My First Reaction at Just the Thought of Pregnancy
If you followed along with my infertility journey, you would think that just the thought of a potential pregnancy would fill me with joy, wonder, and awe. But honestly, that wasn’t my initial reaction. A few days after my missed period, I still hadn’t taken a pregnancy test. I was too scared to take a test and get a negative result, so my husband and I opted to wait a week.
One day, I was driving on my way to work. My shoulders were tight with knots, which could only mean one thing – I was anxious. But what could I possibly be anxious about? Even though my husband and I had been hopeful for a pregnancy for over two years, suddenly, the thought of being pregnant filled me with anxiety! This didn’t make any sense. Why wouldn’t I be happy? Excited? Expectant with joy?!
I don’t know about you, but sometimes, I don’t understand the source of my anxiety. Honestly, the only reason why I even know that I’m anxious is because of the tension and knots in my shoulder.
How I Figure Out What is Making Me Anxious
When I don’t know what is bothering me, I default to Philippians 4:6-7.
“Do not be anxious about anything, but in every situation, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God. And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.”
So, while driving to work, I turned down the music and prayed, presenting anything and everything, all my requests to God. As I prayed, my thoughts, feelings, and insecurities started to unravel. What did this time with God reveal about what was troubling me in my heart?
“Lord! If I’m pregnant…how in the world do you expect me to provide for my future child with a retail job?! I cannot possibly bring a child into this world while working a retail job, bringing home hardly any money, and dealing with this crazy schedule. Maybe I can do it but ultimately, I don’t WANT to do it! I don’t want to bring a child into this world under these circumstances…It’s not the way it’s supposed to be! I’m not where I want to be in my life…. Everything isn’t perfect and my life is a mess! Lord, if you are going to give me a baby, you’re going to have to provide another job so that I can feed this baby!”
As I prayed, tears started to stream down my face. Totally unexpected, there were a whole lot of feelings considering I hadn’t even taken a pregnancy test! But, God is so faithful. As I said in my previous post, God hears our prayers and cries. In the midst of my praying, God answered me.
God’s Wake-Up Call
“Melissa! How have you survived the last two years while working retail?! I have consistently provided for you. Just like the sparrows who do not labor, and I provide for them, I have provided for you. And I will also provide for your child.”
Just like that, I was reminded of how God provided for me the last two years. Against all odds, my husband and I have been able to survive with very little change to our standard of living, despite making less than half of what I used to make! Not because of my hard work, but because God supplied our every need (Philippians 4:19).
Somehow, God stretched our money to provide for all of our needs. Over the last two years, I saw this over and over again. So how or why would I doubt God would provide for my potential future kid?! It’s because I naturally lack faith and want to take control.
I Want Control but Parents Want CONTROL!!
A big part of the human existence is a giant power struggle between God and us. We want control, but really, we don’t have any. God is the one who is in control, and he delights when we submit to him. This can be traced back to the Garden of Eden. God provided for all of Adam and Eve’s needs and lived in their midst. They were in perfect communion with God. Yet, Eve wanted to be like God. She wanted the control. Just like that, sin entered the world and separated us from a perfect God.
The reality is that the human condition and desire for control is our baseline. HOWEVER, when people become parents, that desire for control is exacerbated times 100!! Why? Probably because you feel responsibility and pressure to keep another life alive! And you naturally have no control over them, what they do, or what happens to them. So of course, you want MORE CONTROL!
Shouldn’t I be Used to Not Having Control Since I’m Chronically Unemployed and NOTHING Has Gone as Planned?!
While the last two years of working retail have been a constant struggle…I could somewhat deal with it. But the thought of working retail as a means of provision for my child?! Oh, HECK NO! I’m not having it! Can’t let it happen!! Won’t let it happen! All of a sudden, I was in panicked control freak mode!
But God, in his infinite mercy and grace, he revealed to me my desire for control and lack of faith in him. He reminded me of his constant provision for me, and promise to provide for my child. So I prayed:
“Okay, Lord. This isn’t how I would prefer to do things…but you’ve proven to me you can do mighty things with very little. So, either you provide another job for me, or, if you make me stay at this current job, then you’re going to have to stretch my money to provide for my child! I give up, God. I know you will provide for me and my child no matter what. So, if your plan is for me to stay in this retail job indefinitely, so be it. At this point, God, just do whatever you want! Take it! Take it all! Take my life and do whatever you please!”
The Act of Surrender
In that moment, I surrendered my hopes for a career to God, and the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, really did guard my heart and mind in Christ Jesus (Philippians 4:6-7). Up until that point, I was fighting with God, saying, “Okay, I’m here….but Lord, please, not another year of unemployment/retail.” All I can say is that God loves when we surrender to him. He loves it when we are willing to be pliable clay in the potter’s hands (Jeremiah 18:6).
What’s crazy to me is that I have known that God wants me to surrender my life to him. Most people know that, which is why they reject him! Christians sing about, “I surrender all…” in church on Sundays all the time!
The truth of the matter is, saying you surrender, wanting to surrender, and actually surrendering are totally different things!
What Did It Take For Me to Finally Surrender to God?
The last two years of working retail have been a constant battle with God. Even though I tried to be content with my situation, I wasn’t! I was obedient to God and faithful to show up to work each day, but man, were there days of grumbling?! Seriously, I would ask myself, “How can I sing It is Well with My Soul, when clearly, it isn’t?!
But finally, after this prayer in my car, I FINALLY had peace. I finally experienced CONTENTMENT with where God had me.
The crazy part to me is…what did it take to get me there? What did it take for me to get to a place of surrender to God and to give up control? What did it take for me to finally be content? It took getting pregnant and the idea of having a child to finally get me to a place of real humility and submission to God.
God Knows How to Conform Me to His Image
This just blows my mind! God knows exactly what needs to happen in my life to conform me to his image. For years he allowed me to experience hardship through unemployment and infertility because he wanted me to submit to him, entrust my life to him, trust he would provide, not rely on my own resources, strength or skill, but despite all the efforts, I wouldn’t budge. But then, BAM! He gave me a baby and all my resolve came crashing down!
And he loves that! He loves that because now he has me right where he wants me, like clay in the potter’s hands. Now, the real work can begin. God can mold me into whatever he wants. He can use my life for his purposes because I am finally willing to bend. AND, I get to reap the benefits of submitting to him. I get to experience peace and contentment that can only come from God! Not because of anything I’ve done, but because finally, I have the eyes to see what God has been doing all along.
What a Miracle Looks Like in This Day and Age
In that moment, nothing about my circumstances changed. At that point, I wasn’t even sure if I was pregnant. It’s not as though suddenly I got a raise. Nothing in my circumstances changed that would lead me to feel peace and contentment. But God used the thought of pregnancy and a future child to reveal to me my lack of faith, and then reminded me of what he has been doing since the beginning – providing for me. That truth convicted me and changed my heart to finally submit this area of my life to him and in turn, he gave me peace and contentment. That in it self is a miracle! Because how can someone experience peace and contentment? I have been praying for that for the last two years and still didn’t have it! It’s not something I can convince myself to do, like “Hey Melissa! Have some peace, be content with where you are!” No matter how many pep talks I gave myself, nothing could change the condition of my dissatisfied heart. But Jesus says,
“Peace I leave with you; my peace I give you. I do not give to you as the world gives.” – John 14:27, NIV
That peace that transcends all understanding, it can only come from Jesus. Who can turn a heart of stone into a heart of flesh?!
“I will remove the heart of stone from their flesh and give them a heart of flesh.” – Ezekiel 11:20, ESV
Only God. Only God can give real soul-satisfying peace. Only God can change a heart of stone into a heart of flesh. All I can say is amen and amen!
Thank God, for his mercies that are new every morning! Great is his faithfulness (Lamentations 3:22-23)! How has God been faithful to you? Leave a comment below! Or, tell me your first reaction to your pregnancy!
Love and peace,