Plans are funny little things, aren’t they? We spend our whole lives working up plans. From an early age we are questioned, what do you want to be when you grow up? Then that question turns into details about where you’ll go to college, where you’ll find a job, that “five year” plan. And yet, when you look back at any, if not all of those questions, the answers never quite worked out to our expectation.
I learned this lesson several years ago, a lesson which taught me to hold my plans with an open hand. But I still thought, of course I can still make plans for just a year out, right? And then the unexpected happens; even that year was too much confinement for reality.
Only one week ago, I was chatting to a couple of friends overseas, planning when I might be able to see them again in person. Even several days ago, I anticipated the option that Dylan and I might have time to live out some days of adventure, exploring Europe, the Mediterranean, and India funded by our mobile, remote jobs. Great dreams, great plans, and then real life hits.
I’d been feeling “off” for a couple of weeks. And this off-feeling led to anxiety. The anxiety led to denial. But the denial, for whatever reason caused action: the humbling experience of urinating on a tiny stick that was somehow supposed to reveal the fate of the rest of your life. I was a mess. We weren’t ready for a step in this direction. But the incredible man I married just over 10 months ago looked me in the eye before I nervously made my way into the bathroom and said, “Whatever happens next is going to be a blessing.”
Some people have waited years to experience what I did on the night of May 09, 2017. Many of my friends are still waiting, brokenhearted, losing hope that their lives might ever be changed in this way…and here I was, filled with sadness and nearly angered that I got what they wanted. Such beautiful people who’ve prayed and prayed for something to shift in their impossible situation, and my solitary prayer was that I’d wake up to find my situation was only a dream.
But there it was, in Clear Blue glory: I’m pregnant.
It’s funny how moments change you. In one, you’re dreaming about the days ahead, and in another, you wonder why that ever was your dream. I know that I wanted this; I wanted a family. And then the reality of it all sets in. The reality of what this all means. The responsibility, the sacrifice, the commitment, the pain. Then you order a bunch of books and download all kinds of apps and make yourself a little more crazy that this all can’t be real. You schedule your first OB appointment and have a brief introduction of how much delivery will cost (but thank God for insurance), and for a moment it sinks in that you haven’t even started saving for this – the cost of having the baby and then the costs of having the baby: changing its diapers, feeing it, and growing it up into an incredible, purpose-filled, life-contributing human. Oh and your husband doesn’t have a job yet, and you’ve still got all kinds of debt, and we live in a rented house with barely an extra room…
And then one of those apps notifies you that this week, as I write, the sesame-seed-on-the-top-of-your-burger-bun-size life has a heart and circulatory system that will start beating its very own beat next week. The tears – oh the tears.
I am so very scared. I don’t feel at all ready. But for some reason that I will never in a million years understand, God decided that it was time for us to care for another soul. He decided it’s time for this nearly undetectable heart to begin the process of life. For whatever reason, He needs this little spirit to grace the earth with its presence. And each week, as He forms every single part of its little body, I can only pray that I’ll care for it well.
This morning, a verse came to mind:
…we can’t round up enough containers to hold everything God generously pours into our lives through the Holy Spirit. Jesus arrives right on time to make this happen. He didn’t, and doesn’t, wait for us to get ready. [Romans 5:5-6 msg]
Completely unexpected, but how can I not consider it an undeserved privilege, honor and blessing? Dylan and I are going to be parents just at the right time (whether I think it is or not). I do believe the joy and excitement will come soon enough. For now, I’m simply humbled, and even holding this plan with open hands for we never know what tomorrow brings. Another reminder of how important it is to be here, present, now. Nothing like a new life to bring that all into perspective.