When I was pregnant with Poppy I realized my need for God. It had always been there, but for the first time I understood what it meant. I didn’t want to go one day without His help—or maybe more accurately, I knew I couldn’t make it one day on my own without disaster. I had spent so much of my life up to that point putting God on the back-burner, forgetting about Him in my busyness, and going in my own strength for days at a time before stopping to realize that I was doing it. I loved God, but the realization of my need wasn’t there. And without an awareness of my need, my growth was stunted and my relationship with Jesus was stale—comfortable, but stale.
Once I tasted the richness that comes from a desperate need for God, I knew I didn’t want to go back. Living each day with the conscious understanding that I was going on His power, not my own, was one of the most freeing experiences of my life. I can’t tell you the comfort that comes with giving the control I never really had in the first place completely over to God. Even with the weight of the situation pushing in all around me, in many ways I felt lighter than I ever had before. That was something I didn’t want to lose, but something I feared I might when I was out of the valley, firmly planted on flat, level ground again.
Finally, nearly 9 months after Poppy’s birth, I am here: the place where life is easy and good without any imminent crisis or tragedy on the foreseeable future. In other words, I’ve entered into the potential breeding grounds for complacency; the land where autopilot can be activated without even realizing it! Because of this, I felt a little self-evaluation was in order, and this is what I found.
Yes, it is easier to fall into a cruise control mentality when disaster isn’t looming, and yes, it’s easy to forget my need for Him when so many of my needs have been provided. But being in this place of ease does not dictate a blasé relationship with God! Sure it’s different, but it’s not impossible. Here’s the difference: before, I didn’t have to work to be reminded of how much I needed Him—the reality I was faced with did that for me—whereas now I make a conscious choice to keep Jesus first and ask Him for His strength for each day, even those when I feel like I can do it on my own. In many ways it’s harder than before, as crazy as that sounds, but it’s the truth. The stormy seasons of life have a way of helping us to grow faster than the sunny ones ever will. But that doesn’t mean that God can’t use me, that I can’t love Him more, or that I can’t walk closely with Him like I did when grief was right there beside me.
One of the things I realized I needed to do to keep myself from getting fat and happy, was to get involved in something where I was serving and being actively reminded of my need for God. And just as soon as I started looking for what that was, God plopped it right in my lap. He provided me with the chance to volunteer with Life Choices, the crisis pregnancy center that we adopted Adrienne through. I cannot tell you how excited I am about this, and how much I needed this in my life. I guess what I learned is that God never intended me to just sit and soak, reveling in the easy times of life, being content with little or no growth in my life. Instead, He wants me to be doing what He intended every one of His children to do: be His hands and feet to the hurting and needy all around us. So whether I’m in the valley or on the mountain, God is there. He is just waiting on me to recognize my need.