Tomorrow evening a friend of mine is being thrown a baby shower for her third child, and it is my heartfelt intention to go. So far I have dodged at least five showers (that I can immediately recall with no effort) this year… all for friends who are having their second, third and fourth babies. But God has been gently nudging me to go to this shower. In His sweet way… He is encouraging me to face my anxiety.

There are so many times I picked a fight with my husband to get out of having to go to a gathering where I knew lots of pregnant women would be at. I had numerous panic attacks on my way to our life group because I was afraid how I would react to seeing seven to eight bellies and having to listen to all their conversations that I wish I could be apart of. And this summer… I have had any and every excuse to not attend showers. And now… I’ve run out of excuses!

The truth is I panic because I know how easily I can get caught in the web of jealousy. Bitterness and resentment – those are two emotions that seems to haunt me. And if I am not careful, and I do not set boundaries for myself to keep me protected… then it is easy for the enemy to unleash them into my life. Of course I pray for God’s protection and armor to keep the enemy out of my life, but I am human! I know myself. Now that we are nearing a year and a half of trying to conceive with two miscarriages and lot of pessimism from my family and my doctor, I am left feeling raw. A nerve has been exposed, and it can get aggravated a the drop of a hat. Do they have a root canal for this? I sure wish it could be that easy!

It’s a blessing and a curse that I am good at distancing myself from people. I can build walls, shut doors and board up windows easier than I can make a sandwich. It’s natural for me to tuck inside my shell and hide from situations that make me uncomfortable and uneasy. So I have spent the last six or seven months justifying why I can’t make that event or that party. I sent a gift and my regards and went on my  way.

But now I realize I am still battling with jealousy and having to ask God to help me rid those thoughts and emotions several times a week! Hiding didn’t protect me. In fact, all I did was alienate myself from some friends who truly care about me. It hit me over the head suddenly that I was missing out on caring fellowship with people who love me and opportunities to speak my truth, and I missed out on lots of chances to ask for prayer. I think now about the amazing covering I could have had with friends standing in agreement with me. Wow… I really screwed up! I am the one who missed out on laughs and tears… who regrets the choices I’ve made because running didn’t solve anything.

So what is it about going outside of your comfort zone and facing fears head on that is so therapeutic and beneficial to us? The more honest I am about my shortcomings… the more I know what to pray for. In truth and in reality… God helps me overcome. He is my strength. And He will be the first to volunteer to walk into a room with me and keep me centered and optimistic. The bonus: the most effective way to disarm the enemy is to shed light on our true fears!

The honest truth is that I don’t truly fear these precious women in my life… I fear not being able to have another baby. I am shaken to my core at the thought of having another miscarriage. And I am secretly suffering because I have fear that I might not even conceive again. And satan takes every opportunity to push my buttons, to rattle my nerves and to play on my absolute fear. I see moms and dads with their 2.5 kids, and the enemy says “just a little reminder of what you will never have!” It’s incredibly cruel and, oh, so punishing.

God is working on me these days by encouraging me to face my true fears. He is helping me release my anxieties by building me up bit by bit… filling my soul with hope and courage. I lean on Him to speak louder to me when I see a family… to drown out the enemy’s voice. I seek forgiveness and ask for strength when I realize I have a moment where I’ve been jealous. I pray. I overcome. And I go on trying another day to have a baby, but also to be the very best servant, daughter, woman, wife, mother and friend I can be.