After Tony and I married, we wanted to wait 5 years before we had children. We wanted to travel more and I wanted to go to law school. However God had other plans for us. So we claimed His promise in Philippians 4:13, “I can do all things through Christ, who strengthens me.” As we embarked on a new stage in our marriage to parenthood, we had nothing to fear because God was going to help and strengthen us. I thought my life was ruined, all my academic goals were gone but little did I know it was just the beginning of a wonderful gift from God.
As soon as we discovered we were expecting a baby, we began to prepare to receive this gift from God.
During the 9 months of my pregnancy, I was more conscious about my health and especially what I ate. I made sure that I drank enough water, slept enough hours, did exercise while Tony assembled our baby’s crib, the stroller, car seat, the swing, among many other things. I also washed all the baby’s clothes and organized it in his dresser. And the list goes on of all our preparations. The same enthusiasm I had in preparing for my baby’s arrival, I realized should be my enthusiasm in preparing for the Son of God, Jesus’ second coming.
Without God’s help I do not know how I could have survived giving birth; it was the most painful, nerve wrecking, yet one of the most beautiful moments of my life. During the delivery and surgery, Tony and I were constantly praying. I was nervous, anxious, yet simultaneously excited. As each painful contraction
came, I only prayed for my baby’s health. You might not believe me, but I could not help to think about Eve and why she ate the forbidden fruit-thanks to her, child bearing is excruciating painful. But now that my baby is here and healthy, I can only give all the honor and glory to God. My baby is a tangible answered prayer.
Becoming a mom has helped me understand more of God’s love for his children: you and me. I now have a better understanding of God as a father. My baby depends on me for everything: feed him, change him, bathe him, hold him, etc. We are also incompetent and cannot do anything without God; from our studies at school, work, raising and providing for our families, much less saving our lives from the enemy. That is why we need God, not only is He our Savior, He is also our father. More importantly, my baby depends on me to learn about God, our heavenly father.
That is why from the very first day we brought our baby home, I began to have morning worship with him. I desire to stay closely connected to God, in order to reflect God’s love and character to my baby. I want my baby to see Jesus through me. Every day I hold my baby, look into his eyes and tell him: I am so happy you are finally with us, I prayed so much for you, welcome home! One day very soon, God will hold you and me; look into our eyes and tell us: I am so happy you are finally with us, welcome home!
Every day I pray asking God to come soon, save my family and take us home with Him. Since my son was born, I have prayed Philippians 4:13 thousands of times – before preaching, moving to a different state, learning how to drive, cooking Thanksgiving dinner for the first time, and even in the delivery room. It’s become one of my favorite promises. I recite it when I need to believe that God will help me get through anything and faithfully He’s kept His promise.
You can use it too – anytime, anywhere, for any situation at all. You can use it right now. Whatever you face today, this promise assures you that Jesus will give you the enough strength to help you get through it.
Paul wrote these words from prison, he had learned the secret for being content even when he was starving or isolated. The secret is knowing that Jesus Christ will give you enough strength to get through anything. He can carry you through the darkest night, the scariest task, the most desperate times, and the most heart-wrenching grief. Alone we are not strong enough but with Him we can make it!
Elena Sandoval is happily married to Pr. Tony and they minister three Hispanic churches, south of Atlanta, in Georgia-Cumberland Conference. They are passionate about connecting and reconnecting people to God.