Monday, June 2, 2014

3 Things Every Woman Needs to Survive Pregnancy and Life

By Jill Daniels
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These are just three examples of headlines on the cover of some well-known pregnancy magazines I have seen lately.

We are bombarded in our society with lists of "do’s and don’ts". Can I be frank? Most of these lists annoy me. They’re not just in the pregnancy world but in the wedding world, the fitness world, and in every “world” focused on womanhood. The “3 Easy Steps To…” article entices us to read because each one of them makes life seem so easy.

Ever thought that’s why we are so shocked when life ends up being pretty tough?

Why then would I write a post entitled, “3 Things Every Woman Needs To Survive Pregnancy & Life”? I want to share the honest truth about what I’ve learned in life, that’s why. I don’t want to sweeten it up and put a bow on it to help women pamper their way to comfortable living. I want to challenge women like me to be prepared for the tough parts of life, not just the easy-peasy ones. And heck, I think all women can relate whether they are pregnant or not. That’s why these three things are necessary, not only for pregnancy but for life in general!

So let’s get to it. Three things every woman needs to survive pregnancy and life:

ONE: Thick skin and a discerning mind.

In conversations, we as women need to be able to discern what pieces of advice are valuable and what we need to let go. This doesn’t mean being disrespectful and ignoring people, but it does mean choosing not to dwell on one person’s blunt comment for days on end. We’ve all been there. We can’t let what other people say to us affect our hearts in such a way that it distracts us from what we know to be true!

Hebrews 13:6 says, So we can confidently say, ‘The Lord is my helper; I will not fear; what can man do to me?’”

People will give you plenty of advice for life, but God’s Word is always the place we need to go for true guidance. If what someone is saying to you lines up with God’s Word, then be at rest with taking it to heart. The Lord is our helper. We cannot fear what other people say to us! We need to be confident in where God is leading us and continue to pray that he would give us discernment to know his truth.

TWO: A healthy view of our bodies.

I have to say that this has been especially important in pregnancy, but it can totally be applicable in everyday life as well. In the past I have had days where I’m feeling really great about how I look and feel. Then, I step on the scale, and the number that pops up doesn’t match what I’m thinking I weigh. If I’m having a particularly self-controlled day it may only ruin a couple hours of my morning; but if I’m having a hard or emotional day those numbers can ruin my entire week!

Why do we torture ourselves like that? Let’s toss out those scales and live healthy lives apart from bondage to numbers and expectations! Obviously we need to have a good balance in keeping our God-given bodies working well, but God did not create us to be controlled by a number on a scale.

1 Peter 3:3-4 says, Do not let your adorning be external—the braiding of hair and the putting on of gold jewelry, or the clothing you wear—but let your adorning be the hidden person of the heart with the imperishable beauty of a gentle and quiet spirit, which in God's sight is very precious.”

This verse isn’t saying we can’t look cute or curl our hair. It’s saying that we need to focus more on inner-beauty than our outer fa├žade. We all know women who are beautiful because their heart shines the light of Christ! Don’t we want to be those women? Let’s take the time then to focus on our inner beauty, rather than perishable outward adornment and fading external measures.

[Note for pregnant women]: Have you ever given thought to not tracking your weight throughout pregnancy? I decided to ask the nurse if I could turn my back to the scale when being weighed. She didn’t even ask a question as to why! I have to say I have felt so much freedom! I know that my doctor will speak up if there is a problem with my weight that would affect my health or the babies, so I don’t need to even think about it.

Take this a step further, and don’t weigh yourself after the birth! You know you’re going to feel awesome when the day arrives when you can fit back into your pre-pregnancy clothes. So why discourage yourself with numbers along the way? It’s going to take time to get back down to your normal size, but you just had a miracle happen within your body. Don’t feel like you have to make the evidence of that disappear in the matter of minutes.

THREE: A firm grasp on our identities.

In every chapter of life, I have felt the need to figure out my identity. Who was I when graduating high school? Who was I when I didn’t have my high school boyfriend around anymore? Who was I when I didn’t know what I wanted to be when I grew up?

We need to be grounded in our faith to know who we are. Circumstances will change, but our identities in Christ will never change! John 1:12 says, But to all who did receive him, who believed in his name, he gave the right to become children of God.”

We are daughters of the King of the universe! How differently would I act if I grasped that my Heavenly Father not only has more authority than President Obama or more fame than Prince William, but that he owns this entire world and the universe? This piece of my identity continues to amaze me.

Want to know something even more amazing? The King of the universe not only created us, but sent his only Son to take the penalty for our sins. This shows true love and is why we can live life knowing that our identity is in Christ’s righteousness and not in anything we have done!

Psalm 139:13-16 says this: 

For you formed my inward parts; you knitted me together in my mother's womb. I praise you, for I am fearfully and wonderfully made. Wonderful are your works; my soul knows it very well. My frame was not hidden from you, when I was being made in secret, intricately woven in the depths of the earth. Your eyes saw my unformed substance; in your book were written, every one of them, the days that were formed for me, when as yet there was none of them.”

God has planned every day of your life. Everything you do and have done is in the book he has written for your life! Just as God is forming a child in my womb, he formed me in my mother’s womb. He created every day I would live and every breath I would breathe before I even saw daylight! This is true of your life, too.

This should make us certain that our feet won’t slip because God is our Protector and Deliverer. God knows what He is up to in our lives. He’s always there to guide us and show us the right path for living each and every day in the truth.

God, I pray for the women who have read these things today. I pray that they would leave this site encouraged. I pray that they would learn to discern good advice from bad advice, how to have a healthy view of their bodies and inner beauty, and what their identity in you means! For all the pregnant women out there I pray specifically that they would feel known and loved. We love you God and thank you for your Word today! 

Amen.

[This post first appeared on Radical Everyday Living, May 19, 2014 | Photo courtesy of Free Digital Photos.]

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