One thing I have been reflecting on in this pregnancy is the difference between hoping and planning. After Caleb died, so did the planner in me. This is such a far stretch from who I used to be, but then again I am a new person. So I don't plan, like for anything. I live each moment as it comes. I planned so much with Caleb and then was so disappointed.
The thing that makes the "no planning" hard is when everyone else wants you to plan. We met with the head of labor and delivery this week to talk about our "birth plan" for Abigail and any ways they might be able to accommodate us. The counselor thought this would be a good idea to try to reduce some anxiety. The whole time the lady was talking about what we wanted this experience to be like and things to include or not to include. I kept thinking "why are we planning this when we know it won't happen?" There's confidence for you!
I find it so hard to plan, but the one thing I can do is hope. I was reflecting on this in prayer and realized this is exactly what it was like when I was dating Nathan. We did not plan. We had both been hurt before and knew how it could all end. Nathan was the first relationship where I did not say things like "when we are married," or "our kids," or even "I love you" until we were engaged. We talked about the future, but it was always with some distant far off people in mind, never specific to us and we always kept things very general. We did all of this to guard our hearts. I had given my heart to too many men before and I wanted to make sure Jesus had all of my heart this time, not the boy.
And this was HARD. Because I wanted to plan, I wanted to talk about our possible future non-stop. I wanted guarantees that if we kept dating it would end in marriage and I wouldn't be hurt again. But that is not how God wanted it. He wanted me to have restrain and guard my heart. It says in song of songs 8:4, "Do not arouse, do not stir up love before its time." So I had to do a lot of dying to myself and not plan.
But hope... Boy did I hope! I hoped we would get married. I hoped he was the one. I hoped he would propose to me. I hoped we would have children and watch them grow up. I hoped we would get to pick out a house together and do mundane things like go to the grocery store. The verse I reflected on a lot while dating was "It is good to hope in silence for the saving help of the Lord."(Lamentations 3:26) There were no "plans," but there was a lot of silent hope that I shared with our Lord.
This is exactly where I am with Abigail. Now that we are 15 days away from induction, my hope is starting to burst at the seams. But the planning- no way. I was scarred and wounded too bad when Caleb died. I can honestly say I do not plan to bring a baby home in 2 weeks, I just cannot see it happening. This shows because I have only 3 outfits for Abigail, none of them washed, will not put the car seat in, won't set up the bassinet, won't wash the bottles or bring the breast pump with me to the hospital. I am even hesitant to bring anything to the hospital for her until she is born alive. See I did all that before, I planned and it turned out my plans prepared me in no way for anything I needed once Caleb was born.
The point I am trying to make is, I don't think it's bad to hope instead of plan. I hope to bring a live baby home. I hope to one day hear Abigail's cry and feed her and take of her and watch her grow up. I hope, hope, hope, to do all of those things so badly, but I know they are not guaranteed.
I have clung to the famous doubting Thomas so much during this pregnancy. He gets such a bad reputation as the doubter. Did you know that in the East he is actually known as believing Thomas? The way I look at it, I think Thomas actually loved Jesus more than the others. He gave Jesus his heart and soul and when Jesus died, a BIG part of Thomas died that day too. So when news spread that Jesus was back, Thomas simply couldn't go there. He had been wounded by love. He needed proof because he simply couldn't just throw his heart around again.
And then the famous line that I have repeated so many times these past months, "I will not believe unless I see." I feel so much like Thomas. I will not believe I can birth a live baby and bring her home until I see it. I have been too wounded by love. Jesus knows this and He loves me anyways, just like Thomas. I am sure Thomas hoped the rumors of Jesus being alive were true just like I hope Abigail will be alive. But sometimes you just need to see it.
But then what about Jesus's response, "Blessed are those who have not seen and have believed." I feel like I have been one of those people too. I did not see my son healed, in fact I held him dead-with no explanation. And I still believe, I am still here following Christ. I have not seen the resurrection, only Good Friday. But I still believe in Jesus, that He is the close to the brokenhearted. I believe that He is faithful. I saw the worst happen and I still believe, which has been the hardest part of all of this- to keep faith even with all the why's floating around. But I still do even though I still need to see. For me its a "both/and" sort of thing.
So hope vs. planning. I would say a lot of grieving people have hope, but not the ability to plan after their loss. Life is so uncertain and you learn that when a tragedy hits. Don't make a grieving person feel bad because they cannot plan the way everyone else around them does. They have been wounded by love and once you are wounded, everything changes.
Join them in their hope. It has been so wonderful to see my friends and family have hope that Abigail will come home. My mom even has so much hope that I think her whole upstairs is filled with girl clothes and pink blankets. Seeing others' hope helps me on those days that I struggle. I even have a sweet friend who sends me a countdown update just about every other day and it makes me smile. Maybe in the end we are all supposed to just have hope anyways. They say that if you want to make God laugh, tell Him your plans. Well I don't have any, Lord, I just hope.