Six Weeks Pregnant: Learning to Let God

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Today’s post is the first in what’s to be a recurring feature on the blog. I’m calling it “Field Notes Friday.” Catchy, right? Twice a month on Fridays, we’ll listen to someone {who is not me} share their experience scouting God.

This week, Bethany Welborn shares her answer to the question, "Where have you seen God in your pregnancy?" I expected a beautiful answer from this thoughtful girl. What I got was challenging, exciting, and provocative. I had no idea she had this story to tell. I love it. 

Bethany’s one of my favorite young writers. Her heart is gold. Better than gold—whatever is better than gold. Chocolate? She blogs at http://bethdawn.tumblr.com/. Right now her blog is full of celebrity chef pictures from some cooking conference she attended. Don’t get jealous, just keep scrolling and you’ll find something good to eat, I mean, read. :)

Now, listen up:

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Sometimes, you feel the heat of the burning bush before your eyes get to see it, before your bare feet bear witness to the holiness of the God-sighting moment.

I was feeling the heat, the dry, desert oppression, as October was making her fiery orange-red debut. The pressing in my heart was building, and it seemed like everywhere I looked, I caught smoky glimpses of what God was asking. At the time, our church family was reading through Psalms together, and one Sunday morning when the sermon focused on Psalm 127…
the Spirit spoke, and I was undone. 

Unless the Lord builds the house,
    the builders labor in vain.
Unless the Lord watches over the city,
    the guards stand watch in vain.
 In vain you rise early
    and stay up late,
toiling for food to eat—
    for he grants sleep to those he loves.

Children are a heritage from the Lord,
    offspring a reward from him.
Like arrows in the hands of a warrior

    are children born in one’s youth.
Blessed is the man
    whose quiver is full of them.
They will not be put to shame
    when they contend with their opponents in court.

~

Are we truly letting Him build our home? 

You see…Bryan and I were already weirdies when it came to how we were choosing to “plan” our family. When we got married three years ago, we decided on an alternate method of birth control (aka, not The Pill), and in doing so raised quite a few eyebrows and sparked several conversations with concerned friends and family members. We didn’t think that being on The Pill was a sinful or wrong decision, but in the midst of all the questions - some of them our own - we knew that God was asking us to do things a little differently.  

So fast forward to October 2012. Can I just be baldly, unattractively, humbly honest with you when I say that when God spoke again about the whole birth control issue…I was annoyed? We’ve already gone so far to obey You in this, I thought. Isn’t it enough? 

But I couldn’t ignore the way my heart hurt every time Bryan and I discussed fought about our birth control, our ideas for the future, and our “ideal timeline” for starting a family. Tears always came, but resolution never did. Aren’t lives and marriages supposed to work this way? According to well-educated decisions, responsible goal-setting, smart financial-planning, and common-sense reasoning? Well, it wasn’t working. It all felt wrong. It felt like suffocating.

And then, in a crazy-simple and Spirit-speaking-loud sermon about Psalms, God asked me to stop

Stop doing whatever qualifies as vain labor - consulting the blueprint apart from seeking Me.

Stop trying to make your plans work if I have not divinely authored them.

Stop standing watch against loss and change and uncertainty. Stand watch against self-sufficiency instead.

Stop deifying your ideas of security over my promises to provide.

and…if stopping birth control completely is what it will take for you, your marriage, your family to really just trust Me?

Then stop that, too.

It wasn’t until then that we felt the uncomfortable heat of what He was asking. He wasn’t asking us to start a family - that almost would have been easier, because that would have meant we could still call the shots to some degree. No…He was asking us to let. Him. build. 

Let. Him. bless

Whether that meant children now, children later, or children never - He wanted our hands open, ready to receive that which He deemed best to give. And that? That was really hard.

In the stifling heat of such a calling, I gave way to gnawing fear. And the fear didn’t run out of reasons to disobey.

You’ve only been together for three years…do you really think your young marriage can handle a baby?

Your college loans seem insurmountable as it is. How exactly will you make ends meet once you are living off of one income, and supporting a little one?

You are just now settling into some kind of routine normalcy. Can you handle the stress of yet another life-upheaval? 

And on and on the logical, common-sense, anyone-would-understand justifications went. 

And hotter and hotter the bush around the corner burned, beckoning us, nagging us, holy smoke seeping into our pores until we finally, exhaustedly, pushed our tired eyes to see past the flame and into the heart of where God wanted us.   

We sought the counsel of dear Spirit-filled friends, partially hoping to be let off the hook, validated and soothed into thinking that we were being too radical, too irresponsible, too whatever. Their prayerful response after an emotional two-hour conversation? “If that is what God has asked you do to, you don’t have much of a choice. You have to obey, and trust Him with the rest.” Let Him build. Let Him bless.

Exactly one week after that conversation,

after the giving-in,

after the “we’re listening, Lord,”

after the hands palm up and the praying on our knees,

I took the test on a whim and the blue line appeared.

I was already 6 weeks pregnant.

…as in, 6-weeks-ago-when-we-were-still-on-birth-control-and-still-thought-we-were-in-control. Before we submitted, before we stopped, before we started asking Him to lead and move and do what He was wanting to do…He already had.   

My world tilted, and the compassionate, commanding voice in the bush made a little more sense, and I just had to laugh at the crazy wonder of it all.

~

So the original question here is, how and where have I scouted God throughout this wild adventure called pregnancy?

Well, such a dramatic, “do you trust Me now?” beginning definitely paved the way to embark on the Great Search, to pull out the binoculars and pray for eyes that see, and to take ridiculous joy in scouting Him out. 

We most definitely saw Him in the circumstances I just told you about surrounding our baby’s conception - and still, 8 months later, shake our heads and marvel when we talk about it. Since when do birth-control conversations become a platform from which to spy God’s miraculous presence? Since October of last year, that’s when.  

We have seen Him in the choosing of our little one’s name. For someone like me who can hardly make a decision about what to wear in the morning, her name came unnaturally quickly and easily: Briony Faith. Briony means “vine”…yep, as in John 15 and Jesus saying over and over again to abide in Him, “for apart from Me you can do nothing.” As your precious daughter grows and your blessed life keeps you guessing, remember to let Me build, and let Me bless. Her name serves as our altar to God’s faithfulness in this, His blazing reassurance that yes, He knows what His best, and He takes delight when we radically abide in Him

What has that divine delight looked like? In the past 8 months…
…it’s looked like my mom’s eyes filling with joy-tears when she learned that her first granddaughter is on the way.
…it’s looked like pink helium balloons escaping from a cardboard box, to the sound of our friends’ happy cheers of surprise.
…it’s looked like Bryan’s hand resting expectantly on my belly, as he feels Briony jump and kick in response to her Daddy’s voice.
…it’s looked like a can of yellow paint, ready to drench our office walls with a cheery baby-welcome. 

What has that divine delight sounded like?
…it’s sounded like a strong, racing, 10-week-old heartbeat at our first ultrasound appointment.
…it’s sounded like my not-so-successfully-muffled screams of joy when some of our dearest friends shared that they, too, are expecting a daughter just two weeks after us. 
…it’s sounded like a sister-friend from church, asking if I would like to take all of her 6-year-old daughters’ baby clothes (12 trash bags worth), because she’s just been waiting for the right person to give them to.

What has that divine delight felt like?
…it’s felt like my man and I experiencing the richest season yet in our marriage, even in the midst of so much change and challenge.
…it’s felt like calming, storm-quelling peace that is bigger than student loan bills and childbirth anxieties. 
…it’s felt like the overwhelming realization that Jesus Himself came to earth in this same, mysterious way, and that His flips and rolls in Mary’s belly would have brought the same soaring, secretive, intimate joy that Briony’s do in me.

Oh my. It’s almost too much God-beauty for this hormonal mama’s heart to bear.

Who would have thought that the heat could shine so bright?