Used

BB and I are dying to know – is there some sort of study that has proven that babies prefer the sound of the pan flute as opposed to actual orchestration? Why don’t these baby toys just play Beethoven’s Ninth by the full orchestra?

I’ve been warned.  Being pregnant, giving birth, nursing, all these things will ruin my body.  I’ll be all used up by the time Fred is 6 months old.  It makes me wonder, what would I be saving myself for? 

I want to be used.  My body was designed (in part) to bring forth life.  My breasts were designed to provide food.  My body is here for a function.  Even if it wasn’t child-bearing, my hands are meant to wash, build, create.  My feet are to meant to walk, run.  My back should be bent.  I’m not a priceless work of art, meant only for observation.

Our culture strives to preserve – save your money, use the candlesticks only for special occasions, keep your skin out of the sun, wear rubber gloves, keep your shoes out of the mud.  We don’t want to get dirty.  We don’t want to be used.  We want our bodies, homes, cars, brains, kept fresh until….until what?  What are we saving ourselves for?

We are about to embark on another 7-style purge of our home.  This one’s going to be bigger, deeper, more painful.  I’m scared.  I love my stuff.  It’s not all materialistic – some of the love comes from the memories the things hold.  The warm coat that’s insulated me at the bus stop, the running shoes in which I’ve logged miles, the skillet that has cooked many a meal, the platter given by a friend, the sweater picked out by my mom.

But then I kick myself.  Here I’m giving away so many items that I was saving for something special.  Why didn’t I use the wedding china more often?  Why have I only worn that necklace once?  I didn’t know that one day I would be called to give it all up.

Our vats are overflowing, and we build another barn to hold it.  Spend it.  Use it.  This life is fleeting.  You can’t take it with you…not in the next life, and sometimes in this one.

We save our money for an emergency.  But (as Francis Chan once asked), is it only an emergency if it affects our family? 

We save our time like misers.  We have to work hard, and we will serve others later.  We will have that date night with our spouse next month.  We will spend more time with the children once we get this last errand run.  What if later never comes? 

Spend it.  Wear it.  Use it.  Jesus’ body was broken, used.  His blood was shed for us. 

Humbled

I had to have a c-section.  We had planned a home birth.  The Lord has his own ways.  Waiting to be taken into the operating room, I was the most scared I think I had ever been.  I wanted to run.  I had a teeny tiny glimpse of the garden prayer – Lord take this cup away from me.  Nevertheless, not as I will, but as you will. 

Going into the procedure, I knew that my prayer would be for humility and submission.  Rather than the empowered birth I had planned, I was being called to lie down and submit.  Spread out on the table, arms outstretched and strapped down, numb, tubes, completely out of control.  This was the exact opposite of what we had hoped for and planned.

I was terrified of the birth – not matter how it was to happen.  Everything in the pregnancy had gone well.  Fred was perfect from all we could tell.  The lies kept coming – it was too good to be true.  It would all be taken from me.

Stuck between a truth and a lie.  Truth being that God had not promised me a healthy baby, a complication-free birth, survival for another day.  God is good, but he’s not safe.  He makes promises, but safety, health and security are not included.  How do you go into something so important without any assurance of success?  How do you not fear the worst? How do you trust an unsafe and dangerous God?

I always cringe when people say things like, Jesus is my buddy, my friend, my partner.  While of course there friendly aspects of Jesus, Jesus is not our equal.  If I were to see him face to face, I wouldn’t run up to give him a pat on the back.  I would be on my face begging for my life.  He is Lord of Lord, King of Kings, nothing but complete submission and fear would be appropriate.

He wants me to hold everything with an open hand.  I have no choice but to obey.  The Lord gives and the Lord takes away, blessed be the name of the Lord.  He is wise, and he is good.  How can I not follow him?

Christmas Preparations

How is it possible to be hungry every minute of every day?

BB has just 1.5 days of work left for 2012, and I am so ready for him to be on vacation!  [I’m sure this sentence fills him with terror and worry that I have “plans” for him.  Don’t worry honey….just a few.] 

On Monday, Lord willing, I will technically be full-term in my pregnancy, meaning Baby Bean can come.  Baby Bean and I have agreed that he will stay put until January…at least until January 7.   We don’t need anymore surprises around this house.  Can one thing go as planned, please?  Just one thing!  Great, now I’ve certainly jinxed myself.

We are spending Christmas with my family.  I’m looking forward to baking all day on Sunday and then eating all day on Monday and Tuesday.  No gifts this year, but we have a special surprise project.  I’m sure I’ll have some good stories for you next week about how it goes.  

What am I baking?

For Christmas Eve dessert – Marbled Pumpkin Gingersnap Tart (Smitten Kitchen)

For Christmas morning – Blueberry Cornmeal Butter Cake (Smitten Kitchen) and Chocolate Coffee Cardomom Bread (http://www.artisanbreadinfive.com/2012/12/04/chocolate-coffee-cardamom-bread-and-a-contest-giveaway)

Jealous?

I’ve been trying to make some plans for January so I don’t just sit on the couch wondering when Baby Bean will come for the entire month.  I’ve also been saving a few fun projects and just got a copy of Rachel Held Evans’ Year of Biblical Womanhood (http://www.amazon.com/Year-Biblical-Womanhood-Liberated-Covering/dp/1595553673/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1356033400&sr=8-1&keywords=year+of+biblical+womanhood), which I cannot wait to read!!!

We still have to decide Baby Bean’s name.  I have a feeling we will be discussing that in between contractions since we can’t seem to want to commit right now.  We are pretty aligned on a girl name, which can only mean that Baby Bean is a boy after all.

Hope you all have a very Merry Christmas!

 

Happy Thanksgiving!

We had a great Thanksgiving in Cincinnati with my in-laws.  It was the first time we’ve all been together in five years, and it was a lot of fun.  We have five nephews ages 3-10, and they played together so well.  Reminds me of holidays growing up, playing with my cousins.  It felt like a real holiday. 

The only real downside was that so many people were sick.  It will be a real Thanksgiving miracle if I don’t get deathly ill this week.  Kids are little germ machines.  Not sure I will ever be able to get over that.

I love the holiday season.  I cooked all afternoon today listening to my Neil Diamond Christmas Pandora station.  We haven’t put up our tree yet, but hope to this week.  BB is singing a Messiah concert on Saturday and a Christmas concert on Sunday.  I plan to make cookies tomorrow.  The holiday traditions are so cheery. 

I love the anticipation of Christmas.  Yesterday’s sermon was called The Awaited Son.  The idea of the Jews, angels, shepherds, Magi, Mary all waiting for this cosmic miracle fills me with wonder and joy.  What a day.  The birth of Jesus is the most important moment in human history.

I feel some extra anticipation this year with the birth of our child expected in January.  While not a cosmic miracle with all the ramifications, it’s certainly a miracle we’ve waited for for many years.  I have all the fears and expectations you would expect.  

Spending Thanksgiving with our family really made me feel loved.  We have had so much love and support from everyone in our family through infertility, IVF, adoption and now pregnancy.  It’s quite encouraging that everyone has stuck with us from the beginning.  I couldn’t help but feel overwhelmed.  There’s such anticipation with this baby, and I can’t help but worry that I will let everyone down again.  I know it’s out of my control, but when it’s your body, you can’t help but feel responsible.  So many people are counting on this joy.  I must turn it over to Him.  It’s a good reminder of my weakness.  My lack of trust.  Makes me extra thankful for Jesus’ coming.

Being with family always leads to good discussion about our sin.  It’s so easy to see where our weaknesses are when we are with people related to us and people who challenge us.  We spent a lot of time discussing how it would be so nice if we could really conquer our sin – we know what it is.  We know how to stop it.  But our flesh is so weak.  So much so that God had to orchestrate a supernatural occurrence to save us.  No amount of our efforts will ever make a dent in our sin.  It’s discouraging, but a message of hope.  Jesus conquered our sin for us.  We will continue to struggle until our own death, but the real battle was won in the days that followed the birth of the Savior.   

Then* comes a baby in a baby carriage.

*Not guaranteed, not easy, not always in the way you would expect.

Yep, that’s right my bloggy friends.  There’s a fourth child who has yet to be identified on this blog.   We’ve been keeping his identity protected for the safety of the mother and child (all those screams are hard on my hearing).  The medical community is expecting Baby Bean in January.  The parents are still in denial.

I found out I was pregnant in May. I had some suspicions but couldn’t bring myself to spend another $10 on a pregnancy test after losing a small fortune on them over the last six years.  Luckily, I discovered an old one in a drawer on a Monday morning in May.  When it was positive, I expressed my shock using some choice profanity, and BB said “is there any way you can put this out of your mind and just go to work?  We can talk about it in a few weeks.”  [We still haven’t talked about it.]

What the heck, God?  Can I be more confused? Don’t ask me to explain it.  I don’t get it.  Please also don’t try to explain it to me.  You don’t get it either.  The only thing I can say is that you can’t put God in a box.  I have learned that no matter how much I think I understand about God and his ways, it’s all a joke.  His ways are so much bigger than my little baby brain can handle.  I am now convinced more than ever that comparing me to God is like comparing an ant to a human.  It can’t be done.  No matter how much the ant tries, he will never understand the human.

We have felt every emotion possible over the past six months.  We have settled into cautious joy and denial.  I spent a significant time in anger and another significant period in fear.

Anger came at first because this was not my plan.  I didn’t want to be pregnant.  I wanted to adopt, and I was mad that God was throwing this on my plate.  At the time, I thought we were going to have four kids at once, and I didn’t think I could handle that.  I had spent so many years praying for a positive pregnancy test and a baby, and I thought it was cruel to give it to me after I was over it and moved on to a new plan.  I felt as if God was trying to break me.  I am still angry that I am another one of those stories of the person who tried to adopt and then got pregnant.  I hate those stories!

I feared losing the baby.  We had two previous early miscarriages.  We did IVF and had 12 embryos, all of which have died.  I didn’t want a thirteenth.  I still battle fear that this baby will not come to be.  God has not promised me a baby will be born so there is no such promise to rest on.  I feared that people would think that we pulled out of the adoption because we were pregnant or that we didn’t care so much about the kids because we had our “own” baby.

Despite these strong feelings, God has given us so much mercy and grace.  I have wrestled with God, and He remains faithful.  [I may have a slight limp, though.]  We have been overjoyed to hear the baby’s heartbeat and see him on the ultrasound.  What an amazing miracle!  We are striving to live in the moment and be grateful for what we have.  We are so grateful to have this child right now, even though we don’t know what tomorrow holds.

A few of the details that you may be wondering.  We don’t know Baby Bean’s sex, but you will see me refer to him as a him.  Don’t be confused.  Baby Bean is due in January 2013, which makes me about 6 months (27 weeks).  I have been feeling good, and Baby Bean appears healthy and happy.  No crazy morning sickness, just a little nausea at first.  Starting to get uncomfortable, and I have been assured that would continue.  Baby Bean moves like crazy.

The most difficult thing for me right now is that I still don’t fit in.  I’m not an adoptive mom.  I’m not a prospective adoptive mom.  I’m no longer officially infertile.  I am also not your typical expectant mother – I lack the excitement, and I have too many battle scars.  I can’t handle any more anticipatory conversations and celebrations.  I am once again floating somewhere in the middle of everything.  I think that will always be the case, and maybe everyone feels that way to some degree.

What I don’t want is to spend anymore time wishing away the present and trying to get to the future.  I want to live in the here and now because it’s all I have.  Today, I am a mom to a growing baby, and it is a gloriously wonderful thing.  I don’t want to worry about tomorrow because there’s enough evil to deal with today.