Meeting the Lord During Pregnancy
I opened my eyes and looked at the clock. It can’t be 8:00 already! I’m still so tired, I thought as I tried to pull myself out of bed. Nausea and exhaustion tried their hardest to draw me back under the warm blankets, but I knew I needed to gather my wits and get ready for the day.
A spoonful of peanut butter in hand, I sat down at the dining room table to read my Bible. My head was still groggy, and I struggled to grasp the concepts as I read and reread the same passage. I was tempted to just set it aside, wondering if it was worth the effort. Pregnancy brain is a real thing, I reasoned. Too real. But I kept going, trusting that my sincere desire to seek the Lord and hide His Word in my heart would reap the fruit of righteousness (Philippians 1:11).
More than a Checklist
We found out we were expecting our first child the day after graduating from a year-long discipleship training program. It had been an intense year of study and prayer, waking early and spending many hours in God’s presence. Before graduating, I remember often thinking, I am going to stay disciplined once we graduate. I’m going to keep the same schedule of Bible reading and prayer. I will not lose all the spiritual ground I’ve gained! Well, as it turned out, it wasn’t long before I could hardly drag myself out of bed due to morning sickness and extreme fatigue and weakness (which I later found out was due partially to iron deficiency).
I quickly grew discouraged because I wanted so badly to remain disciplined to spend time in the Word and prayer on a daily basis. Now it was all I could do at times to read one chapter or spend a few minutes in prayer.
One day as I was sitting at the table feeling defeated and very unspiritual, the Lord gently began challenging me. I remember the questions so clearly in my heart: Why do you want to be disciplined? Is it simply for the sake of feeling good about yourself? Or is your desire truly to know Me more?
I was so struck by this that my whole perspective began to change in that instant. I started to see that all the discipline in the world really means nothing if it is not for the sake of knowing and loving Jesus. Rather than a task we tick off our checklist to feel more righteous, what He wants is a relationship with us.
He Gently Leads
One verse that comforted me during pregnancy was Isaiah 40:11: “He will tend his flock like a shepherd; he will gather the lambs in his arms; he will carry them in his bosom, and gently lead those that are with young.” God knows that pregnancy is often a very trying time in a woman’s life; He doesn’t beat us over the head when we’re not able to maintain the same habits or schedule we had previously. The Lord is patient and gentle as we learn to traverse this new territory. And as the verse says, He gently leads. He is right there with us, never leaving or forsaking us. When we start to veer off course, He gives us a gentle tap with His rod and brings us back to His path.
Here are a few strategies that can be helpful in building a strong relationship with the Lord during the season of pregnancy (or any season when you find yourself struggling mentally or physically).
Listen to the Bible
While I was pregnant with my son Jude, I began listening to an audio recording of the Bible. I found this to be a wonderful way to saturate my mind and heart with truth throughout the day. I continued to do this after Jude was born, and now he too has listened to the whole Bible several times.
Sometimes when it is hard for me to focus my eyes to read, I will just lie down and listen to Scripture or play it while driving or getting ready in the morning. Listening to the Word while folding laundry or doing dishes is very helpful in keeping my focus on the Lord all day long.
Keep a Prayer Journal
I’ve had terrible brain fog with all my pregnancies, and so I often struggled to maintain focus while praying. I have found that keeping a prayer journal helps me to be more intentional and mindful during my prayer times. Once I spend a little time writing, I find that I’m able to set aside my journal and just talk with the Lord. This habit sets a precedent for the rest of my day as well.
Keeping a journal can help you home in on two or three specific things to pray for. It’s also a great way to record praise reports and answered prayers. Journal with much thanksgiving, and in those inevitable hard moments, you’ll be able to look back on to all the things you have to be thankful for: His salvation, His love, His protection, His patience, His faithfulness—the list goes on and on!
Seek God with Others
During one of my pregnancies, I helped lead a Bible study. This proved to be a wonderful way to hold myself accountable to search God’s Word and really digest it. I still remember the book we studied, and some of the concepts I learned there were planted deeply in my soul. So even though “pregnancy brain” is a very real thing, God can overcome it and help us to grasp His precepts and principles and apply them to our lives.
Another good idea is to study the Word with your husband, if he is willing. Read passages on parenting, pray together, and commit your roles as Mom and Dad to the Lord. This will not only bring you individually closer to the Lord, but closer to one another as well.
Four times now, pregnancy has been a sanctifying season of my life. The Lord has brought sins to light that I had no idea were even an issue. He has walked me through intense times of laying down my pride, selfishness, self-pity, and insecurity. I have recognized my weakness and my need for Him during pregnancy more than almost any other season of life. And I am so thankful!
Whether you’re walking through pregnancy, young motherhood, or any other stage of life, God can use those exact circumstances to draw you closer to Him. Nothing can separate us from His love.
Meet the author:
Heather Cofer lives in Windsor, CO with her husband and four little kiddos. She is a writer for the ministry of Set Apart Girl and loves spending time doing life-on-life discipleship with other women. She enjoys playing piano, modern calligraphy, sipping coffee with her husband, frost-covered trees, and laughter with friends. She has a heart for overseas missions, having grown up on the mission field (where she met her husband), and where both their parents still serve.
*This post is an adapted excerpt from Heather Cofer’s newly released book Expectant: Cultivating a Vision for Christ-Centered Pregnancy.