Thankful. Sort of.
During the beginning of this week I didn’t participate in the Thankful Challenge I mentioned in the previous post. And there’s a not-so-great reason: being thankful hasn’t been my top my emotion. (Which is funny to me, because this is the exact reason I decided to do the Thankful Challenge; I knew that though this would be an extremely exciting month, there would also be sleepless nights and unforeseen challenges that may cause me to need a little extra practice in the thankful category. I just didn’t expect to need the practice so early in the month and before our baby even arrives!) I have hesitated writing this post because I am afraid you’ll think that I am really ungrateful, and I don’t ever want to diminish all of the amazing things God has done in my life, especially this past year.
However, I also am growing in becoming more vulnerable and genuine, and if I don’t share the times when I am annoyed and discouraged, I am not exactly giving you a picture of the real me. Instead, it’s just the me that I want to present, and that is exactly what bothers me with much of social media. I am learning to be aware of my tendencies to want to present myself as put-together and share my struggles only after I’ve worked through them myself. God continues to work on me in this area by teaching me to find security in His unconditional love rather than the approval of others.
So in light of all of this, I am sharing with you my raw feelings even though I will go on record and say much of what I am feeling right now is irrational and does not reflect the true excitement I feel in meeting our sweet daughter–whenever she decides to make her appearance. Isn’t it amazing how we can be so blessed and have so, so much to be grateful for, but yet how easily we can become disenchanted when things don’t go exactly the way we want, even when things are going just fine? I am learning it’s all a matter of perspective and, oh, how easily my vision can be clouded with impatience and discontentment instead of seeing the amazing blessings.
So here is where my irrational thoughts have been…
Because my twin brother’s daughter surprised us all and decided to make her entrance into the world a month early, I have been quite prepared for Olivia to arrive early as well. I know that everyone told me that first-time moms usually go into labor late, but many people kept telling me that because of my small stature, I would for sure have an early baby. So I checked things off my list as if she would come in the middle of October. Jared and I have had our bags packed in the corner of our room for three+ weeks. Her car seat has been strapped in the car for over a month. I’ve cleaned the house every other day to make sure it’s clean when we bring a little baby home.
But alas, no baby.
The past three weeks at my obstetrician appointments, the doctor has told me my body has showed hardly any signs of preparing for labor. Granted, she has said that doesn’t really mean much and I could still go into labor that night. However, this last visit, I left feeling a little deflated. And I knew I shouldn’t be; I was so thankful that each appointment we heard Olivia’s strong heartbeat (something I know we can’t take for granted) and she would come when it was time. But I still felt a little disappointed that most likely my little baby was quite content in her warm quarters and not wanting to arrive on schedule.
Up until the last couple of days, Olivia’s delay has been a joke between Jared and me. Jared’s been talking to my belly and telling her that we really aren’t as crazy as we may seem and we really would like her to join us. We just imagine her holding onto anything she possibly can in my womb in order to not have to come out to these crazy parents. (ha!)
But now, I have gotten kinda sick of waiting. I hate to admit it, but frankly, I’ve been annoyed at the wait. I’m really tired, not sleeping well, feel sore, and really big. (Case in point: yesterday, my mom and I were at the store and the clerk looked at me and said, “You are big!” Who says that?! Anyway, I digress…)
On Sunday evening, I realized I needed to write my Thankful post but I couldn’t think of anything that was heartfelt that I haven’t already written. And yes, I could write that I am thankful for my restored health, a warm home, an abundance of food, a loving family, amazing friends, a good job for Jared…I could go on and on…and on and on. As I thought about it on Sunday, I knew that I was truly grateful for those things, but it just felt forced and maybe a little fake to post a cheery message about what I was grateful for when inside I was just a little annoyed.
The next day I woke up feeling similarly. I had the whole day at my finger tips before Olivia came and I knew I needed to be grateful for it. Many over-worked moms would kill for day all by themselves with nothing on the schedule. And I knew I would be wishing for this day back when I was an exhausted mom very soon.
But I was still annoyed. And I was annoyed with myself that I was annoyed. (Do you ever get like that or is it just me?)
I knew I needed to spend time with God for Him to give me a much-needed attitude check. And in the way that only God does, the devotional I opened to was exactly what I needed to hear:
“When your life feels increasingly out of control, thank Me. These are the supernatural responses, and they can lift you above your circumstances. If you do what comes naturally in the face of difficulties, you may fall prey to negativism. Even a few complaints can set you on a path that is a downward spiral, by darkening your perspective and mindset. With this attitude controlling you, complaints flow more and more readily from your mouth. Each one moves you steadily down the slippery spiral. The lower you go, the faster you slide; but it is still possible to apply brakes. Cry out to Me in My Name! Affirm your trust in Me, regardless of how you feel. Thank Me for everything, though this seems unnatural–even irrational. Gradually you will begin to ascend, recovering your lost ground. When you are back on ground level you can face your circumstances from a humble perspective. If you choose supernatural responses this time–trusting and thanking Me–you will experience my unfathomable Peace.” (Jesus Calling, October 3)
After reading and journaling for a while, I felt a little better. Mostly because I was reminded again that sometimes the key is CHOOSING truth even when I don’t feel it, even when it’s not a natural response. And for me in this instance, it is choosing to be grateful for the wait to meet my daughter even when I’m not necessarily wanting to wait any longer. And it is choosing to trust God not only has my good in mind but my unborn daughter’s good, and therefore there is most likely a very good reason for the wait. Even if it’s just to teach this mama a little more about letting go of my expectations, being real with those around me, waiting on God’s timing, and trusting Him for what I need.
And for that I am thankful. Truly.
But I trust in your unfailing love;
my heart rejoices in your salvation.
I will sing to the Lord,
for he has been good to me.