It’s already that time!
And I don’t just mean the festivities; the Christmas carols, the mountain loads of decorations in the shopping centres, and the frantic run-around retrieving presents for family and friends.
I mean the last month of pregnancy – yay!
… Well, the last 4-6 weeks… but I’m still counting it as a month.
Counting the burdens
I don’t know about you, but I’m very good at counting my burdens. You know, all those disappointments and troubles in life that just happen; big or small. It’s made easier by the fact that I’m experiencing so many unpleasant symptoms all at once, all increasing in intensity at the same rate as this summer heat. From the leg cramps, insomnia, and searing pain in my hips and legs that rule my nights – to the sharp jabs of knees, exhaustion and inability to walk or move without pain that rules my every day. Pregnancy is constant; a 24/7 experience of surprising discomforts and pains, so it is easy to be constantly aware of how uncomfortable I am.
To top this last month off, apparently the earliest we can have our internet connected at our new house is the middle of December – but it probably won’t be that day (it depends on the technician’s other jobs), and could be any working day after that, for 10 business days.
So I’ll be 8 months pregnant, homebound, with no internet, for probably a few weeks – maybe not until Nathan is born. *sigh*
I’m absolutely certain that God is disciplining me exactly the way I need – and really, I did ask for it. Literally. I know that spending time with God in prayer, and growing that discipline in general, is something I’m not very strong in. Give me a bible, and I’ll read it, learn it and teach it easily – those are my gifts. But prayer? That’s still a work in progress, and something I often need to ask God’s help to do.
As things become gradually more uncomfortable and more painful physically, I have noticed myself needing to rely more and more upon God’s grace for contentment. I know I need to pray. I know I can’t have joy and contentment without spending time with Him. But actually desiring to pray is hard – because when I’m genuine and honest with God, I have to acknowledge how vulnerable and weak I am to fulfill my own needs, how incapable I am of being strong on my own, and how much I truly need to depend on Him for everything. I love feeling self-sufficient – and I think if we’re honest, we all do – so when independence or strength or abilities are taken from us, we storm off from God and try things on our own; and fail miserably as a consequence.
Revel in grace
The big issue underlying these feelings is pride: “I want to be self-sufficient, so I’ll only let God help me with the little things, so that I don’t have to acknolwedge how much I need Him.” Oh, what a great deception! How strong we like to think ourselves.
Finding absolute strength and contentment in all things will only come through submitting ourselves to God, drawing near to Him and relying on Him in prayer. James details this perfectly:
“Consider it pure joy, my brothers and sisters, whenever you face trials of many kinds, because you know that the testing of your faith produces perseverance. Let perseverance finish its work so that you may be mature and complete, not lacking anything. If any of you lacks wisdom, you should ask God, who gives generously to all without finding fault, and it will be given to you.” 1:1-5
“But he gives us more grace. That is why Scripture says:
“God opposes the proud
but shows favor to the humble.”
Submit yourselves, then, to God. Resist the devil, and he will flee from you. Come near to God and he will come near to you. Wash your hands, you sinners, and purify your hearts, you double-minded. Grieve, mourn and wail. Change your laughter to mourning and your joy to gloom. Humble yourselves before the Lord, and he will lift you up.” 4:6-10
Becoming content and receiving God’s peace begins with our humility before Him. I encourage you to think about the ways you prefer to rely on your own strength/independence in your every day life, and how you might go about presenting each and every situation to God for total dependence on Him. Relinquish control, draw near to God, and revel in His great grace!