I was on the couch, curled up in Sabbath bliss and rubbing the watermelon belly that has become a part of me. We saw the due date come and go last week and a little bit of me thought, "Well, I guess I'll just be pregnant forever." Irrational, maybe. But these are things you think when 43 days have gone by and the wiggles are still on the inside. Things I think, anyway.
Patrick came over and snuggled in to ask, "What can I do to encourage you?"
And then he started reciting Scripture in my silence, while my cheeks burned hot tears.
Philippians 4:4-8 "Rejoice in the Lord always; again I will say, rejoice. Let your reasonableness be known to everyone. The Lord is at hand; do not be anxious about anything, but in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known to God. And the peace of God, which surpasses all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus. Finally, brothers, whatever is true, whatever is honorable, whatever is just, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is commendable, if there is any excellence, if there is anything worthy of praise, think about these things."
Psalm 34 "I will bless the LORD at all times; his praise shall continually be in my mouth. My soul makes its boast in the LORD; let the humble hear and be glad. Oh, magnify the LORD with me, and let us exalt his name together! Oh, taste and see that the LORD is good! Blessed is the man who takes refuge in him! Oh, fear the LORD, you his saints, for those who fear him have no lack! The young lions suffer want and hunger; but those who seek the LORD lack no good thing.
He kept reciting the verses from the list my mom sent us in an email a couple weeks back. I asked her to send me verses for laboring to calm my delivery nerves, but he memorized them because he knows it's good to have Scripture saved up in your soul.
I kept silent, blinking and battling and defending my stubbornness.
The hot tears came because, sure, all the baby emotions. But the Word of the Lord never returns void and the chord it hit yesterday in my spirit was one I've been trying to avoid.
I want Baby K to come now because my calendar says Michication (our annual family gathering in Michigan) starts with a flight on July 10th. I want to go to the beach with my niece and nephews and I want to come back with sand in my shoes. I want to sit around campfires and toast marshmallows and play board games late into the night. I want to do all the things we have been talking about since we last left each other in September after James and Carly's wedding.
That's what I want. And just above the din of my own heart and schedule I could still hear him reciting -
Psalm 46:1-3 "God is our refuge and strength, a very present help in trouble. Therefore we will not fear though the earth gives way, though the mountains be moved into the heart of the sea, though its waters roar and foam, though the mountains tremble at its swelling."
God surely knows my need for fresh water and sibling laughter and firelight. He surely knows these are good things - things that soothe my heart and calm my spirit. He surely knows I need it just this way.
And still more verses cut through my innermost arguments -
Psalm 143:8 Let me hear in the morning of your steadfast love, for in you I trust. Make me know the way I should go, for to you I lift up my soul.
A couple weeks ago, we sang a familiar song after communion at church - it's a song I have posted before and will probably post again. The song is a simple invitation to sit at a feast, but what I hear these days when I sing is an invitation to movement.
Come, Sinners Come Come sinners, come for there is a spread a table full and free For all who thirst, for Christ has said that all may come and eat
Come sinners, come Come sinners, come Oh, what a love is this that bids sinners come.
All the way to a dinner party has felt too long to travel these past 10 months - from grief and worry and selfishness and fear. I know that celebration and belonging and courage and joy are just past that threshold, but sometimes I'm still holding the invitation on my doorstep - feeling the beauty and weight of the faith that hangs in the distance between.
I want to sit at the celebration, but I just don't know if there are enough steps in my feet. And I guess that's why I am realizing the invitation to "come" is all about movement. The "coming" might take awhile, but repenting is about direction as much as it is about destination.
Stubbornness and pride and fear and worry and anxiety will probably make part of the journey with me, but I guess you could say I'm slowly turning toward the Host.
Pat keeps on saying this whole pregnancy and delivery is a way the Lord is teaching us, speaking to us, and challenging us toward greater faith. I keep nodding that he is right while my feet are planted like cement on my doorstep, inwardly promising to move when I have less to give up.
It doesn't work like that.
God's invitation for sinners like me to "come" to the feast is not the reception after the main event I have planned. It is the main event. Movement toward that feast is a movement away from all the things I want instead - beach vacations and 7 pound babies and easy delivery. Every step believes that what is promised is the best there is, the absolute best.
There will probably be more Scripture quoted to a stubborn face hot with tears before Baby K arrives, but I'm praying that Truth will soften me to repentance and movement toward the absolute best.