05 Nov Reconnecting with My Faith
I haven’t really spoken about my faith, because it’s always been a complicated and very personal conversation but I have been wanting to open up and share more about my journey and where I am.
I grew up in a very religious family; my grandparents are Christian missionaries who have travelled throughout South Africa doing God’s work. I spent a lot of time with my grandparents and lived with them from time to time, so I learnt a lot about my faith through them, in fact, I was the 4-year old singing “Jesus Loves Me” at the top of my lungs and would proudly point at my heart and the heavens when asked, “Where does Jesus live?” As I grew older, I remember being the only student in my class with my own Holy Bible for Bible Studies, and my teachers loving just how much I knew about the Bible, but it was during those years that I started to distance myself from my roots.
It wasn’t that I ever lost my faith – I always knew that God was there, watching over me – but I just didn’t let God’s presence pour into every corner of my life. I felt like my relationship with him was mine to figure out, and just like any teenager and their parent; our relationship was complicated.
It was only when I was about to give birth to Axl that I felt a shift in our relationship; the kind that makes you stand back in awe of His glory and a moment that makes me want to cry every time that I relive it.
We were in the fifth hour of active labour, the contractions were intense enough that I had started throwing up and passing out from the pain. Darren kept on having to catch me and hold me up, and I had lost all strength and energy. The nurse confirmed that I was still only 3cm dilated, and that they’d need to put me on a drip to get my energy up. I asked that before they do, could I please go to the bathroom.
I remember standing there, with my head against the wall in an awkward squatting pose as the next contraction came and went… I couldn’t do this. I didn’t have the strength and I knew that I wasn’t going to make it. So, I prayed. I prayed so hard that the tears streamed down my face. I asked for His strength and for Him to help me through this. I wiped up my tears, and for the first time, was able to stand up straight and walk down the passage into the arms of my husband.
It wasn’t a minute later that the contractions became so intense that while they put the drip in my hand, the needle did a dance under the surface of my skin. Darren spoke up and begged the nurse to check just once more. Reluctantly, the nurse did before saying, “You need to get to the delivery room.” It’s sort of funny thinking how I went from not being able to stand, to walking myself into that delivery room, climbing up onto the really high bed, and getting ready to deliver my baby.
At government hospitals, the nurses deliver your baby and they only call a doctor when there’s something wrong, but while I was getting ready to deliver, all three doctors in the ward had walked passed, and knowing that no one in our ward was close to giving birth, they all popped in to see what’s happening and argued with the nurse that there was no way. Before I knew it, I had all three doctors right there, delivering my baby.
In that moment, I no longer felt like the weak girl who had walked into the hospital, but was a new mom, fueled by God’s strength.
That moment is something I can never truly get over, and one I fail to adequately describe. It was after having both my children and witnessing God’s miracles over and over again, that I felt a longing to get to know God better, so I began working on my relationship with Him. I had come to realize that one of my biggest challenges is that I am my own worst critic and I feel like I am constantly failing God, so out of shame and embarrassment, I was too scared to turn to him and seek comfort and guidance.
But most recently, I realized something that was standing right in front of me. Having always grown up in the church, I had come to accept that we call and know God as our Father. But I never truly thought about what that actually meant – what it means that just like me, He is a parent, he is MY Father. It has changed the way I look at everything and helped break through a mental barrier that I had put up. Instead of thinking that I had to be a perfect Christian to be loved and accepted by God, I realized that I am His daughter, and His love is unconditional, so while I might feel guilty that I didn’t pray or read my Bible today, I am reminded that I also didn’t talk to my mom or dad, and they seem to still love me so I am sure my Father who is compassionate and forgiving will understand that this morning, the kids woke up a bit earlier and while I kept trying to pray, they needed a hundred things and couldn’t find their other shoe.
The more I thought about it, the more I realized that I didn’t have to fit a mould or meet an unrealistic criteria to have a relationship with God. In fact, I didn’t have to be anyone else but me. I think at times I get so caught up with trying to be the perfect mom, the perfect wife, the perfect worker bee and the perfect Christian that I become overwhelmed, burn out and shut down, so the realization that I could begin right here, right now, in getting to know my Father was something that lit a fire in my soul.
Through all the challenges that my family and I have faced this year, the one thing I am truly grateful for is that it forced me to seek out God and His comfort, and now that I have started to get to know Him through my own experiences and not that of everyone around me, I don’t want to stop. I want His presence to overflow and be felt in all corners and crevices of my life, and it would feel wrong to compartmentalize and not share this part of my journey. Every day, I wake up feeling so grateful for the work He is doing in me, and it leaves me feeling so inspired that I want to shout it out from the rooftops.
Something that caught me by surprise and kept reminding me of how great God is, is that when I lost my job, I didn’t completely panic. There were moments that I felt like everything might fall apart, but these moments were short-lived and I realized that deep down, there was an unfamiliar sense of calm and a feeling that everything was going according to a plan – maybe not MY plan, but a plan nonetheless – and that while this may be scary, it was all necessary, so while it’s not making sense right now, one day it will.
In hindsight, losing my job was the final straw and broke every last fibre of confidence I once had, but it made space for God to do the necessary work to rebuild me; a stronger, more confident me. It reminded me that I wasn’t anywhere near to the mom I felt my boys deserved and that I needed to make changes. It also gave me time to discover new interests and hobbies outside the impossible expectations I had set for myself, it taught me that it was okay to take an afternoon nap, and to enjoy moments of quietness. It gave me time to reflect and redefine so much of what I thought I knew and now, I finally feel like I am ready… ready for whatever He has planned. It’s quite an incredible feeling, I am not going to lie.
In the last few weeks, I have felt my confidence growing and slowly, I feel like things are falling into place. I am in a better place space mentally and emotionally and feel like I needed to take a step back to gain perspective reevaluateluate my goals and hopes for the future. Now that I have a better handle on things, I am able to focus on everything else like my career, blog and our future plans. There’s a lot of balls up in the air and we have quite a lot to get through, but I definitely feel like I am better equipped for handling it now, and it really just took me finding peace and strength in God’s word.
P.S. I toyed with the idea of starting a new Instagram account, specifically to share, document and connect with others on a similar journey of exploring their faith but I realized that for the last 6 years, I have documented every high and low in my life through this platform. I originally felt somewhat conflicted to share this part of my life because i) it makes me feel exceptionally vulnerable and ii) I know that it’s not everyone’s cup of tea. However, I decided that I am going to keep to one account because I chose to use my name as the name of this blog to give myself the room to grow. I knew that in time, I would change and evolve, and that my original blog’s name, “Beauty and The Baby Blog” was limiting but that By Megan Kelly represents me in all aspects of my life and right now, this is where I am and what I am inspired to write about.
I’m a beauty-obsessed, caffeine-fueled, soccer-loving, chocolate-eating, picture-taking, occasional-blogging, faith-inspired, mom of two.