This bun that is half-risen in my belly (really, I have 20 more weeks to get bigger still!?) is a masterpiece. An exquisitely precious bundle of countless prayers and thanks to God. We could never wrap this little one up and call it done, but we'll try to put words to a few of the prayers and just a bit of the endless thanks we feel...
This life growing in me is a bundle of...
Thankfulness- We do not take it for granted one moment that the Lord would give us a child, another child, like this. Awestruck with Thanks.
Wonder- What an amazing thing that God does to create life in us, out of our love, like this. Absolutely wonderful.
Joy- We have never deserved a gift from God, this one included. We are, assuredly unworthy and fantastically joyful recievers.
Gratefulness again- Knowing the joy of parenthood already gives us a crystal picture of the joy (and struggles and prayers and good weariness) that lies ahead in this one.
Expectation- So fun to get to talk about this little one and stir together the flames of anticipation with our biggest two who are comprehending this little sibling with delightful clarity. Who will K4 be? So many dreams and questions and prayers...
Prayer- It is a breathtaking thing, the significance of pregnancy, the anticipation of birth. We have been through it smoothly three times. That is something that is honestly hard to think of when we consider how vast the possibilities are for difficulty and tragedy in this, and how some of those tragedies have touched lives so near and so very dear to us. (Our lives are not free of difficulty but our pregnancies largely have been- and we recognize this is enormous.) From conception to well-past where we're at in this journey, parenthood is I believe- at least for me- the most humbling, emptying-me-of-strength, refining (and oh how I need this!) thread through my life.... and I feel like it's almost the only one sometimes. Lots of refining, emptying, and grace strength needed and lots being poured in. Grateful once again for such a requirement, such a driving demand to that most excellent work: prayer.
Trust & Humility- Courage to hope, to look ahead with peace, knowing that God will allow only what he will use for our good and for his glory is a desperate prayer of mine through every pregnancy. Is there any time easier to worry? Honestly with the possibilities here, stacked up with the hormones of pregnancy.... I've never been a better fretter. This little one and all of me lay in my Father's hands.... the Master Potter. Craft us as you will and give me trust and humility to know that You and all of your work is for our good.
Eternity- Absolutely breathtaking it is to linger thoughts for a moment on the eternity begun in this life. As we read from Matthew 6 about the treasures of earth being destroyed by moths and rust and thieves, I am overcome once more to know that this little life will go on for eternity. Strikingly precious, enormously weighty, wonderful, eternal gift... Honestly, in my life I think I've heard far too little on how Christians should be lovers of life.
Names- We took a long walk a week or so before our first was born rethinking our final decision on names. I really wanted to honor my man's desire for names, but I just couldn't go through with that first choice. I got my pick and he's always kindly agreed to it. For our second, I announced in a text message to friends something about "Praise the Lord for our beautiful daughter...." and I didn't tell her name. It was his pick. (I really love it now though- and I have always loved the Grandma behind it.) Our third was much easier and now we're up to #4. I find myself thinking sometimes that we have another boy coming, and I like our boy name. I'm confident for it and so is my man. But our girls name, I am so in love with it that sometimes I hope that baby is a girl just so we can give this name to her. (Let alone the joy of having her.)
Balance?- The gender question is a fun one almost daily for us. Marian has the math all worked out correctly (shocking! and I don't remember helping her) to wonder if we'll be 3 and 3 or 4 and 2 (she counts mom and dad). Matt and I know that we won't need even a second to adjust our hearts to either gender. There will only be thrilled joy for knowing the Lord has chosen the perfect gift to add to our mix.
Matt and I, for the first time ever, really talked about maybe finding out the gender this time. But it's also illegal to tell the gender here (because so many more baby girls would be aborted..... oh the horror.) We could find out easily in the capital or possibly at a hospital across town, but now that we're here, we're chosing to go the birthday surprise route again.
Siblings- I grew up in about as small a family as you can get. It was me and my mom. I sat on a friend's bed in 7th grade and marveled at the brothers and sisters that would tromp through her room, speak so comfortably (like an insider!) with her, tease her, love her. Now I can't believe that I get to marvel at that same grace in my own children's lives. Isaiah and Marian have kind of been stuck together since either of them was at a playable age (17 mo. apart). But John... to see him have a choice of siblings to play with is absolutely incredible to me. Magnificent!
Timing ~ Waiting- It looks like a plan is shaping up for us for where we will go to give birth. At least a month away from home waiting to meet this little one and get baby's passport before we head back. With recent glimmers of what the next few months will probably hold for us, we are already looking forward to this month away as a time to be less busy and more involved in the simple, glorious, wonderfully exhausting work of growing this family... each of us in the Lord, and each together... K4's due date has been moved back and back and back three times now. This month away- cautiously, prayerfully placed around my possible due dates- will doubtless be a season of eagerness, waiting, and trying to rest our hearts in the One Who Knows. We'll be eager to meet our little one and I'll bet we'll be itching to get back to our own home. Another very good lesson of grace indeed.
And there's much more than just these few things wrapped up in this bundle... such a gift, so humbling, so exciting...