When I asked Martha Kirk to do a couple of guest posts for me, I had no idea that she would ask her daughter-in-law, Hartlee Kirk, to do one of the posts. If you have read Martha’s recent post, you know that she actually wrote about her prayers for Hartlee, even before they knew one another. And today, we have the joy of hearing from Hartlee herself — and how she is continuing another generation of praying for her unborn child.
Grab a cup of coffee. You’re gonna love this.
The nausea was increasing and I had five more miles to go until I reached Cedar Creek, the school where I taught second grade. My foot pressed into the pedal a little harder as my eyes scanned the road for a policeman; my grip on the wheel tightened. As my knuckles were getting sore from clenching, worry and panic propelled my heart to race as I wondered how far I’d make it this time before having to pull over…
From the beginning of motherhood, any misconceptions of its glamour are dispelled within the first trimester. For me this stage was marked with daylong nausea, several weeks of morning and evening sickness, and regular nibbling on crackers. Many women experience worse, while others never have to search their vehicle for a plastic bag. But the fact is this: motherhood begins at pregnancy.
When I first saw the positive pregnancy test before my eyes, both disbelief and joy filled my heart. Then came the fear.
“What if I fail at this?”
At this stage, to me, the ultimate fear of failure I faced was losing the baby growing inside of me. It was my responsibility to nurture it by the food I ate, the caffeine I didn’t drink, the exercising I completed. This was my job as a new mom – to carry the (literal) heavy weight of responsibility that came with childbearing. It’s life depended entirely on mine.
… Or did it?
On my drive to work, I’d start praying for the little life budding in my body.
“Thank You, God, for this life. For entrusting Jordan and I to raise a child to follow Your ways. For the gift of grace, because we certainly fall into sin on a regular basis. Please keep this baby safe and healthy as it continues to grow, now and throughout life…”
As I prayed for the baby’s well-being, worry lingered in the back of my mind as I wondered, “What if something goes wrong?” We had made the decision to share the news of my pregnancy when I was about eight weeks along. Jordan might have burst at the seams of his mouth keeping the secret from spilling out of his lips had we waited another day, but coming to this decision came after hesitation from me. I have friends who have gone through the pain of miscarriage, and the new possibility of personally enduring such a loss was sobering, and to be honest pretty scary. After prayer and conversations with Jordan, deciding to announce before the end of the first trimester (when the risk of miscarriage is highest) put me in a vulnerable place.
Everyone knew… and I enjoyed celebrating this joyful time! But I also felt pressure to make sure everything went perfectly. If anything went wrong, I felt solely responsible since I was the carrier of this life, and everyone now knew it.
But that’s just it – I am the CARRIER. l am not the Creator.
“In His hand is the life of every living thing and the breath of all mankind” Job 12:10.
God gave me this phrase to dwell upon on a morning when my anxiety over this recent responsibility was increasing: “You are the carrier, I am the Creator.” The pressure I’d felt was instantly lifted, and I felt silly for not realizing this truth sooner. But suddenly my perspective changed.
I finally took a minute to “be still, and know that I am God” (Psalm 46:10).
I was not going to start eating all the fried chicken and ice cream I wanted, stop being active, or toss the pre-natal vitamins into the trash and declare “I’m free!” with my feet propped up on the couch. No, I maintain the responsibility to nourish my body and the baby as best I can; that’s my role in this stage of motherhood. I am to be faithful in what He has entrusted to me, but not assume control of the gifts He gives.
He is the Maker, while I am His partner in accomplishing His plan and purpose. To think I’d be capable of doing His job, of carefully knitting a respiratory system and personality and tiny fingerprints together to become a fully functioning human being seems pretty ambitious.
I don’t know if you’re fists are clenched on to the wheel like mine were, trying to control a situation that feels exhausting. Maybe it’s financial insecurity, a relationship that has left you discontent or depleted, a job search, concern for a child, or something completely different… I hope to encourage you through the reminder that God is in control. Sounds simple, I know. But if you’re like me, sometimes pride gets in the way of truth.
“Cast all your anxieties on Him, because He cares for you” (1 Peter 5:7).
God has graciously kept this baby healthy inside of my womb for the past 39 and a half weeks. I’m now more confident of His goodness than ever before as it’s been lavished out on us through this miracle of life being created. I decided to let God work and I’ll be His vessel, being obedient to do my part in nurturing this life to the best of my ability and watching Him do the heavy lifting of life-giving. That way, there is no mistaking who glory should be given to. Praise be to God, from whom all blessings flow!
“Worthy are You, our Lord and God, to receive glory and honor and power, for You created all things, and by your will they existed and were created” (Revelation 4:11).
Carrying a miracle,