Category Archives: God

This Baby Isn’t Mine

Twenty-nine weeks in, and amid the excitement and wonder… between the countless trips to the bathroom and the pillows that never are quite comfortable… there is really one prevailing theme to this wonder that is watching the days tick down from woman to Mom.

I have no idea what I’m doing.

Everything is a necessity. You need a bouncer, and a swing, and a rocker, and a jumper. You need to know if you’re having a boy or girl, because you need to have blue trucks or pink ballerinas on every piece of clothing. You need a gender reveal party! You need weekly bump pictures! You need this bottle. You need this pump. And oh goodness, how adorable is this!? You need it, too. You need to make sure you don’t let pregnancy affect your teaching. You need to sleep more, but make sure you still get your to-do list taken care of and get a solid hour of exercise in.

Everyone has an opinion. Breastfeed or formula. Disposables diapers or cloth. Natural or epidural. Hospital or home birth. Baby led weaning? Vaccines? Sleep training? Homemade baby food? Circumcision? Baby sign language? Crib bumpers? Social media? You’re carrying high, so that’s a girl in there. No heartburn – but, can you and your husband even make a bald baby? How dare you eat frozen yogurt?! LISTERIA!

This voice, that voice, until here I am, heavy in heart and oh-so-weary, because I’ve stopped hearing the voice. The still, small voice. The voice that entreats me to let Him bear on His shoulders all of the things that I’ve been trying to bear on my heart. The voice that asks me to please, come slow down and rest in Me, it’s been too long of this running and to-do listing and what you need more than this ever-fleeting sense of preparation is the ever-fulfilling peace of your Shepherd. The voice that reminds me that this little one doesn’t need a thing as dearly as it needs a mother that has a deep hunger for Him.

And how many times have I come back to Jeremiah. The verse that grabs the control freak in me by the shoulders, looks me square in the eyes, and yells STOP. By now, I should have this so engrained in my heart that I stop making the same mistakes, but these mistakes are well-worn grooves that my sinful self easily slips back into.

I know the plans I have for you, says the Lord. Plans to prosper you and not to harm you. Plans to give you a hope and a future.

But I am argumentative. I am stubborn, I am prideful. You don’t understand, God, I say. I’m quitting my job. My husband doesn’t currently have a job that will support us. What happens when we run out of savings? What happens if he can’t find anything? What happens when my contract is up and our insurance is gone? What happens if I can’t breastfeed? What happens if I can’t pump enough extra to cover worship practices? What happens if the nursery winds up half done? What happens if the baby comes early? What happens if the baby comes late? What happens if the baby starts coming while I’m teaching? What happens if the little one is born with something that we had no knowledge of or preparation for? What happens if our marriage is rocked? What happens if I spiral into depression? What happens if I fail at being a mother?

The Creator continues to put in a new heart, and I keep freshly mangling it with worry and pride and a dimming desire to spend any time with Him when there is just so. much. to. do. Instead of tending the fire He’s put in this heart, I tend to this thing and that thing until it’s just embers and the shadows have crept back into the corners. How can I be a good mother if I have shadows in my heart?

And what needs given over to Him – to the Lion of Judah who tore down everything that would stand between me and Him – I choose to keep. These are my worries. These are my goals and plans, my struggles.

But this is His baby.

This little one with the kicks and the pokes, he or she, they are not mine. This heart that beats a little stronger every week, that reassures that all is well, is not mine. The still-gray eyes that can open and see the lights and the darks of things, they are not mine. That mind that can already have thoughts and memories, that already has personalities and preferences, is not mine.

And I can cling on to this child, to this idea of what motherhood will be like for me. I can hold on to these hopes and dreams, and fight for them fiercely. But they are mine. Only mine, not given to God, and I have built castles in the sky before, I’ve built my houses upon the sand, and watched them crumble time and time again.

And the God who has power over every star and planet, He never forces my hand. I can choose to do this on my own. I will fall, sooner or later, into a crumpled heap of desperation and depression, but I can choose that. Or, I can offer this child, this little soul that only exists because God decided to fix my body for however short a time, this head with numbered hairs, these lungs with numbered breaths, this new life with every step and turn already written down… I can offer this baby to God. Because truly, this baby isn’t mine.

This child will grow strongest when I get out of my own way and let God do the molding and shaping. And I will find joy and peace in motherhood when I determine to my very core that God knows the plans He has for me, for us. That they are plans to prosper us, this little family, in the good and upright ways. Plans to prosper and not to harm, and that when the harm and hard comes, He will be the strength that guides us to the other side of that sea, to a place where we can look back and understand. God has plans of hope, of a future.

And the steps will not always be clear, because God likes to work in faith.

And I will not always be willing, because I am controlling and prideful in my weakest parts.

But I am not my own. And this baby isn’t mine. And God is the most perfect of Fathers with the most perfect of plans.

When God Doesn’t Heal Immediately

The lepers sought Him out, this Christ King of mine, and begged to be healed, to be redeemed, to be restored, and we’ve heard the miracle stories, so heal us, too! With the stories of blind men seeing instantly and cripples picking up their mats, why would they expect any different? Let them close their eyes on rotting deformities, hear a prayer, and open their eyes to skin clear and tan, but my Lord works in mysterious ways, and perhaps He knew that four men would write the story down for me to read later, because He chose a different route this time. Heal us, Lord, they cried. And go, He said. Go. Go away from me. Go show yourself to those you dismissed and despised you, and wouldn’t I have walked away defeated? Defiant? And as they walked, their bodies were washed clean. And the one who came back? His heart was as well. But they had to go. 

I’ve been a leper.

I’ve sought Him out, this Christ King of mine, and begged to be healed, to be redeemed, to be restored. I’ve read the miracle stories. I’ve seen the miracle stories. Of legs being lengthened, of jumbled letters made straight, of spines straightening and dead bodies walking, of light being found in the eyes of those with cuts across wrists. The woman touched his hemline and was healed. If I could just get close enough to touch… and so I seek Him out, and throw my aches before Him. Heal me, Lord, I’ve cried, and do cry. And He is silent. He tells me to go. My aches, they still ache, they are not gone, and I don’t understand.

I don’t understand that the go is not go away but go and walk in the faith that I’ve heard you, I see you, and I will lead you from this place. I don’t understand that His ways are higher and wiser. I don’t understand why He let me stay in that ugly and abusive place, to sin and be sinned against in ugly red ways, instead of lifting me out after months rather than years. I don’t understand why He didn’t meet my husband in a big way and heal his bitter and angry and hurting heart, and in the same moment heal a marriage carrying too much weight after only a few months of being one person. I don’t understand why He didn’t provide a way out or a way up when every school day ended with tears and wine, and every morning felt like a trap, or a pit, pick your metaphor. 

Leprosy, this disease of continuing and increasing numbness and ugliness, creeping for years and a day. My skin is clear and my fingers can touch, but numbness is no stranger to my heart. The ten had their physical leprosy wiped from their skin, but only one had the leprosy sloughed from his soul. And when you ask and beg and plead for God to hear you, not realizing that He has, it’s hard to keep hope. It’s hard to keep your heart soft, to keep it tender and feeling, because the feeling is painful and there’s two options – build a wall or go numb. Pick one. Pick both, because God’s far away and you’ve got to find a way to do this on your own.

I’ve been a leper.

am a leper.

My heart is riddled with sores and rough spots from the times when God told me to go and to trust Him as I walk, and instead I sat my sorry self right down and threw a fit. I don’t understand! I don’t understand! But His ways are higher and wiser and good, and when I stop looking to my own strength or reasoning and look to the Christ that I nailed through with my sins, He takes me by hand and we walk. We walk through the pain, and the pride, and the aches, and it hurts and there are tears, but the sun is up ahead as He leads me over this mountain and into green pastures and still waters. And the numbness of my heart, the walls that I had built (because I had picked both), they are gone. They fade. My King restores, redeems, binds up the cracks and broken pieces of a life.

I don’t understand the thoughts of God in the here and the now, but I do understand now that He heals us in the way that causes us to grow the most. I am the woman that I am because of the scars I’ve been redeemed from. I am the wife that I am because of the burdens that he, He, and I have shouldered together. I am the teacher that I am because of the scales ripped from my eyes and replaced with hopefulness.

And I know I’ll wander away from the green pastures and find myself at another mountain, but I’d like to think that I’m already standing at the foot of one, that I’ve already asked God to redeem and restore, that He’s already told me to go and walk in the faith that He’ll lead me, and that I’m on my way up and over, without fighting and screaming and building walls, but with hope and peace. More dead skin and numbness will flake and fall away, and when I see the green pastures and still waters again, it will be with new eyes and new strength.

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