“Safe?” said Mr. Beaver. “Who said anything about safe? ‘Course he isn’t safe. But he’s good. He’s the King, I tell you.” ~C.S. Lewis
My first five pregnancies were uneventful. Each time, as soon as I saw the positive pregnancy test results, I joyfully and confidently envisioned the new child’s arrival.
Then seven winters ago, I was nine weeks into a new pregnancy when our whole family contracted a bad case of the flu. My fever soared dangerously high despite my efforts to keep it under control. I pled with the Lord for the life of my baby. But my baby died.
Even in the midst of my unexpectedly intense grief, God gave me the grace to praise Him.
Then month after month dragged by, with no new baby on the way. With each month, my hopes sank lower and lower.
In midsummer, on the day our baby had been due, a sixteen-year-old girl gave birth to a tiny girl-child, fathered by a boyfriend who couldn’t stay away from drugs. They laid the baby in my arms, thinking it would be healing to me. The wildly irrational thought came to my mind, “This should have been my baby.” I had to quickly retreat to a private place to hide the sobs that burst forth from my still-grieving heart.
I began to have some physical difficulties, causing the word, “Endometriosis,” to be spoken over me. My body seemed to me to be unfeminine, dry, infertile, a failure. There was pain.
But the real battle was hidden in my heart.
I asked God, “Why? Why? Why? Why have You closed my womb? Have we displeased You in some way? Why do You give babies to those who shouldn’t have them, and withhold more children from us?”
From the time I was tiny, I was taught to know right from wrong. Of course it was wrong to rebel against God. “Rebellion is as the sin of witchcraft.” I knew I must speak the words, “Your will be done.” I spoke them. I was not rebelling, right?
But I followed it up with, “See? Now I am submitted to Your will. So there’s no reason You can’t send us a baby.”
There had been other struggles of the will during the earlier part of my life. But this was my first real battle to trust the goodness of God when nothing He was doing made any sense to me. When He wasn’t doing what I thought He should do.
By the very end of that seemingly endless year, after a fight to the death with my strong will […yes, dear, it does come from my side of the family, not yours…], there was only peace in my heart. I knew that the most important thing was not how many children I had, but whether I would trust Him. I had accepted whatever God was doing, accepted it all the way down deep inside. I had finally reached the place of truly accepting His right to rule. I would be joyful, even if I never conceived another baby.
A couple of weeks later, I conceived another baby.
And immediately the battle lines were drawn again.
From the start, that pregnancy was troubled. We thought we were losing our unborn child more than once. And now we knew that God sometimes took a baby away from parents who loved Him, and loved their baby. Now we knew from experience that our God was not a tame lion. We knew that He had given us no promises that our child would live.
All the way up to the time of the birth, I again wrestled with God. “What does it mean to joyfully accept whatever You decide to do? What if you take this baby? Of course I know You are good and worthy of all praise no matter what. But do you ask a mother to be joyful when You take her baby away? I am afraid I could not be joyful. I know I would grieve. If I grieve, does that mean that I am rebelling against You?”
My long-suffering husband tenderly spoke the truth to me. If I grieve the loss of my baby, that doesn’t mean I am a rebel, it means I am a mother, just as God has designed me to be. He knows that my heart’s desire is to be molded and guided by Him, and to bring Him glory through my life. He knows I am not a rebel.
God gave us that new little boy, safe and sound.
Now here we are on the eve of…well, what feels a lot like an ultrasound near the end of another high-risk pregnancy. Is the baby alive? Does it look like we might really have another baby? The truth will be revealed very soon.
A good friend asked me, “So, are you on pins and needles while you wait? Or are you keeping yourself busy?”
Then we both chuckled, because we’re both mothers of large families. We don’t have to go out of our way to keep ourselves busy.
This is the final week of our family’s academic year. A month past when we usually finish, so we have been exercising super-human patience to stick it out to the end. Today was the. last. day. of. school. YES!!!!
On Tuesday, the girls had their final art class for this school year. They will miss going across the street once a month to visit our neighbor and bring their lovely creations back home!
This was therapy week, so we had a visit from Verity’s occupational therapist, and one from her physical therapist. The girls and I actually enjoy these visits!
The little boys and I re-stocked our family’s homemade cookie supply. Yum, yum!
I re-organized my kitchen cupboards. We’re all moved in again. Of course, one thing led to the next, and now our freezer, refrigerator, side porch pantry, and basement are also re-organized. That was a group effort.
We had some touching up to do with paint throughout the house, and tomorrow I hope to repaint the kitchen walls. All the curtains in the house are waiting to be ironed and re-hung as well. (If you guessed nesting, you guessed rightly!)
Then we found out that Katie’s country wanted a certain dossier document that it was impossible for us to produce. They ask for a local police clearance signed by a real person. Our small, rural, conservative community does not produce enough crime to warrant its own police force. We are under the jurisdiction of the state police. And the state police does not write letters like that. In their words, NO, they NEVER have and they NEVER will. So in between everything else this week, and with many prayers, I spent hours on the phone trying to find a solution that would be acceptable to Katie’s country. I think we have one, thanks to several very understanding, motivated and helpful people, including our state representative’s agent and a state trooper who works in the state criminal history department. We re-did our state clearances and are having them notarized by the state police in Harrisburg.
In all this working, we are still waiting behind the closed door, not knowing what lies on the other side. This is a dramatically different kind of waiting than the kind we were doing last week. This kind of waiting puts butterflies in my stomach, and that doesn’t mean I am pushing for my own way and not trusting God! We have the very vivid knowledge that God is in complete control.
Those butterflies mean that I am a mother. And my God is not a tame lion.
Whate’er my God ordains is right: he never will deceive me;
He leads me by the proper path; I know he will not leave me:
I take, content,
What he hath sent;
His hand can turn my griefs away,
And patiently I wait his day.