January 11, 2015
Well, friends, here we are. I am 38 weeks pregnant. My belly has grown exactly 15 inches since May. My hips refuse to stay in place, I have a new stretch mark every day, my nights are just short of sleepless and my waddle is almost comical. As I was draped over my exercise ball last night, sharing with my husband just how badly I wanted to have this baby, he whispered, “it’s almost over, love. But stay present in these moments, they’re special too.”
It got me thinking about spiritual amnesia. I think as believers we all suffer from it from time to time-some cases are severe while others are easily cured. I have learned that the best way to prevent spiritual amnesia is to hold tightly to the moments when The Lord reveals himself to us; to be full of gratitude for His faithfulness. So, despite sharing the story so many times this pregnancy, I’ve decided to put pen to paper and record how incredibly faithful The Lord was in giving us this child.
From as early as our honeymoon, my husband and I expressed that we wanted to wait three years before having a baby. I was 21 years old and had two more years of college when we said “I do,” which played a big part in our decision. We also chose not to live together until marriage and actually spent half of each year long distance, so having the time to build a strong foundation of oneness and friendship was really important to us. Here’s where it gets tricky: we didn’t use any contraceptives.
I totally understand the look on your face- I had the same one. After we had been married for about a month and my birth-control hormones were turning me into a complete nut job my husband said “I think we should trust The Lord to give us a baby in His timing.” Well, duh, I thought. I fully and completely was trusting Him for our baby.
Then I’d get off birth control and pray like crazy, “trusting” His timing. The flaw in this, my husband explained, is that we are still taking matters into our own hands and telling The Lord when we’re ready to have a baby rather than trusting that His timing is far better than ours and He wouldn’t give us a child a moment too soon.
This made me sweat. I still had two more years of school! What if I got pregnant that month? What if I missed my youth and resented the baby, or worse, resented God? This required a level of blind faith I hadn’t experienced before and truthfully, I didn’t know if I wanted to experience. I poured my heart out in prayer, asking God to reveal His will to me. If His desire was for us to give up all contraceptives, then I would be obedient. Within a month’s time, I had every single side effect on the birth control label ( have you ever seen the end of a birth control commercial? The endless rambling of possible side effects? Yes. Each and every one…including “heaviness of the underside of the arms.” What even is that?!) We heard Him loud and clear, dumped the full pack of birth control in the trash and never looked back.
Every doctors appointment for the next two and a half years would begin the same way; “Are you trying to get pregnant?” “No, not yet.” “Are you currently using contraceptives?” “No, we’re not.” “…so you’re trying to get pregnant.” This concept was foreign to everyone we know. I was completely fine with the guessing game, trusting that The Lord gave us the desire of our hearts and that I wouldn’t be pregnant for three years. I took a pregnancy test about every month (just for good measure) but still had such a confidence in my heart. This confidence wasn’t shaken until a little over two years ago, when, while hanging out with some of my husbands friends from college a seed was planted that grew bad fruit.
The wonderful thing about having a husband who graduated from Stanford is that he has smart friends. Like, really smart friends. We happened to be laughing the night away with some a pair of these smart friends who just so happen to be married and in their residency at Harvard Medical. After we talked about babies for a while, the bomb was dropped. “You guys aren’t on birth control? You’re not using anything at all? No woman can be consistently sexually active for two years and not get pregnant without something being wrong with her.” Bam. She wasn’t saying it out of malice, she was simply stating medical “fact.” This “fact” shook me to my core, causing me to reevaluate this decision we had made. Suddenly, instead of thanking The Lord that I hadn’t yet gotten pregnant and praising Him for the peace I had and for my health and His perfect will, I became terrified. Why hadn’t I gotten pregnant? Was something wrong with me? What if, when we started trying, it would take a long time to have a baby? What if I couldn’t have a baby?
Five months later, a regular checkup at the gynecologist brought news that only nurtured and watered this fear growing in me: I had pre-cancerous cells growing on my cervix and would have to have my whole cervix frozen in hopes of killing all the cancer. The day I had the procedure was a dark day as I’m certain the fear in me had grown so large that it shaded and choked out any faith I once had. I was angry that we were being punished for our faithfulness, betrayed for our trust. Once I fully recovered, I started begging my husband to let let us “start trying” earlier. “What if it takes a long time?! If we wait until the exact three year mark and it takes a year to get pregnant, I don’t think I could bear it!” He assured me that right when we started trying, we would be pregnant. His faith inspired me and frustrated me at the same time, but one month before our three year anniversary I decided to trust The Lord with all of me and surrender to His timing.
We had spent the better part of the year planning a two month vacation in Europe to celebrate three years of marriage and act as our last trip before trying to have a baby. After a beautiful ten days in Rome, a week in Florence, four days in Capri and two days in Venice we arrived to the morning of our anniversary. I had been feeling like I was on a boat (but we were in Venice, after all) and couldn’t shake a hunch that something was different. I told my husband I was headed outside to take some pictures and scurried around town trying to find a grocery store open that early. Just before calling it quits due to very poor navigational skills and no way to communicate with the mr. if I got lost, I said “Lord, if you want me to take this test, please reveal it to me.” The next corner I turned was a drug store. I bought the test, took the test, and on the morning of our three year anniversary, this little Italian pregnancy test confirmed that I was indeed carrying our first baby.
God is faithful. We need only trust Him. Yesterday I caught myself looking up ways to naturally induce labor. My body is tired, this baby is surely ready. But this story reminds me that God has not forgotten us. Before I was formed in my mothers womb, The Lord knew the day I would bring this baby into the world. Each day of this pregnancy has been written in His book, why would I stop trusting His perfect timing in the end? The cure to my spiritual amnesia is right here-in these words. I pray that whatever you are facing, no matter how tempted you are to try and control your situation, that you would trust The Lord instead. I can assure you, He will never let you down.