due date I felt the first contractions. They were slow to begin and I actually wasn’t sure if that’s what they were until about four hours later. I got in our jetted tub to help through the contractions but after about an hour I got out because I didn’t feel like it was helping. I then began to get physically sick and as the contractions got closer and stronger I questioned why I ever thought I could do this. That thought was immediately by “YES I CAN!” I began reciting “I will not be shaken” (Psalm 62:2). As labor pains swirled around me, I kept my focus on God. I knew he was going to get me through this and I felt at ease. More and more contractions. My husband reciting, “I will not be shaken,” reminding me to repeat it to get me through. Hours passed and we began our 25 minute trek to the birthing center. The contractions grew stronger and closer together. I thought I may birth my baby right there in the passenger seat. I grew nervous, but again put my focus on God and remained calm. We arrived at the birthing center, I was wheeled up to a room, and I almost immediately got in the shower with a birthing ball. The contractions were very intense at this point and I started questioning my strength again. My husband was right at my face, coaching me on, kissing me, and reciting “I will not be shaken,” to help keep me calm and focused. It worked wonders. My water broke while I was in the shower and that’s when things got even more intense. I felt so much pressure and knew the baby was coming soon. I tried to remain calm in my breathing but I couldn’t. Everything was so intense. “God will get me through this.” “I can do this.” “I will not be shaken.” Intense, intense, intense, time to push! God will get me through this….

After thirty minutes of pushing, our sweet daughter arrived at 7:34 in the morning. She was perfect in every way. I couldn’t believe all the intensity was over! God had gotten me through natural childbirth and I felt His satisfaction for trusting in Him as I lay there staring at our beautiful babe. My relationship with God had truly grown in the past 12 hours. As my husband kissed me, with tears in his eyes, and told me how proud he was, I told him I couldn’t have done it without him either. He had been so strong for me, believed in me so, and had reassured me with scripture throughout. I knew at that point that our relationship in God had grown as well.

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Brittany’s Story

There will be times in a marriage when you face trials and hardships. During those times God is present and finds ways to renew your soul and relationship.

The day is still so vivid in my mind. After Oakland was born he got sick the next day. His vitals weren’t great and his blood count was not normal. They needed to take him right away and perform a spinal tap. They thought he could have Meningitis or Group B Strep. Both could be life threatening.

This was the HARDEST news to hear for us. We wouldn’t get to take him home and he had to be on antibiotics for a week. That meant we had to leave this hospital without our precious newborn. I would have to pump at home and then come to breastfeed him when we were able to in the NICU. We were up there every day whenever we were allowed to!

It was hard at night and being home knowing the beautiful new life we created was still at the hospital. We spent countless hours crying together, praying, and wondering why?

Jerod began to google the outcome of these things and nothing looked good. Thankfully Oakland was only going to be on his medicine for 7 days and then we were going to bring him home!

PRAISE THE LORD. This time definitely caused us to take a step back, have faith, and trust in God’s plan for our son’s life.

This trial renewed our relationship, made us stronger in our marriage because we leaned on each other, and it also brought us closer to God!

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Tabitha’s Story

There are plenty of seasons where my husband and I felt renewed physically. We used to rent a town home with a community hot tub. Almost every other night we would find ourselves sneaking in after hours to sit, just the two of us, beneath the stars. But for us, true renewal – one that is deep and long lasting, came during a time of grief and not of rest.
We had been married for four years when we decided to start trying for a baby. It took some time, but when I saw those two lines appear I was shocked. We were both thrilled and nervous – we weren’t quite sure how our lives would change. Little did we know how much it would change. At ten weeks, I found myself calling the nurse hotline panicked. And then in the span of two weeks, I miscarried our first baby and found myself having to receive an emergency D&C.

It was afterwards that I believe our marriage found the best, the most edifying, kind of renewal. My husband and I became closer than before – there was nothing that could separate us. It was almost as if we were having a second wedding ceremony – our vows made tangible in what we had just journeyed through. We felt invincible even though we had been made vulnerable. For me, I saw just what kind of man my husband was- tender, loving, and full of the Holy Spirit. While we grieved, we shared moments that mean more to me than anything else in our history – intimate moments that, upon looking back, even to this day renew my love for him and for our relationship.

I’ve learned then that sometimes renewal is giving something away in order to be made better. And though we grieved, we also were able to celebrate the long-lasting changes made in our relationship.

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5 thoughts on “Behind Closed Doors: A Renewed Soul

  1. abbieginther says:

    Wow ladies. This was so powerful and I loved hearing each of your experiences. I can’t wait for the rest of this series. I am so encouraged by you today!!

    Like

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