On Saturday evening, my friend and I stood frozen at my front door, staring out, considering. The rain outside was torrential, enough to soak us on the run from the door to the car. We decided that we would try to make it to Cincinnati, and at any point we needed to pull over or turn around we could. Mom, if you are reading this, you can skip the next paragraph.
The drive was unnerving. We couldn't see in front of us most of the trip with the windshield wipers on the highest setting. We watched lighting flash and the hazard lights blink warning from every car in sight. We chatted in tranquil tones, as if our demeanor would soothe the mood outside. But the calm pretense gave way to praying out loud halfway down the highway. The radar was red behind us and before us. No means of escape backwards or forwards.
An hour and fifteen minutes later, our car pulled into Fountain Square parking garage. We ate fish tacos and drank coffee with the gal pal we were visiting, making relieved jokes about the Flood of 2016. We genuinely thanked God we were alive and well.
I've been going through the book Seamless, which provides an overview of the Bible. I learned that 40 is a number signifying testing often throughout the Bible. The Israelites wandered in the wilderness 40 years, Jesus was tested 40 days, etc. I'm seeing a slight connection to my own life. Here is where my newly poisoned Sesame Street brain takes over. This pregnancy is brought to you by the number 40! 40 weeks of testing, 40 weeks of learning and leaning, 40 weeks of growth and sacrifice, 40 weeks of wonder and awe.
At last week's doctor's appointment, I was showing some signs of pre-term labor, which is confusing as Titus was 10 days overdue. At 33 weeks, I thought I had at least 7 more weeks to go, maybe even 8! They upped my appointments to weekly, told me to drink a lot of water, 10 cups a day to be exact, and to try and take it easy. I laughed a little. Yeah right. And then I panicked. Texted my friends. I was overwhelmed. The weekend ahead was so jam packed with plans of physical service. Hosting house church. Cleaning up our neighborhood. Watching a friend's kids. Chasing toddlers at church. Not to mention the piles of laundry, empty fridge, and weeds upon weeds in my front yard.
In the book of Joshua, the Israelites set up all kinds of stone monuments to remember who God is and what He has done so that they wouldn't forget Him. In that moment, in the doctor's office, I forgot who God is. I forgot what He has done. As I was forcing myself to lay down at home, I read a chapter in None Like Him about God being eternal, outside of time. Some of the verses to meditate upon were Psalm 90:12 "So teach us to number our days, that we may gain a heart of wisdom" and Matthew 6:34, "Therefore do not worry about tomorrow, for tomorrow will worry about itself. Each day has enough trouble of its own."
I know so many women who are in scary places, waiting for positive pregnancy tests, grieving losses through miscarriage, stepping bravely through difficult pregnancies, thanking God for each day of life within them. Each day is so precious with Matthias within me. Each day is a gift, each week a sigh of relief that he is one week bigger, one week stronger. And hopefully, we will make it to the gift of 40 weeks.
Conviction. Prayer. And change. When I plopped jelly fish style out of bed that day, I *mostly* stopped worrying about what all I had to do. I remembered how God had brought me through every single day of the past 33 weeks. I tried to be present, listen to my body, and trust that God would somehow make it happen, through me or through someone else. And as I look back on this weekend, I can say, God has done it. He allowed me to serve in ways that were gentle on my body, provided the help I needed to do so, and gave me the wisdom to say "enough" when I needed to rest. A sister of mine who struggles with chronic pain once told me, "Even if I'm in bed all day, and all I can do is worship God, that is the best use of this body and my time in that exact moment." She melted me. What a beautiful testimony. What powerful work God is doing through her to minister to me.
Like the storm, I felt like God was saying try and trust. At each mile marker this weekend, I prayed and gave thanks. Because God doesn't need me, and yet He graciously uses me anyway. I wasn't moving this weekend, but God through me. This vehicle carrying me and my son is weary, and there always seem to be storms beating against us, but God never tires and He doesn't blink at the lightning or thunder.
As I carry Matthias, as I carry Titus, as I carry my church's toddlers, as I carry branches, as I carry laundry, I know He carries me. This blog post is my rock alter to remember and to worship.
Are you in a testing period of your life? Are you physically or mentally in bed? Worship Him. Whatever He calls you to, don't worry about the hairy details. Try and trust. Allow him to carry you. Then build an alter. Share your story.