“Know my Grace”
 
 Hi I’m Susie, I’m 27. I’m wife to Rob and Mum (or currently “Bemmyyyyy”) to 20 month old Caleb. I’m a part time primary school teacher and have been involved with Eden for the last 9 years, currently co-leading a team and new church-plant with Rob in Eccles. Life is a little crazy most of the time as we have many fingers in many pies!
 
I was always desperate to be a Mum as I was growing up and was always the one after church playing with all the kids and cuddling all the babies. I always thought I’d be a ‘stay-at-home-mum’ and a lady that lunches! When I got pregnant with Caleb I was so excited! When week 7 kicked in I started with the morning sickness – or evening sickness as it was for me! 4pm and it kicked in, every night and that would be it til bedtime. 12 weeks came along and I was excited that the sickness would soon end. Then came 16 weeks and again no end to the sickness, until finally at 20 weeks the evening sickness passed. I started to feel good and excited again and began to enjoy my pregnancy.
 
For the last approximately 8 years I have suffered with an auto-immune condition called Achalasia, which is a tightening at the end of my oesophagus on entry to my stomach. This had got progressively worse and was meaning that most meal times food would get stuck and….I’ll stop there! As week 28 of pregnancy appeared, the baby was pushing up onto my oesophagus and it was awful! I wasn’t keeping much food down and it was horrendous for me, but more so for Rob who felt helpless and hated watching the woman he loved go through it. Weeks went by and it was just ‘normal’ to me until the midwife was seeing weight fall off and wasn’t happy. She sent me to the hospital to see a consultant at 36 weeks. I had gone prepared with a food diary showing what I was eating and a record of sickness – often 20 times a day. The consultant was incredibly unhelpful, she didn’t believe us and wasn’t willing to even consider an induction at 38 weeks or even 40! That’s when I knew that all we could do was carry on praying and God would have to induce me! So I got to 37 weeks, incredibly unwell and all I did was bounce on my gym ball and prayed! At 38 weeks my wonderful midwife decided to do a sweep and I was already 2-3cm dilated! Total answer to prayer! 5 days later (after a 3 day labour!) Caleb James was born! We were pretty sure we were having a boy as we felt God gave us the name Caleb. It means faithful, devoted and whole-hearted and it says in Numbers 14:24 ‘But because my servant Caleb has a different spirit and follows me wholeheartedly, I will bring him into the land he went to, and his descendants will inherit it’. This verse is special to us as we know God is with us in raising a young family in a deprived area.
 
The ‘dream’ of being a Mum crumbled for a time when was diagnosed with post-natal depression when Caleb was about 8 months. I was fine when he was younger but then noticed my energy and motivation dropping as I fell into the spiral of depression. I went to the GP for a thyroid test and came out with a diagnosis of PND. I felt like a failure. I wouldn’t tell anyone, no family or close friends as I was so ashamed and thought everyone would assume I was a terrible mother. As the anti-depressants kicked in, I saw more sense and got out of the feeling of shame and began to tell people. The medication helped, as did going back to work and I came off the drugs 6 months later. Now being a Mum is the best thing in the world and I absolutely LOVE my days I spend with Caleb, laughing and playing!
 
Before becoming a Mum I was always big on ‘spending time’ with God and finding that quiet place to worship. We all know that quiet places don’t exist with kids! At the first Captivated conference, I was freed from feeling like a rubbish Christian for not having the time or energy to set aside time with God and got lots of helpful tips for including God in our day-to-day life. God really challenged me on bringing him out of the box we so often put him in.
One day recently I was driving back to school for parents’ evening, talking to God in the car. I was saying to him, “sorry God, there’s not been much space for you today!” That day Rob had left for Leeds at the crack of dawn and the day looked like this….up, shower, dress, get Caleb up and ready, nursery for 7.30, in work before 8, left work at 4ish, back to nursery, collect Caleb, grab tea, get Caleb ready, Rob comes home and I go back to school again for 5.30.
 
As I was ranting to God about my crazy day I heard a still small voice whisper, “know my grace”.  
 
“For it is by grace you have been saved, through faith—and this is not from yourselves, it is the gift of God— not by works, so that no one can boast.”Ephesians 2:8-9

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