Five Minute Friday: Gift

I got my pastoral license in the mail last weekend. Staring at the official seal, and my name under the words “License to Preach,” I felt overwhelmed and unprepared. As I thought about Lisa-Jo’s prompt for today’s Five Minute Friday, the verse about children being a gift from the Lord cycled on repeat through my mind.

Can I be honest and admit that sometimes I forget my kids are a gift? When “mom, mom, mom” rings in my ears, my car is carpeted in goldfish crackers one day after I vacuum it, and “please just let me have one moment’s peace!” The constant need terrifies me, because I am human and I lose patience and fall short.

And now, I am a licensed minister, with an appointment in my church to oversee the spiritual formation of other people’s children and to build community. That’s a lot more need. This place I’m in is one I’ve worked towards for decades, and it truly is a gift! God dropped it in my lap and it’s the perfect type of gift: one you’re not asking for, but that so accurately meets your needs. Yet even here, I can forget for a moment what a precious thing I’ve been given.

That’s what came out of my mind today…

GO

There’s something about motherhood that triggers so many spiritual lessons in me. I think God gave me four children because He knew how much I had to learn, and that this was the only way of getting through to me.

When I first have a hint that I may be pregnant, that little question in my brain feels like a present. Sitting there, wrapped up tight, possibilities untold. The anticipation of new life is exciting; whether it’s the physical new life of an addition to our family, or the spiritual new life of roads less traveled and paths unexplored. Then the reality of the situation falls on your shoulders. Aches and pains associated with growth, uncomfortableness and strange cravings abound…and let’s not even touch those mood swings.

It all seems to be too much to handle, too overwhelming, never-ending. And it’s all out of your control! You begin to wonder how much of a gift this really is. And then the moment of delivery occurs. All is right with the world, and you can only stare in wonder at the amazingly perfect thing that God has brought forth. Those first few hours, days, weeks are spend basking in the glory that God would entrust something so special and fragile to your care.

Over time, the idea of your gift fades as the newness wears off and things get tough. You struggle and fail. Things seem out of your control. Pain happens, and it hurts more than you could ever have conceived. Guilt that you’ve destroyed God’s perfect creation, and shame that you would have ever tried to steward it in the first place.

But God reminds: I have chosen you. This is where I have you. Keep moving forward, and follow my lead.

Whether it’s with our children, our marriages, our ministries, our careers…whatever He has conceived and birthed in your life…it’s a gift. Sometimes it just takes some reminding.

STOP

Just in case there’s any question or confusion…no, I’m not pregnant and I have no plans to be pregnant again. I wanted to make that very clear, because I know sometimes my five-minute rambles can leave people wondering if there’s a hidden meaning.

Happy Friday!

What does “gift” mean to you?

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The Final Push

“PUSH!!!”

Everything in me wanted to be done. It had been an hour of pushing and repositioning. This being my first delivery, I really had no idea how much longer it could go. Panic set in; my heart raced and sweat broke out on my brow.

Sensing the change in my attitude, the nurse began to cheer me on.

“OK, Melissa, just keep breathing. You’re almost done. You’re doing great. Just one more push.”

The tightening of my stomach told me another contraction was starting. I nodded my head, lowered my chin, and thought about how badly I wanted to see my son.

“1-2-3-4-5-6-7-8. Breath! Again. 1-2-3-4-5-6-7-8.”

In the final moments of the contraction, desperation set in and I pushed with all my might. I did not want to go through another contraction; this needed to be the end.

::

Today I’m posting over on Ungrind.org’s blog Fresh Brew! Click over to discover how I found the endurance to make that final push…

Five Minute Friday: On {Pregnant} Waiting

I did it! I wrote a blog post in 5 minutes!

Lisa-Jo (aka The Gypsy Mama) has been hosting Five Minute Fridays for weeks now, and I have yet to enter. Fear and perfectionism held me back. To just let loose and write for five minutes, and not go back and edit, was kinda tough for me. Even now my fingers are aching to go fix that word, or modify that sentence. I will not!

Lisa-Jo’s prompt of “On Waiting” coincided so wonderfully with what God was speaking to me today. That, and the image of Lisa-Jo about ready to pop with Baby #3 were both huge helps. If you have a few minutes, I would encourage you to head over to check out the other Five Minute Friday posts people have linked up. There’s a great community there, and it’s amazing the things that pour out of their brains in only five minutes.

GO

Me, Nine Months Pregnant w/Silas

Lately I’ve felt pregnant. No, not with a human child, but with possibility. I have dreams and plans that I hope to see fulfilled; that I feel I am in the prenatal stages of.

That dark knowing deep inside of you, of new life growing, forming and moving. At first, no one else is aware of a change. You walk around looking normal. Only those who you have shared your secret with understand the below the surface tension you’re experiencing.

There are days when it seems so overwhelming, the waiting…the wondering…the unanswered questions. Occasionally God gives me a glimpse of what He’s doing inside of me, like a spiritual sonogram. I see form and shadow, but details are blurred and questions remain.

There’s excitement in the waiting, in the unknown. He is in control. Psalms 139 says He formed us in our mother’s womb, and right now I feel like an expectant mother once again. He is forming something inside of me.

So I wait, for the time when others will begin to notice the change. For the days when the movement is so perceptible that there’s no denying the life inside. And for that final birth of dream and vision, when names are given and form is revealed.

For the waiting to be over…

STOP

Are you waiting for something?

What brings you comfort in that time?

Is there some way I can pray for you?

For those of you who offered to guest post, I am so overwhelmed and excited by your willingness to share here. Thank you!! I will send out an email with info this weekend. If you haven’t contacted me yet to let me know you are interested, the offer still stands! Just email me so I can add you to the list. The more the merrier, I say!

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A Hope Deferred: Ungrind

At 38 weeks and 6 days I felt anxious to see my baby. Although most women don’t feel overdue until after their 40th week, this was my fourth child and in the three previous pregnancies the baby had come at 38 weeks. I had never made it to my due date in the past. So although I wasn’t even close to being “technically” past due, I felt that my due date had come and gone. And isn’t that what it all comes down to: experience and expectation?

My experience with pregnancy had told me that I should have a newborn at that point. The sleepless nights I experienced should have been due to middle of the night feedings instead of frequent trips to the restroom. The aches and pains were supposed to be those of recent delivery, and not the seemingly ceaseless contractions I was experiencing.

Experience and expectation had let me down. I was left, floating along, knowing that the outcome would be the same, but somehow different. I would still have a newborn child, but the situation was one I had not anticipated. What if I went past my actual due date? The waiting was unforeseen.

Six days might not seem like a lot of difference to some, but each one had passed with a thud for me. Each day was full of moments that caused me to think, Is that a sign that it’s time? Is something wrong? Should I be doing more to make it happen?

Not only was I left with a sense of frustration that things hadn’t worked out how I thought they would, I somehow felt like a failure. Like if I would have tried harder my experience and expectations would have been realized.

Something inside me whispered that this had to do with more than my eagerness to see my unborn child and be done with the discomfort of pregnancy.

::

Today I’m posting over at Ungrind.org about hope, feeling heartsick and trusting in God.

I’d love for you to join me there!

And I know I’ve been absent from here for the past couple of days…

I promise I have some good stuff coming this week, but I’m still processing it all!