Unplanned

Dear Second Daughter:

In a week and a few days, we’re going to meet you (I know this because your older sister was born via csection after 27 hours of labor, so we are having a second csection. Yes, I will always hold this over your older sister’s head). And as we prepare to meet you, I’ve been thinking a lot about what God has been teaching me through this pregnancy. I’m kind of embarrassed to admit to you that you were not planned.

BUT! I am admitting this to you because I want you to know that even if we didn’t plan you, God did. He knew that I needed to carry you with me for nine months because I had a lot of stuff to learn. He also knew, better than I did, just how much your dad and I wanted to have you around. So he gave you to us not on our timing, but on his perfect timing.

Let me tell you some of the stuff I’ve learned.

Before your dad and I got married, I made kind of a big deal out of wanting to practice Natural Family Planning. Your dad and I believe (and we believe science backs us up) that life begins at conception, and therefore we had to practice a birth control method that would protect life once it was conceived. I boldly proclaimed that we were open to having as many children as God conferred to us. When we decided we wanted to have children, we knew exactly when the right time was. We prayed. God gave us your older sister immediately.

But instead of giving me confidence in God’s timing, this gave me confidence in my timing. I felt like I was in control. I had been boldly proclaiming my submission to God in this area in my life, but it turned out my words were empty. And like the good Father he is, he made me eat them.

We found out you were with us in the dead of winter. I’ve only been living back in the Midwest for a couple of years and after living on the milder East Coast, the adjustment has been difficult — not so much because of the cold (don’t get me wrong, it’s pretty terrible) but the duration. As winter dragged on and my friends back east posted pictures online of cherry blossoms, green trees, and tulips in my favorite places I realized just how seriously I still pined for the life I’ve given up back in Washington. I started having really vivid dreams about getting my old job back and finding an apartment. I was really emotional — probably due in part to the hormones, and I wouldn’t be surprised if I’d had Seasonal Affective Disorder.

But looking back on it, I realize that even if I thought I’d thrown off the idol of my old job, status, and life, I was still clinging to it in secret places in my heart. Faced with a situation I had not planned and feeling out of control, I started longing for the worldly things I gave up when your dad and I got married. See — God knew this. He looked into my heart and saw that there were things I hadn’t given up to him yet.

So God gave me you, because he knew I needed to put my trust back in him. I’m pretty sure he’s going to spend the rest of your life teaching me that, too. But I thought I’d share with you the start, because I’m pretty sure the rest of the story will be pretty amazing, too.

Can’t wait to meet you.

Love,

Mom

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Wonderful words of life

So. It’s been a while.

I’ve legitimately been pretty busy with life things – mostly preparing for the birth of our second daughter (IN A MONTH?!) – but can we discuss for just a moment how difficult it is to write about God’s work in your life when, you know, you haven’t been reading the Bible?

Newsflash: It’s really hard!

A few weeks ago I had a conversation with a woman who grew up in the Catholic Church and left for a more progressive denomination. She talked about how she read the Bible, and was really enjoying reading the Gospel of John. But primarily “These days,” she told me, “I commune with God and nature.”

When I first considered her statement I thought how odd it sounded, given the strong truth claims about Jesus contained in John — and then I realized I was staring at the speck in this woman’s eye without considering the plank in mine. Without opening my Bible on a regular basis, I am definitely more on the “communing with God and nature” end of the spectrum these days.

Colossians 3:16 says “Let the word of Christ dwell in you richly, teaching and admonishing one another in all wisdom, singing psalms and hymns and spiritual songs, with thankfulness in your hearts to God.” Matthew Henry’s commentary on this is searing to me:

The gospel of the word of Christ, which has come to us; but that is not enough, it must dwell in us, or keep house… not as a servant in a family, who is under another’s control, but as master who has a right to prescribe to and direct all under his roof. We must take our instructions and directions from it, and our portion of meat and strength, of grace and comfort, in due season, as from the master of the household. It must dwell in us; that is, be always ready and at hand to us in every thing, and have its due influence and use. We must be familiarly acquainted with it and know it for our good… Many have the word of Christ dwelling in them, but it dwells in them poorly; it has no mighty force and influence upon them.

Our toddler is beginning to learn words. She actually was kind of slow to start talking and I was starting to worry about it (when I say slow, she didn’t start saying words until after 12 months, which is well within the margin of error and I freely admit I worry about everything too much, but I digress). She also had a lot of talking, flashing, singing toys that commanded a lot of her attention. One night after we’d put our daughter to bed, I expressed total annoyance at the abundance of these toys to my husband and he confiscated all of them to the basement. I kid you not, barely a week later, our daughter started saying her first words.

What changed? Well, our daughter started showing me toys that didn’t talk, as if to ask what they were. “It’s a teddy bear,” or, “that’s a block.” She started giving me books to read to her (books upon books upon books! Sometimes all we would do between breakfast and lunch was read!). She started hearing words.

Imagine that!

All of those talking toys, you know, talked. They spoke to her with the pre-programmed phrases and songs — a reflection of the real thing. Sort of like how creation everywhere points to God (Job 12:7-10, Psalm 19:1-4, Romans 1:20). But she couldn’t know the real thing until someone taught her. I can’t know God unless I let him speak to me through scripture.

So today I’m thankful that God — despite my unfaithfulness and how poorly I’ve let his word dwell within me — is faithful to me. “Because of the Lord’s great love we are not consumed, for his compassions never fail. They are new every morning; great is your faithfulness.” (Lamentations 3:22-23)

And, let’s be honest, I’m really thankful that Bible study is starting up again soon!