1. I am not in control
I wouldn’t say that I’m a control freak exactly, but I definitely enjoy having control. It makes me feel secure in a way. It makes me believe that I have all the power in determining future outcomes (haha yeah right). Many of you, who know my story, know that the circumstances of my life (i.e. getting married so young and then also getting pregnant so soon after that) have been HUGE reminders to me of God’s sovereignty in my life. Finding out I was pregnant was a gigantic reminder to me that although I pretend I’m the one calling all the shots, God is the one who is really commanding the ship. The past 9 months have all also been reminders to me as well. Waking up each morning the first 5 months and not being able to get out of bed/ off the couch for hours because of how sick I felt physically reminded me again and again that I no longer have control over my own body. Throwing up out my car window/ on myself several times reminded me of that as well. Not having the energy to be a “good wife” by making Chase fun dinners or even going out some nights reminded me that I don’t have any control on fulfilling the expectations I had about what our first year of marriage would be. Becoming high risk after 12 weeks into the pregnancy and being told at one point that I “no longer had a baby” only to find out several brutal minutes later that our little boy was alive and well reminded me that I have no control over my child’s health or life. Being emotionally unstable and crying randomly or having random bursts of anger, then random bursts of being super hyper reminded me that I don’t have control of my crazy hormones. All of these things, and many others, continually reminded me of my own helplessness and brought me to the throne of the One who does have control and who will provide strength.
2. Sometimes your pride just doesn’t stand a chance
At some point pride just isn’t even a thing anymore and all you can do is laugh. It started when I couldn’t reach to put my shoes on anymore. Chase and I both got a laugh out of watching me fail miserably at trying to awkwardly maneuver to put my shoes on when I could no longer bend normally because of my bump. I have worn only Birkenstocks since then haha. Next came the uncontrollable peeing. Sorry if this is TMI.. but take a tiny/ weak bladder (because there is literally a tiny human squishing it) during allergy season and anyone would set up for failure. The first time it happened we were about to walk into church for the Easter service. I sneezed in the parking lot and all of a sudden it just happened. Pee just ran down my legs and I was mortified!! Chase thought it was hilarious, and because no one saw I did too. However, I did not think it was funny when it started happening in public and I had to perpetually run to bathrooms and get giant wads of toilet paper to basically use as diapers so that no one would know. That issue has subsided now, thank goodness. I have had plenty of these not so glamorous moments, which include me always, always spilling food (usually Taco Bell’s mild sauce) right on top of my bump, having to awkwardly roll/ flop out of bed because I can’t sit up by myself, and having to noticeably waddle everywhere I go because of this thing called chub rub (yes, this is a real thing). I feel like I can now totally (almost) relate to Elizabeth Banks’ character in the movie What to Expect When You’re Expecting. Ahh… good times.
3. Its not about me
A few weeks ago, Chase and I joined some friends at a lake house for the 4th of July. As we all sat on the dock, working on our tans, I kept gazing at the water just DYING to jump in. However, there was one little problem… there wasn’t a ladder to get back onto the dock as well as no way for me to pull myself back up on the dock without hurting my little (okay, not so little) bump. Silly as it may sound, this was incredibly hard for me. Everyone else could jump in as much as they wanted and I just had to sit and watch. I eventually decided I could get in and then have Chase just pull me out. Bad idea. Lifting a heavy pregnant girl that is basically dead weight all the way out of the water without hitting the baby against the dock was way harder than I had thought it would be, and pretty embarassing. It was also hard on my pride because I absolutely hated being so helpless. Once I was finally out of the water, I sat in bitter frustration, angry that my body couldn’t do all it once could, jealous that everyone else could escape the heat into the cool water and just feeling sorry for myself in general.
I feel like I need “This is not about you” tattooed on my body somewhere so that I can see it all day, everyday and be constantly reminded of this truth. Although I know in my head that it’s not all about me, my actions and thoughts often show otherwise. Carrying this little boy over the past 9 months and giving up so many things that I love for him, like exercise (I wasn’t allowed to), coffee (It makes me throw up), sleep, 99% of my wardrobe (superficial, I know.. I’m just bein’ honest over here), my energy, Chase and I’s babymoon to California, etc., has been hard at times, but such an honor. The entitled and bratty part of me gets annoyed at times about giving up these small, unimportant things, but then I remember the little life inside of me and the whole point of this anyways. When I begin to dwell on the petty, the Lord is sweet in reminding me of the insane honor it is of being the vessel for this little soul to develop in. I picture Jesus carrying the weight of his cross and carrying the weight of the entire world’s sin. I picture that perfect sacrifice and then I become insanely honored that I am getting the opportunity to carry this weight for 9 months. No, I am definitely NOT comparing myself to Jesus; I just think that it’s cool that I am getting a unique opportunity to further appreciate his insane sacrifice to us. He carried all the weight of our sin so that we could have life. I have carried not only the physical weight of this sweet child, but also the weight of all the emotions and fears and trials this pregnancy has entailed, and in the end it’ll all be so worth it because of new life. The new life of our sweet son.
4. To appreciate my health
This one is huge. I have realized so profoundly how much health really is a gift from God. We all feel entitled to it and forget how much of a blessing it really is. Throughout my pregnancy when I’ve been bed- ridden, because of how awful I felt, and I just wanted to dwell in my self- pity, I was reminded that this was just temporary. I knew the whole time, in the back of my mind, that at the end of these 9 months I would for the most part be back to normal. However this isn’t the case with everyone. People are diagnosed with life altering illnesses every day. Some people are born with diseases or conditions that never allow them to experience a healthy body. Others become paralyzed or disabled from accidents and other unexpected events. When I was sitting on that dock I mentioned earlier, wallowing in my self- pity, I thought of my dad. As long as I’ve been alive he’s been disabled in one of his legs because of an injury and has always used a cane. I thought to myself, I wonder if this is how he felt on all those family vacations when he could never participate in any of the activities we did. I thought about the millions of people who don’t have their health and I was disgusted at my feelings of self- pity. More than anything I was reminded that this body is not my permanent one. That one day, when I meet my Savior face to face, I will be given a new body. A body that does not break down, that does not get sick and that never grows weary. That truth brings me to worship of what is to come.
5. The bigger picture
I’ve already touched on this idea, but it’s just been so huge for me in the past 9 months. Focusing on the bigger picture has been my rock. Fighting for a heavenly perspective has been crucial for me. Anytime I’m met with severe feelings of insecurity or a tendency toward comparison, or a pressure to meet a certain standard of what it means to be a good mom I remember my purpose here. My purpose for existence is to bring glory to God. That is all. This is His story. He deserves all the glory. My hearts deepest desire is to serve Him well and to reflect Him to others. I am easily distracted and get off track nonstop, but He is quick to point me back in the right direction when I begin to believe lies. When my heart begins to dwell on the superficial things that our culture is constantly shouting are important, I hear the small whisper of truth reminding me that this is the role God has for me. I am just the clay. He is the potter. This is the role that he picked out for me before the beginning of time and who the heck am I to question it?
6. Opinions: They. Are. Everywhere.
Man, oh man. People sure do feel the need to share their thoughts, like alllll the time haha. I’m totally guilty of this as well. But boy, toss in a baby and its nuts! Everyone has opinions about when you should tell people about your pregnancy, what kind of doctor/ midwife you should have, the names you like for your baby, how you will parent them, what kind of things you should or shouldn’t have on your registry, how you should feed your baby, whether or not you should put your baby in daycare, and on and on it goes. Don’t get me wrong, most people mean well- except the people who hate on the names you like… I mean that’s just not cool in any situation haha. While most people have good intentions, this can still be a bit overwhelming. I have learned to just take everything people say in stride and to remember that every pregnancy is different, every child is different and so what we do with our family may be different and that’s okay. There is no “right” way.
Because I have felt continually unequipped and unable over the past several months, I have had no choice but to continually turn to the One who equips and the One who is ultimately able. Jesus has been teaching me so much throughout my pregnancy and I know that these are things I will carry with me into motherhood. I am now so so thankful for the trials, the unexpected, the ups and downs, the good and the ugly of these past months for that very reason. I feel like Jesus has been preparing my heart and sanctifying me so much in order to prepare me for the sacrifices that being a parent entails. Obviously, I don’t have it all figured out, but I definitely feel like I have been set up for success with the tools that God has given me in the past 9 months.
(photo by Lindsey Boluyt Photography)