It is crazy to think that in just one month from today, this little baby boy could make his arrival into the world. It’s especially crazy since just a little over a year ago, I was having surgery so that I could have the chance of having another baby. Even with the successful surgery and the doctor saying everything looked good, we still had our doubts about whether baby #2 would ever happen as we headed into the summer months of 2012. After all, it had been 20 months of trying.
But here we are.
This pregnancy has been much harder than the first. I know this is totally normal. But sometimes I have wondered how much of it is the actual pregnancy, or if it’s the circumstances we’ve experienced in our lives for the past eight months (and before) that have made it so much more difficult. Either way, as I head into the final stretch (both figuratively and literally, unfortunately for my poor belly), I wanted to reflect on a few things from the past several months.
· Perseverance and waiting has made us stronger: Persevering through some hard moments in Costa Rica as well as waiting for this baby has changed Joe and me. I wrote about how the risk of moving to CR was worth it, which it was, but also the waiting for this baby has been worth it, even though it was not our choice, not our plan. I still struggle with questioning the timing of it all. (I have to openly and embarrassingly admit I still have moments of sadness that my kids will be 4 years apart, and that I will be that much older if we decide to try for a third, and that a career of any kind is put on the back burner, at least for now… and then I am ashamed because I know people who can’t have biological children at all, or who have a million other struggles so much bigger than mine, and so then I get my thoughts in order and start being grateful instead of doing the whole disgusting “if only” thing in my head…). But this experience has sculpted me and refined me in ways that only happen when you are in a difficult season, and I am constantly reminded of this verse out of Romans 5:
And we rejoice in the hope of the glory of God. Not only so, but we also rejoice in our sufferings, because we know that suffering produces perseverance; perseverance, character; and character, hope. And hope does not disappoint us, because God has poured out his love into our hearts by the Holy Spirit, whom he has given us.
· Don’t give up hope. I love how in the verse above, Paul talks about how suffering eventually produces hope. I don’t know exactly how it all works, to be honest. What I do understand is that I can always have hope in Jesus, in his unfathomable love for me, no matter what the circumstance or season of my life is. We may not understand God’s timing or exact purpose in a certain situation in our life, but we can always have hope. Hope is the thing with feathers, Emily Dickenson writes. Which for me means hope feels light, in the midst of heavy circumstances. More importantly, God’s hope, love, and grace is light and has carried me through these past months, especially in the midst of meltdowns and breakdowns!
· This Too Shall Pass: I think this is probably every mother’s mantra at some point. Heck, every human’s mantra. At least it should be. I have to constantly remind myself that any given moment will pass eventually. This holds true for the excruciatingly difficult ones as well as the bursting-with-joy ones. Which means we need to hold steady during the storms, knowing the calm will return eventually, and fully embrace the moments of glorious joy, knowing that, “You are a mist that appears for a little while and then vanishes” (James), and “Remember, O God, that my life is but a breath” (Job) and “Man is like a breath; his days are like a fleeting shadow.” (Psalmist)
So as this pregnancy seems to drag on and on, and the feeling of being unsettled and in transition seems to be lasting forever, and becoming an insomniac seems to be my newest pastime, I have to constantly remind myself of these truths. “I’m getting stronger through all this! Don’t give up hope – the end is near! This too will pass!”
And best of all, I get to hear God tell me in my weakest moments, “I love you still. Even though. Even if.” And I get to rest in his embrace.