thirty-four

Turning another year older barely scratched the surface of my mind this week. After spending two days in the hospital because of the early signs of preterm labor, and just being released yesterday, I was more elated that I would not be spending a birthday at the NICU with my child.

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I lay in bed, the early signs of morning peeked through my blinds as baby stretched inside, the best birthday present i could’ve received so far. Keith was already up, getting ready for work, the sound of rustling paper clueing me into the fact that he was probably in the dining room wrapping my gift. God, i am such a blessed woman, i thought to myself.

As i sit here trying to wrangle in the last thirty-four years of my life into a single thought, I am grateful for my journey’s complexity. I have always desired wisdom. I prayed for it at seven after I heard the story of King Solomon asking for it. I truly believe God honored that request because over the years of success and failures, I have often been told by young and old that I am wise beyond my years and I am deeply humbled that God blessed me in this manner. The year preceding my thirty-fourth birthday has taught me one valuable lesson--uncertainty is inevitable.

Resting in the Uncharted Territory

I remember when Isaac was born and Nanna called to tell me that everything was going to be okay and that Isaac would be fine. You’ve been a good Christian girl all of your life and followed the Lord, she said.

I cringed in silence at her words.

There was something so formulaic about that statement. If all things are good, I am right with the Lord. If all things are not so good, then I immediately must “figure out” what the root of my suffering is. I knew God wasn’t one-dimensional or severely conditional. He made the sun to shine and rain to fall on the unrighteous along with the righteous (Matt 5:45). But when Isaac died after weeks of petitioning to God for a miracle, I realized how deeply rooted I unconsciously was in the “prosperity gospel” understanding of God.

I didn’t have him all or even mostly figured out. His unknowings actually unsettled me. It nearly broke me to suddenly feel so distant from God, and I thought for sure that I would receive further punishment for entering a season of darkness and stillness. I knew the landscape of God’s obscurity existed, but to go and abide inside of His unknown parts without ever having them revealed to me, terrified me.

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I am not sure when the transition actually began--somewhere in between Isaac’s passing and our failed attempts to try to conceive again--but I found myself wading out into uncharted waters. I thought that the lack of control and foresight would consume me and wash me away, but I found myself tethered. Tethered to the parts of God I had come to know and trust. His grace, His faithfulness, comfort, and peace. I slowly relinquished control in those tumultuous moments, letting my spirit sink into His deepness. I began to let go of my need to know when, where, and how.

I am still a planner. Still a “figure it out” person, but my hope is that this year I’ll continue to loosen my grasp and find peace in the unknown.