As a person who desires to know and love God, no matter how clumsy or athletic the walking is, as changes happen in life and in us, we are bound to see new facets of God. Would you agree?
Pregnancy is no different. And while I know from friends’ testimonies that each pregnancy and child is different, your first pregnancy throws you into a tornado of new, unfamiliar, wonderful, weird things. (Side note: I learned recently that anything that seems super odd actually isn’t in pregnancy, a.k.a tailbone pain that will have you limping if you’ve been sitting for too long. Who knew?)
I’m in my 21st week of being pregnant with our first child, a girl, and what I’m learning is that knowledge of God and belief in that knowledge is a lifeline like no other. There is great magnitude in understanding God as One who is the perfect mixture of sovereignty and compassion.
He is sovereign. Glorious. In control. Creator. Sustainer.
He is compassionate. Merciful. Attentive. Good. Generous.
One side is might and power. The other side is tenderness and love.
At about 7 weeks, I remember anxiety swirling. I’m not in control of anything happening in there. Anything can happen. What if I miscarry? What if something happens before we get to the first trimester appointment? What if we find out something serious at the 20 week appointment? or any appointment after that? And then, the kicker, if something I deem scary and bad happens, will I believe the same about God as I do in this moment, when everything is sweet?
My journal reads: Father, I trust you in my fear. With all the possibilities. With everything that is outside my control with this baby. What do you think about this? How do you see me? our baby? Clear my mind of everything but your voice. Help me believe you. And borrowing from Isaiah 33, I know you are the stability of these days, these minutes, no matter what comes. Only you.
I’ve never audibly heard the voice of God, but I am trying to practice stillness and listening in prayer, writing anything that comes to mind. After those lines are these statements:
My presence is all around you and my presence is love.
Don’t trust your body or circumstances to be right. Trust me.
I am your God and I am your baby’s God. Don’t be afraid.
In a matter of words, I’ve been confronted these first 20 weeks with what I believe about God. He’s high and lifted up. He’s mighty and glorious. He is to be feared and worshipped. He is holy and in control. His thoughts are higher than my thoughts. He’s the creator and sustainer of the world. He’s going to surprise us. He will take His time teaching us as we hurt, as we struggle. But He will bring us the most joy.
But in His might and glory and sovereignty, He is tender and kind and compassionate and nearer even than my next breath. His love is unconditional. He is faithful when I am faithless. His grace is sufficient. As we wait on Him, He is working for our good.
What does this mean for today? for tomorrow?
It means the reality of life’s uncertainties will be more challenging than we ever thought, but because of God, better than we could ever imagine. Weird, right. Regardless of my feelings, or what I’m seeing with my eyes, He can be trusted. As things happen as I hope they will, or as they don’t, He can be embraced as the One who cares for me (and this baby) perfectly.
These last few weeks have also confronted me with how I prioritize my life with God. Satan and the world attempt to overwhelm me with all the ways I’m not enough, or in control, and if I allow it, I could sink into the quicksand of fear and doubt. Knowing God in a deep, intimate, experiential way is the only way I’ll survive the suffering, challenges, and sanctifying seasons to come. This is my fight of faith: to believe God even if my humanity and the world and the Enemy scream otherwise.
At 21 weeks pregnant, what I find myself most needing, almost desperately, is an enduring confidence in the unchanging nature and character of God. I must live from a foundation of knowing He works all things according to the counsel of his will (Ephesians 1:11), joys or challenges, and His heart is for me.
I’ll never arrive, and I have a LONG way to go, but like I’m learning to do, I pray our daughter comes to desire God as her everything.
You need to hear what God says, and to experience that he does what he says. You need to feel the weight and significance of what he is about. He never lies. He never disappoints (though he wisely sets about to disappoint our false hopes). Though you walk through the valley of the shadow of death, you need fear no evil, for he is with you. Goodness and mercy will follow you. This is what he is doing. God’s voice speaks deeper than what hurts, brighter than what is dark, more enduring than what is lost, truer than what happened. David Powlison