For the last three weeks, I’ve been having contractions through the night. I lost my mucus plug last week. My baby has been engaged and in birthing position for weeks. For three weeks, I’ve been hopeful she’ll come. Every morning, I wake up and hustle to get things ready for her…to come that day.
Kris and I have been scrambling to get projects done so she is welcomed into a safe and healthy haven. From getting the house painted, to installing new appliances, to building the baby swing, her changing table, shopping for a recliner to nurse and rock her in, putting in her car seat, and building/mounting floating shelves with hooks for her area. We have been going non-stop. In between all of this, we have interviewed and selected her pediatrician, taken a childbirth class, created new shelf spaces in the kitchen and hallway for diapers and bottles, rug doctored our carpets, gotten a new vacuum cleaner, taken at least 12 trips to Goodwill to get rid of items to make space and spent time with our friends and their newborn to learn swaddling and soothing techniques.
Based on our OBGYN’s recommendation, I had one of my baby showers moved up a week because we thought she was coming early. I’ve been scrambling to get all my pregnancy thoughts and reflections out in blog posts because I know I’ll forget when she’s here. I’ve created our birth plan. We’ve packed our hospital bags and created my labor song and scripture list. I’ve read books and articles on labor and motherhood. Last week, I scheduled all my final “beautification” appointments thinking I’d be in the hospital in just a few days.
All of this was crammed in because I was planning my first women’s conference and negotiating my first book deal before that. In order to accomplish these, I had to almost forget I was pregnant and neglect any urge to nest until after the conference was over and the deal was secured. The whole time I was preparing for the conference, I dreamed of snuggling up in my house and “nesting.” For some reason, I had this rosy idea that it would be cute and cozy. Lord have mercy, the reality is that nesting makes producing a conference feel like baking a cake. Nesting is not cute or relaxing at all.
Maybe it’s because I don’t have a knack for domestic-type things like organization and creating new spaces. Or maybe it’s because our condo is small and everything feels harder because I’m forced to be creative with minimal space. God bless you women who love organizing, color coding and labeling!
Two days before the conference, we had a doctor appointment. Our doctor told Kris and I that our baby was already low in my birth canal, that her head was in the 90% percentile and she was already 6.5 pounds. This was at 34 weeks. He said it would be ideal for her to come at 37 weeks. So when the pre-labor symptoms began, I was sure she was on her way. Not to mention, I’ve had dreams of an early arrival and an overall feeling about it the whole time.
Now, I’m at 38 weeks. Yesterday was the first day I woke up and there wasn’t another project to finish. Absolutely everything is done. I almost didn’t know what to do with myself. I kept thinking that she was waiting until we finished with one more thing until she felt safe to come. Now, everything is done and still no baby. As a matter of fact, it seems that she has raised back up and is high again. Contractions have stopped. I feel so confused, teased and even disappointed.
I asked the Lord what He wanted to teach me in all this. You know God…He seems to always have a good lesson in everything. I was drifting off in a nap when He spoke to me about what I was experiencing.
In pregnancy, we never know when true labor is going to happen. The signs could be there for hours, days or weeks. Nothing really means anything. It’s all so unpredictable! I don’t know when the real thing will come, so I’ve been living on my toes as if she could come any day. It hit me that is exactly what the Bible means when it says to live prepared for Jesus’s return at any moment.
“Therefore be on the alert, for you do not know which day your Lord is coming.” Matthew 24:42
The signs of the end times are revealed in the Bible just like google has the signs of childbirth. But neither Christian, nor mother knows when the time will come. Mother doesn’t know when delivery will come and Christian doesn’t know when Jesus will return to deliver us.
It says in the Bible that it is not for us to know the date and time, only for us to live prepared. If we stay prepared, we don’t have to get prepared.
“For you yourselves know full well that the day of the Lord will come just like a thief in the night. While they are saying, ‘Peace and safety!’ then destruction will come upon them suddenly like labor pains upon a woman with child, and they will not escape. But you, brethren, are not in darkness, that the day would overtake you like a thief” (1 Thessalonians 5:2-4).
Jesus told the church in Sardis: “So remember what you have received and heard; and keep it, and repent. Therefore if you do not wake up, I will come like a thief, and you will not know at what hour I will come to you.” (Revelation 3:3).
Of course I’ve learned about this before, but I have a more profound understanding now. Experiencing what it’s like to go through pre-labor…to think she’s coming and then she doesn’t…to plan for her, to hustle for her, to be disappointed without allowing it to let my guard down or lose hope out of frustration. I can’t do that because it is 100% certain she is coming. I can’t be off my game any day because it could be the day.
We are in pre-labor end times now. We feel the contractions and the pain of being separated from our true home in Heaven. We get frustrated when we don’t see relief or get deliverance. We are pregnant with expectation. It feels like He is so close, yet still so far. But we know 100% for certain that He is coming. So we can’t afford to be off our game one day either. We want to be ready at any moment. The signs may be there for a while, but He will come suddenly…just like a baby.
How interesting that God created pregnancy, labor and delivery to be used as significant symbolism for God’s ultimate redemption plan. And even more interesting that He chose women to be the bearers of it. We are life-bearers. We get to show and partner with men in what it looks like to prepare expectantly for the blessing, for the promise.
Just as we prepare for our baby to be delivered into the world, God is hoping we get prepared for Him to deliver us. The concept is so real to me now. Our time is near. It could be today, it could be ten years from now. It isn’t for us to know or try to predict. It’s only for us to live prepared with the assurance of the promise.
His promises never fail. Never. “Do I bring to the moment of birth and not give delivery?” says the Lord. “Do I close up the womb what I bring to delivery?” says your God. Isaiah 66:9.
Regardless of the tease and frustration, my daughter is coming. Regardless of what you’re going through, the temptations, the disappointment…Jesus is coming. I feel like God is saying it’s time for our generation to stop living like He’s not coming or that the time is far off. It’s time for us to live with the alertness and expectancy of His arrival.
I want to have a clear conscience, caught in the middle of doing good when He comes back. What about you?