Towards the end of last year, God gave me the word “Increase” as my word for the year 2018. I didn’t know exactly what this would mean for me or for our family, but I went with it and looked up the definition to gain more clarity.
increase – (verb) become or make greater in size, amount, intensity, or degree; add to, make larger, make bigger
synonyms…. grow, get bigger, get larger, enlarge, expand, swell; rise, climb, escalate, soar, surge, rocket, intensify, strengthen, extend, heighten, stretch, spread, widen, multiply
increase – (noun) an instance of growing or making greater
synonyms… growth, rise, enlargement, expansion, extension, multiplication, elevation, inflation; intensification, amplification, surge
So after reading the definitions of the word and the synonyms, I absolutely wanted this to be my word. I was reminded of the Prayer of Jabez, “Oh that You would bless me and enlarge my territory! Let your hand be with me, and keep me from hard times so that I will be free from pain.”
1 Chronicles 4:10
Jabez wanted to succeed and increase his sphere of influence for God. What is important here is that when we want to reach for goals and accomplishments that we have God on our side. Proverbs 16:3 says, “Commit thy works unto the Lord, and thy thoughts shall be established.” This has been my prayer this year, that I would increase in my trust and faith in what God has for us, and my plans and thoughts would be established that are aligned with His will for us.
This is April, and I’ve already seen so much Increase in my life for 2018. After losing our baby in December of last year, our response has been worship and trust. We didn’t understand. It wasn’t our choice, but we accepted what God had us go through.
The most beautiful moment for me was worshipping with my husband in the car the evening of my surgery as we traveled to visit with family. The fact that we chose to worship together, amidst one of the biggest struggles we’ve ever faced was an incredible thing for us. I can’t say that I would have always chosen that response, but I just knew that God had greater plans still. I was thankful that He’d brought me far enough along in my Christian walk that I could just fall into his arms and let Him hold us there.
Since then, I believe that we’ve leaned in all the more closer to Him this year to see just what He has in store for us. He’s led us to make some tough decisions, and we don’t know what all they will lead to, but we are trusting Him fully, knowing that He has great things in store for us always, better than we could ever imagine. He has never let us down, and He won’t start now.
One of the songs that we sang together in the car on that ride was Captain by Hillsong United. Music always speaks to me, and since that day, it’s been one that I’ve played most often.
“Through waters uncharted my soul will embark
I’ll follow Your voice straight into the dark
And if from the course You intend I depart
Speak to the sails of my wandering heart”
“Like the wind You’ll guide
Clear the skies before me
And I’ll glide this open sea
Like the stars, Your Word
Will align my voyage
And remind me where I’ve been
And where I am going”
“Lost in the shallows amidst fear and fog
Your truth is the compass
That points me back north
Jesus, my Captain
My soul’s trusted Lord
All my allegiance is rightfully Yours”
“Jesus, my Captain
My soul’s trusted Lord
All my allegiance is rightfully Yours”
This year I have seen Increase in my trust and my faith in the Lord. I have grown. My faith has intensified, strengthened, and it’s a good year.
The Lord has remembered us; he will bless us; he will bless those who fear the Lord, both the small and the great. May the Lord give you increase, you and your children! May you be blessed by the Lord, who made the heaven and earth! Psalm 115:12-15
After our miscarriage, we weren’t emotionally ready to get pregnant again. I needed some time to heal there. Then, God spoke to us, we put our house up for sale, and lots of things are now up in the air for us. It feels like we are following God’s voice straight into the dark, like the song says, because of all of the unknowns we are facing this year and decisions we’ve made. Into the dark, maybe, but still fully trusting. I began to start thinking about our family again a few months ago, and I just began to pray about it and bring those thoughts to the Lord. I didn’t think I was ready to have a baby, and with all of the unknowns we were facing, it didn’t seem like a very wise decision to make. I just voiced my prayers and asked that God would align my heart with his will for us in this area, and that He would do the same for Justin. And with that, He did. We didn’t know it at the time, but God already had plans for us to Increase our family as well this year. We are expecting baby #4 in December.
After our miscarriage last year, we decided to keep this pregnancy a secret until we had a healthy ultrasound. I had full faith that this was going to be a healthy pregnancy, but I guess we just proceeded with caution to make it a little easier for us, emotionally. Today, was that day. My ultrasound tech measured me about a week ahead of what we calculated, and I saw our baby on that screen today. I can’t tell you that relief that I felt just by seeing something in that gestational sac, where last year I saw nothing. And then to see movement, and know that there is a life there, with a healthy heart rate of 166, it’s our baby! We are blessed, and I am so filled with joy today.
I couldn’t help but cry tears of joy on my way home today, as I, again worshipped, and thanked God for this blessing. I guess it’s a trend that I always cry on that drive home from Lucedale, Before it was tears of fear and sadness, but today it was joy and gladness.
We planned three, but we couldn’t see… God’s plan was four, so we’re having one more!
“Children are a heritage from the Lord, offspring a reward from Him. Like arrows in the hands of a warrior are children born in one’s youth. Blessed is the man whose quiver is full of them.”