Yesterday, it became clear that something I had desperately wanted would, for now, not be. Something for which I kept telling myself not to hope; chances were slim. A dream faded. A desire unfulfilled. A child not conceived.
Instead of my usual pity party, bubble bath and copious amount of chocolate, I went on a run. A seriously-God-what-next? run. I had allowed myself to hope and dream, imagining this new life and it didn’t come to be – again.
Running has a way of helping me put things into perspective. It helps me filter out crap and reorder priorities. I’m not sure why, but I have most of my great thoughts on runs – or in the bathroom.
Here’s what I don’t get – why are desires inside of me that I can’t seem to fulfill? Or as a 5 year-old would say – why can’t I have what I want?! And why, after time, doesn’t the want go away? And if it doesn’t go away, what should I do about it?
I know I have a choice. I can continue the pity party. I can stir up the sadness and envelop myself in it. I can glare at every new mother and curse every Facebook baby update. OR, I can let that stuff go. Again. Like every month.
And now it’s Advent. The season of expectation, hope, and…well, waiting. Waiting for a child to be born. Do you know how much it sucks to find out you’re not pregnant the day before Advent begins? A lot…is the answer.
But something strange occurred during my run. About halfway through, I was on the precarious part of my loop where there’s no sidewalk. A half mile of hugging the shoulder hoping cars see me. It was on this stretch that my mind cleared. Peace settled in. As cars whizzed by, a thought came – You are not alone. You are and will be a mother.
If I wasn’t in the middle of Barnes Road dodging traffic, I woud’ve stopped dead in my tracks. First of all, I’m not alone. People everywhere are dealing with disappointment. Most people have some sort of unfulfilled desire.
And I don’t have to deal with this alone. Suddenly I needed my comfort playlist – You Are Not Alone (MJ), Fix You (Coldplay), Home (Phillip Phillips), Below My Feet (Mumford and Sons).
The second line sounds a bit crystal-ball-tarot-cardish. You are and will be a mother. For me, it wasn’t a prediction – it was perspective. I am a mother already. Not just with my actual son. I was a semi-mother for seven years of teaching elementary school. I am a mother to primary kids at church once a month.
Maybe I won’t be a mother of a baby again. Or a toddler mother. But I’m still a mom. Maybe we won’t have another biological child. Maybe we will. Maybe God will open a door in our hearts for adoption. I don’t know.
I do know that my perspective of motherhood and family can become limited. But families and motherhood aren’t always traditional. My mother and most of my own family are not here with me in Portland. Still, other people have filled those spaces.
Approaching Advent now doesn’t seem so looming. The Israelites longed for a Savior like I long for a baby. But our perspectives are narrow. Am I open enough to perceive family in new ways as they had to be open to accept a baby for a Savior? They wanted a king on a white horse and got a simple servant. Am I willing to broaden my perspective and allow God to help shape me instead of just my own preconceptions?
Am I willing to actively wait? Not just dentist’s-office-read-Time-magazine waiting. Anticipating, even without full knowledge what will develop. More simply – trust.
Do I trust God? Not just in my heart, but with my actions (even when I don’t feel like it). Do I trust that He will shape all things for good? Do I trust that it might look differently that I originally planned?
My Advent prayer – God, you came unexpectedly. You come and will come unexpectedly. Teach me to trust You, even when it seems hopeless. Help me see Your work outside of my preconceived plans. Cleanse and shape me to be more like You.
P.S. Confession – Last night I did have a double tall cappuccino and Ghiradelli’s finest…and the bubble bath. So, that happened. Sometimes it just needs to happen.