In today’s episode, Carrie shares some of the lessons she has learned about God from being a mother and some important podcast updates.

  • The recent loss of both of Carrie’s parents and the impact it has had on her life and the podcast.
  • How being a mother has helped her to understand God’s love and care for his children.
  • The joys and challenges of motherhood, and how it reflects God’s love for us.
  • Personal motherhood stories of Carrie’s best friends, Christen and Michelle.  (excerpts from Sending Hope and Love to the Not Yet Mothers) 

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Transcript

Welcome to Hope for Anxiety and OCD episode 94. I am your host, Carrie Bock and we are all about reducing shame, increasing hope, and developing healthier connections with God and others.

I titled this podcast episode, Podcast Updates and a Mom’s View on God. I really strive to be transparent on this podcast and, and sometimes there’s things that I’m just not ready to talk about yet, and one of those things has been my mother’s death.

It hit me really hard. My mom died in September of pancreatic cancer, and it was a short time between her diagnosis and her death. Before the cancer, she’d always taken good care of herself, had no ongoing health conditions, so it was pretty shocking to lose her and what felt like so young. I had planned for this episode since it was gonna come out on Mother’s Day, to talk about my mother’s death.

I felt like I was going through the grieving process and ready to talk about what I experienced and learned through the process. Then in March my father died suddenly of a heart attack, and this set my grief process way back to square one. So I’m not ready to talk about my parents’ death yet because it’s something that I’m still working on processing myself.

The main reason that I’m sharing this with you now is because of how it will impact the podcast. If you’ve been listening for a while, I hope you know how much I’ve really enjoyed this work over the past two and a half years, and it has been work. None of it came overnight or was easy. There have been late nights, early mornings, lots of writing, editors I had to fire and assistant I had to hire. It’s been far from a cakewalk, yet. through all of that, I’ve been able to put out episodes consistently, and I’m very proud of that. I’m definitely in a different season right now and God is telling me to slow down, not stop, but slow down. If you’ve been through a major loss in your life, you know how exhausting it is and how much energy it takes just to get through everyday tasks.

My mind is foggy. My motivation is down. I am pretty weary from losing both parents in a six-month time span. And in this season of slow down, I stopped taking new clients for a bit and I’m now being selective about who I take on limited my schedule to be with my family more. I’ve also put a hold on the course I’ve been creating for Christians with OCD.

It’s painful for me to admit that because this is something I hoped would be out into the world already and available for people. I know that in the right time, the course will be out there and available for people when I’m able to finish it, and I look forward to telling you about that someday. I have been providing some one-time consultation sessions, for listeners that are outta state to help them either find a therapist in their area, guide them in their next steps, and I’ve been really enjoying that.

You’re welcome to contact me if that’s something that might interest you. I’ve also been enjoying the intensive work that I’m doing on Fridays with clients and absolutely want to do more of that. So if you have a desire to travel or aren’t too far away from me, from Middle Tennessee, I’d love to talk with you more about that opportunity if you think it might be right for you.

We have a prior episode on that, a bonus episode that you can listen to. In the spirit of taking care of myself, I need to stop recording podcast episodes for a bit until I have the mental and emotional bandwidth to do so. The next couple episodes, they are already recorded. Let me tell you. They are so good.

I’m super excited to share them with you. They are on developing a healthy theology around healing and suffering. My guests took on some tough questions and were vulnerable enough to share their own struggles. I really enjoyed interviewing them. After those episodes come out, I’m not sure. I may have my assistant compile some of the stories of hope into episodes.

I think those would be fantastic and encouraging for all of us, myself included. We may replay some of our more popular episodes and I can give you some of my own commentary on them as I listen to them later. It’s my desire to give you 100 tips for reducing anxiety on our 100th episode, which is coming up not too far away.

I think it’ll be a good review of some of the things we’ve already learned on the show. We will continue putting out episodes. It may be a little recycled at times, and for our friends who listen to the show on a regular basis, I felt it was important to let you know why. It’s not Carrie slacking off.

It’s Carrie practicing what she preaches, taking care of her body, mind and spirit. Going to bed on time, trying to eat well, getting movement, going to therapy, journaling. More than being tired. I feel weary and I need God to restore me. I’m going through the Psalms right now and doing my best to connect with God.

I will say that he doesn’t feel close right now, but in faith, I believe that he is. And the Bible tells us that God is near to the brokenhearted. On a much happier note. One thing I’m really excited about is that for the first time ever, Hope for Anxiety and OCD will have a booth at the American Association of Christian Counselors Conference or AACC in mid-September.

If you don’t know, the AACC conference is a really big deal. It’s attended not just by professional counselors, but also lay counselors and others in ministry. When I first saw the conference was going to be in Nashville this year, I couldn’t pass up the opportunity to get the podcast out in front of an audience who can share it with others who need support and encouragement.

If you happen to be a counselor listening to the podcast, who will be at the conference, please stop by our booth and say hello. I’ll be working on getting some pins made as well as more podcast promotional materials. I’m very excited to get the podcast in front of so many people in basically a short timeframe.

This is one of a few things that I am pretty energized about right now in honor of Mother’s Day. I wanted to share with you a few things I’ve learned about God from being a mother the last 14 months. My daughter knows that I love her, even though she doesn’t understand everything right now. Why won’t mom let me touch the outlet?

She doesn’t understand how serious some of these things could hurt her, and sometimes I have to get stern in my tone with her about not messing with certain things. God does the same thing with us in scripture about sin. He knows how destructive we can be when we’re just out here left to our own devices.

I have my daughter’s best intention at heart, even when she doesn’t realize it. Scripture says that God knows what we need before we even ask. Most of the time my daughter hates taking naps, but they are good for her. Sometimes she doesn’t wanna have her diaper changed, but I love her enough not to let her stay that way.

We’re all a work in progress and I wanna give my daughter everything she wants, but it wouldn’t be wise or good for her character development. I had some friends who adopted two little boys from foster care, and they had a lot of issues with their teeth because their biological mother never said no to candy or sweets..

She wanted to give her kids everything they wanted, and the result was cavities. Unfortunately, I have to realize that when God doesn’t give me what I want at this moment, it’s for my ultimate good. Perhaps it’s so I won’t develop the cavity of pride or greed or something else that sneaks up on you slowly, like a cavity, but can be a whole lot more destructive.

It’s pretty amazing that my daughter loves me, even though I’m not perfect. I don’t always know what she needs. I don’t always respond with patience and kindness. She’s still there with hugs and still learning how to give kisses. She’s a picture of God’s grace in my life for sure, and I’m so happy to have her here during this time in my life.

It doesn’t help me to ask God why he didn’t allow me to have more time with my parents, but I do trust that he still loves me and he has my best interest at heart. Some of you’re wondering why God hasn’t answered a prayer or healed you. I wanna encourage you that God’s always at work. Even if we don’t see it or can’t feel it right now, to all the mothers out there, you mean so much to your kids, even more than you probably know.

If you’ve lost your mother, I feel you. I miss mine daily, but I know that she would be proud of me and what I’m doing. I know if she was here and physically able, she’d be the first person to hop on a plane and help me with the AACC booth.

The first Mother’s Day episode for the show was Sending Hope to the Not Yet Mothers when I wasn’t a mother. It was two years ago before I had my daughter Faith, and I told you all how much my mom meant to me. I also told you about how much of a promoter of this show she was. She was passing out podcast promo cards, everybody at her church, on planes. And once I do some more grief work, I will tell you more about my mom.

Until then, check out these stories of Hope from our first Mother’s Day episode on how two of my friends became mothers after waiting a long time. All good things are worth the wait.

Christin’s Motherhood Journey

How did I become a mother? That’s a loaded question. Hi, my name is Christen Jasmine Wilson, and this is my story to motherhood.

I am 39 years old, and this is important because. Maybe like some of you, I wasn’t sure I would ever become a mother. I can remember from the earliest time, always loving being around kids, around babies. I grew up babysitting, starting at a very young age. Probably too young if you ask me, but I started babysitting as early as 11 for my next-door neighbor.

She had two beautiful kids that I used to watch on occasion, and I can even remember Connie and my mother into serving with me at the nursery during the second service at church just because I loved kids that much. You can say that this might be a God-given desire. I would say that had this idea in my mind that I would always be a mom, but in my mind, by age 25, I met the love of my life in college, fell madly, deeply in love, became a psychologist.

I even found a letter that I wrote to myself in high school. I wanted to become a psychologist and have three kids of my own. By 2011 or something crazy like that. However, sometimes life just takes you on a journey and that’s not necessarily how things go. For me, I went to high school and had two boyfriends maybe, all of which lasted two weeks, and my singleness was a really, really, hard thing.

I struggled with being single for a very long time. I went to college while I was in college, and decided to get involved in the church that was right across the street from our school. I, again, loved kids so much that I started volunteering. As a college student in the middle school ministry working with middle schoolers.

I know I’m a rare breed, but loved the naivety and the gullibility and just the welcoming nature of that age in working in the middle school ministry though. Remember college, I always thought I would meet the love of my life in college. I never did. In fact, after college, I started working for a ministry and for a non-profit that really just worked with middle school kids. All the while knowing that I wanted kids of my own, all the while really wanting to be married and not ever wanting to have. Kids without a partner in life.

I know I have had a lot of friends that have adopted or wanted to foster and have done that single-handedly and by themselves and my hat goes off to them. However, I knew for me this was not a journey. I wanted to enter a loan, just knowing my own personality. I knew I would need a partner and a friend, and so I prayed to God many nights that he would bring me not only a man of God, but somebody who I could have children with, and that we could raise children together.

I will say that, but it came not without tears, and not without many, many years of doubting God, of asking hard questions, of crying out to the Lord, of yet one more guy who I was attracted to and had feelings for, not return those feelings, not return that love. I can remember during college and a little after I spent some years during those college times in West Palm Beach in one of my places, I would really have heart-to-heart conversations with Jesus. I was on the beach and I can remember there was this one guy and I really just had fallen head over heels in love with him and he had no clue. I was good friends with his sister and I knew her, she could tell, but I just remember like really asking the Lord, “Why, just, why, why? I just remember asking, am I oblivious to guys?”

What is it that allowed me to not be seen by guys? Really, I look back now and I see that had those guys looked at me and seen me, I would’ve fallen head over heels with the wrong guy and really my heart is so honestly flippant and I fall in love with the drop of a hat. So it’s only the Lord’s grace and mercy that has allowed me in this. That really kept me for my husband of today. Again, college thought I would be married by 25. That was my cutoff date in my head. That did not happen. In fact, I remember I. At 25, I actually freaked out and was like, oh my gosh. I remember my mom had me at 25 and I’m really like far behind the timeline here cuz I wanted to have kids.

I thought by that time I would have them. However, that was not what was in the carts for me, and in fact it took me. A long time to even work through what it looked like to actually be in a relationship and what it looked like to actually start to date, which then led to motherhood. All the while working with kids, all the while though, taking care of other people’s kids. All the while knowing that I wanted to be a mother. I remember turning 30 and still being single, and I remember actually 29 going, I’m almost 30 the whole year, and grieving that. Of being single and turning 30, and I almost wish that whole year of 30 away. I think it was 32 or 33. When I was 32 or 33. I finally was like, if I ever want to have kids, then I need to actually seriously start dating some guys on through a few apps.

At first, I had really a hard time even wrapping my mind around if that was acceptable, how, and what I believed. And so again, this really challenged my own thinking, but kind of came to the conclusion that if I was ever going to get married, I needed to be around guys and talk to them and have conversations.

I went on a journey of having dates and chronically on all of those dates. Some were fun and some were really, really bad. I could probably tell you stories, but I don’t want to embarrass any of the guys that I went on dates with. Let’s just say there are a few that really still have me kind of chuckling today.

Fast forward to 2016, I was talking to a guy who happened to live in California and actually had a daughter. I knew that was going to be a little tricky, but I had been laid off. The organization I was working for had closed down and I didn’t have anything keeping me at my current location. So I decided to move to California and see if things would work out.

I honestly remember sacrificing a lot of my ethics and a lot of my morals for something that was only temporary something that wasn’t real and something, and for somebody that wasn’t authentic. I think in some of those, in that particular instance, I had really become so sick of being single and was trying to do things my own way and in my own timing, honestly, at 35, I was feeling like I was the only 35-year-old woman who had never been married. I was feeling I was the only 35-year-old woman who didn’t have kids by this time. I had high school friends that had babies. I’ve had college friends, got married and have babies. I had friends adopting babies, and I just for a long time felt like my life was on this pause track where I just had no control. So many people kept saying, well, why aren’t you married or, You’re a catch. Why are you still single? When are you going to start having babies of your own? I really hated those questions because I felt like it was my own fault that it was unable to be a mother at that time. So at 35, I got into this relationship and I just decided to try to make things happen of my own accord and was completely devastated.

When this guy only wanted to use me for certain things and then bit me back out. So with that, I packed up my bags and I moved back to my home in Chicago and warded off dating for a while actually. It was like, I’m done. This guy is stupid and really, my heart was broken into million pieces and it was partially my own fault for giving it to him without putting up boundaries to safeguard my own heart. Of course, during that time, My relationship with the Lord was nonexistent because at that point, I felt like I didn’t trust him and I was angry. I didn’t want anything to do with a God that didn’t love me enough to give me a husband and children by the time I was 35, knowing that most women go through menopause and are unable to bear children in their forties, so yeah, that was hard.

Sometimes the life that I’ve lived is great. I’ve gotten to do so many things as a single woman I’ve gotten to explore and gotten to travel and have had so many different experiences that I would not have had. If I had been married and had kids, maybe I would’ve, I don’t know. But at that point, I was just done with being a good girl and following the rules and thinking that, you know, God blesses you and you know, honors you if you X, Y, Z. I think if I were to put it into different words, I was trying to make myself follow this God in order to get the blessing. And so in other words, it wasn’t really about knowing God or trusting him, it was about I’m gonna do this.

In the end, I got this and ultimately that didn’t work. For a small little time, I said, I’m not dating anyone else. At the time, I did have a dating coach, um, just because I was like, if I’m gonna be dating and dating on an app, I’m going to need some extra advice. I was actually visiting her at the time and staying with her that weekend, and this guy popped up on my app and I was weary. I was not even sure I wanted to talk to him. She encouraged me. I showed her our conversation, and she encouraged me to start a conversation and so we did. And he was actually from Chicago. I was already planning to move back there after having my heart broken, wasn’t about to stay in California.

From there, I fell in love and met my husband, my current husband. We dated. That was in 2017. We dated for a couple of years, and got engaged on February 22nd, 2019. We were married on June 22nd, 2019, and I have also had a lot of friends that have gotten married later on in life as well. So I’ve had a lot of friends, but like some of the ones that had gotten married like late in their late thirties, they struggled with infertility and struggled with having babies.

I was not even sure that I would be able to conceive right away without some sort of help. And so we decided that when we got married and went on our honeymoon, we would not prevent, but not also like put a lot of pressure and not try. And lo and behold, we, uh, got pregnant within the first couple of months without even trying.

I remember laying in bed after finding out and after like looking at the pregnancy test and really coming to terms with it and, just hearing the song in Christ Alone play through my head. As like my song of coming really back to Christ and back to to relationship with Jesus. Like that was what had sealed and kind of redeemed and you know, kind of brought me back and brought forgiveness to who God was.

I think I was slowly coming back there with just the introduction of meeting my husband and there’s a lot of emotions, and hurt that had happened because of my own. Decisions in my own choices, but I think with my becoming pregnant, was my aha moment. It’s been a journey too. I’ll tell you that becoming a mom, especially at this S age, was not easy.

At 38 when I got pregnant with him, it was probably a lot harder than most people. I don’t know. I can’t say I was never married at 25, but did have a cousin who got pregnant around the same time and she was in her twenties. There’s a drastic dis difference of energy between a 20-year-old mom, a soon-to-be mom, and an almost 40-year-old, soon-to-be mom.

The gratefulness and the humility that I feel like the Lord offered and allowed us to name our son Ellis Jason, which means the kindness of God. Ellis means kindness, and I just really felt it was the Lord was kind in allowing me after all these years of struggling and wanting to become a mom and to have his kindness.

God giving us a son is truly a gift. If you were like me, maybe you have dreams of becoming a mom and having children. I would say it’s not too late. The Lord is good. He is kind. He gives life and brings us through things that only teach us lessons to then share and bring hope to others that might be in those same situations.

We are not without hope. We are not without life. It was really sweet to have Kristen share because I’ve seen her through this whole journey and this spiritual growth process that she’s been on. I know her story is gonna be encouraging for those of you maybe who are still single or have been through a long period of singleness.

Michelle’s Motherhood Journey

The next story is from a dear friend of mine that I have known since about 2014.

Hi guys. My name is Michelle. I’m here with you today to share my testimony as well as my infertility, foster care and adoption journey. I was married and divorced at a young age to my first husband. We did not have children together, and that was not something we had really tried to do, but when I met what would eventually be my second husband, I knew that I did want to have children. We were a little bit older when. We got married. My second husband and I, I was 35, and so immediately after we got married, we started trying to have our own child. Unfortunately, that was not happening for us, so we went to a fertility doctor and over the course of, I’d say about a three-year span, we had. Approximately nine procedures were done and close to $12,000 was spent, but that did not bear any fruit. At the end of those three years, I think we were both emotionally, I was physically spent and somewhat spiritually spent as well.

We both prayed and prayed over this journey and desperately wanted to have our child, and at that time we could not understand why the Lord was not providing that for us. The way I was looking at it is some so many people have children that don’t even want them, but God, why are you not providing us with a baby of our own? It made me feel unworthy of having a child the way I was looking at it. God, if you could let this person who is abusive to their child or neglectful or abandons their child, if you can let them have one, what does that say about me?

What does that say about the parenting you think that I would do? God and I went into a deep, dark depression. At the end of those three years, I began to resent my husband because I felt that I was the only one going through the emotional struggle, especially the physical struggle because all these procedures were happening to me and some of ’em were very painful.

I felt like he was doing a small fraction. Of the work and over time through scripture and prayer, I did grow to see that. That was very unfair of me to think that way, but human and I felt that I was, had been abandoned by the Lord during that period of time. I was also very resentful of other women who.

During this phase, we’re discovering they were pregnant and having healthy pregnancies and having these beautiful children. What makes it probably even worse is my career was in early childhood education, so my career was children and especially. Babies and toddlers and those early stages of life. That was my career.

Day in and day out, I was seeing and working with these babies and it really brought me to a low place. So my husband and I eventually decided that we would go through the foster care program through the PATH classes, but I told him that he would have to do all the legwork of getting us set up for the classes.

Basically, he would just tell me the time and place and I would show up. And so that’s what he did. We went through the path classes and through those classes I met other women who were in a very similar situation, who felt almost identical to how I felt. They felt worthless and useless. And the way I felt during that dark period was that I basically had one job to do.

The Lord made me a female, which meant I was supposed to have children. I couldn’t do the one job that God had given me to do, and I just felt so inadequate and so useless that some days I didn’t want to get out of bed. Luckily, through prayer and scripture, through family and friends who rallied around me, around us, my husband and I both and supported us, and a God who never, never gives up, he never fails us.

I began seeing how, even though those were the things that I wanted to have my own child, my own biological child, I wanted to know the joys of being able to tell family and friends that we were expecting a child to feel a life growing inside of me and seeing this beautiful baby when it was first born and caressing them against my chest having all those moments.

Through time and through prayer, God very gently showed me that he had a different plan for me, even though I kept questioning, God, what is this? What plan is this? Do you have one for me? I don’t understand. I don’t see it yet. God. He was just really patient with me and just showed me that I need to stay the course.

We finished the path classes. We sold our small house and bought a bigger house so that we could accommodate children, and we knew we probably wanted to have multiple.In 2015 we got our first sibling set. It was a brother and a sister, and we actually got them on my daughter, what is now my daughter’s sixth birthday.

My son Larry, was seven, about to turn eight. We went from zero to 60 in 2.8 seconds. We had no kids and then we had two kids and it was the youngest child’s sixth birthday. Throw together a little party, and our lives changed from that day. Like we could have never imagined. We have been blessed beyond measure. Even in the rough times. We have been blessed because the Lord has stretched us. He has grown us. My husband and I have grown closer together. Uh, we have grown closer to the Lord. And God revealed to me pretty quickly into the foster care process that his plan for us was to adopt children who needed a family.

It took us three and a half years to be able to legally adopt our children. Then finally on January 30th, 2019, we were able to legally adopt Kimberly and Larry. Our journey has not always been an easy one. There have been days where I have. I wanted to pull my hair out and say, “God, what have I done?” and then immediately I was filled with all the love and joy that the Lord had put into our hearts when he brought us these kids. They are amazing. We knew pretty instantly that we were meant to be their parents, uh, that these kids were gonna be with us forever. And it has been such a journey and such a blessing. My husband and I both feel. That the, we just stayed the course with the Lord. He’s always sovereign. He’s always faithful to us.

He never leaves us. He never abandons us. He shows us what we need eventually in his time and not our own. So I just hope this fills you with some peace and some hope, and knowing you are not alone. If you’ve been in a similar situation and that God does have a plan for you, you may not see it at this moment, but, he will reveal it to you.

Just be faithful. I hope you have a wonderful, wonderful day, and I just push blessings upon you. God bless you all. I really appreciated the vulnerability and the spiritual wrestling that Michelle shared in her story because I believe that someone who’s listening is really going to be able to relate to those thoughts and questionings that she had and wrestled with God.

Carrie:

That’s all for today. Thank you for giving me the grace in this season to slow down. I love you all and I will be back with some interviews before you know it.

Hope for Anxiety and OCD is a production of By the Well Counseling. Our show is hosted by me, Carrie Bock, a Licensed. Professional counselor in Tennessee. Opinions given by our guests are their own and do not necessarily reflect the use of myself or By the Well Counseling. Our original music is by Brandon Mangrum. Until next time, may you be comforted by God’s great love for you.