Note: If you are a mother who struggles with fear, please know that these thoughts are intended to encourage you, not condemn you! May you find powerful support and uplifting in His family.
Just three months after I miscarried my first pregnancy, I discovered that I was pregnant a second time. Two emotions hit me at the same time: joy and fear. Joy, because we were ready to start a family. Fear, because I did not want to miscarry again.
Whereas I had wanted to shout the first pregnancy from the rooftops, I suddenly wanted to hide this new pregnancy. I told a few close friends and family at first, but that magical 12-week marker loomed in my vision. I knew the statistics. After twelve weeks, the risk of miscarriage decreased dramatically. It would be "safe" to tell people I was pregnant.
But when I hit the twelve-week mark, there was no neon sign that told me everything would be okay. In fact, as I perused the motherhood forums and blogs, I saw situations that would make any mother's heart fearful.
Miscarriage at sixteen weeks.
The water breaking at twenty-four weeks.
Stillbirth delivery for no known reason.
Infant death at three months due to obstructed airway.
Clearly, twelve weeks was not a guarantee of my baby's safety. But when was it safe for me to relax and just enjoy being a mother?
Now was the time to enjoy being a mother.
Now, as this fragile life developed week by week and began to kick me in the side and make his or her presence known in my quiet moments.
The Lord has always been my Protector, and often the enemy that He defends me from most powerfully is my own fear. So when my heart began to trail toward anxiety, the Lord pulled me back.
If I could not deliver my child into His protection and plan now, then when was a better time? I could lose this baby at any time during the pregnancy or after birth. Children have gone to Heaven before birth, at 3 months, three years, thirteen years... There are no guarantees.
But in the midst of the uncertainty stands the guarantee that the Lord has special regard for the life made in His image.
For you formed my inward parts;
For as long as I am a mother to a living child, I will love, care, and pray for the little one entrusted into my care.
It really is this simple. Ultimately, I cannot protect my own life, my husband's life, or my child's. But I can entrust all of these lives that I love into the care of the one who pours purpose into every moment.
Instead of worrying that I might not carry to term, I thank God for every day that I can feel my baby kick me and lean into the peace of the moment.
Instead of worrying that I might not be a good mother, I thank God for the ways He will grant me wisdom and strength sufficient for each day.
Instead of wondering if my child will escape the many spiritual and physical perils of the world, I will bring him or her each day to Christ, in honest conversation about the things of God and in fervent prayer.
As my children grow, they will see a mother who brings her fears to the Lord, to exchange them for faith in His care.
In this balance of responsibility and trust, I dedicate my children--past, present, and future--to the personal, intimate care of our watchful heavenly Father, just as Hannah--a woman so long ago--dedicated her son Samuel to the service of the Lord.
Bless these babies, Lord. They're not mine. They're yours. For as long as You have them on this earth, may I love them truly and trust You without reservation.
For this child I prayed, and the Lord has granted me my petition that I made to him. Therefore I have lent him to the Lord. As long as he lives, he is lent to the Lord.
None of my life has gone the way it was "supposed to go," but I don't love my life any less because of the hardships and new directions. I see so much unexpected good in it, and I want others to see the good in theirs.