I am writing this piece aware of the fact that motherhood—namely pregnancy—can be a sensitive issue in the lives of women. I am overjoyed for all of the women who have carried, borne, and raised children to the very best of their abilities—often counting on God to make a way out of no way. (Admittedly, I did raise my eyebrow when I heard that reality television star Michelle Duggar was expecting her 20th child.) My heart is grieved for all of those women who are unable to bear children, those who have suffered miscarriage, those who have been forced to have abortions, and those who have delivered stillborn babies—sometimes haunted by memories while relying on God’s strength and comfort to move forward. I also stand in solidarity with those women who have chosen to adopt and those who have made the decision not to have children—recognizing that there is virtue and purpose in the lives of women that stretches beyond our capability to bear children and our status as somebody’s momma. And yet, today I am writing in my current state of gestation; For in all of our experiences there are joys to be celebrated, trials to to be endured, and lessons to be learned.
I am settling into my second trimester, praise be to God! I must admit, my first trimester experience was less than desirable: my energy level plummeted leaving me unable to manage tasks that I had once breezed through; I was placed on bed rest for a short time confining me to the four walls of our bedroom which seemed to close in tighter and tighter as the days passed; I had been unable to keep any food down for eight weeks which is quite difficult for a woman, like me, who enjoys food; and my words dried up—at times I found it laborious to talk on the telephone, to write anything, and even to pray. I thought pregnancy was all about the glow, and yet all I felt was ashy and dull. I share this not to evoke sympathy, but so that you can understand how the power of God moved in my situation.
In all of this, it was God’s presence and the truth of His Word that carried me through. The rubber of my faith hit the road of my life when I had to remind myself that as a daughter of God, I am called to bless the Lord at all times—and that ALL is neither conditional nor situational. As I laid in bed, I was almost forced to learn how to be still and know that He is God. Time and time again, as I journeyed to the porcelain throne, I remembered that all things work together for good to those who love God and are called according to His purpose. But the greatest lesson that I learned was one that God started teaching me in March of 2008.
One afternoon I was sitting in Seminary Hall at Drew University reading Scripture. I was arrested by the words of the prophet Isaiah:
“Before she was in labor, she gave birth; Before her pain came, She delivered a male child. Who has heard such a thing? Who has seen such things? Shall the earth be made to give birth in one day? Or shall a nation be born at once? For as soon as Zion was in labor, She gave birth to her children. Shall I bring to the time of birth, and not cause delivery?” says the LORD. “ Shall I who cause delivery shut up the womb?” says your God. “ Rejoice with Jerusalem, And be glad with her, all you who love her; Rejoice for joy with her, all you who mourn for her; That you may feed and be satisfied With the consolation of her bosom, That you may drink deeply and be delighted With the abundance of her glory.” (66:7-13 NKJV)
In the margin of my Bible, next to this passage, I wrote the words: WAIT UNIL GOD DELIVERS. So often, especially in our instant-messaging society, we want things to happen instantly. We have dreams and visions, but grow impatient as we wait for them to come to pass. Waiting becomes more difficult when trials and tribulations, hardships and obstacles manifest themselves. However, in the Word we are repeatedly admonished to wait on God. It is in the waiting that we can find courage within that we were previously unaware of. It is in the waiting that God strengthens our hearts. It is in the waiting that God renews our strength to persevere. It is in the waiting that God works a miracle that is for an appointed time and purpose. You see, if I had my way, as soon as the despair of bed rest and the fatigue from vomiting set in, I would have opted to have the baby right then. (To think, we haven’t even started with kicks and stretch marks!) Ladies, as you know, having the child then would have been dangerous. More than wanting to feel well, I desired a healthy and fully-developed baby. This child in my womb would not have been fully developed after just two months. Even as I type this, major organs are maturing and will continue to mature for an additional six months. The normal gestation period is between 37 and 42 weeks. It takes that long for all of the organs and systems to form so that the child can sustain life outside of the womb. As much as I wanted the discomfort to be over, to do so would have been to put our child at risk. And this isn’t merely about discomfort. I’m sure that down the road, round about my eighth month, the desire to meet our child and to hold her or him in my arms will be so strong that I’ll be anxious to give birth. But even then, it will be imperative to wait until the natural time of delivery.
In this experience, and through His word, God is showing me that our waiting, and even our travail, serves a purpose. I now recognize why it is important to wait for God to deliver. Many of us have had had visions of ministry conceived in our hearts and have attempted to give birth before experiencing labor. Many of us have had dreams of career and/or academic advancement and have moved forward to delivery out of season out of sheer excitement. Many of us have had dreams of getting married and/or starting families and have taken matters into our own hands when God seems to be taking too long. As a result, we have given birth to underdeveloped ministry and premature dreams and we wonder why things aren’t working out as God had revealed to us. Worse yet, many of us have grown impatient with waiting and have aborted our dreams. We have given up and are now living with the ghosts of what could have been.
My dear sisters, whatever vision God has placed in your heart, whatever dream God has deposited in your mind, whatever aspiration God has breathed into your soul, I encourage you to wait for it—even through pain, disappointment, travail, and difficulty. I am assured that in due time, in God’s time, that God will birth it into existence. And just as my husband and I wait for the arrival of our bundle of joy, I am confidently waiting for God to birth every dream and vision that He has placed in my heart.