I used to volunteer at a crisis pregnancy clinic. I wanted to help women who found themselves in the throes of being unexpectedly pregnant. I had a lot of compassion for them, even though I had never been in that situation myself.
Until it happened to me.
We had four kids, two full-time jobs, and a church that we pastor. We live in a big (and pricey and fast
-paced city). And life is, predictably, somewhat overwhelming. So following the birth of #4, we were agreed: no more kiddos. Our oldest (daughter) was devastated: all she wanted was a younger sister and instead she got three brothers. She started praying for a sister. I ordered her to stop. She secretly defied me. And I started getting rid of baby girl clothes, maternity clothes, and everything related to pregnancy.
I was just about to toss the (expired) pregnancy tests, when I was inexplicably several weeks late. I rummaged through some boxes and dug one out. What do ya know? Positive. And from my days at the pregnancy clinic, I know that it’s next to impossible to have a false positive. I was pregnant.
How was this possible?!?! In order for me to get pregnant that month, my body must have been unusually irregular. I felt ashamed–like I had done something wrong (even in the moment I realized how ridiculous that was, but still…). And I was scared.
No, I panicked. Totally panicked. My mind raced with questions–rapid-fire questions–that all seemed to end in only one answer: you can’t do this. From the pregnancy (my last one was crazy difficult), to having two babies in the house for the next several years (the youngest ones will be less than 18 months apart), to finances, to the effects on our marriage, to our schedule, to my increasingly fading dreams, to what this means for the r e s t o f m y l i f e…
And then I remembered that children are a gift from God, and there’s no way I could be pregnant unless He wanted me to be, and so this must be part of His plan (even if it wasn’t part of mine). So it must work somehow. I just didn’t see it.
I wish I could say the turmoil ended there, but it didn’t. I yo-yo’d back and forth between fear and hope for about 4 months. And, if I’m honest with myself, I bunked out in fear more than in hope.
The days before she was born, I got to a place of total hope. And in the years since, I got to a place of absolute delight: A desire fulfilled is the tree of life. Yes, life is more hectic. Yes, my boundaries are more restrictive. Yes, I’ve had to become more creative and “up my game.” But I’ve experienced in my heart the truth that the boundaries of my life are set in pleasant places. And I see the r e s t o f m y l i f e as being filled, not with faded dreams, but with great joy because this little girl has answered a longing in my heart I didn’t even know was there.
My heart’s very desire was wrapped up in unexpectedness, shrouded in fear, and adorned in shame. Sounds a lot like what Jesus might have experienced on Good Friday. Oh, to be like Him and give myself fully and freely to the unexpected plans of the Lord, wholly abandoned in trust for the plans for a hope and a future He has for me.