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And don’t break faith.

And don’t break faith.

And don’t break faith.

Our pastor last Sunday ended his message with these words. And as if they were on a broken record, I heard them spinning wildly around my head. I tried to catch them. Tried to identify why they were inflicting me with such pain, with such confusion, but I couldn’t hold on to them long enough to decipher the message. Instead, my husband broke the spell, gently touched my shoulder, and asked if I was alright. The words dropped from the air, and I quietly walked around them, hoping they would not follow.

But they did.

Slowly, slowly, each word picked itself off the floor, and relentlessly shadowed my every move for three straight days.

And. Don’t. Break. Faith.

Then I realized why these words held such power over me: they took residence in my heart three years ago.

When we married, I was a new Christian. My faith was fresh and exciting, and conspicuously effortless. My faith led me to my charming and devastatingly handsome husband. My faith led me to a full time teaching job in the community I loved. My faith was big, and my boundaries were endless. There was no room for concern, and there was definitely no room for doubt.

Then we found out we were pregnant. Unintentionally. Unwantedly. Surely, God had made a mistake. This was not my life plan; this was not our life plan; and therefore, this certainly could not be God’s plan for my life.

Then we found out we were pregnant with twins.

Then we found out my pregnancy was high risk.

Then we found out we should leave our community to be closer to family.

Then we found out that I’d have to forfeit my permanent teaching position.

And don’t break faith.

Then we moved into my parent’s basement.

Then we went to the doctor’s office.

Then we were sent to the hospital.

Then our sons were born at 29 weeks.

Then they were medevacked 1000 kilometers away.

And…don’t…break… faith.

Then we spent 77 days watching one son grow stronger.

Then we spent 98 days watching one son battle between life and death, numerous times.

And… don’t… break… faith.

Then we were granted almost a year of bliss. Our sons grew more and more resilient, and our love for them ran deeper and deeper. Our new little family used this time to stabilize, to mature, and to bloom. My husband and I learned more during that year than words can even aspire to describe. Learning about each other, about our sons, about our marriage, about ourselves, about our relationship with God. We were happy.

Having believed we weathered the storm, our ambitious selves returned, and we set to live the life we once intended, but now with the addition of two new little bodies. We bought a house in our old community. We moved our family back north. And God responded by giving my husband a job. My faith was growing again.

Then our sons were constantly sick.

Then one son was hospitalized.

Then the other son was hospitalized.

Then they were both released, but still sick.

And…don’t break faith.

Then one son was hospitalized.

Then I was offered my dream teaching position, but had to turn it down. Twice.  

Then the other son was hospitalized.

Then one son was not getting better.

Then one son required serious medical treatment.

Then one son needed to be medevacked, again.

Then I held my breath as one son sounded a code blue alarm throughout the hospital.

And…

And… don’t… break…

And… don’t… break… faith.

And don’t break faith.

These words never leave me alone. Never.

I find them hard. I find them stubborn. I find them resolute. What’s more, I find them hard to say–I find them hard to believe. But, I always find them. Time and time again, they are always there. They silently reside in my heart, they silently sustain my soul, they silently uphold my faith. Sometimes I hate that they are always there. Really, how can they still be there? How can they still manifest hardship after hardship? How do they still exude so much power in my life? There were too many times over the last three years when I wished they would die, wished they’d disappear and allow me to swallow myself, to cloak myself with nothingness. But, they never died, they never disappeared.

And don’t break faith.

These last three years have tried my faith. There was a time when I believed I had nothing more to give, no more faith on which I could rely. Yet, it was also during this exact moment when my faith became the only thing I could cling to–the only reason I could face the day, the only reason I could sleep at night.

As my life plan continually becomes more and more clouded, further and further away from my selfish hopes and dreams, I find these words working through my veins, pumping straight from my heart.

And don’t break faith.

So God Made a Mother book by Leslie Means

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So God Made a Mother's Story Keepsake Journal

Nicole Schroeder

Having moved to the Great White North, Nicole considers herself blessed to call the Yukon Territory home. Although many great adventures await outside her door, she knows the greatest adventure resides within the walls of her home. Between her amazing husband, twin 2 year-old sons, loyal dog, and the Grace of God, Nicole wakes each morning looking forward to a life filled with love, laughter and work. While there have been many ups and downs, Nicole tries to find the joy in each day, and always makes time for a good cup of coffee mixed with chocolate milk. Introverted by nature, Nicole communicates best through the written word--you can catch more of Nicole's writing at https://introvertedperspectivecom.wordpress.com/

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