I’m 36 weeks today. I’m quite surprised to have made it this far after undergoing fetal surgery. Time may have flown by for those watching but it has not gone very quickly for us. I have so many mixed emotions (and I’m sure crazy pregnancy hormones) that have been overwhelming lately.
When I think about what I would like to do in order to prepare our family, home, and life for another baby, our current situation is not exactly what I had in mind. We have been living out of bags for three months. Most of our belongings are packed in storage or our car. Chale has been back and forth from VA to PA and we have not been together as a family for much of this season. I haven’t been able to do anything physical since December 3. We have eaten terribly, and feel the effects, due to limited options of hospital food, take out, and poor self control. I have no stock of frozen crockpot meals and no cute girly nursery decor. It’s extremely frustrating to have hours to work on puzzles wishing I could use that time to do something productive to prepare for this new baby.
I am so excited to have a baby girl but feel so overwhelmed already. I had a breakdown yesterday thinking not only how unprepared I am for a newborn but a newborn with an unknown degree of issues. I feel defeated and we haven’t even started yet. There has been so much put into this pregnancy and surgery but the outcome isn’t that everything is now okay. Spina bifida varies extensively. Nothing is definitive. They will do baseline tests when she is born and then regularly throughout her life. Even if many of these tests are normal at birth, often these kids need shunts, surgeries, catheterization, castings, etc. as things progress. We can’t predict what her abilities and limitations will be and have to deal with issues as they arise.
Sometimes I’m able to not think about the future and to just focus on the present but ultimately that doesn’t take away the fear surrounding the unknown path ahead of us.
In the midst of my tears the Lord brought Gideon to mind. God came to him and said,“…The Lord is with you, you mighty man of [fearless] courage, (Judges 6:12 AMP). God told Gideon that he was going to save Israel from the Midianites. Gideon quickly reminded God that he was the least in his father’s house and was from the weakest clan. He was unqualified and unprepared. God’s response was “But I will be with you, and you shall strike the Midianites as one man,” (Judges 6:16 ESV). Further into the story, “The Lord said to Gideon, The people who are with you are too many for Me to give the Midianites into their hands, lest Israel boast about themselves against Me, saying, My own hand has delivered me,” (Judges 7:2 AMP). There were 32,000 Israelites with Gideon preparing to fight Midian. Gideon sent a large number of them home and then there were 10,000. God said there were still too many. God instructed Gideon to decrease the number of men again until there were only 300 Israelites. 300 Israelites versus several hundred thousand Midianites seems like a pretty terrible battle strategy. Why did Gideon go along with this seemingly ridiculous plan?
God called Gideon a mighty man of courage. God told Gideon that He would be with him. God wanted to give Midian into Israel’s hands in such a way that it was clearly God’s doing, not theirs. Gideon believed God despite appearing to be ill equipped and he moved forward boldly into a situation that seemed foolish. God was faithful. He delivered Midian into their hands.
God’s glory is what matters. Often the more desperate the situation the clearer God is seen in it. The less equipped and prepared I am for this next step, the more room I have in my hands, heart, and mind for God. I have to accept that things may be unpredictable, untimely, and unconventional. I have to trust that in the chaos God is able to do so much more than my simple strategies ever could.
So often I despise the unpredictable. I want to keep my 32,000 men, make my detailed, strategic battle plans, and go into the fight as prepared as possible. Why is this? I don’t want to confess my pride and relinquish my attempts at controlling my life. For Gideon, or me, to be okay with the crazy battle plan of only 300 men we must choose faith.
“Now faith is the assurance of things hoped for, the conviction of things not seen,”(Hebrews 11:1 ESV). Having faith in God means that me are assured of His faithfulness and promises even when they are not seen. Sometimes I say that I have faith in God but I still want to see his detailed outline of the next steps. That’s not faith. Faith is believing that God is good, powerful, and present even when I can’t see it, when things don’t make sense, or when things seem be crumbling around me.
After the Lord revealed to Gideon His plan to overcome Midian, Gideon “…worshiped. And he returned to the camp of Israel and said, “Arise, for the Lord has given the host of Midian into your hand,” (Judges 7:15). Gideon was so confident that God would do what He promised, that Gideon stopped and worshipped Him BEFORE the battle was won. That is the kind of faith I want. To be utterly convinced of God’s character that I can praise Him before I see His actions.
Gideon also proclaimed to others what God would do before it happened. That’s how we share our faith. We speak and live in such a way with others that we boldly proclaim God’s character regardless of our circumstances.
When I prayed and asked the Lord how to have this kind of faith, His answer wasn’t try harder, read more, or get your act together. To have this kind of faith, God simply wants us to be with Him. When we know Him intimately, we experience His character and deep faith is the natural outcome. When we daily walk with God through joy and pain, we learn how to live in faith.
Instead of being fearful and anxious about how unprepared we are for this new baby and this unknown journey we are about to embark on, my prayer is to stand in awe in God’s presence confident of His faithfulness to us. My hope is not in my plans or strategies but in His character that has never failed us.
With you all as my witnesses, I praise God now for our baby girl. I praise God for her life, no matter her limitations. I praise God for providing for our needs in His timing and ways. I praise God for being constantly present with our family even when things are chaotic. I praise God for the incredible things He will do in our lives not because of anything we have done but because He is great and He has called us.