Those of you who are friends with me on Facebook have probably seen our announcement: we’re expecting a bouncing baby B in May. (Sorry. The alliteration just took me.)
Y’all, I’ve gotta be honest. The moment that test flashed “Pregnant” is not in competition for the happiest of my life. It isn’t even a Miss America-style “18th runner up!” (Can’t Miss America just allow them to accept their defeat in one united mass of losers, rather than rubbing their exact distance from the lead in their faces?)
We weren’t planning on getting pregnant any time soon, and I did not accept this sudden life detour with grace. Thankfully, my husband and my community have been exceedingly understanding of me as I’ve struggled to wrap my mind around it.
I’m not quite there yet. It still feels foreign, even as Baby starts to practice what appears to be his/her routine for the US Olympic gymnastics tryouts, and my stomach starts to look less like I just haven’t done a sit-up since 10th grade (which is truth–my abs could start a Truth-telling Body Parts club with Shakira’s hips) and more like I just went on a Chipotle burrito rampage.
But in the midst of this season, as Tom and I scramble to figure out all the things that are changing and will continue to change when Baby decides to make his/her appearance, the Lord’s faithfulness has been so evident. I say this as someone who dropped off the face of social media for several months after we found out because I couldn’t write about this process without sounding both bitter and depressed, so the fact that I’ve come even this far is pure grace.
It has been a prayer of mine off and on over the past few years that the Lord would enable me to rely on his day-to-day provision, rather than my own ability to provide for myself. This took me through graduate school and being an LPC/I, but I was kind of ready to retire it and begin putting together my retirement plan, etc. once I got licensed and settled into a ‘real’ job. But in the midst of a huge number of baby-inspired changes, not to mention general life wear-and-tear, we don’t have the comfortable savings account I wanted to rely on, let alone a mutual fund portfolio. And despite my resistance and frequent fretting over it, the Lord is bringing me to a place of peace about that as He reminds me that for today, He has met all our needs. In fact, looking at our lives the past few months, he often provided what we needed before we even knew we needed it. For example, many months ago I interviewed on a whim for a private practice position, though I was not intending at that time to leave my non-profit job; but when we found out we were pregnant, I was able to seamlessly join the more baby-schedule-friendly private practice. The Lord’s Prayer teaches us to ask for bread today, not for bread through the next 10 years. The Lord provided manna day by day for the Israelites, and they never went hungry. The Lord will provide for us and for baby B, even if it doesn’t pan out in the way that would make me the most comfortable.
Prior to Baby, I was kind of on a mission to find “my great purpose.” I had a bunch of goals I wanted to achieve, and while they weren’t bad goals on the surface, I think they were primarily motivated by a desire to make something out of myself, thus essentially saying to the Lord, “The identity you’ve given me isn’t enough.” I was spending so much time focusing on where I wanted to be and how I wasn’t measuring up that there wasn’t a whole lot of room for the Lord. And then pregnancy happened and my carefully crafted timeline immediately became a giant question mark. Apparently babies don’t leave a lot of room for finding one’s purpose or participating in exotic adventures, or even achieving basic goals like daily showers, at least for a time. I’m coming to submit to the fact that my purpose is faithfulness to where the Lord has called me, not to where I think I should be, or where I have set a goal to be, or where so-and-so is.
I’m once again learning that anything that can help me to release my death-grip on this world in order to more fully focus on the Lord is a blessing, no matter how painful. While I am certainly not “suffering” in any significant sense, it’s been difficult for me to surrender my identity, my hopes/dreams/goals, and even my body for the sake of this journey. But it is slowly helping me to focus on the eternal, rather than getting bogged down by the temporal. And in light of the eternal, I don’t have to accomplish big goals or fulfill some unique destiny. Like every other person on earth, I was placed here to glorify God and enjoy Him. That’s my purpose, and I can do that in any capacity, with or without achieving goals, adventures, or daily showers.
Now if I could just live in light of these lessons for longer than it takes me to process them and get them on paper, this will be a season well-spent.
PS: Does it seem to any of my regular readers as though I just keep recycling the same lessons over and over? I definitely had a sense of déjà vu as I was writing this. I must be one of those hard-headed people who takes a couple decades to really apply any given lesson. Maybe by the time I’m 40 I’ll finally have moved on to some other lesson. One can only hope.