On preparing to be a parent [and the things we just can’t prepare for]

I am less than 3 weeks away from our due date. This amount of time feels both super close and terribly far away. Both exciting and terrifying.

Baby bird [who is a boy–for those of you who only follow the blog] is kicking and moving and our midwife keeps calling him a little peanut because she’s estimating him to be on the smaller side. All of the big things are done [thanks to my very motivated and proactive husband]. The car seat bases have been installed, the crib has been put together, and the hospital bags have been packed. There’s a stack of random things I’m supposed to organize and unpack….but let’s be honest…I have reached the point where I just want to get real food on the table and then crawl in to bed.

What I have learned about myself these last nine months though is that I like to be prepared. I have read every review of nearly every baby item of nearly every category imaginable. I have read books on labor. I have read books on breastfeeding. I have googled more than is healthy for the average human being. I like to know what’s going to happen.

A few days ago, I thought I was having labor contractions. I got off of work, waddled out to my car in a cold sweat, and cried a few tears as I drove the curvy, up-hill road towards our home. To someone who has had a baby before, it’s probably pretty easy to distinguish between false and true contractions. But to a first time momma, the very common Braxton Hicks contractions can send you in to a spiral of wondering if that moment is the beginning of a very big change in your life. Eventually, they stopped. But what I realized is that no amount of reading can prepare me for what real labor will feel like.

No amount of preparation can truly prepare you for for certain events in your life. No amount of marriage books can prepare you for that first big disagreement. No amount of college classes can prepare you for that first real job. No amount of blogs on birth or parenting advice can prepare you to bring a child in to the world (and then raise it!)

And no amount of human planning can prepare you for God’s call or His plans. 

I was sitting on a bed in India in 2013 when I heard the whisper in my spirit. The stagnant air hung heavy near my skin, perpetually damp from the post monsoon rains. In the distance, I could almost hear the nearby crashing waves of the Arabian Sea. I had been pleading with The Lord, asking him to relay His ultimate life plan to me. Will I be called to India? Will I get married? Will I go back to Nashville? 

And clear as day, I heard Him say, “Audrey, you can’t plan for my call.”

This phrase has stuck with me for six years and in those moments of wondering and doubting and trying to prepare for the future, I’ve heard that same gentle voice whisper it again and again.

I can’t plan for His call. Could Mary have predicted she would be chosen to carry God’s son in her womb? To give birth in a stable? Could God’s people have prepared for the gentle, miracle working Son of God to ride in on a donkey? He was not the king they expected. What about Moses? He had no way of knowing that one day he would meet God in a burning bush and that for the rest of his days he would lead God’s people through the wilderness.

His call often comes when we least expect it. And often, it looks so very different than what we expect. 

I never thought I’d return from my time in India and meet a boy and fall in love and date long distance for three years. We lived in the same place for four months of those three years. But I knew God was inviting me in to the call of being his wife. I couldn’t have planned, as an english major, for the call to serve as a kids minister during that time. And I certainly couldn’t have planned for His call to pack up our cars and move to Boone, North Carolina the day after we got back from our honeymoon.

And here I am, 1.5 years in to marriage, stepping in to the calling of motherhood. A fervent prayer answered–but much sooner than we would have thought or planned.

We can’t plan for His call. Like true labor pains, it will happen in timing we cannot predict or control. And sometimes, it might be hard. There might be road bumps. But when it happens, it will be good. Because He is good. 

There is really only one thing we can truly do to prepare. We can prepare our hearts to be open and willing to accept what He sets before us–to say “yes.” when the time comes– to whatever it is He has for us.

So, we say, “Lord–I’m ready and open for whatever you have next.”

And I say, “baby bird, come when you are ready–we are ready to meet you.”

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2 Replies to “On preparing to be a parent [and the things we just can’t prepare for]”

  1. Beautifully written, Audrey! Yes, it is so true that His plan happens in His time. Not always easy to understand, but best if we take the time to reflect and trust in His plan for our lives.

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