I worked throughout my first pregnancy. I found myself writhing with chronic nausea, McDonald’s burgers and licorice the only food that I could keep down for much of those 9 months. So uncomfortable the last month of my pregnancy (and no wonder with the 70+lbs I gained), I quit my job 3 weeks before the magic due date.
That date was marked and circled on my calendar. I was ready to give birth and start the wondrous job of motherhood. But as you know, babies and bodies have a mind of their own. My due date came and went and no baby. I was so uncomfortable, swollen joints and a big belly, longing for Caroline’s birth.
This season of waiting feels like that time almost twenty years ago. We’ve been waiting for almost a year for reprieve from the effects of Covid on our country; we are all ready to resume normalcy. The first few months, like in a pregnancy, were filled with hope. We hunkered down, did our due diligence and waited. Yet here we are, at the end of this year still waiting.
The same goes for things in our lives. I’ve had hopes for a few things that have been on my list for literally years. Each year I write the same prayers, ask the same words to God. “This year, God, would you make it so? Would you bring full healing for this loved one in my life?”
“All around us we observe a pregnant creation…That is why waiting does not diminish us, any more than waiting diminishes a pregnant mother. We are enlarged in the waiting. We, of course, don’t’ see what is enlarging us. BUT the longer we wait, the larger we become, and the more joyful our expectancy.”
Romans 8:25 *the Message
For me personally, the waiting of this year has been a steady wearing down of my soul. I loved my job with Compassion International. This time last year I was eagerly planning trips to Mexico and Uganda. I was anticipating the work we’d see, the laughter we’d experience and the deep conviction interacting with others who have so much less than me but are so much more joyful bring.
I’ve had to look deep within myself and work through the validation that job gave me. I’ve had to scale down the thick plaque on my soul, inches of control and pride that had built up around my title of “trip leader” and “performer.” It’s been a long and painful, at times, process to see how I’d replaced my need for God with my self sufficiency. As I’ve done this, room has opened in my heart for new things.
I’m finding myself wearing hats I swore I’d never put on. Homeschool teacher for one. Daily discipline of yoga training and intention. No filter honesty in writing and posting. Less make up and more transparency. I’ve had to acknowledge that in this season of waiting, I’ve had to expose to myself and others the grime and dirt that busy had let me cover up. In doing so, my heart has enlarged, my purpose has shifted and like Paul wrote, “the longer I wait, the larger I become”‘ in my expectancy and joy.
As I look ahead to 2021, I’m ready to see birth happen in some areas. I’ve been out in nature far more than in most years, hiking with a friend and seeing the trails and beauty Colorado has so abundantly gifted us.
New projects are slowly growing deep inside my soul. I’ve spent more time documenting my gratitudes and prayers, writing through three journals. I’ve been more present with my family. While I still take out the broom and sweep every other hour in our home (hey, we have wood floors and a white haired shedding dog. Need I justify this practice?), my need for control has waned.
I turn off Alexa when a child starts talking. I grab the car keys and say “Sure, where do you need to be dropped off?” I mail the care package to my college child and eagerly call back and have coffee with a dear friend (shout out to one of my favorites, Marti).
I love what Paul says at the end of this chapter. He knows so well what we have all experienced this year. We are getting TIRED of waiting for this pandemic to be over. We are TIRED of waiting for our high schoolers to be back in school. We are TIRED of living, breathing, working, always at home. We are TIRED.
“Meanwhile, the moment we get tired in waiting, God’s Spirit is right alongside helping us along. If we don’t know how or what to pray, it doesn’t matter. He does our praying in and for us, making prayer out of our wordless sighs, our aching groans.
He knows us far better than we know ourselves, knows our pregnant condition, and keeps us present before God.”
Romans 8 the Message
My challenge, for these last days of 2020, is to document the good that waiting has brought. Caroline arrived 3 days after my due date. She came at 8: 20 am, out so fast she managed to take large gulps of amniotic fluid and land in the NICU for a week. Her birth was filled with so much joy. The anticipation was nothing like the reality. I had no idea how much I’d fall in love with this 7 lb peanut. I did not know, when I was anticipating her birth how much I’d change once I became “mama.”
I think I’ll say the same for 2020. I believe this year, as hard and labor intensive as it’s been, I believe it will be a pivotal year in my life for growth and new beginnings. Just as I changed when Caroline arrived, I believe the same can be said for this year. The soul purging, wart cleansing, plaque scraping, tumor cutting that has happened this year has been giving birth to wholeness.
You will go out in joy and be led forth in peace: the mountains and hills will burst into song before you, and all the trees of the field will clap their hands.” Isaiah 55:12 NIV
We will be dancing clapping trees, bursting with color and wonder as we see the birth of all this year has worked in us to create.
Shalom Aleichem. Peace to you.