Waiting on God and Praying for a Child

The other day I started sharing about different times when the Lord has made me wait on him before he answered my prayers. I went through a few of the biggies and what God taught me through each of them. (Click here to read that initial post, in case you missed it.) The last that I mentioned was the prayer I had to have a child, a story I have not until now written much about here. But with our daughter right around the bend to being born, I thought it was time.

Here’s where we left off:

Then there was the time when my husband and I decided we wanted to have a child one whom we could raise up to know the Lord, who we could minister to and learn to sacrifice for and enter into a new kind of love for another person with. It had been a shared desired we’d both held from before we were even married—which was one of the things that attracted me to him so much in the first place.

So when we were first married, I had prayed that, when the time was right for us to start a family, the Lord would put it on my husband’s heart so that he would be the one who would bring it up, rather than me. Almost two years into our marriage, my husband (who had no idea of that prayer) told me he thought it was time. I was overjoyed at how God had answered the first part of my prayer. And so I fully expected that he would fulfill the second part (the child), as well.

But I didn’t expect that we’d have to wait for that.

I guess I figured that if God had called us to this and had ordained the time for us to begin trying, then it followed that it was in fact the right time and a pregnancy would ensue. But it didn’t.

For the first couple of months I remained positive. But then I had to start fighting off discouragement as it seemed like everyone else was getting pregnant, except me. In spite of the fact that we really desired this and had prayed about it and I wanted to be like Hannah, dedicating my child to the Lord.

About five months into the process, we began sharing our struggle with close friends in our church community, asking them to pray for us, as well. It was a prayer request that we would soon get used to sharing, over and over again, month after month.

And as we shared our desire for a child, dealing with the disappointment started to become easier. I still had many moments when I cried about it and wrestled through it, but my trust in the Lord was never shaken through it. I know his timing is best. And I had prayed that I didn’t want to have a child if it would mean they wouldn’t follow the Lord—that would be an even worse future to me than a childless one.

I began trying to see this time of waiting as an opportunity—one where I could spray paint at will and kick up my heels to read for hours on end, uninterrupted by cries or hungry mouths but my own. I also spent it reading about the call of motherhood and preparing my heart.

Because I still believed that God would fulfill my desire. I just didn’t know when.

Finally, a year after we’d first decided to start trying, I discovered that I really was content. Yes, the desire still was there, but it didn’t pull at my heart strings like it had before. I looked at the life that surrounded me and realized that it was wonderful as it was: I had an incredible husband, a stable home, a loving community, a great life full of joy and pleasure. Yes, a child would be a cherry on top of it all and enrich it even more. But I realized I could not bear to despise that which I already had for that which I did not have. What I had was good; not having a child did not make it any worse.

And of course you know what happened next. Later that month, it turns out, I became pregnant with our daughter, although I wouldn’t discover that for another five weeks.

God did prove faithful. God did finish what he started. God did not desert us, but walked us through this season so that when we emerged on the other end, our faith was strengthened and our hearts even fuller than they would have been if he’d answered those prayers right away. His plan—as it always is, we must remind ourselves time and time again—was the better one. And I can’t wait to enjoy the fruits of it here soon!

Related Posts
What Real Faith Looks Like
Overcoming the Fear of Miscarriage: Learning to Trust God with My Own Emotions

Waiting on God: Reflecting on Some of the Seasons in My Life

There certainly have been times in my life when I found that if I asked something of God, it happened almost immediately.

I can recall being in high school (and just starting to feel drawn to God) and trying to figure out how to pay for college. I’d always made straight A’s, taken some of the hardest classes, and was set to graduate in the top 10 of my class. I’d always assumed that those sorts of things would ensure you plenty of scholarships. But as my senior year stretched on, I still had to find a way to come up with about $10,000 a year.

At some point, I realized (only through the grace of the Holy Spirit) that I hadn’t put this request before God. Somehow, when I wasn’t even really a Christian or reading a Bible, I knew that part of following God was letting go of control and letting him work. So, I stood in my parents’ bathroom and prayed that God would help me in this area. As soon as I finished praying, the phone rang and the voice on the other line told me that I’d been selected to receive their scholarship. And over the next few weeks and months, enough scholarships came in to cover my entire freshman year.

Like I said, that was early on in my burgeoning relationship with the Lord.

Since then, he still answers my prayers, but I have noticed he trusts me to wait a little bit longer. And in that waiting, there are often so many new lessons that he teaches me.

There was the time when I had to wait to find a spouse. But in the waiting, God called me to pray boldly and expect him to answer. And within months of beginning those prayers and following where I thought he was leading, God introduced me to the man who would, just a year later, become my husband. Through that, I saw God’s faithfulness and realized how much he loves to give us more than we even asked or expected—how he goes above and beyond in lavish love.

There was the time when, once my husband and I were married, we found ourselves living month to month on a freelance gig while he finished up school. We spent months praying for a full-time job because any month now, my freelance job could dry up. But God called us to wait, and each month, he extended that job a few more weeks, until by the end of it, he had taken care of us for a year and a half on that temporary job before delivering us a full-time job for my husband that started the week before my freelance one officially ended. It was marvelous to see that, against all odds, in “this” kind of economy, God would take care of us and do what seemed impossible. He took such good care of us that it still awes me to this day.

Then there was the time when my husband and I decided we wanted to have a child…

I’ll pick up with the rest of this post later in a couple of days (because otherwise it would be way too long!). So until then: To be continued…

Related Posts
Asking for My Daily Bread: God's Provision
The encouraging testimonies of answered prayers

My Eighth Month of Pregnancy

Another month has passed and now we're counting down on one hand until our little girl is scheduled to arrive! Here's how the last month has progressed. (If you want to catch up, you can check out my pregnancy update from last month here.)

THE BABY. At this point, she's supposed to be about 18 inches long and weighing just over 5 pounds (the heft of a honeydew melon, they say). In spite of her size, she's been as squirmy as ever! I love it. And she's been hiccuping occasionally, which feels more like muscle twitches than hiccups to me. But it shows her lungs are getting some exercise, so we're thankful for them!

We're now at that point where we have to go to the doctor every week to keep an eye on my vitals. But next week we're scheduled to do one last ultrasound to make sure she's in the right spot and avoid any surprises during delivery. I'm looking forward to it because it's been since October since we saw her last!

ME. I am starting to feel more uncomfortable from the size and weight of the baby, which has made getting up from bed and out of cars and the like more difficult (and sometimes requiring a helping hand!). But I'm not at that point yet where I feel miserable. I still feel quite good, actually!

And in spite of her being so wiggly, she hasn't really woken me up with her movements. My sleep has been pretty decent, though I do wake up a lot more to change positions and hit the bathroom. But I'm still clocking enough sleep to make up for it (hitting the hay at 9pm or earlier some nights!), so no complaints there, either.

PREPARATIONS. The nursery is pretty much set for her arrival. We still have a few things on our shopping list that fall into the "needs" category (um, diapers), but other than that, if she were to arrive, we'd be ready. We're still praying about a fitting name for her, because I want it to truly fit her and the calling God has placed on her life, so that's another item still up in the air.

I've also been doing a lot of reading to prepare for delivery, because I feel a lot more comfortable going into something when I have a good idea of what to (generally) expect. It removes some of the anxiety, which is really important in childbirth; being afraid can cause your labor to be a lot more painful and drawn-out. We also have childbirth, childcare and breastfeeding classes scheduled to take over the next couple of weeks, and I've filled our Netflix queue with lots of baby-related videos in the meantime.

So now, we're just waiting and preparing until she's here sometime next month!
Related Posts
Some of the Crafts I've Made for the Baby
Baby Reading List: Library Edition

On My Reading List: Books About Motherhood & Godly Parenting

I've shared some of the parenting books on my reading list and others that I've picked up from the library to in preparation for having our little girl in just a few weeks.

Well, those titles have pretty much all been of the practical ilk—about things like how to breastfeed effectively and learn sign-language to communicate with your baby.

To me, however, raising a child goes beyond those things. Motherhood is sacred and I firmly believe that the Bible doesn't lie when it says that children are a gift from God. So, as I embark on this journey, I want to look to Him for guidance and grounding. It's a calling that I know will only prove fruitful when God is the one who's at the root of it; when I'm parenting for His sake and in line with His Word.

So, to that end, I've collected a handful of books about godly parenting that I'm looking forward to reading now but also as my little girl grows and the daily pressures and frustrations mount. I know that I will come to rely on these words of encouragement more and more as the hardships of parenting build, so I'm glad to have my arsenal ready and waiting.

Here are the books I've picked out so far:

Desperate: Hope for the Mom Who Needs to Breathe. I've actually already started reading this book (which I received to review from BookSneeze). The set-up of it is unique; one young mom honestly shares the struggles she faces as a mom with her mentor, Sally Clarkson (who wrote another of the books on my list, below). Sally provides encouragement to the young mom, Sarah Mae, and shares how she worked through the very same struggles when her children were young, as well.

This set-up goes to show that these struggles affect many (ie, you are not alone!) as well as offering insights about how to go about dealing with them in a godly way. I especially enjoyed the encouraging chapter on dealing with other people's opinions about your parenting choices (which I've already experienced some of, even just being pregnant!).

The Ministry of Motherhood: Following Christ's Example in Reaching the Hearts of Our Children. From the back of the book: "Using biblical wisdom and practical teachings, Sally Clarkson shows how you can make a lasting difference in your child’s life by following the pattern Christ set with his own disciples–a model that will inspire and equip you to intentionally embrace the rewarding, desperately needed, and immeasurably valuable Ministry of Motherhood."

A Mother's Heart: A Look at Values, Vision, and Character for the Christian Mother. From the back of the book: "Being a mother is an important job, but one that can easily feel frustrating and unrewarding. Jean Fleming shares her hopes and frustrations about motherhood in A Mother’s Heart. She’ll show you how to distinguish between your role and God’s role in raising children, explain how to take a spiritual inventory of your child’s life, and teach you to pray effectively for your child. She’ll also help you be thankful for your child’s strengths and weaknesses. You’ll be blessed by her insights as you lean how to develop godly values, vision, and character-and how to instill those same qualities in your children."

A Family of Value. From the back of the book: "John Rosemond's A Family of Value presents a critical view of the child care literature of the past quarter century and argues for an end to overindulgent parenting and a return to the goal of instilling moral values, such as responsibility, respectfulness, and resourcefulness."

Related Posts
Some of the Parenting Books I've Read So Far
Baby Reading List: Library Edition

Finding My Purpose: Setting Goals for Motherhood

One of the things I wanted to do before the babe comes next month was to create a mission statement for motherhood—a document that would keep my eyes set on the prize I'm after and help guide my actions and decisions. It can be all too easy to veer off course and get consumed with just making it, just getting through the day.

And while I understand that sometimes that's all you can do, I don't want to make it through an entire year living that way. I want to be intentional about this blessing of motherhood from its earliest days so that I can give my children the kind of upbringing they deserve—not to mention the kind of parenthood God has tasked me with providing them.

So, I sat down to pen my purpose statement.

I started dreaming of the kinds of things I wanted to be and do for my children. The kinds of things I hope will enrich their lives. The kinds of things that if I even come close to providing, I will be satisfied.

I found it's almost easier to come up with these things now, while I'm still innocent to the realities of motherhood. It's easy to dream about ideals and great expectations when they're all still looming large in the distance. I imagine once that reality is here, my list of goals might look quite different, with things like "Don't get disgusted by poop," or "Get out of bed with a smile."

But for now, that list is untainted and pure with hope, and I'm glad for that. I hope that it will inspire me all the more to strive after this kind of motherhood.

While I set out to make a single mission statement, there were so many things I came up with it, that I narrowed it down to my six goals. I set them in pretty type and enshrined them in a frame to serve as a constant reminder in the nursery, lest I forget (even neglect) the great task before me.

Here's the list I came up with:

Related Posts
Learning to Live Proverbs 31: Cultivating the Art of Resourcefulness 
What a step of faith looks like: Living in anticipation of our future goals

Already, She's Her Own Person...

I’m so curious to meet this little lady of ours, who is expected to be here in roughly six weeks time.

Just a minute ago, I was sitting with my arms crossed over my stomach, when all of a sudden she kicked back, making me think that she was signaling that the weight of my arms atop her little igloo-in-my-stomach were squishing her. I pulled them off, and began thinking about this little baby who seems a little bit feisty but oh-so sweet. Which sounds like a pretty good combination to me.

At any rate, it’s obvious she is completely her own person. I have next to no control over her personality or movements; she squirms and wriggles and pokes and prods as she likes. I can’t stop her from flipping somersaults or jabbing me in the ribs. And once she’s born, it’s really not up to me whether she’s an introvert or an extrovert, content or clingy.

She is a completely different human, no matter the fact that half her genetics come from me. It’s awe-inspiring how that happens, that from my flesh can come a completely different creation. It almost seems illogical, when you think of how, in nearly every other aspect of life, it remains true that “what you put in, must come out.” Of course, she’s apt to reflect quite a bit of me and my husband. But when it comes to making a child, they truly are their own person, unique and individual.

It reminds me of Genesis 2, how God created a completely different creation from another—pulling a rib from Adam’s side to make Eve. “Flesh of my flesh, bone of my bone.” And yet, completely, utterly different. And we see how God reenacts that in birth and even in redeeming the ashes of life’s tragedies and hardships and giving them beauty and, ultimately, in the story of Jesus whose side was split open and from his shed blood comes new life. This story of new life—over and over and over again—is all around us.

And right now, it’s happening right within me.

Related Posts
Letters to My Baby
Some of the Parenting Books I've Read So Far

Say Hello to Our New Kitchen Accessories

It was bound to happen at some point: My trusty bread machine kicked the bucket. It’s a gadget I use at least on a weekly basis, if not two or three times each week to make everything from sandwich bread to hamburger buns. So much so that I can’t remember the last time I had to buy a bread product!

So, when it stopped working, I tried my best to fix it. I took the cover off and tried to figure out what was causing the gears not to turn to rotate the kneading paddle in the bread pan. No luck. Try as I might, I had to admit defeat.

And then? I got shopping.
As I started doing some research, I realized that to get a bread machine capable of the kind of load I’m doing (particularly using 100% whole wheat flour that I mill myself) and that will last more than a year or two doesn’t come cheaply. I finally settled on getting the #1 recommendation: a Zojirushi Home Bakery Virtuoso.

I’m not typically one to buy the top-of-the-line anything, but I also didn’t want to have to be buying a new bread machine every year, which seemed to be the case for a lot of the machines I was reading about in online reviews. If I was going to pour money into this product, I wanted it to last, which would hopefully make it end up being cheaper in the long run. Just like with my hair straightener.

Soon after that we welcomed the new bread machine into our house, another new device made its way into our kitchen; this time one for my husband: a juicer (this one to be exact).

He’s been wanting one for who knows how long, and his wish finally came true! He’s been mixing up some bright and colorful concoctions ever since, sipping on carrot and kale, ginger and Granny Smith apple juice and whipping up some specialties for me and the baby to boot.

I told my husband our kitchen must be the most expensive room in the house. I may not have a flat screen television or a fancy smart phone, but I sure have kitchen gadgets!

(You can check out some of the other items that live in our kitchen in this round-up of my favorite kitchen gadgets.)

What make for your favorite kitchen gadgets? Any new finds lately that you’ve been loving? Share them in the comments!

Call for Guest Posts While I'm on Maternity Leave!

With my due date getting closer and closer, there are plenty of loose ends to tie up and take care of in preparation. And what I'm going to do with this little blog during that time is one of those.

I expect to spend plenty of time those first few weeks tending to my little girl, getting to know her, and trying to get as much sleep as possible. Which will likely leave little time for this blog until I get the hang of this motherhood and newborn thing.

Which is why I'd like to open the blog up to a month full of guest posts to stand in place while I take some maternity leave. If there's a topic you've wished I'd cover or you think ought to be addressed on here—why not write a guest post? Or if you want to share your story (about your faith, a lesson you've learned, a blessing you've experienced, or anything else along those lines), now's the time to chime in! The options for story ideas are pretty endless, and you needn't have a blog to participate.

I'd love to have submissions in by the first week of February, so that I have enough time to edit and prepare them to post in my absense. Email me with any submissions or any questions about a story idea or pitch you have in mind. I appreciate your help in tending to this blog while I'm away!

Related Posts
Tamara's Testimony: "Taste and See"
Jo-Ann's Testimony: Finding Healing from Fears

Hello, 2013! Looking to the Year Ahead...

Happy New Year, friends!

As I'm sure you've noticed, it's been pretty quiet around these parts, as I've spent the last week or so relaxing and savoring the last days of 2012. It was a much-needed respite, to not have to worry about posting or typing or even checking my email.

But, this blog is important to me, so it can't stay quiet forever!

Like the blog, Christmas was pretty quiet and uneventful around here. We didn't do any travelling and didn't even put up a Christmas tree! It seems that everything has gotten sidelined with the baby only weeks away. (We're now at less than 8 weeks away!!) But we did manage to see family and have a nice little date outing to celebrate the season. It was not big and bold and mind-bending, but it was thoughtful and tranquil and well-timed—just what we needed as our lives will soon become completely different overnight!

As we continue to look forward to meeting this little growing girl of ours, I've been taking that idea of New Year's Resolutions and thinking of them in terms of becoming a mother. So I recently started a little list of goals that I want to zoom in on these last few weeks leading up to her birth.

Things like:
  • Pray about my role as a mother.
  • Pray about baby's name and purpose.
  • Create a Mother's Mission Statement.
  • Focus more on preparing my heart for the task of motherhood than on the nursery and on baby stuff.
  • Prepare myself physically, mentally and spiritually for childbirth.
So, that's where I'm trying to aim my heart these last few days, even though it's all too easy to get caught up in everything else (like making the nursery perfect and buying last-minute baby items). But those are not the important things; however, a mindset confident with love and grace and peace and patience is. And that is what I'm after.

Related Posts
The Only Resolution That Really Matters
27 things to do while I'm 27: My goals for the coming year
Next Post Previous Post
Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...