/ Hello, it’s me / I was wondering if after all these years you’d like to meet /
Remember when Adele sang us those words? I’m wondering if I can borrow them now. It’s been so long since I’ve shown my face around here that maybe I need to reintroduce myself. It’s not that I didn’t want to be here. I’ve done some writing in the last several months, but they’ve been busy months. Most notably because I’ve been growing a baby!
Aaron and I announced on Instagram a few months ago that we are expecting our precious little baby in September. It’s hard to believe that we are halfway through this pregnancy already, but the calendar says it’s true. Twenty weeks down and only twenty more to go.
A lot of things have been on my heart over the course of these first 20 weeks – many I want to share and many that will just stay in my heart, maybe forever. I have felt guilty for not coming to this space – for not taking the time to share like I have in the past – but then I read a quote recently that said, when it comes to God and our individual calling, “It’s not about production, it’s about transformation.” Transformation of heart – of life. Of looking more like Jesus. And while I have produced exactly zero posts for this blog, I can say definitively that my heart has changed. It has been strengthened and softened and forged in fires requiring deep faith and trust. Because, to be honest, I don’t know that I’ve ever been in a more anxiety-producing, full-faith-required, knees to the ground, eyes to the Lord in prayer kind of situation than being pregnant after suffering a miscarriage.
Aaron and I found out we were expecting our first little one last summer and then lost that sweet little soul only a few weeks later. It was devastating for both of us. My soul was crushed under the weight but held fast to the promises of God. And then we waited several months before we decided to try again. My heart just couldn’t handle it – the grief and anxiety were too overwhelming at first. When we finally decided we were ready, I was certain I was not pregnant. Nothing about how I felt in those first few weeks felt like it did the first time. I had no indications that I was harboring another little soul. And even when I was two days late I was still sure I was not pregnant, but we decided to take the test anyway. Aaron could tell you how I was a wreck. There was nervous laughter that bordered on tears because suddenly I didn’t know if I could handle a positive.
We flipped the test over and it said ‘pregnant’. And I burst into immediate tears. I want to say they were happy tears, but they were scared tears. They were tears of, “Oh no. This could go badly. I could feel that same pain again. No, I can’t do it.” Of course the joy came - the shock and the disbelief and the rejoicing again at new life. But I was still scared that I had opened myself up to that same level of loss once again. And I don’t speak as one who knows what it is like to experience infertility. I don’t speak as one who has endured months of waiting and trying and waiting some more. I don’t know what it’s like to suffer multiple losses. My heart breaks for all of those moms and dads who are still in a season of waiting. But I do speak from a place that has experienced grief and walked in that wilderness with arms outstretched to God in the deep agony of never knowing why. So my heart was certainly tender in those moments after reading that test.
Now, I’m hesitant to tell you this because you might find this odd, but the goodness of God came to me in that very first day we found out I was pregnant. As I stood in front of my closet that morning, I felt a very real knowing from God, a voice that sounded like my own, a thought that fluttered through my head that just said, “It’s going to stick and it’s a boy.” Um… what? It was such a weird thought to have, but I also knew exactly what it meant. Because in the midst of my miscarriage last summer, I always thought, “Why couldn’t that baby just hang on? Why couldn’t it just stick?” Was God really promising me that I wouldn’t have another miscarriage? And that we would have a son? Was I just hopeful and talking to myself?
In the days following that thought from him, I told God out loud, “Okay, well, I’m not going to doubt like Zachariah and have you close my mouth for the next nine months. I’m not going to doubt like Abraham and laugh at your promise. I just want to trust.” If that thought was from God, I wanted to trust. I wanted to be like Mary who said to the angel, “Let it be as you have said.” Let it be, God. Let it be. And in the weeks since we announced our pregnancy, when people asked what I thought we were having, I would say, kind of sheepishly, “Well, I think it’s a boy… because I feel like God told me it was.”
So while I’ve had this seeming promise from God the whole time, I have still battled anxiety and fear. I’ve been excited and nervous, overjoyed and overwhelmed and every range of emotions - usually all in one day. And when I felt the worries of, “Oh no, what if…” I tried to come back to that thought – that understanding that God had given me. But because He knows me and my propensity for worry, God dropped another little reminder into my heart one day.
Last fall I came across a mama on my Instagram explore feed. She had posted a picture of her sweet little girl in the hospital and I clicked the photo because children in the hospital just wreck me. Through reading her post and then subsequently scrolling all the way back through her story (as one does, obviously) I found out that her three year old daughter was suffering from heart failure for, basically, no reason. She just one day fell sick and through a couple of ER visits for what they thought was a cold, they found that her little heart was in failure and she would need a heart transplant. Just the thought of that being one of my nieces or nephews or my own child crushed my heart. So I followed her account, not because of the tragedy of it all, but because of the way this mama so fully poured her heart out in her posts and trusted that God was good through it all. It was inspiring to watch her, though clothed in grief, bring praises to Jesus. By the grace of God, sweet Rowen lived through her heart transplant and is thriving. But it was one of her mom’s posts that I later recalled in the midst of my anxiety over this pregnancy.
Amanda (I don’t think she’d mind that we’re on a first name basis. Ha!) posted a photo of Rowen and went on to explain how one of the popular verses we love as moms is 1 Samuel 1:27. It says, “I prayed for this child, and the Lord has granted me what I asked of him.” You’ve heard this before, I’m sure. Or seen it printed on the front of a baby book or in a nursery somewhere. For this child I prayed. Gosh, how true it is for mamas everywhere. But the part that really Velcro-ed itself to my heart is what Amanda went on to say regarding that verse. She wrote,
“So many people cling to 1 Samuel 1:27 - “for this child I have prayed”... but they don’t go into verse 28 - “so I will give him back to the Lord.” It’s because that one sounds scary. That one doesn’t sound so good at all. But the truth is... THIS is the calling of Christian parents. Gotta give them back. If we believe we are His, then we must believe they are. They’re lent to us, not Him. We are to steward them well here... to train them up in the way they should go so that they can be sent out prepared to raise their own; to pass on this strong lineage of His love... For these children, I have prayed. And the Lord has granted me what I’ve asked of Him. So I will give them to the Lord. For all of their days, they are the Lord’s.”
So I will give him back to the Lord. The weight of it still stings me and comforts at once. This baby growing inside me is His. I can trust him with the life of this baby. It was His very idea at the foundation of the world - just like I was, just like you were. This baby has been in God’s mind from the start. He knows its days and I can trust Him to care for this baby the way I trust Him to care for my own heart. I don’t have to control this – I CAN’T control this. As much as I feared experiencing the pain of another miscarriage, there was very little I could do to prevent it. If that’s what God had for us, we would walk the road again and He would be there in it. I have had to speak this truth to my heart almost daily.
As the more calm one of our pair, Aaron also reminds me, “There will always be something we can worry about if we let ourselves.” Always. Even after I pass the 12 week mark in pregnancy and the chances of miscarriage decrease. Even after this baby is born and held in our arms. Even when it is a grown adult! This doesn’t go away. It is the outflow of giving your heart to someone else. So I will choose to give my heart and this baby’s tiny 20-week-old heart to Jesus and let Him be the author of life just as He always has been and always will be. I will praise Him for the chance to be this baby’s mom and let gratitude flow for all the days of my life.
When anxiety starts to creep in, I have to choose to remember, “This is not mine to control or worry about. Give it back to God.” Oh, this baby is mine to care for, protect, love, shepherd, hold and rock to sleep at night. But, “Who of you by worrying can add a single hour to his life?” We know that verse, right? I will do what I can to help this baby grow strong and healthy, but ultimately, it is the Lord’s and not mine. I can’t knit this little body together the way God is doing even now inside me. I can’t breathe air into baby’s lungs when it is born the way God will. I can't sustain its life the way the Lord will. This baby has been given as a gift to me and Aaron and I am so grateful. But I don’t have to be filled with worry or anxiety, wondering every second if it is okay, because I know God’s in control.
This is true for all of us - no matter our circumstances. Maybe you need to give your children back to the Lord - to trust Him with their lives and release that anxiety. He cares for you. He cares for them. Maybe you need to give your own heart over to him and let him lead in your life. Release your grip on the control you think you have because you don’t have it anyway. Remind your heart daily to lay all your cares at His feet. He is good. He can be trusted with all your dreams and hopes and hurts. With all your pain. With all your struggle. He will carry it for you.
I wish I could say that this is easy, but it’s not. It’s a journey - a daily walk of faith from now until eternity. But that’s where my heart has been these last 20 weeks. Knees to the ground, eyes to the Lord. Waiting. Learning. Listening for the voice of God. Holding on through that first trimester nausea (yikes!) and doing my best to feel thankful even in those moments.
At four weeks and two days pregnant, God gave me the knowledge that, “It’s going to stick and it’s a boy.” And last Monday, at 19 weeks and 2 days, we received confirmation that we are expecting a baby boy! What a precious gift! God is so good. Through it all He has strengthened my heart and my faith and grown my belly to hold this precious baby boy for a little while longer - another 20 weeks or so. What a sweet blessing it has been so far.