Heads and Hands Down
Aletheia (Truth) And Zoe(Life) come by Grace.
Today we had a regular visit to the doctors at 31 weeks and to my very pleasant surprise, Zoe was engaged and head down! What I had thought was her head on the right side of my belly was actually her butt! The feeling of elation and hope was certainly undeniable as I walked out of that office just in awe upon reflecting on How different this pregnancy was.
When pregnant with Aletheia, I was reading a book titled and really “believing” for a supernatural childbirth. One that was natural, fast and pain-free. The book led me to “believe” that I had to have faith and if only I had enough “faith” to believe that I was free from the curse of a sorrowful pregnancy, that all of the above would happen.
Well, every night I listened to the testimonies in the audiobook. I meditated on the truths. I was so set on what giving birth to Aletheia would look like because I felt like I “had faith”.
But by week 39( after previous low amniotic fluid scares and hospital check ins), we were still in the face of that dangerously low level, and a breached baby that never once turned head down. I also never had any contractions or “practice contractions”/Braxton Hicks.
And so, a C session had to follow and the next few months was one of deepest valleys of disappointment with God that I would have gone through that I could not be more thankful for on hindsight.
The disappointment was so real and raw because I had a big expectation. I had thought that if I had enough “faith” that whatever I prayed for would come to pass. I questioned my “faith “(did I not have enough?), the point of prayer and the whole works of the “word of faith” movement. I stopped praying the “do this for me God” prayers and was stripped down to just “thank yous” because the one thing that I was still certain of was that God was still good and is always.
I remembered that In one of the times of crying out to him and asking him why, I “saw” an image of myself pushing a lawn mower – thinking that I was cutting the grass- and then seeing the bigger picture, that God my father was the one behind me, holding onto my hands. And another one of me on the swing – and him pushing me and giving me that momentum.
I felt him say that it was all by his grace. EVERYTHING was by his grace and in his grace. That even “faith” is by grace. What I had thought was “faith” was really “works” in my case because I had tried to work it up- striving to cheerlead myself into believing something instead of simply resting and trusting.
In my journey since then, I have come to really camp on the story and “faith” of these boys in the fire. The “I know he can, but even if he doesn’t….I will still trust him and not bow down to my idols of how things and situations and prayers should look like and pan out because I am NOT God.
“If we are thrown into the blazing furnace, the God we serve is able to deliver us from it, and he will deliver us from Your Majesty’s hand. But even if he does not, we want you to know, Your Majesty, that we will not serve your gods or worship the image of gold you have set up.””
Daniel 3:17-18 NIV
God is good. He is SO Good. I don’t know how to explain how good that C section was for me. I personally appreciate that valley because I never knew how painful disappointment with God looked like till then and would have been so arrogant in my “faith” if it had truly gone my way. I would not have had compassion and seen how the 1001 ways every mother’s birthing story is STILL a miracle and STILL God. I would not have been able to appreciate the science behind medication and doctors and the gifts and grace and hand of God and how he works through people and surgery, and even C sections to deliver babies and would just be so focused on my “one supernatural way”.
I think to myself at how I would have just felt that I had enough faith and that everyone else who did not have a pain-free and easy natural birth as not “believing” enough and shudder. I could have become very arrogant in my “faith” and my “faith” could have become the very self-effort worked up self-righteous pride like one of the Pharisees- Holier than thou.
And this verse comes alive for me – “For it is by grace you have been saved, through faith—and this is not from yourselves, it is the gift of God— not by works, so that no one can boast.”
Ephesians 2:8-9 NIV
And that EVERYTHING is GIVEN by grace because it is a gift. Even FAITH. (1 Corinthians 12:7-11)
Today I left the doctors office not with another self worked up prayer of faith for a natural delivery – but just a heart of wonder and thankfulness and trust.
Through this journey, through conceiving
Zoe right when I stopped “trying” and through everything else that happened when I truly started “trusting” God… I just can’t help but trust him again. He is so so good.
How different this pregnancy has been. 2 weeks ago I felt like what has been described as Braxton Hicks. Practice contractions. Something I had never felt with Aletheia. The doctor said that usually babies would turn head down around week 30. At week 31 Zoe is head down. I couldn’t help but wonder – would I really be experiencing a natural delivery this time? I know it’s possible – but I reminded myself that no matter what happens – God is still good. If Zoe comes through another C section, still my heart will praise him.
How often I had tried to play God. Was I letting God BE God by trusting in him? Too often in my life I was always trying to think of the best solutions, figure out the end goals and then muster up and work out the “faith” to believe God for my wish list to come true.
Through this journey I have been learning that he knows better. I can’t and will never be able to think and know things like God will. His thoughts and ways are not like mine (Isaiah 55:8) and how he can plan and Pan things out will always be beyond me. He’s after my heart and my trust in him much more than me getting what I want exactly the way I want it.
And how can I should I be disappointed when my wish list doesn’t get approved when I now understand and see how EVERYTHING works out for my good? (Romans 8:28)
If you are reading this and are going through a disappointment and a valley – wondering why God did not answer your prayer- I just want to encourage you my friend to simply trust. Not work up a self effort type of cheerleading faith but to have a quiet in-your-heart type of child like trust that you have a good good father who loves you so much and wants the best for you. He wants above all that we would let him be a father to us and that we would have faith(A.K.A trust) him for whoever comes to him must trust that he exists and that he is real -that he cares and that he loves and that he CAN be trusted. (Hebrews 11:5-6)
My friend, I’m trusting that as I open a part of my heart and story to you today, that your heart would be so filled with a different kind of expectancy the world tells you to have – one that knows that you are loved and have a loving father. May you encounter that loving truth and presence right now wherever you are and may the peace that can only come through that love from one who IS love, protect your heart and mind and surround you so warmly.
“It’s impossible to please God apart from faith. And why? Because anyone who wants to approach God must believe both that he exists and that he cares enough to respond to those who seek him.”
Hebrews 11:5-6 MSG
“Now to each one the manifestation of the Spirit is given for the common good. To one there is given through the Spirit a message of wisdom, to another a message of knowledge by means of the same Spirit, to another faith by the same Spirit, to another gifts of healing by that one Spirit, to another miraculous powers, to another prophecy, to another distinguishing between spirits, to another speaking in different kinds of tongues, and to still another the interpretation of tongues. All these are the work of one and the same Spirit, and he distributes them to each one, just as he determines.”
1 Corinthians 12:7-11 NIV
““I don’t think the way you think. The way you work isn’t the way I work.” GOD ’s Decree. “For as the sky soars high above earth, so the way I work surpasses the way you work, and the way I think is beyond the way you think. Just as rain and snow descend from the skies and don’t go back until they’ve watered the earth, Doing their work of making things grow and blossom, producing seed for farmers and food for the hungry, So will the words that come out of my mouth not come back empty-handed. They’ll do the work I sent them to do, they’ll complete the assignment I gave them.”
Isaiah 55:8-11 MSG