A friend of mine asked me recently if I thought God gave second chances. I answered a quick and firm, "Absolutely!!"...and 3rd chances, and 4th chances, etc.
I've been the recipient of many of those extra chances over the years...and I am very grateful for them!
Two of the biggest second chances were Luke and Kate. When I was pregnant with Peter and Ellie I was struggling to deal with unresolved grief from losing a child. I was struggling with serious burn out and depression. It was not an easy time for me or my family emotionally.
With therapy and time, I arrived at a better place. I always think of that time as the "dark years" when I feel like I fell short(and often failed) in my role as a wife and a mother. I can't go back to that time, but I did have to come to accept that I did the best I could with what I was going through and pray that God makes up for my shortcomings. (I am blessed with an incredible husband who took up way more than his share of the parenting during those messy years!)
Before Luke and Kate, I always felt guilty about how unhappy I was during the last two pregnancies. I love Peter and Ellie, but I felt disappointed and cheated out of that special time of pregnancy. I had never really had a "blissful" pregnancy(if there really is such a thing). I still carried guilt and shame about Michael's pregnancy when I was pregnant with Andrew and Jon, since we were still so young and not established. The first time I didn't feel guilty for being pregnant was when I was pregnant with Therese...and that pregnancy turned into a nightmare for us. Sarah's pregnancy was washed in fear....followed by Peter and Ellie's which I already described.
When I was pregnant with Luke, things were very different. We were living without help from anyone...I no longer carried the extreme grief of losing a child(though I certainly still grieve occasionally!)...and I am older and more secure in who I am and what my beliefs are.
Luke's pregnancy was a gift in many ways, a "re-do" for me...an opportunity to be pregnant without carrying all the baggage I had in the past. In a way, it was like being pregnant for the first time.(That sounds so strange, I know!)
Then to be blessed with a little girl....and the chance for a pregnancy knowing I was having a healthy baby girl...it just made me feel at peace.
I used to feel that I "deserved" to be disappointed about my feelings during my pregnancies...after all, we didn't make the best decisions as teenagers.
That wasn't the truth. That was just me unable to forgive myself and let go of the guilt and shame. I am so grateful God gave me the chance to experience Luke and Kate's pregnancies with such a joyful state of mind. Out of all the do-overs I've been given, those two are the greatest and most meaningful!
For I know the thoughts that I think towards you, saith the Lord, thoughts of peace, and not of affliction, to give you an end and patience. And you shall call upon me, and you shall go: and you shall pray to me, and I will hear you. You shall seek me, and shall find me: when you shall seek me with all your heart.