Into the Unknooooowwwn

Into the Unknooooowwwn

If you haven't seen Frozen II, the title of this won't be as meaningful to you, but if you have, I'm sorry that it's now stuck in your head. Although, to fully appreciate it, just imagine Alice bellowing that one phrase over and over into her karaoke microphone (thanks, Gigi). It's truly the gift that keeps on giving and at this point I think we should all agree to just let Idina Menzel sing the song and no one else. (Even she is pushing it a bit. #soloud)

Anyway, as you can imagine from my cozy little perch here at 35 weeks pregnant (haha), I am not only ungainly and large but also not feeling super chill about the many unknowns (and knowns! ah!) coming at me at lightning speed. Being pregnant for the first time means everything is unfamiliar and terrifying; being pregnant the second time means everything is familiar and terrifying. Right? I mean, this time I know what to expect in a lot of ways and it's still scary. Don't get me wrong; I've been organizing baby clothes, doing a little (okay, maybe more than a little- SUE ME) shopping for matching outfits, and nesting in general, and I am SO excited to have another baby in the house. Alice is going to be the best big sister and I'm already a big fat mess of emotions over all the sweet moments to come. But, as you may know, there's more to it than cute onesies and matching sister shirts.

As an enneagram 6, I default to imagining worst-case scenarios, but I'm really not even doing that. (I've only allowed myself a couple of full-on negative mental spirals that ended in tears during this pregnancy. Bleh. Zero stars. Do not recommend.) So, as I've told Jonathan repeatedly over the past month, even BEST-case scenario, things are just going to be hard. Even the best labor and delivery is super hard on your body, even the best newborn can keep you up all night, etc. (Even the best Alice can begin weeping when her episode of Mickey Mouse Club House ends or she is forced to use the bathroom. You know, hypothetically speaking.) So the knowns are scary (pain, sleep deprivation, etc.) and the unknowns are even scarier (when and for how long I'll be in labor, how Alice will handle things, how Amy Jane will eat/sleep/breathe, etc.). You know, simple stuff. Nothing that would keep you up at night.

I'm a lucky mama. Truly.

As always, it helps to keep things in perspective and recognize that other people are dealing with much harder things. We've experienced loss just this week in our own church family, and I know others who are walking through financial stress, chronic illness, and more. I've also read quite a few books about pretty heavy topics recently (kind of dark choices given my current situation, but also good reality checks that my life is super uncomplicated in most ways). So even though giving birth and adding a second child to our family is a legitimately big deal and will mean a huge transition for us, it is still, at the end of the day, something that is commonplace and that tons of families make it through on a regular basis. Ultimately, we will be just fine.

And, at the end of the day, I have to trust that God knows what He's doing, sees us, and will take care of it all. I read somewhere not long ago that it's essential for Christians to get to the point that we consider God's will to be the best thing that could happen to us. I think for a variety of reasons we tend to view it as something that is "harder but better." I think a lot of preaching we've heard over the years has framed God's will as the holy but unappealing alternative to whatever dreams or plans you'd really rather pursue. But if "the steps of a good man are ordered by the Lord" and He truly wants to give us the "desires of our heart," then His plans for me must be better than anything I could imagine. Of course they may include hard things I don't fully understand, but trusting Him with my future still seems like the best option (He is God, after all, and I am decidedly/blessedly not).

Lately, I've been attempting to follow Emily P. Freeman's morning rhythm of "PRWRP." That stands for:
Pray (a "borrowed" or scripted prayer)
Read (Scripture)
Write (Journal... the hardest one for me, ironically!)
Read (spiritual nonfiction)
Pray (regular requests)

I certainly don't get to do all the steps every day (somehow Alice isn't as committed to my quiet time as she is to making sure I dish out her 17 breakfast courses each morning) but I have been trying, which is better than nothing. For the "borrowed prayer" portion, I've been using Emily's own prayers written in each chapter of her wonderful book, The Next Right Thing. This morning (right before my doctor's appointment and in the midst of some serious pregnancy anxiety) I read these words:

"Unbound by time or place or gravity, you go ahead of us into an unknown future. You walk toward us with love in your eyes. You stand beside us when we find ourselves in unsure places. You sit next to us in silence and in joy... We resist the urge to sprint ahead in a hurry or lag behind in fear. Let us keep company with you at a walking pace, moving forward together one step at a time." 

I love this so much. Unlike me, God is not bound by a limited knowledge of the future. His "thoughts and ways are higher" than mine (Isaiah 55:9) and I don't need to demand answers I'm not ready for or stay stuck in what's already happened. He is there to walk with me at the right pace, shining a light as I need it and in His timing, not mine. If I had known all that would take place for our family over the last four years of parenting, I probably would have fainted like a woman in a silent film! I don't need to know everything that is coming; I just need to know the One who does. (I think there's a song about that!)

As usual, this post is 100% talking/preaching to myself, so don't be surprised when I'm still struggling with the same worries a week or two from now (#type6). Tonight I'm just thankful for the reminder to walk with God, not ahead of or behind Him, and to trust His plans for me. Those plans may need to include a lot of naps, chocolate, and Disney+ over the next few weeks, but it will all be fine as long as Alice doesn't discover the special hiding place I created for her Frozen microphone.