Monday, November 26, 2012

advent and the ninth month of pregnancy

Yes, it has been forever since I posted.  This is deeply frustrating because I love writing regularly and I hate to lose readership when I am slow to post.

But such is reality.  My body has taken this pregnancy much harder than the previous one and I'm finding it hard to keep myself and my family organized and cared for, let alone write my blog.  I look forward to when I am feeling better and can write more often.

God has a way of using even the "tough stuff," however, to help us grow closer to Him.  I have had to spend many hours laying on my side, not because of bed rest requirements or anything so dire, but just because for some reason I've been dealing with a lot more pain (leg pain, belly pain, knee pain, hip pain) and exhaustion this time around.  Additionally, in the third trimester, some personally trying and stressful situations have come up for our family.  In the beginning, I felt sorry for myself and spent time asking, "God, why did You choose this timing?  I can't handle this right now!"  But God has been working in my heart and during those times when all I can do is lay on my side with my good ol' pregnancy pillow, there is lots of time to pray (lest you think I'm more spiritual than I am, in those times when I can mentally focus a bit, I watch a lot of TV too!).  But prayer?  I've had more time for it than I've had in years.  In that prayer time, God is giving me peace in the midst of lots of challenges.  That doesn't mean I don't have days when I have a raze-the-earth, grouch-fest attitude, though.  Just the other day, I had one of those.  I had to apologize to my husband for that one!

Now there is only one month to go...or maybe less?  I'm hoping!  I'm getting ready and preparing.  I'm feeling an urgency to get Bean's room ready, to get all that laundry washed, to make sure my list for the hospital is prepared...  And this comes, just as the church season of Advent is about to start.  Yes, I am going through my ninth month of pregnancy in Advent.  Just as I need to be prepared for Jesus' second coming, so I need to be prepared for Bean's coming.  Just as Mary needed to be prepared for Jesus' first coming.  (By the way, I totally empathize with her concerning that long donkey--or walking?--trip to Bethlehem.  I bet she had some questions for God too about timing!  A!)  For some reason, it is easier for me to understand Jesus' second coming through the lens of Bean's due date.  This due date is tangible, marked on the calendar, but on the other hand, Bean may come any day.  I feel my son pushing and nudging urgently inside me.  The other night, it looked like he was knocking on my stomach!  He is preparing and I am preparing.  The time is drawing near.  Will I be prepared?  Will I be ready when he comes?

What about with Jesus?  Will I be ready when He comes?  Will I be faithful in prayer and Scripture reading?  Will I be forgiving those who have hurt me?  Will I be loving my loved ones even in their imperfections (after all, they love me in mine!)?  Will I be focusing on the needs of others, to the best of my ability, and not just my own?

I hope that I am fully ready when Bean comes.  I hope that I am ready when Jesus comes again.

And yet, the coming of Bean also reminds me how much the Christian life is resting in God.  I mean, as much as I'd like my limitations to be removed, I have very limited time periods when I can do things like make a meal for a needy family or watch a friend's child.  I am even limited in my ability to do things for my husband and daughter right now.  My energy is low, my strength is limited.  But I am driven back to my bed and my pregnancy pillow.  I lay on my side and pray and rest in God.  That's what I can do right now.  This won't last forever, this stage of life.  But I hope I remember the lesson of it.  The lesson that in the Christian life, we need to focus on abiding in God, resting in Him and trusting in Him more than on doing and accomplishing.  The former is all about God; the latter can often turn out to be all about us.  God wants us to do things to help others, but never to lose our center in Him.  Being ready for Jesus' coming does not mean frenetic chasing around to try to please God with our works all over again.  It means resting in God and His salvation and letting our energy flow from His acceptance and love.

Happy Advent!
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