“I can’t wait for 2020 to be over.”

“2021 is going to be the ultimate fresh start!”

I can’t tell you how many times I’ve heard these expressions, or expressions like them. 2020 has been quite the year for all of us. The world seems like it’s falling apart. As I’ve thought a lot about the hope that many people have for 2021, I’ve realized there’s some good news, and there’s some bad news. As most people seem to prefer this option, I’m going to share the bad news first.

The bad news is, things are not going to get better in 2021. In fact, things on this earth are not ever going to get better. We’re getting closer and closer to the last days, and things are just going to get progressively worse.

2 Timothy 3:1

This know also, that in the last days perilous times shall come.

2 Timothy 3:13

But evil men and seducers shall wax worse and worse, deceiving, and being deceived.

There is no hope for the future of this earth. Perilous times have come, and they aren’t going to go away. But there really is good news.

The good news is, our hope is not in this world. Our hope is in the Lord and our future in heaven with Him.

2 Corinthians 4:17-18

For our light affliction, which is but for a moment, worketh for us a far more exceeding and eternal weight of glory; while we look not at the things which are seen, but at the things which are not seen: for the things which are seen are temporal; but the things which are not seen are eternal.

Romans 8:18

For I reckon that the sufferings of this present time are not worthy to be compared with the glory which shall be revealed in us.

Revelation 21:4

And God shall wipe away all tears from their eyes; and there shall be no more death, neither sorrow, nor crying, neither shall there be any more pain: for the former things are passed away.

Revelation 22:20

He which testifieth these things saith, Surely I come quickly. Amen. Even so, come, Lord Jesus.

If you’re overwhelmed by the ways our world has changed for the worse, take heart that this world is not your home if you have accepted Christ as your Savior. No matter how this world continues to decline, He is always the same, and He is always good. And He will keep His promise to come back for us. My heart is echoing the words of the Apostle John: Amen. Even so, come, Lord Jesus!

Two years ago today, I woke up early. I had had a sneaking suspicion for a couple of days that I might be pregnant, and this was the day I was going to take the test, just to make sure that I wasn’t before we left for vacation two days later. I didn’t tell my husband, of course. My husband loves surprises, and if it was positive, I would get to give him the ultimate surprise!

I placed the test face down on the bathroom counter and waited the prescribed amount of time before looking at the result. The minutes felt like hours, but when I finally looked at the result, I was elated to see an unmistakable blue plus sign! In anticipation of that day, I had purchased a mug that said “dad” and a pair of baby shoes. I quietly sneaked around the house gathering my surprises and placed them on the kitchen table at my husband’s place, along with the positive pregnancy test.

When my husband woke up, we went to the kitchen together, and he immediately saw his surprise. He was just as elated as I had been! We sat down on the couch together and prayed for this little baby God had given us that He would use their life for His glory.

That was the day I became a mother. I was a typically cautious mother, watching what I ate and taking my prenatal vitamins religiously. My husband and I carried around our happy little secret for a few weeks, sharing our good news with our family and close friends. We took a cute little pregnancy announcement photo with the same pair of baby shoes I had used to tell my husband about our expected baby.

Twenty-seven long days later, we went to the doctor for the first time and got to hear our precious baby’s heartbeat. Five days after that, we posted our happy announcement on social media. We had passed the much anticipated eight week mark, believing nothing bad could happen now. I got to enjoy being pregnant for twelve more days, and then I started having complications. We went back to the doctor, and our little baby no longer had a heartbeat.

We named our first baby Gwenivere Faith. And even though I only knew of her existence for forty-four days, even though I never got to hold her in my arms, even though her little feet never filled the shoes I had bought for her, she made me a mother. And she changed everything about the way I do motherhood. She changed me from a typically cautious mother to an overly cautious mother. She taught me to not take anything for granted. And she left a little hole in my heart that nothing can fill.

God gave us another baby after Gwenivere, and that little girl will turn one on Sunday. I love her with all my heart, and I wouldn’t trade her for anything in the world. Some may think she made me a mother, but I’ll always know the truth. Gwenivere was the one who made me a mother, two years ago today.

I’m writing this because I know miscarriage is more common than anyone would like to believe. After hearing so many stories from my friends, I feel like it has to be more than “one in four.” But I also know that when you’re the one going through it, it feels like you’re the only one. I don’t know who you are, but as I’ve thought about Gwenivere throughout this day, I’ve had you on my mind today too. And I want you to know that you are not alone. And I want you to know that you are a mother, whether or not God ever gives you a baby to hold in your arms. The moment you saw that positive pregnancy test, you became a mother, for better or for worse. And that’s a gift. Sometimes it’s a painful gift. But it’s still a gift.

More than anything, I want you to know there is hope. My Gwenivere is in heaven. I have hope I’ll see her again someday. If you’ve trusted Jesus, you can have that hope too. That doesn’t mean you won’t grieve or imagine all the “what ifs.” But you can have confidence that there’s a beautiful reunion coming one day. What a day that will be!

It’s been a busy week settling into our new home; there hasn’t been much time to just sit down and let my mind rest. I love writing, but the thought of sitting down this afternoon to write a blog post for the world to read was actually nauseating. My current thoughts are probably best left to journals. You almost got a blog post entitled “The Piddly Stuff,” dear reader. I realized that if I was going to be able to create something meaningful, I needed to be kind to myself and let my mind rest for a few minutes. I voiced my need to my husband who took the baby to her room for a few minutes so I could refresh myself.

I put water in the kettle and pumpkin pie Pop-Tarts in the toaster oven while I scooped out some loose leaf green tea. When my tea was brewed and my Pop-Tarts were toasty, I went to my bedroom, closed the door, and opened a book. While I allowed myself to get lost in the story, I enjoyed my Pop-Tarts and green tea. And that’s exactly what my mind needed. It only took a few minutes, but it made a huge difference in my ability to think and function in the tasks that God has called me to do.

I am a firm believer in taking time to rest. Our society values a busy lifestyle, and it’s definitely good to be diligent to do the work God has called us to do! However, rest is something God instituted from the very beginning of time. He rested on the seventh day after finishing creation, not because He needed to, but because He wanted to set an example for us. He created sabbath rest so that we could be refreshed.

Exodus 23:12

Six days thou shalt do thy work, and on the seventh day thou shalt rest: that thine ox and thine ass may rest, and the son of thy handmaid, and the stranger, may be refreshed.

Although keeping the sabbath was Old Testament law, Jesus did not abolish the sabbath; He redefined it. When the Pharisees criticized His disciples for picking corn to eat on the Sabbath, He responded with this:

Mark 2:27

And he said unto them, The sabbath was made for man, and not man for the sabbath:

The sabbath was made for man. Rest was made for our good. The sabbath is not meant to be a day of rigidly observing the law by doing nothing; it’s a principle meant to be followed to refresh ourselves.

What can you do to refresh yourself today? I know it’s hard to find that time with little ones at home, and you may not have the opportunity for someone to watch them, even for a few minutes. But could you take some time after they go to bed to do something to refresh yourself? For so long I felt like I had to immediately try to fall asleep after the baby went to bed so I could get as many minutes of sleep as possible before she woke up. But I’m learning that it’s much more profitable to take a few minutes to refresh myself. After my baby goes to bed, I write in my journal and put on my favorite lip balm and lotion. When I do this, I actually sleep better. Whatever it is for you, I challenge you to do something to refresh yourself today and remember that rest is a gift from God.