Divine Providence

“…Freely you have received; freely give.”—Matthew 10:8

My brother and I were raised by a single mother with little or no child support. Our car was a lot older than my friends’ cars. For most of my elementary years, I qualified for and received a free lunch from my school. My classmates wore name brand clothing, but I knew better than to even ask for it. Yet, I never went to bed hungry for lack of food a day in my life. I always had warm clothes to wear, and we always owned a car. I suppose my humble background inspires a deep understanding of what it means to have very little, but it also gave fruit to a great faith in God’s provision.

Even after I graduated from college, I struggled financially for many years. It still amazes me to see the strange and funny ways the Lord provides for me at just the right time. Once I had absolutely no money, and someone in my family sent me a check without knowing my circumstance. Another time, an electronics company reimbursed the full price of my electronic because of some defect that had been found in some of the products. (Mine worked fine.) Another time, my car insurance paid for my vehicle because of a little hail damage. Those are just a few of many examples of how God blessed me with provision that had His signature—the unexpected miracles when I needed them most.  Freely I have received so freely I try to give.

I still am not swimming in cash, but what I do have— I give to God. Sometimes it is things I donate to the Salvation Army. Other times, I donate some time to volunteer to help someone out. Also, I like to share my inspiration and talent to write. That’s how this website got started. Recently I was also blessed to be able to contribute a story for an anthology that is giving 100% of the profit to a charity that assists the poor. (If interested in learning more about this book, click Birds of Passage.)

I hope you, dear reader, will freely receive grace, forgiveness, help, treasures, and talent. Then, in turn, I pray you will freely give all of those wonderful gifts in obedience to God’s Holy Word. I can personally tell you that both giving and receiving glorify God, help us draw near to Christ, and inspire a deep fulfillment in one’s being. Have a blessed weekend!

*Draw Near exists to glorify God and help others draw near to Christ by providing free resources. Click here to learn more about God and here to access free Christian ebooks. Thanks for visiting. Stay blessed!

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Curse of Childbirth

“To the woman he said, ‘I will make your pains in childbearing very severe;
    with painful labor you will give birth to children….'” — Genesis 3:16

I became a Christian before I became a mother, which afforded me the opportunity to naively consider the above verse before I actually experienced it. One such unenlightened thought is this: Is it still a curse with the development of modern medicine?

My unlearned mind continued to question and explore the weight of this curse. Every mother had endured this pain. How painful could it really be? Many eager mothers continue to have multiple children even though birth control is readily available and effective. I have a pretty high pain tolerance and have endured various types of pain in my lifetime. I consider myself “tough.”

In the delivery room, my thoughts abruptly changed. Yes, pain in childbirth is still a severe curse. After all, you experience hours of painful contractions before an epidural can be administered (if you choose to get one). Yes, indeed! It is still a curse. For such a natural process, nothing quite seems to happen too naturally. How do all mothers make it thought that pain? I salute them all and confess it was my prideful thoughts.

As the Bible says in John 16:21, a woman does forget the pains of birth because of the joy that a child is born into the world. Sometimes the forgetfulness may not be immediate. It may happen after a mother has overcome the fears, surrenders to the sacrifices that must be made, and develops a relationship with her baby. Yet the joy is real and just as sure as the pain!

I reflect on the birth of my first child as such a miracle and blessing even though the process was cursed with pain. It was such a blessing, in fact, that I also chose to have a second child. We are now blessed with a family of four.

Over all of these thousands of years, the curse on Eve has not been lifted while the miracle of birth still triumphs over pain. I am equally convinced the curse of sin is death while the miracle of Christ’s sacrifice triumphs over the penalty of eternal punishment. God’s Word stands and—just as it says—not one stroke of it will disappear until everything is accomplished (Matthew 5:18).

I wrote this article to share my heart about God’s Word and my personal experiences. After reading it, I am realizing it could be intimidating to a mother who is pregnant for the first time especially if the mother is not in the perfect situation. For that reason, I want to encourage pregnant women that giving birth is the best decision and give you a link to a local group of special people who can help you in your circumstance. Contact Hand N Hand Pregnancy Help Center (Missouri) or a pregnancy help center in your area. There is no need to go through it alone. Joy comes in the morning (Psalm 30:5). Thanks for reading and  God bless!