Of course, we’re all facing forward and no one will look into my eyes to see the flickers of doubt or my brow creased in thought. No one is listening closely to notice just the slightest tremble in my voice.
No one knows my secret.
And my secret is the reason uncertainty and fear are sneaking into my worship.
My secret is that I’m pregnant. Again.
And even though I’ve learned the kingdom of God doesn’t always look like secure jobs and healthy babies and answered prayers, I still can’t help but hold this fragile hope with an eyebrow raised dangerously toward heaven.
“Lord, this time … what will you do this time?”
My mouth sings words about how he makes the way bright before me, but my mind lays out two very different scenes. In one scene, there is life inside of me. Thriving, growing, enduring life. There are hugs and smiles, there is joy and thankfulness. There is relief. There is a future unfolding with warm tones of pink and gold and well-placed sun flares — a future in which this one thing goes right. In the other scene, there is death inside of me. Disappointment. There are hugs and softly spoken words, there is a hard clinging to peace. There is a future of nothing certain anymore, an emptiness where this one thing does not exist, an open white space that only God can fill.
The truth is I want everything to make sense around this thing — this one thing. I want the lyrics of that song to be about my baby. I want the outcome of my pregnancy to work as a proper litmus test for God’s character. I don’t need a perfect life, I just need this one thing to finally be okay because if it’s not okay, then you know what, Lord? Maybe we’re not okay.
My lifted hand, the one that was reaching up and seeking, asking … it falls and lands protectively on my tummy, on my secret.
I open my eyes like I’ve woken up from a dream.
It’s everything else.
It’s everything else God has been working and planting and tending so gently. It’s all the life that he has grown in me these past few years, the life that has gone so far beyond my small tastes of death, the still-tender shoots and buds of fruitfulness that refuse to be forgotten.
There is so much life in me – thriving, growing, enduring little seeds of life that are longing to burst forth and promising to thrive, if only I’d abide.
And while we sing about our anchors holding fast, I know it is these fragile fruits that Satan is truly after and it is these fruits that everything makes sense around because it is these fruits that can ever only live.
It is only by hunkering down and getting face-to-face with Jesus that I feel able to bear it. Let the storm do it’s thing, like storms will, but oh the immeasurable comfort and power of knowing that Jesus is in this boat with me. In the center of everything else there is me and Jesus and I crowd his cushion and say, “just let me be near you and I’ll live.”
And I know– these are the invincible prayers. This is where all the promises of God find their “yes” in him, and these are the solid rocks that I can curl my fingers around.
That I am not alone.
That I am pressed, but never crushed.
That where the Spirit of the Lord is, there is freedom and that I—with an unveiled face—behold his glory and even now am being transformed into the same image.
That the life of Jesus will be manifested in my mortal flesh.
The life of Jesus inside me, blossoming and manifesting deep inside my mortal flesh, is my greatest hope and promise – and it is indestructible.
May I carry it well. All of it.
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*photo credit Britney @baretribe.blogspot.com