Blog Post by Abby McDonald
“I should’ve had all my babies in the summer,” I said jokingly to my friend. Only it wasn’t a joke. We were full into the flu season and I was trying to keep both boys healthy as we awaited the birth of our child- a girl. Trying and failing.
All of us caught colds in the final weeks before her arrival. Panic seized me as I imagined bringing our newborn home to a germ-infested house.
The fight against illness and seasonal elements was hard enough, but there was another battle waging. Another reason a winter baby gave me a sense of dread.
I remembered the months of depression that followed the birth of my first child, who was born in the middle of summer. Baby girl would arrive a few weeks before the official start of winter. The dreariness of the season always brought a gloomy mood with it, and on top of it we were adding newborn baby isolation.
A few weeks after our bout with illness, we brought our new girl home and the overcast weather swept in like clockwork. We weren’t supposed to take her into crowded places for a month.
The first few days I was too tired to care, but one afternoon I felt like the walls were closing in around me. Everything bothered me. I questioned my abilities as a mom and a wife, and at night when our newborn wouldn’t sleep, the tears came.
Sometimes when we go through difficult seasons of life, the lessons we learn stay with us. But most of them need repeating.
We humans are forgetful people.
As I repeated the mistakes I made with my firstborn, God brought me to some timely words from a fellow sojourner. And I realized in my sleep-deprived state I was assuming this battle against depression was purely an emotional one.
I was negating the spiritual side all together.
We have an enemy who loves to use our seasons of physical and emotional weaknesses to whisper spiritual lies. We are so much more gullible when we’re tired. We’re more likely to accept his lies as truth when we our bodies are healing from surgery, illness and pain.
But you want to know the beautiful irony in all this? Those times when the thief creeps in are also the times when God can do his mightiest works.
His power works best when we’re at our weakest point. (2 Corinthians 12:9)
I tried to wrestle with God and walk in my own strength, but He just wanted me to let him carry me. Sure, I could take my vitamins, drink my coffee and catch cat naps here and there. All those things were needed.
But what I needed most was his grace. I needed it when I snapped at my husband and kids. Most of all, I needed it when I disappointed myself.
We can say his grace is sufficient for us, but change won’t come until we truly believe it. And it doesn’t just cover us enough for our shortcomings.
It drenches us.
The more I embraced this, the more the darkness shrank back and I saw the sun breaking behind the clouds.
The more I let him cover me, the more I saw that I didn’t have to pretend I had it all together. I could just be me, imperfections and all. And because of Jesus, that was enough.
Abby McDonald is a writer who can’t contain the lavish love of a God who relentlessly pursues here, even during her darkest times. When she’s not chasing her two little boys around, she loves hiking, photography, and consuming copious amounts of coffee with friends.