I find it kind of funny that most people mistype me as an Enneagram type 7. I love to have fun and try new adventures. But my real friends know the truth: I plan to be spontaneous. Sure! I do random, crazy things but only during the window of time that I have scheduled as “fun time”. Interrupt my productivity? My to do list? No way. Any other 3’s out there? You know what I mean.
I’m a planner.
My husband Joseph and I planned to welcome our first child around the time he graduated Physician Assistant school. We plan to have our basement remodeled in time for baby’s arrival. We plan to paint our nursery a pale shade of yellow.
But there was so much we couldn’t plan for this pregnancy. So much we didn’t know. We didn’t know just how long it would take us to actually conceive. We didn’t know we’d spend months checking negative pregnancy test after negative pregnancy test only to find out I wasn’t ovulating at all.
We couldn’t plan for that.
And when we finally got the positive test result, we knew it was in God’s hands. His timing.
But this? A worldwide pandemic? Did He really plan for it to take so long to conceive only for me to be be pregnant NOW during a viral outbreak? Yes.
The Coronavirus doesn’t surprise Him. He holds this whole world in His hands and every little life that He breathes His breath of life into.
By the word of the LORD the heavens were made, And by the breath of His mouth all their host. Psalm 33:6
But just because it’s true, doesn’t mean that it’s easy.
What I Can’t control
Like most planners, I have a few concerns about the things I can’t control:
Prenatal care. Will I stay healthy? Will I be able to make my prenatal visits? Will we be able to find out the gender in a few weeks? With increasing Corona concerns, our OB office said it’s a possibility that all appointments, even baseline ultrasounds, could be cancelled which would mean waiting even longer to find out if it’s a boy or girl.
Delivery. Will things settle down by August? Will things be worse here in West Michigan? With hospitals overrun, one hospital in New York City already announced changes to its visitor policy. No one will be allowed in the delivery room with the mother. Not even the father. Rather than deliver alone, some moms are opting for home birth to keep themselves and baby safe.
Supplies. With the economy on the fritz, will the stores be restocked with formula, baby diapers, and supplies? I’m planning on nursing, but am I taking for granted that I will have enough milk supply? If I do need formula, will it be there when I need it? Will it be affordable?
Celebrations. My gender reveal party and first baby shower have already been cancelled. Will life be back to normal in time for a baby shower at all? I know we can have virtual gatherings and facebook gender reveal announcements, but it’s just not the same.
I say this, not to complain but to put in perspective that there are so many cancelled plans, uncertainties, and unanswered questions. Every pregnant momma and every person has their own concerns with the Coronavirus. I am no exception. So how do we respond? As the Psalmist prayed, show us the way, Lord.
Let the morning bring me word of your unfailing love, for I have put my trust in you. Show me the way I should go, for to you I entrust my life. Psalm 143:8
What I Can Control
With breaking news every hour, we can choose to be defined by this world’s uncontrollable circumstances, or we can choose to be intentional about the things we can control. Here are a few things I’ve identified for our little family:
Appreciation. No matter what happens with this COVID outbreak or how close it hits to home, I can always appreciate the beauty of the moment. The feeling of excitement when my tummy flutters from baby kicks. How my husband’s eyes tenderly meet mine. Or the way my belly bump grows a little more noticeable every day! We may never know what tomorrow holds. But we can take each day at a time and appreciate what we have at the given moment.
Preparation. Aka “nesting”. With all this time at home, we can prepare our house for the arrival of our newest family member. Paint the nursery and finish the basement like planned. But nesting isn’t about a fresh coat of paint or the perfect home decor. It’s about preparing a space in our heart and our home to welcome this new life into the world with peace and love.
Attitude. It’s natural to spiral into fear and negativity when calamity strikes, but we can still choose to obey the promptings of the Holy Spirit and walk in its fruit. This is more than just a self-contrived positive attitude or vain attempt to find the silver lining. Love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, gentleness, faithfulness, and self-control are tangible realities in the life of the believer who loves God and His ways.
Spiritual Disciplines. Social distancing may be keeping us 6 ft apart, but God is as close as ever. One of the spiritual disciplines I’ve started practicing during the pandemic is praying for our world, our family, and our little baby growing inside my womb whenever I wash my hands. We can sing a 20 second song, sure! But why not use that time to intercede on behalf of others? Soon you will be praying continually throughout your day because you are washing so often anyway!
What We Do with What We are Given
To be frank, this isn’t the post I was “planning” to write alongside my pregnancy announcement. But it’s important to be honest about the scary realities we are facing. We don’t know what tomorrow holds or what it means for our own health of the lives of our loved ones. We never will. And that’s okay. God does not belittle our questions or our doubts. He invites them. He invites us to turn to the pages of Scripture as our source of truth in uneasy times. I’m more thankful than ever that we are reading through the Bible in a Year as an Across My Heart Team. In a world that is changing, He never changes. And I find so much peace and comfort in that.
At the end of it all, this life isn’t defined by what happens to you. But how you respond. The world is watching. We have been given this moment and the opportunity to make the most of it. Pregnant or laid off. A cancelled wedding or a senior year that ended too soon. This situation means something different for each one of us. When life seems out of control, we need to focus on what God has put in front of us. How we can respond. And what we can do with what we are given.