I don’t remember the day I found out I was pregnant for the 3rd time. It’s a blurred memory that happened either before Elijah turned 1 or right after. All I remember for sure is that I was upset.
Timing was way off. I felt like I was coming up for a much needed breathe from my other two that happen to be 14 months apart. My dependence on the Fathers grace had turned into me being self sufficient. I had the “oh my babies are just over a year apart” game down. I was sleeping during the night and life felt a little more bearable.
Conception took place on a Louisiana getaway. We were visiting a retreat site with a Christian marriage counselor. (An amazing one by the way) He had just helped us take out all the “junk from our closet.” I was feeling healthier that my dysfunction was now in eyes view. Marriage felt very shaky. But the plan was to “work” on it as the Lord lead that coming year. The plan however was not to throw another pregnancy/baby in the mix.
I felt immediately disappointed. I felt greedy for myself. I knew this would be a sacrifice. Sacrifice of my body, energy, and time. I wasn’t in the mood to sacrifice more of myself. I had done that enough. I felt mad at God. Like he had it in for me. I thought, “Why does he always have it in for me.” And the wave of guilt and shame for all those emotions felt big.
I knew he was calling me. Beckoning me to enter into this story. His story. This pregnancy felt so much bigger then a new physical life. It felt like new spiritual life was stirring in me. Life that required continuous brokenness. A bending. Going low. Desperate dependence. Sort of new birth.
I was probably sicker with this pregnancy then with the other two. There were no short cuts with this one. I was being asked to go the long way around. My husband would go on to quit a job that was given to him from someone in our faith community. It would affect people we loved and admired. He would be without a job for two months. One of our cars would break. We would be given money and groceries and another car that would fit our soon to be 3 children. I would go onto to sell our furniture in our dining room, living room and bedroom. Instead of a baby shower with gifts, I was given a decorated room that reminded me of what friendship means.
I labored in that bedroom. I didn’t make much noise and labor progressed very quickly. My spirit had become accustomed to the call for surrender. I had been practicing surrender for 9 months. This “giving away” of myself would result in a new life that I yearned to see.
She was a day old when we named her. We would call her Willow Grace. Named after the tree that “takes root very readily from cuttings or where broken branches lie on the ground.” We were setting up a sort of monument in her name. I place to continuously remember His goodness in the midst of brokenness. Her life would bring the fruit of joy and promise.
As I look back on her first year I can’t help but well up with joy. He has continued the story of dependence and brokenness. But all along the way joy and grace have been experienced by her presence. She is a feisty girl. Full of life I couldn’t even begin to imagine the day I found out I was pregnant. She walks around with her little legs and raises her hands for spontaneous worship. A “praise break” as we like to call it. Causing all of us to lift our hands in worship to our Creator.
My prayer for Willow Grace is that she would experience the same brokenness and dependence that was given in her pregnancy, labor and first year. And in those places she come face to face with her Creator. I pray she would bring joy and grace and strength to the broken places on this earth.
“I touched my weakness, my humanity, my limitations. In touch with my neediness, I came face to face with my dependence on God-not only for my future but for my next breath. In this posture of owning our weakness, we’re transformed. For that’s how the soul is born and reborn: as we quit servicing the ego and acknowledge our weakness. Strength in weakness is the paradox of the cocoon.” Sue Monk Kidd