So, we’re still waiting to get that positive pregnancy test. Liam just found a thermometer today and asked, “Did you get two lines yet? I don’t see two lines on here.” I feel like I’ve spent so much of my life waiting for the next big thing. I couldn’t wait to graduate from high school and become “an adult.” I waited and waited to graduate from college, as if that would fulfill me. After college, it was the wait for a husband and the wait to finish grad school. I couldn’t wait to get married. I begged God to give me a husband. As soon as I got married it was the wait to have a baby. I thought about it constantly, begged Josh to let me have a baby right away (thank goodness he said no.) We taught English in Korea and loved it, but I also couldn’t wait to finish our two year contract and get back to America and buy a house and start our family. Now I can’t wait to travel again, to get back to Korea. It’s ridiculous. Why can’t I just be content right where I am? After I got my baby, I couldn’t wait to finish breastfeeding, I couldn’t wait until Liam could talk (now I beg him to stop talking.) I couldn’t wait to have the next baby. After having baby boy #2 I couldn’t wait to have a daughter.
Now the stakes are so much higher. When I was pregnant with Lucy, the wait to find out if she would live was the longest wait of my life. Now I have to wait my whole life to meet her. I am desperately waiting for healing to come, for the joy that comes after the night. We are anxiously waiting to get those two lines on the pregnancy test, but what then? Even if we do get pregnant again, we will have to wait at least 17 weeks to find out if our baby has a chance at life. We will not know before then if the baby will live. How terrifying will that wait be? Any pregnancy after losing a baby is scary, but going into it knowing my baby has such low odds of survival is horrifying. My waiting is laced with fear and anxiety and I know this isn’t how God wants me to live. I want to settle down in the moment and savor it. I want to trust God to get me through this day and not worry about tomorrow.
I read an article once about Andy Whitfield, an actor who battled cancer for 18 months before dying at age 39. He had a wife and two young children who were left devastated. Andy had a film crew follow him around during his treatment and now they’ve made a documentary about his fight with cancer. Anyway, he talked about making your one life count and treasuring the time you have. He got a tattoo on his arm, “BE HERE NOW.”
He said, “Be here now is all about being present and not fearing what you don’t know.” Even though he knew he was about to die of cancer, he lived in the moment. That’s inspiring to me. Since reading that article I think about that line often. Be here now. I want to be here now. Am I living here now? Or am I wasting my time worrying about the future that I can’t control? Am I just waiting for the next big thing? How much time have I wasted being anxious about the future? My Mom always told me growing up, “90% of your worries don’t come true.” I have no idea where she got that statistic from, but from my experiences, it does seem to be fairly accurate.
I think about Jesus, who lived all 33 years of His life knowing what was at the end of it. He knew that He would be viciously beaten, humiliated, mocked, crucified and blamed for all the sin of the world. That’s what He had to wait for. But He didn’t wring His hands and anxiously worry about His future. He had ultimate peace and He had joy and He was able to love other people, all with the crucifixion hanging over his head, looming ahead of Him. What an amazing example of how we should live.
Here’s Elisabeth Elliot, I love her words:
“Jesus taught us to work and watch, but never to worry, to do gladly whatever we are given to do, and to leave all else with God…Today is mine. Tomorrow is none of my business. If I peer anxiously into the fog of the future, I will strain my spiritual eyes so that I will not see clearly what is required of me now.”
“But is it our business to pry into what may happen tomorrow? It is a difficult and painful exercise which saps the strength and uses up the time given us today. Once we give ourselves up to God, shall we attempt to get hold of what can never belong to us-tomorrow? Our lives are His, our times in His hand, He is Lord over what will happen, never mind what may happen.”
How freeing it is to hand the future over to God and to live today with peace and confidence.
Matthew 6:27 And which of you by being anxious can add a single hour to his span of life?
1 Peter 5:7 Cast all your anxiety on Him because He cares for you.
One of the most heartbreaking things about possibly not being able to have anymore kids is the feeling like I didn’t savor Liam and Asher’s babyhoods. In my mind, they were the first two of many children. I didn’t know they could be my last. I wanted to rush through so many things- breastfeeding, diapers, teething, potty training, late nights with crying babies. Now I would give anything to be doing those things with my Lucy. Why didn’t I savor those moments while I lived them? One day, I will be old and there won’t really be any big next things to look forward to and I will wish I could go back in time. I want to know that I lived every day in that day and I want to feel satisfied. I don’t want to be left with just memories of all the times I wanted to fast forward.
We love you, Bethany, and are praying for you as you and Josh go through this journey.
Very inspiring! I love THE MESSAGE translation of Matthew 6:33-34, “Steep your life in God-reality, God-initiative, God-provisions. Don’t worry about missing out. You’ll find all your everyday human concerns will be met. Give your entire attention to what God is doing right NOW, and don’t get worked up about what will happen tomorrow. God will help you deal with whatever hard things come up when the time comes.”
And Ann Voskamp, “Wherever you are–be ALL there.” “All my life I’ve lived the runner— pounding back with regret, racing ahead with worry.”
Thank you for sharing this, Bethany, and for allowing yourself to be vulnerable. This post blessed me so much and reminded me if the Lord’s personal word at the hospital when Emeth was born. Even in the midst of the joy of finally meeting him, I started worrying about the future–his future–and if I was going to be a good mom. But the Lord spoke gently but powerfully into my heart not to worry but I savor every moment with him. I’ve been so exhausted with all the sleepless nights and other challenges of taking care of an infant. Your post serves as a good reminder to treasure every second with Emeth and not fret about tomorrow.
I totally know what you mean about always looking forward and waiting for the next big thing. I sometimes think I enjoy anticipating things more than the actual events themselves. Thanks for the reminder that I should be trying to “seize the day” even during these hard days of grieving. I want to just float through life until I can have a baby and feel that joy, but I need to be present in the meantime too. I have been praying for God to send you another baby girl.