I hesitate to whisper it, let alone type it for eyes to see, but…
I think I’m sitting in a chapter of renewal?
(As if I say it too loudly I will disrupt the peace.)
You know how that goes, right? When you’ve lived an extent of valley-of-darkness dwelling, it’s easy to wince when the chance of similar pain comes around again. Like a still-tender spot in your soul, you brace for protection even if it’s been healed in measure. I’ve been bracing and praying the last few months and it seems God has said yes to some respite.
The first two times we brought home babies in little hospital hats they quickly outgrew (no joke, my oldest had a dome that stood out more than a little from her Japanese baby friends), it was total bliss. Well, total baby bliss and depression and anxiety. Our lives were an inseparable mixed bag of hard and chaotic circumstances and also big swinging hormones. Was I depressed because our lives were straddling two continents? Was marriage hard because I was crying every day?
Last August I told my husband, “I’m pregnant… maybe.” to which he replied “I’m so happy! …maybe?” We were both over-the-moon delighted, especially when it was confirmed, but I also felt hesitation; would this season prove to be cyclical in bringing back around the same cloud of darkness? We started praying right away, “God, would You do a new thing in our family this time? Would You give different grace to fold this baby into our little flock in a more peace-filled way?” I prayed and prayed and asked friends to pray. But I also braced for impact.
Its complicated, praying and hoping for redemption while also knowing that in this life God has not promised ease of circumstance. Our wonderful Father will one day wipe away every tear, but that day isn’t today. Oh, final glory is coming, but for now we’re still trudging through a sin-wrecked world. Yet to believe that His goodness is always completely delayed is a bit of a wet-blanket way of living. And does it really display a gloriously generous God? How are we as believers supposed to wait on the Lord? Should I never pray for my hope deferred? Or hope supremely in it alone? Or somewhere between the two ditches?
Certainly He is able, but will He choose to say yes?
I prayed for those months while my belly grew round. I prayed for a baby who sleeps well. For laughing with my husband instead of blaming him. Kindness to my daughters instead of misplaced overwhelm. Wisdom in knowing my limits instead of foolishly over-obliging myself when energy is almost zero. A heart that believes the truth instead of a parched soul that can’t even drink the Living Water I would need so badly. That my biology wouldn’t betray me again, rolling in clouds of despair. I prayed and watched and waited. And last month, our son came.
He’s the scrummiest baby, you guys, just a sweet bag of sugar. I can’t stop kissing his little feet. To be honest, that part is the same as the first two. My husband is also the sweetest dad of babies.
When knowing friends ask, like really ask how I’m doing, honestly today I’m so good. (But ask again in a few weeks). I’m exhausted, but so so happy. Not perfect, but restored. Far more laughter than tears. Still the same old fiery darts of the enemy, but my helmet of salvation is more fortified. Baby still wails from the
modern day torture device carseat (we’re batting 1,000 for carseat hating kids over here), but we can shrug and smile. Hard, but not a downward spiral. All of it, but God!
I’m not entitled to any days of ease. He doesn’t owe me, He can give as He chooses. Following Jesus is carrying a heavy cross to an all-glorious eternity. It’s also receiving restored riches, Him filling our mouth with laughter and our tongues with shouts of joy.
If it can be said among the nations surrounding Israel, may it be said about our little family, “The Lord has done great things for them.”
“When the Lord restored the fortunes of Zion,
we were like those who dreamed.
Our mouths were filled with laughter,
our tongues with songs of joy.
Then it was said among the nations,
‘The Lord has done great things for them.’
The Lord has done great things for us,
and we are filled with joy.
Restore our fortunes, Lord,
like streams in the Negev.
Those who sow with tears
will reap with songs of joy.
Those who go out weeping,
carrying seed to sow,
will return with songs of joy,
carrying sheaves with them.”