Fear is an emotion that I actually didn’t think of having (or think of wrestling with much) when it came to starting a family. I love children! I purposely spend time with them. I have excitedly dreamed, even before I was married, of what it would be like to have a little life growing inside of me someday. I imagined how amazing it would be to have kids of my own to love and cuddle and watch as their small lives grew into big adult lives. I always dreamed of having a large family (I used to say 22 kids – just to give you an idea of the kind of large I am talking about!). I knew one thing: I would be psyched when I got pregnant someday. Yet, here I was reading positive on a pregnancy test and having unexpected, crazy mixed-up emotions.
Andrew got back from work, and I had two outfits laid out on the bed – a baby girl outfit and a baby boy outfit, along with the positive pregnancy test I had taken earlier. He couldn’t believe his eyes when he walked in the room (and I think he thought I might be joking at first), but he was so thrilled!!! I, on the other hand, was certainly excited but was also wrestling with those other emotions. Maybe I’m not even pregnant? It doesn’t seem real. How will it change Andrew and my relationship? I’ve always so looked forward to having children of my own, but now that it’s real: I DON’T KNOW HOW TO BE A MOM! Is this God’s right timing? Andrew and I were planning for me to be a stay-at-home mom when we had children. Are our finances going to be OK?
You see, one of the biggest things I’ve realized over the years that I have a tendency for is fear of the unknown – the unconquered, unexplored lands of the future. And that’s what I was wrestling with right then.
Oh Jesus, all my emotions that keep me back from full excitement right now are from fear and untrust of You in the unknown. I’ve certainly never been pregnant before or been a mother or gone through pregnancy or motherhood with Andrew. It feels a little scary to dive into, but here I am. Jesus, I give my fears to You.
Do you ever have times you feel that God, out of His love, pulls strings just for you?! This was one of those times. In the middle of my crazy emotions, I’m pretty positive that God lovingly had a hand in relatively clearing my schedule for the week. The family that I worked for didn’t need me to come that week. Other things I had planned didn’t work out. Being at home and not having as much to keep me busy, gave me the time (and three positive pregnancy tests later!) for the truth to settle in: I was pregnant – for real. I was able to spent extra time with the Lord expressing my emotions and thoughts to Him (an excerpt from my journal above the day after I found out I was pregnant). In that week the over-the-top excitement finally came as I jumped up and down in the kitchen with excitement and cried with happiness. Andrew and I were going to have a precious baby and start a new adventure of parenting together hand in hand!
Were my fears over? No, throughout my pregnancy I have struggled in different ways with unexpected thoughts of fear. But God has been slowly, patiently working on me as “9 months” approaches. And I bet He won’t stop at 9 months (I’m so thankful that He doesn’t)! The biggest thing that He has shown me through it all is the importance of surrender. Sometimes we don’t like that word, or maybe we don’t even truly understand what it means. Surrender means giving up possession or control to another, to give up our will to the power, authority, and control of another. Jesus gave us this example when He surrendered His will to the Father (Philippians 2:6-8; 1 Peter 2:21-23; John 6:38). Jesus God’s Son, the least of all people who should surrender, did; and He calls His followers to do the same.
One day as I was reading a book called, Five Little Questions That Reveal the Life God Designed for You by Dannah Gresh, God used her words to show me that, rather than fearing, the questions I should be asking were: “What does God want my motherhood to look like?” “What are His dreams for me?” You see, when I began asking these questions, it took the pressure off of me and placed my eyes on the best Teacher anyone could have; it put my heart at rest. Dannah Gresh talks in her book about the truth of finding our most satisfaction in life when we discover and live in our Creator’s dreams for us, rather than our own. Yes, He has beautiful dreams for us! He is the Master Designer. He made the world out of nothing. He created the beauty of creation all around us. The Bible speaks of His attributes as a strong Father, but also as a tender, nurturing Mother. He knows the gifts, talents, and personality that He has specifically given each one of us. Wouldn’t He have the best ideas for motherhood, be the best at designing the most perfect dreams specifically for me and my family, and have the wisdom to show me what motherhood is all about?
I think He does, and I for one want to follow Him on this new adventure. Surrender, though hard at times, is really a delightful thing. When we relinquish ourselves to Someone as wise and loving as our Creator, we will find that He will always lead and care for us faithfully and lovingly. He can be trusted, even with our bodies, our children, our families, our lives, and our pregnancies.
So, young mom or old, will you surrender with me? Will you ask God with me to define for each of us what our mothering looks like? I’m excited to find out what God’s dreams are!