7 years ago this blog was growing and reaching people far more than I could have ever imagined. I was networking with other bloggers, growing social media pages, and I had big dreams for how the Lord would use Mystery32 to reach marriages all over the world.
We received our first positive pregnancy test at the height of this growth. We had not been trying for very long and were both nervous and ecstatic for a child. Unfortunately, that excitement did not last for very long as I had a miscarriage just a few days later. To say I was heartbroken is an understatement. I never knew how much I really wanted a child until one was taken away from me. You can read more about that journey here and here.
We immediately began trying again, but it did not happen quite as easy as it had at first. Waiting was agonizing, but I believed that the Lord had promised us a child, and lo and behold, another positive test came later that year. We were now even more nervous and honestly terrified. Both of losing a child again, and at the thought of having one! But God was faithful, and our Isaac was born in April of 2013.
This is where things started to change, with us individually and with our marriage. I loved being a mom more than I could have ever imagine (and still do!), but I also lost my capacity for writing. I would try and try to write a blog post, but it is as if my brain replied with a big fat “NOPE” in return. I managed to get a few things out, but nothing that I was ever proud of. In retrospect, I can see the Lord’s hand in it all. He was gently telling me “not now.” He knew that my family needed to be my primary focus. He knew the struggles that were to come. And He knew that Mystery32 was to be put on the back burner for awhile. I hoped that “awhile” would be a few weeks, but here we are, 6 years later, and the blog has been pretty quiet.
I changed more than I could have ever thought I would after having a baby, but my marriage changed as well. Matt and I were both learning our new roles as parents. And we were learning how to continue being married in the process. Statistics will tell you that marriages struggle after children are introduced to the family, and we saw that first hand. Ours was a bit of a slow burn. We weren’t fighting, we were not openly struggling, but things were just “off.” I was learning how to be a stay-at-home mom and how to do everything with a child attached to me while also learning how to take care of myself. Looking back, I can tell you that postpartum depression was probably involved, but even with two degrees in psychology, that wasn’t something I could recognize in myself at the time. Matt was struggling with letting go of his former life. The life in which we could do whatever we wanted whenever we wanted. I think there was probably some frustration with me as my focus shifted so much to another, and in that struggle, he did not see the slow, creeping decent of our marriage. Pornography made it’s way back into our home and Satan was slowly trying to tear us apart without us even realizing it.
It was just before Christmas of that year that I felt the weight of our quiet struggles and only saw it growing. We went on a date and I shared with him what I was feeling. I told him that I felt like our marriage was in the hardest place that it had ever been in. It was a raw and hard discussion, one that was very eye opening to both of us as I realized that Matt wasn’t even aware that there were issues, and I had been carrying the weight primarily on my own.
God’s grace was upon us during that time. I’m so grateful that He brought all of this to our attention and that we had the opportunity to talk it through. We began making changes in our night time routines to spend more intentional time together, and to add more date nights to the schedule as well. We shared with our church group what was going on and they prayed for us, encouraged us, and really loved us through that time. Matt had men that came alongside him in his struggles and kept him accountable. And even in the hardest time, the Lord brought us out of the pit and back towards one another.
The time between that first positive test until that hard Christmas was less than 2 years. We were also dealing with a significant family loss, moving, and many daily stressors as well. We were told that a child would change everything and it did. Not because of our child, but because having a child revealed our own personal selfishness, and the holes in our marriage where we were not nurturing it enough. I had degrees in the area of marriage, I had a blog in the area of marriage, but despite all that, it is impossible to be perfect in your marriage. God sometimes uses the gift of children to reveal those things to us. It is then our choice as to how we will respond. Cry out for His help? Or continue down that hard path on our own?
The story doesn’t end there. I’ll post part two soon. But I want to leave you with this: Children are a gift from the Lord and nothing but. The Bible tells us to be fruitful and multiply and that is only for our good. Children do not make things worse (as our culture so often likes to think), but they can make things harder. Harder does not equal worse. Harder simply means that we need Jesus MORE. And when has more Jesus ever been a bad thing?
Feel free to also read more HERE where we shared our testimony with our church a few weeks ago. And check back next week for part 2.