Tuesday, October 27, 2015

Vessel

Never have I more fully understood the concept of being a vessel than during pregnancy. Of course. It makes sense. I'm growing a human. There's a life inside me, not just my own, being sustained by me and my daily decisions. Drink enough water. Eat the right foods. Take my vitamins. Try to rest (ha). It goes without saying that my body is a vessel for this growing baby. And yet this pregnancy has taught me a whole new level of this idea as it relates to being used by God. 

While I am a vessel for my unborn child, watching and experiencing my body undergo miraculous and often crazy changes, I've learned my place. I can do my best to take care of myself and my body and my unborn baby, but there's still an element of this being completely out of my hands. Oh yes, you can only imagine how this control-freak has had to be put in her place learning this lesson. Needless to say, it's been on repeat for 9 months now. 

Though I cannot wait to hold her in my arms, I have not been fashioning her with my own hands. While I can dream of kisses, snuggles, making memories and family traditions yet to come, I have not ordained the days of her life. We've had ultra sounds and even a few 3-D images to give us a sneak peek of her precious face but I've not been able to see her unborn body. I often wonder will she have hair? What color will her eyes be? Will she look like her daddy or maybe more like me? It's not only fun to wonder about but yet another reminder of just how little I actually have to do with this creation of God. Sure, we've contributed DNA and genetic codes but I didn't get to dictate my hazel eyes or her dad's blue eyes. No more than I didn't get to choose, plan or predict that my sweet Eli would sovereignly look like he shares my genetics too. It's amazingly mind blowing when I take it all in and recognize my role. 

You see, I prayed to become a mother. I begged God for a child. My entire journey to and through motherhood has been nothing short of a complete faith walk. God has answered these prayers and yet He's also reminded me how much it has required my full and complete trust. Reminding me through adoption, miscarriage and now full term pregnancy that I truly am nothing more than a vessel. It doesn't require passivity. This isn't for the faint of heart. It demands my surrender. It expects my trust. It requires my faith and belief that His ways are higher than mine. That He alone is working it all out for the good. That I cannot step in, intervene or do anything within my human power that would supersede His sovereign plan. That is what I'm learning. To truly be a vessel. To let go of the death grip of control I so often inflict on that which I want to fix, do, be and simply let Him. 

What's even more mind blowing is to stop and consider how each day of this pregnancy, everyday of my own life, was planned for me long ago as He was fashioning and forming my own unborn body. He knew how hard headed, stubborn and controlling I would be. And He's loved me regardless. 

This week I was reminded of a familiar yet promising verse:

"He who begin a good work in you is faithful to complete it until the day of Christ Jesus." Phil. 1:6

I don't know when she's coming. I don't know the day or time or circumstance surrounding her birth. I do know God knows and I trust He is faithfully working to complete the good work He began 9 months ago. I trust in His perfect timing, despite my impatience. I wait knowing the only thing I can do is be but a vessel for Him and my baby. He's not finished with her yet, and thank God, He's not finished with me yet either! 

Saturday, October 17, 2015

Any Day Now

36 weeks and 6 days. The fact that her arrival could literally be any day now has me absolutely over the moon. I'm giddy with excitement at the thought of meeting her. I sat sorting through clothes yesterday, pulling out yet another round of newborn outfits to wash and have prepared and I was brought to tears. I tried to picture her sweet little face, the defined lips we saw on the 3-D ultra sound, the little button nose that seemed to be evident. I keep wondering if she'll have a full head of dark hair like her daddy. I snuggled one of the sleepers, purple and white terry cloth as soft and sweet as it could be. I imagined holding her clothed in that very outfit. Overcome again with emotion, I had to pause for moment.

"Thank You, Lord, for this miracle."

In the early weeks I can recall being gripped with fear, claiming each new week as a milestone and asking God to have His hand on my womb. I can fully admit I've battled worry my entire pregnancy. I know full well I cannot control the outcome, yet it's caused me to stay permanently on my knees trusting the Lord to be in control of my body and my baby. It's a humbling and yet empowering feeling knowing that the Creator of the universe is literally fashioning and forming the life inside of me. How could I not be brought to tears at the fact that God Almighty is planning all the days of my daughter's life even as I feel her move within me?

Now here I stand (quite truthfully, I'm sitting as much as possible with my swollen feet these days) staring down the last few weeks. At last check she was snug as a bug with no signs of showing up early. I'm prepared for the long haul but I'd be lying if I didn't admit to waking up everyday wondering "Will she come today?" I envision her birthday. I'm preparing for labor and delivery. Remember my meltdown at almost 28 weeks? I was gripped with fear that I wouldn't be able to do this. Now I'm fully prepared for what's to come - understanding I can't really predict or prepare for any of it! But make no mistake. She is coming. Sometime between now and about a month from now Violet Hope will be here (dear Lord please don't let it be longer than 4 weeks)!

This entire journey has been one full of faith. There will be a series to come of my journey to motherhood. When I prayed to God to become a mother, I had no idea how He would answer with the emotional and spiritual journey that led to adopting Elijah. When I prayed to become pregnant, I had no idea the spiritual and physical journey it would bring. Blessed is an understatement as we prepare to meet our daughter. I'm thankful for this journey, thankful it's kept me close to Him, thankful for even what remains unknown and what is to come. I'm thankful you have shared in our journey, rejoicing with us over this miracle, crying with us when we mourned last year, celebrating our baby girl as we wait for her arrival...any day now!

Saturday, October 10, 2015

Lessons Learned

The day did not go as planned. We started out with our family in tow, preparing for an outdoor outing at the pumpkin patch. We'd anticipated this trip for weeks and had two very excited cousins ready to tackle our annual family tradition. By the time we got there it was pouring down rain. Now what?! Plan B swiftly unfolded as we attempted to salvage the day and create alternative fun. 

I told Eli I was sorry the rain had changed our plans. As sincere as he could be, he responded, "It's okay, mom, the rain is good to water the grass." He was matter of fact and I was in awe of his reasoning. Had he heard Michael saying he hoped for rain to help the grass seed he'd recently planted? Either way, he wasn't deterred.

After enjoying our day despite the rain, I made a point to tell my boy that I hoped he'd had a good day even though we didn't get to go to the pumpkin patch. Without skipping a beat he let me know, "It was the funnest day ever! I got to be with my family and my cousin and I had a great day!" Again all I could do was marvel at his outlook and thank God for his sweet heart. 

We'd come home to find stuffing on the floor. I couldn't find the source but I knew who was to blame. Our doodle can't handle anything with stuffing. It's instantly ripped to shreds. It wasn't until bedtime when we found the victim. A small stuffed monkey Eli earned from his school fundraiser. He was proud of that little trinket. It was something he usually kept right by his bed. Now it was missing it's eyes along with a head full of stuffing and the face was unrecognizable.

Eli was in tears. I scolded Baxter and he immediately gave the remorseful puppy dog eyes. I got the needle and thread and gave my best effort at stitching up the poor monkey. As I came back with the refurbished and slightly less happy stuffed animal, I found Baxter curled up in bed with Eli. Eli was rubbing his head as he laid propped up against his giant pillow pup. "It's okay, Baxter, I forgive you because God forgives me." I couldn't even handle the moment. I quickly embraced him and presented the stitched together monkey and told him how proud of him I was. 

His positive outlook was enough to shake me out of any bad attitude I had. Not once but multiple times throughout the day, he demonstrated maturity and grace that I admit I fall short of. His example today was much greater than mine and I'm supposed to be the adult. And what culminated at the end of the day captured the essence of what I knew God was displaying to me through the heart of my seven year old. 

Being a parent isn't always easy. It is primarily our job to teach our children and train them up in the way they should go, but today my son taught me. Repeatedly. Reminders of God's grace no matter what storms arise. Demonstrations of plans falling through yet our reactions being Spirit filled. Recognizing the blessings around us even when things don't go our way. The act of forgiveness in its purest form - because God forgave us. I'm marking this day down as one I hope not to forget. The day when the heart of my child helped me see more fully the loving heart of our God.