A Note From Melanie

Dear Friends,
I know I don’t often post, but I want to let you know that I do so appreciate all of you who have supported us with prayers and encouraging blog comments over the past many months. We are so very blessed to have you all as friends – even though many of you we have never met face to face.

It seems so amazing to look back at the past year. Just a little over nine months ago we learned that God had answered our prayers for a second child. Little did we know what a journey lay ahead. Now I am writing  with Abigail beside me. What a joy it is that God has given us 7 weeks with her!

I never could have guessed what an adjustment there is to being a mother. The first few weeks were so very hard; exhaustion, physical pain, and then the added challenge of postpartum depression. I’ve never felt so low in my life.

One of the verses I had memorized while on bed rest was: “Humble yourselves therefore under the mighty hand of God, that he may exalt you in due time: Casting all your care upon him; for he careth for you” (1 Peter 5:6-7). It was hard for me to accept that this was the path God had allowed. All the heartache, trials, and pain of the last 2 years seemed rolled into one big package weighing on my heart.

• “Humble yourselves therefore under the mighty hand of God” – accept what He had allowed in my life.

• “…Casting all your care upon him …” – I sure had plenty of that, for there were moments when I found myself nearly paralyzed with fears and anxiety; from concern for Abigail to worrying about the economic stability of  nation (and everything in between).

• “…for he careth for you.” – Here was the truth I needed to cling to: God cares for me. He would see me through and give me strength and hope for each new day.

It was so weird to feel so low, when I was experiencing a dream come true…
Thankfully, by God’s grace, I am feeling so much better. Now I can look down at our baby girl and with a peaceful heart, rejoice in the gift from God that she is!

I am so grateful for the faithful, loving support that Nathan is for me. He has been so patient, and so faithful to speak truth to me. So many times while I was on bed rest I would tell him, “I think the baby will come soon.” He would simply remind me that the baby needed more time, and, “No, the baby is not coming for a while yet.”  That is the kind of support I need – he is so good to keep me on track.

We are so grateful to the Lord for His mercy to us. What a blessing it is that Abigail made it to 34 weeks gestation. She had such a smoother road than if she had been born at 26 weeks (when I first was diagnosed with pre-term labor). He has sustained us and provided for us through all the bumps and turns. Now He has given us a little girl to raise and love. Praise the Lord!

I love being a mommy! What a joy it is to get to walk into the nursery in the morning and greet Abigail…to sit feeding her and get to gaze at her little face and hold her hand…to watch Nathan holding her and talking to her…to watch her Grandparents, Great-Grandparents, Aunts, Uncles, and cousin, hold her…and yes, even to be up in the middle of the night pacing the floor singing to her. What a joy it is to have a daughter!

I know that there are many people with challenges of their own right now. Some may be experiencing what we have gone through – infertility, the loss of a child, complicated pregnancy, hospital time…or many other challenges that are part of life on this earth. I pray that the Lord Jesus Christ will be your comfort and your strength, and that you will be able to humble yourself under His hand, throwing down your fears and worries at His feet, gaining a peaceful heart, knowing that God cares for you and lead see you safely through!
Resting in Christ,
Melanie
 

27 thoughts on “A Note From Melanie”

  1. I have not met you but met your family at a MACHE conference in Duluth MN. I am happy to hear that you and your sweet daughter are doing well. Our third child went was born into the arms of Jesus on March 20, 2006. This was a very difficult time and it continues to be challenging as at time I am overcome with missing my sweet Hannah. On May 5, 2007 we were blessing with a bubbly and cheery boy. I will lift you up in prayer as I pray for my own peace and contentment with the Lord’s good and perfect will. Blessings to you and your family.

  2. Melanie,

    God Bless You for sharing your journey through the valley – including the postpartum. Though I’ve never experienced such I know others who have. Yours is the first testimony of God leading through it – as I knew He could.

    To God be the glory!

  3. Thank you for sharing your heart Melanie. Your words have encouraged me right at this very moment! We are rejoicing with you for your newest little lady and pray He continues to bless your entire family.

    Aloha in Christ,
    Denise B.

  4. Thank you for sharing your journey Melanie. It has ministered to my heart. I too have hit that low after my babies were born and God did some amazing work in my life.
    Congratulations to you and Nathan!
    Sara S.

  5. Melanie,

    It is so good to hear from you and to hear your testimony! I am glad that you are feeling better and that you are enjoying & adjusting to being a mama! The Lord has blessed your family so much and you have all been a great inspiration to my family! Your faith in the Lord, even during the very trying times of the past 2 years has been amazing! May the Lord continue to bless you and your family!!!

    Blessings,
    Vania

  6. It is one of those things with becoming a mother that no one can prepare you for…the drop in hormones. It is a scary and frustrating road to navigate because you want to rejoice in this new life and instead your heart is gripped with sadness and fear. I think it must be compounded for the mother who has so longed for a baby and yet feels sadness instead of rejoicing. With each new baby it becomes easier to see the drop in hormones coming and to be prayed up and on the ready to take each thought captive. The mind is a powerful tool and it is amazing how when we paint the walls of our mind with Truth we don’t succumb to the fears. With my third baby I spent a lot of time beforehand praying for joy and peace when the baby arrived. When he did arrive I felt the physical drop coming and I pictured myself hanging on and staying above the raging water and just kept praying. It was amazing how when I did not let the first fearful thought grip me…the depression was held at bay and I was able to have that joy and peace I prayed for. Now two (almost three) babies later I can say God is faithful and seeing His faithfulness again and again brings much peace. God has taught you so much…thanks for sharing. Melissa.

  7. Melanie, I am so glad that you posted. It was such an encouragement. I am so glad to hear your’re feeling better. I too had postpartum depression. It is an indescribable feeling. One I don’t care to feel again. God is so good though and he is so faithful to take care of us. God bless your family. In Christ, E. P.

  8. Melanie — thank you so much for sharing your new motherhood experience! I remember feeling so prepared for the birth experience and completely unprepared for what life is like AFTER the baby is born so I, too, struggled with my new lifestyle as a parent! Thankfully, God designs parenthood perfectly, and after you catch up on a little sleep (or adapt to getting less of it), it’s the most rewarding experience you will ever have on this Earth. I remember feeling like I knew everything about life before I had children, and boy, was I ever completely wrong about that!

    God Bless you and your wonderful husband as you travel through this exciting time. And give yourself a break when you need one.

  9. Oh my! God is sooooo good! I happened to stumble back here after having not visited your site for a very long time. I used to be one of the moms on the Moms Board (I truly miss this 🙂 ). I also met you all at a homeschool conference in Virginia where I attended with my family several years ago. I have taken an interest in photography recently and just happened to stumble upon an article by Christopher and it brought me back to visit. I remember when Nathan and Melanie were courting and then engaged and then married! What a journey the Lord has taken you on and what a mighty testimony you have to use for His Glory! Praise God! Congratulations on your amazing little miracle. She’s so beautiful.

    God Bless,
    Christina N of Virginia

  10. Thank you so much for sharing with us, Melanie. I was touched… Reading your post brought tears to my eyes… We have never met, but I been following your story since before you were blessed with little Susannah. I have shed tears and have rejoiced with you. I’m happy to read you are feeling much better and are able to fully enjoy your beautiful Abigail. May the Lord continue to be your strength and fill your heart with peace and joy. Thank you again for taking the time to share. 🙂

  11. Thank you, Melanie, for your words of encouragment… and for your honesty. This time will be a testimony to little Abigail of God’s goodness!

  12. Next motherhood challenge:

    Watching little Abigail grow out of something that you waited for her to grow into 🙂

    Blessings on you and your family! You and Nathan are everything that I had hoped my life could have been.

  13. You have me weeping. I echo Karen’s words. You are blessed to know the truth and walk in it. You don’t walk alone. You have a husband and extended family to walk with you and speak words of truth to you. You must imagine what your sharing, through this blog, means to those of us who struggle to rely on the Lord with little to no help from others. You truly help shine light on the path. Thank you.

  14. Melanie,
    Thank you for sharing your heart! I have been privileged and blessed to pray for you for many years. Your family is beautiful! Abigail is truly precious!
    Blessings,
    Amy in MI

  15. melanie, we have been prying for you all, and it is such a joy to hear from you. blessings on you, nathan and precious abigail.

  16. I can’t tell you what joy it brings to our hearts to see the pure delight on your face in each of the pictures of you holding Abigail. Though we’ve never met you, we’ve been praying for you, crying with you and now sharing in your joy, ever since your first pregnancy. When you went into preterm labor with Abigail, we were praying night and day for you. We’re thrilled beyond words that your little one is now cradled in your arms.

  17. Melanie, it was such a joy to hear from you. I sit here with tears in my eyes… so overjoyed with and for you, and remembering my own horrible battles with depression over the years. Thank you so much for sharing that verse. I have been very poor at memorizing God’s Word, but it is SO important.

    I am expecting baby number 6 and just found out I have gestational diabetes. This will be the first baby I have not been able to have at home in 12 years, and I have been battling a certain amount of fear. The baby is fine, praise God, but there are other issues. Anyway, thank you again for being so open and honest. It is so helpful to know that even the strongest, most faithful Christians who love the Lord so much still struggle with the same things.

    And the lady above me posted what pure joy it is to see the delight on your face in all the pictures of you with Abigail. I wholeheartedly agree!! It puts a smile on my face every time.

    God bless you and your beautiful family.

  18. I admire you for your honesty about how difficult the time leading up to and after Abigail’s birth has been. We get this image presented to us that motherhood is a completely smooth process, all happiness and joy, simplicity itself, but the reality is much more complex. Your honest admission of the good and the bad will almost certainly help other mothers feel as though they are not alone, that they are not somehow ‘defective’ for failing to live up to the stereotypes society imposes upon us. Thank you for that.

  19. Thank you for updating us on how you are doing Melanie. I have also struggled with depression from hormone imbalance, and it is a horrible feeling. I remember those times as being so emotionally low, yet, in my mind being hopeful because of my trust in Jesus that I would not always feel this way. My mind and heart would tell me that I would climb out of the valley, but somehow it felt so deep and I felt like I was drowning in it. That is my explanation now, on the other side, anyway. Hormones do some crazy things, and I’m sure satan takes every opportunity to gain a foothold as well. Anyway, praise the Lord you are feeling better and that Abigail is doing well. Being a mommy is awesome and I know you are doing a fabulous job. Having support from a wonderful spouse and godly family makes all the difference as well. My husband is amazing and when he speaks truth to me and prays over me, I know that things are going to be ok. I am so happy for you and Nathan. Thank you for keeping us informed and sharing pictures. I am always excited to see them and you are continuously in my prayers. God Bless!

  20. Thank you so much for your honesty, Melanie. We have cried with you, prayed for you and asked for God to cover your family with His grace and mercy even though we have never met you in person.

    We are rejoicing greatly at God’s goodness in giving you Abigail. Thank you for being such a good testimony of Jesus Christ even in your weakest times. My faith has been challenged and I have been encouraged to trust Jesus more because of your testimony.

    Have a blessed day!

  21. Thank you for your honestly and transparency in sharing what has been on your heart with all of us – I can relate to what you wrote and your words have really encouraged me today. God bless you and may you never forget how real God can become in the midst of our hard times. His promises are true forever and ever!

    Amen!

    Blessings,
    Mrs. Gina W.

  22. God used your post the day you sent it out. I was working on my new schedule, so I visited the website to look at some sample schedules. I popped over to the blog, and read your post. I needed the verse I Peter 5:6-7 that very hour. Thank you for being used of God to minister to my heart.
    I love seeing the pictures of sweet Abigail. I pray the Lord will continue to be “the lifter of your head.” Praise His Holy Name!

  23. It was so good to hear from you, Melanie. I have been thinking of you and praying for you often and wondering how you were doing. Thank you for honestly sharing what life has been somewhat like for you. Our first child was not a preemie, but we had our own struggles with him and myself at the time and I found mothering to be not at all what I expected. I had longed to be a Mom and then was completely ‘blindsighted’ by all the things you mentioned. There’s so much you can read about and prepare for, and yet there’s so much you cannot prepare for — you just have to experience it. I say this to simply encourage your heart that what you’ve experienced is normal. You’re not weird or bad or wrong…..it’s ‘normal’ and is all a part of the process.

    What process? 🙂

    The process of refining. I loved what you shared about being humbled under his hand. We went through an extremely difficult season about 5 years ago and I, too, experienced a “low” that I never knew possible. Oh, I’d heard of others who had been ‘depressed’, etc., but I, personally, had never experienced such a low, and just figured if they were truly praying or reading the Word then they wouldn’t have to go through something like that. What pride. I mean, I was literally on the couch, sobbing, panic-stricken, unable to pray/sing, or do anything to get me ‘out of’ the ‘hole’ I suddenly found myself in and this lasted for days on end, no sleep. I felt like I was going to go ‘crazy’. I remember our Pastor and some friends coming to our house and praying with my husband and I. We were leaders in the church, others looked to us for guidance, and somehow I was now at the lowest point of my life and feeling so utterly helpless to get out of this ‘pit’ I was in, not by my own doing. I expected them to challenge us and ‘reproove’ us or something, but I’ll never forget those moments — our pastor was so tender, so caring and he just looks at me and says, “It’s ok to be weak. You don’t have to have all the answers, and don’t have to have it all figured out. You don’t have to be strong. It’s ok to let down and be weak.” and in those moments, something happened as he gave me ‘permission’ to be weak. I realized that internally I had said to myself, “You SHOULD know better. You SHOULD be able to get out of this. You SHOULD………blah, blah, blah.” and all it was causing me to do was fall deeper into despair because I ‘couldn’t’. Nothing I’d ever known before was ‘working’, and as he gave me permission to be weak, something ‘broke’ and it began my own journey of learning to give myself permission to be weak. I don’t have it in front of me, but there’s a verse in Jeremiah that our pastor also shared where he says that those who boast should boast in this — that they know the Lord and his lovingkindness. What? Not boasting that I know this verse or that verse? Not boasting about my prayer life? But, that I know the Lord and His lovingkindness? And, that began a journey of focusing simply on God’s character and His lovingkindness, not on my own strength or ‘spirituality’, etc.

    I sit here almost 5 years later, and I want to tell you — I have a new relationship with the Lord. Through that valley of despair, I entered a place of weakness and brokenness that I did not initially desire, but yet I am so grateful for. Because through that I learned the tenderness and compassion of the Lord, like never before. I began to focus less on MY pursuit of God and what I was doing, and more on what HE was doing, and on HIS pursuit of my weak, little heart. Weakness is a gift and Faith is a gift. I don’t take that for granted anymore. I am more aware than ever before that I cannot sustain my own heart. Sure, I can do all the things I should be doing — reading the word, praying, etc.; however, the reality is — I am sustained by Jesus Christ, and His love for me. I love Him ONLY because He first loved me. I pursue Him only because He is pursuing me. My focus is less on me and more on Him — that is what brokeneness and weakness does. It is a gift. He is a faithful refiner. And because of this, my focus with others is also more ‘Heavenward’ now. I’m less quick to judge and more focused on God’s pursuit of their weak, little hearts as well. It’s amazing how when you find yourself in a place of weakness, such as you described — God uses that to create a new tenderness and compassion for others, as well.

    The struggles we encounter in this life are truly struggles and they’re difficult, but……..they’re not in vain. They’re working in us an eternal weight of glory. Everything we go through is “Father-filtered”, for our good and for His glory. I don’t understand it all, and I don’t like it all — but, I’m learning to believe nothing I go through has not first passed His gaze, and He has greater purposes than I can understand with my human eyes/brain. So, I rest in knowing Him and His lovingkindness and faithful pursuit of my heart.

    My prayer for you continues to be the same. That you may know a love that surpasses knowledge and be drawn deeper and deeper into the faithful heart of your Father. That with the same comfort you’ve received, you’ll be able to comfort others.

    With love in Christ,
    Debi

  24. Melanie…Thank-You for your posting. Your words are very encouraging.

    I experienced some postpartum with both the births of my two children. It was hard to see the light at the end of the tunnel sometimes. What was even harder was when I would share some of this we my close friends…they couldn’t relate. So I felt even more horrible. Like something was wrong with me. God brought me threw both times but I will admit I would just like to advoid it all together. I even said to my husband the other day. I want another baby but I am scared about the sadness afterwards. I know its not right to be scared. I know where not to worry about the future. God says in his word he cares for the birds of the field and how much more will he care for us.

    Thank-You for your honesty. Thank-You for the verses.

    In Christ,
    Lydia

  25. Thank you so much for sharing. you brought tears to my yes too. not of pity, but in appreciation of your honesty. I had a baby 3 weeks ago and have been in tears a lot lately. This is my fifth and I have no help and had to jump back in quickly. We had also planned a homebirth but had to rush to the hospital because of our baby’s heart tones. Everything went well and baby is OK. BUt, we had to mourn things not going as we planned and were sort of dumb struck for a while. I am totally blessed and content, but sad just the same. I guess it does make sense. I think I should go nurse my baby and have some St Johns Wort tea 🙂 Thank you Melanie. I will be praying for you.

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