With a second baby due before Christmas, experience has taught Miriam not to trust in herself for her family’s needs
A well-paying job, loving husband and a newborn baby were everything Miriam Bailey could have asked for back in 2010. Then a nervous breakdown served as a wake-up call to what she had been missing all along.
"I didn't have post-natal depression, my breakdown was a result of going back to work just seven weeks after giving birth to my first baby because I thought everything depended on me financially," Miriam explains.
"I had become really conceited in my salary and earning capacity. My husband was working at the time but also studying to be a pastor so, in my mind, I was 'enabling' him to do this."
Miriam supported her husband's studies, having committed her own life to Jesus Christ as a young girl, but admits that she stepped away from God in her early 20's after her grandmother died from cancer.
"Despite my constant prayers for healing, she died a short time later. I decided that if God did exist, then there was no point in following Him because He didn't listen to our prayers anyway or He simply didn't exist," Miriam explains.
She "kept up appearances" and went to church for her parents sake but says her heart was not in it until she realised her many achievements could not shake the unsettling emptiness that plagued her for the next few years.
After chatting to her cousin about their similar experiences, Miriam decided to "give God another go", recognising that it was Him who brought meaning and comfort in the midst of disappointment, sadness and confusion.
"I am happy to say that, whilst the Christian life is by no means perfect, my life walking with God has so much more meaning than my life without God," she adds.
“He has the right to take it away in a blink of an eye because He is God”Despite this re-commitment to follow Jesus, Miriam developed a self-reliant attitude instead of trusting in God and set out to attain everything she wanted on her own.
Her wake-up call came just after the birth of her first daughter, Lorena.
"I can't really explain what happened but one day things unravelled at work. I suddenly couldn't even look at my computer screen or focus on it and my hands couldn't hold the mouse steady," she explains.
"The doctors banned me from driving and someone had to be on hand to help me and my baby 24 hours a day."
Miriam spent two weeks in a stupor, not knowing what to do with herself.
"Then one day I was sitting there worrying about how I was going to let down a friend, who I had arranged to help with something, when I heard God speak to me inaudibly. He said, 'You don't have to let anyone down, if you just humble yourself and acknowledge that all the good things you have come from Me and that I can take them away just as quickly as I gave them to you'," Miriam recalls.
"I jumped up from the couch and ran to find my mom and told her about my experience. She was a bit sceptical at first, but then she really began to see the transformation in me. My eyes didn't have the vacant look I'd been carrying around for the last couple of weeks."
It was in that moment of realisation that Miriam says she asked God and her family's forgiveness for her pride.
"God really showed me that everything I have is a direct result of His blessing and His goodness and that He has the right to take it away in a blink of an eye because He is God and He sees the bigger picture," she says.
Jesus' words rang true for Miriam when He said, "apart from Me you can do nothing" (John 15:5) and she was reminded that "every good and perfect gift is from above" (James 1:17).
She realised that God had taken away her ability to do anything to show her that she should not rely on herself but on God.
"Jesus encouraged me through His Word not to worry about my life because if God looks after the birds and the lilies of the field then He will surely look after us, for we are more valuable to Him than these things," she says in reference to Matthew chapter 6 verses 25 to 34.
After that point Miriam gradually regained her strength and was able to return to work with a new attitude and a grateful heart.
"Often things don't go my way but, whether good or bad, I have come to realise that God has the right to give and take away because all good things come from Him. At the same time He cares deeply for me and wants me to trust in Him in every circumstance and not rely on my own strength, which can be there one day and gone the next. I'm keeping this all in mind as I prepare for the birth of my second baby girl very soon!"