I like to think of myself as a pretty laid back person. Certainly, I don’t believe anyone who knows me could accuse me of having a Type A personality. I’m not that organized and I’m not really a planner.
From the beginning of my pregnancy I joked that my birth plan was:
1. Go to hospital.
2. Have baby
About two weeks ago, I learned that even this seemingly simple plan was not going to happen. My baby will not be born at our local hospital. Instead, I am in Vancouver, waiting to go into labour in order to deliver at the hospital here. While the hospital on the Coast is terrific and actually has one of the newest maternity wings in the country, it doesn’t have the resources for extensive neonatal care. And we have been told that our baby may need that.
It’s a terrifying thing to hear the word “abnormality” to describe your unborn child’s ultrasound. It’s a terrifying thing to meet with genetic counsellors and a team of doctors and to lay on a table for two and a half hours while you are given the most thorough ultrasound of your life. And no matter how kind and compassionate those doctors are, it only makes things a little bit better because you don’t want a team of kind and compassionate doctors because you don’t want your baby to need a team of doctors at all.
There are a lot of unknowns right now. The full situation can’t be assessed until our baby makes its appearance and so the best place for that is the hospital here in Vancouver. So it’s an easy decision to be here. It’s everything else that’s hard.
In the past two weeks though Peter and I have experienced such an outpouring of love from our community, both near and far. I am overwhelmed by the number of people who are praying for our little one. By the number of people who love our baby already. Those prayers and that love has enabled the two of us to have a peace in a situation where peace doesn’t seem like it should be possible.
And I am overwhelmed in the knowledge that God does not make mistakes. That this is our baby, the child He has given us. And that whatever the next weeks and months and years hold for our family, we are not alone. Our God stands with us in the furnace. Our God walks at our side through the valley.
Before I formed you in the womb I knew you.
This past year, God has spent a lot of time teaching me about fear. There is a story about Jesus in the gospel of Mark that I’ve come back to repeatedly. Jesus is called upon to heal the daughter of a man named Jairus, a ruler of the synagogue. While Jesus is still on his way, a messenger comes from Jairus’ house to tell them that it’s too late, the girl has died. “Why trouble the Teacher any further?” the messenger says. Jesus’ response to this has been my reminder in the moments of my greatest fear. He says, “Do no fear; only believe.” And then He goes to Jairus’ house and he brings that girl back to life from death.
When all human wisdom says, “Give up. There’s no point in trying anymore,” Jesus says, “Believe”. And He conquers fear and He conquers death and He tells them to give that little girl some lunch.
“Do not fear; only believe.”
Your eyes saw my unformed substance; in Your book were written, every one of them, the days that were formed for me, when as yet there was none of them.
God sees deeper than any ultrasound can. He knows what the days ahead hold for Peter and I and our child. And, oh, it is hard to not know and trust doesn’t come easily for me. It’s a daily struggle to let go of fear, to trust my unborn child in the hands of God. To trust my own life and future in the hands of God. It’s something I do only with His help and even then I do it poorly. But in response to my fumbling, faulty steps, His love is big and His grace and mercy are overwhelming.
Incline Your ear, O Lord, and answer me,
for I am poor and needy.
Preserve my life, for I am godly;
save Your servant, who trusts in You – You are my God.
Be gracious to me, O Lord,
for to You, O Lord, do I lift up my soul.
For You, O Lord, are good and forgiving,
abounding in steadfast love to all who call upon You.
Give ear, O Lord, to my prayer;
listen to my plea for grace.
In the day of my trouble I call upon You,
for You answer me.