These past many months I have been marveling at the sweetness of God. I have experienced His presence, His nearness with me almost constantly in a way more intimate than before. Rather than only noticing God at work around me – in conversations or in nature – my spirit is simply aware of Spirit, comfortably communing together.
I have been learning to recognize my limitations, giving myself grace and permission to embrace a rhythm of rest in my everyday rather than filling every moment with frantic productivity. I’m really good at being productive. I love working. I love brainstorming and then instantly nailing down the details. I have a drive to do everything with excellence, especially my grad school homework. And while all of those things are good in and of themselves, if they are not tempered with self-acceptance, they can be harmful. When my productivity and goal-striving become efforts to prove myself and receive love in return, I have wandered away from my inherent worthiness.
Thus, I have entered into a season of “good enough is good enough.” I give myself time constraints for writing papers or reading books and what gets done is all I get done for that done. Somehow, miraculously, all assignments are completed, my grades remain S+ (“satisfactory plus” as was the kindergarten grading scale), and glory upon glory I have time and space for the people I love and the life God is calling me to participate in. This is good.
Perhaps the sweetest gift of all in these past few months has been the surprising gift of a second pregnancy! Kevin and I had questioned whether or not we would be able to conceive a second child after Kirsten’s birth, having dealt with five years of infertility. There had been no birth control usage in the months after Kirsten was born and by the time she was 18 months old, we were recognizing the need to come to terms with having only one biological child. As we came to a place of sincere contentedness, we were happy and at peace with what God had granted us, making zero efforts to time conception.
On Friday, October 13th, I randomly took a pregnancy test after Kevin and I had said how hilarious it would be if I was pregnant after all that “coming to grips” talk. Sure enough, those two pink strips shone clearly, and I laughed out loud. When Kevin got home, I was trying to wait nonchalantly for the right moment to tell him the news, but he spoiled my lead-up, instantly declaring, “You’re pregnant aren’t you?!” We smiled and hugged and laughed. And decided to keep our little secret between the two of us for the first few months. It was lovely.
I am now 22 weeks pregnant with Baby Girl, due in June 2018. We are absolutely delighted that God saw fit to grant us another girl – a sister for Kirsten! I wept tears of joy the day after our anatomy ultrasound as I contemplated the sweet love of God, the way He continually surpasses my plans or expectations. Ever since I was young, I had wanted to have two daughters. Fearful of disappointment, I kept that desire to myself, never asking God for what I deeply longed for or sharing it with my husband. God knew, though, and in His abundant grace saw fit to grant us two precious daughters.
Everything about this second pregnancy has been characterized by joy and peace, virtues I have been hungry for since those desert days of barrenness. Looking back, I am so thankful He didn’t grant me my wishes in my timing. Because of those extra years, I have had time to experience more spiritual formation and come into confidence in my gifts and calling. I probably never would have said yes to God’s beckoning me for pastoral ministry, but as it stands now, He is equipping me to preach and raising me up as a leader of the next generation of female disciples – my own daughters! Kevin and I will be celebrating our 10th wedding anniversary in May, and wow! am I am grateful for all those sweet years we had to grow up together. I’ll be finishing graduate school in July and ordination next June (glory be!) And what a gift it will be to have two girls in school together in the future. Everything about this life is gracious and so, so generous.
God has certainly filled me to overflowing.
May the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace as you trust in him, so that you may overflow with hope by the power of the Holy Spirit.