Monday, December 8, 2008

Meditations: God in the Less-Than-Ideal

Well, we're now at 9 months. Baby could make her appearance anytime in the next two to six weeks. We've gained 30 pounds and I'm starting to feel crowded. Any action that has to do with bending (picking something off the floor, plugging things in, using a dustpan, unloading the dryer) has suddenly become a major project! Sunday morning found me singing and, for the first time, short of breath.

While my to do list is getting shorter, my prayer list is getting longer. "Please Lord, keep us safe from any complications or emergencies. Let the baby stay in the right position. Please give me energy and the ability to relax and handle things well. Help Kyle to know how to help me. And please (as I picture our car creeping towards the hospital at 10 miles per hour) don't let the baby come in an ice storm!"

In short, after a remarkably easy pregnancy, I'd like the ideal birthing experience! I don't ask for much, do I?


With my friend's son William

This Christmas season, I've been thinking a lot about Mary. You're surprised, I know. ;-) But as another first time mother facing the same wondering and uncertainty, I've been thinking more about her than anyone else. Certainly, if anyone would be guaranteed the ideal birth experience, you would think it would be Mary. Talk about being "in" with the right people! It would be no problem for the God who created the universe to arrange for a nice, easy delivery experience.

Besides, Mary had earned it. The Bible doesn't say what her pregnancy was like physically, but emotionally it had to be a roller coaster. By agreeing to God's plan, she gave up her own reputation (Immaculate conception? Come on Mary, that is really lame!), endangered her marriage prospects, disgraced her future husband and shamed her family. Surely it wouldn't be too much to ask for a nice delivery in the comforts of home, with the help of her mom or the village midwife, with plenty of time to clean and plan and settle in.

As we all know, it didn't happen that way. Instead, she got a long, difficult journey and a last minute delivery in a barn, surrounded by complete strangers, except for the husband that she hadn't even known physically yet. That doesn't sound like much fun to me, and I'm sure it wasn't what Mary had in mind either.



But aside from fulfilling prophesy, look what that birth experience said about God! It clearly demonstrated His humility, His love, and the great lengths that He would go to make himself accessible to lost, rebellious people. Look at it from the shepherd's view. As social outcasts (like homeless people nowadays), they would never have been comfortable visiting the Messiah in a palace, or even a fine house. But it's hard to be intimidated by a barn. The birth in the stable loudly proclaimed that God's love would stoop as low as our need required.

So, while I'd still like for everything to go smoothly, I'm reminded (once again) that my life is not about my plans, my comfort or my desires. Those less-than-ideal things in our lives may be to bring us closer to God, to open a door for ministry to others, to prepare us for His future plans, or simply to bring Him more glory. It may not even be about us at all, but part of a bigger picture of what God is doing and saying to His lost creation. So Lord, while my requests still stand, if you want to do something else for Your glory and my ultimate good, You may.

Let's just hope I can remember that if I'm stuck in a difficult labor!

5 comments:

George and Krista said...

Gretchen,

We'll be praying that all goes smoothly for you and the baby. Looking forward to meeting her! I also thought a lot about Mary during my pregnancy and since becoming a mother...especially the verse where it says that "Mary kept all these things and pondered them in her heart." It is so incredible to hold your own little one in your arms and to think that God created him/her and gave her to you to raise up. I had a hard time getting my mind around that concept and still do sometimes, but to think that Mary was holding her Creator and Redeemer, the Son of God?? That would be hard to fathom.

~Justin&Meg~ said...

Yes, I've been thinking about you. Amazing how cramped it becomes those last 6 weeks or so. I was way more comfortable (if that's possible) after my babies dropped. And yes, that's amazing how preoccupied one's thoughts become as you draw near to d-day! Seems like everyone has a horror or un-realistic perfect birth story. You'll have your own story pretty soon. It's good to keep an open mind, and make decisions as they arise. It's one thing in life that ya can't really plan how it will go. I prayed about everything, including the delivery details, as well as me and the baby...the Lord undertakes and gives grace in amazing ways! Better go tend to this little guy who really needs some Cheerios and milk. :) Have a great weekend! (And you can call anytime of day or night...it's payback time now. We've awakened Kyle at all hrs of the night/morning to tell him we were on our way to the hospital:) Hang in there! She'll be here before you know it!!

agingrich said...

On a more humorous note, I remember thinking at about week 36 that I could really relate when it said Mary was great with child ;)

TulipGirl said...

As you are waiting, praying, meditating, nesting. . . We are praying for you.

Here are some verses to reflect upon during pregnancy, and some good birth comfort ideas.

Anonymous said...

What a beautiful entry! The Christmas story is amazing! The movie The Nativity Story that came out a couple years ago does a great job making one think about more of the details for that time. It made the story come more to life for me.

Take comfort as you near your delivery that many are praying =)

Merry Christmas!
Katie W.