Two pink lines. A small and quiet sign of such a life altering fact. I saw those lines for the first time on January 26, 2018. I’d stopped at Walmart that afternoon to grab a test. I was about ninety-nine percent sure it would be negative, that I was being paranoid, but, to my great surprise, as I looked in the window I began to see that second pink line forming. It was so faint at first I thought I was seeing things. It continued to darken while I stared. Then it was unmistakeable- a positive pregnancy test.
We were filled with joy, amazement, and also a little fear (ok, a lot of fear). I often found myself feeling all three of those emotions simultaneously. Joy picturing our new little family: introducing the baby to his grandparents for the first time, going to the pumpkin patch, taking him to the mountains in Blowing Rock, teaching him to fish in Michigan. Amazed at what was happening inside my body: one week a heart beat, another week fingers and toes, week 14- it’s a boy! God’s own hands at work right here inside me. Fear at what would happen to ours lives: how is this going to effect my career? will I get stretch marks? will we still have a social life post baby? who will take the lead on my October weddings? am I allowed to eat this turkey sandwich? how bad is childbirth really? I actually googled that last one and found some insightful (and kind of funny) answers.
Amidst these waves of joy and fear I’d sometimes lay awake thinking. One night around the halfway point, I had this thought about Saturdays. I realized there were about twenty Saturdays left before our baby would arrive. Twenty more slow, quiet mornings, and then I’d be a mom. My heart filled with anxiety at the thought. As excited as I was to meet him, in that moment I despaired about the loss of daily comforts and sacrificing the freedom to come and go and do as we please.
But Jesus’ voice met me there. He reminded me- this is what He’d assigned to us and He’d use it to grow more patience, more selflessness, and more faith in me (things I desperately need). Yes, I would have to give up a lot of control over my time and schedule. I would have limitations as I follow nap times and feeding routines. But in Him there is comfort even greater than lingering in bed with coffee and a good book. Because Jesus’ blood covers me, I get to call God himself “Father.” I get to run straight to him with my cares, my sin, and my joys. With a baby I may not be able to sleep in quite as often, but I am comforted knowing I have that kind of access to his presence. I have fewer lazy Saturdays, but I get to gain more of Him, and He is better than lazy Saturdays.
In Jesus there is freedom deeper than spontaneous date nights and staying out as long as I want. Because of what He did on the cross, I am fully known, forgiven, and accepted. I am free from constantly working to prove myself. I may not be able to leave the house for long without counting hours until the next feed or bringing my pump bag along, but I’m free because I’m not beholden to society’s (or even my own) standards of perfection. With a baby I have more constraints on my time, but I am discovering the security his grace provides all over again, and that is better than going out on a spontaneous date night.
Levi William Slauer did arrive 20 Saturdays later, and now sleeping in feels like a distant memory (in those first 6 weeks sleeping at all felt like a distant memory), we can’t go out with friends unless we find a babysitter in advance, and breastfeeding feels like it takes over my life sometimes. But I have the opportunity to know His grace more intimately, to rest in His comfort more often, and to find the freedom He provides just a little bit sweeter. He is better than anything we’ve had to leave behind.
So after some mild contractions, an attempted trip to Candler Park Fall Festival (pictured below), water breaking on the way home, then NOT MILD contractions, a rush to the hospital, epidural (threw out my all-natural birth plan the second I arrived at the hospital), Pitocin, and c-section, we met the lil guy who God had already used to grow us in so many ways. Each day since Levi was born He has lavished His grace on me through every outburst of frustration, confusion, discouragement, or just plain exhaustion. He is so incredibly good.