Hi all! It has been a while since I've posted and with the Exhale Weekend approaching next week, I want to share an encouraging word with you.
The last I shared on Exhale Women was my miscarriage story. In light of a full life in the emptiest of places, I figured what more appropriate than to share where I have been and the word I have for Exhale 2017?
This year's theme is a Full Life In The Emptiest Of Places. Praise God. I'm exploding with excitement over this weekend!! It is an honor to share in the transformation and vulnerability that happens in God's presence.
Last year directly following Exhale Weekend, I went home and my husband and I began to pray that we would conceive a baby again. As spoken in the word, "Again, truly I tell you that if two of you on earth agree about anything they ask for, it will be done for them by my Father in heaven. For where two or more gather in my name, there am I with them.” Matthew 18:19-20
In July we welcomed our baby girl, Aaliyah Joy, into the world. My labor and delivery did not go how I expected it to go. Bear with me if birth stories aren't your thing-this will be more than that. :)
Summertime came and my due date was approaching. Contractions started. Slowly. Like, "lose my mind" kind of slow-because that's how it goes, right? I was the pregnant lady wishing everyday was the day.
And then our weekly prenatal checkup came. As per routine, our nurse went to listen to her heart rate. Our precious girl's heart was beating away at only 73 beats per minute. 60 is fatal in utero.
Time stood still listening to her slow rhythm....
All I had to hold onto on the way to the hospital were the two things God had given me. Her heart beating inside of me and her name that He spoke to me during my previous miscarriage.
This is where the meaning of her name plays a part. "Aaliyah" was the action of the Jewish people going up to the Jerusalem Temple to meet with God. Their Aliyah was not only a physical going up, but also a spiritual ascension as the process was considered a glorious experience.
In the midst of losing what would have been our firstborn, God spoke Aaliyah to me. Although I didn't understand at the time, He was speaking the beautiful process that Aliyah is over me; He was preparing my heart to receive the fullness of His glory in the midst of "my empty." I couldn't have begun to imagine the ways I would be transformed throughout these passing seasons.
So, this is the question raised in my life that I now want to ask you:
What promises (throughout the Bible or in personal experience) has God spoken to hold onto fullness in place of your "empty"?
What do you allow in your life to nurture the promise that is the fullness of God?
As Exhale Weekend approaches, whether or not you will be attending, I invite you to walk out these questions in your life along with me. I challenge you to seek out these answers and stand on the word that God has given to you.
I have missed getting to share my heart with Exhale Women and look forward to the new season ahead as Fall moves in and life continues to grow.
Anna Lise (Newton) Lillard, Co-Visionary Exhale Women / Next Gen Community Leader , calls Austin, Texas home with her husband Hayden and baby girl Aaliyah Joy. Her passion is to help her generation connect with the generations ahead and the ones behind, as well as cross lines of impossibilities with others through the power of prayer and HIS presence. She desires to help women connect to the heart of God. Instagram @annaliselillard