My second daughter, the one who was my 24-day overdue baby, gave me this picture frame from Ikea for my birthday. When we came across it the other day, she said, “Mom, we can put a picture of the new baby in this frame.”
“Yes, honey, that will be perfect,” I said. I set it on the table where we put our homeschool supplies, thinking it would only be a few more days until we had a baby photo to put in that white frame.
Here I am again. One week past my due date, which was November 9, waiting for another overdue baby.
I have since placed the pretty white frame by the kitchen sink, where I spend a lot of time thinking and listening to the Bible while I do dishes every day. I stare at that empty frame day after day with great anticipation and longing for the baby to arrive. It is anticipation mixed with fears and worries that I won’t be able to take good care of 5 kids. Mixed with love and hope for our family to be a strong unit that takes care of each other no matter what. Mixed with the burden of unfinished projects and not enough time, resources, or space to complete them. Mixed with excitement for the most wonderful time of the year, Thanksgiving and Christmas, which is quickly approaching.
This kind of waiting is what makes life rich, isn’t it? Like waiting for the day you meet the “right one.” Waiting for him to propose. Waiting for your wedding day. Waiting to consummate the marriage. Waiting to get pregnant. And waiting for the baby to arrive. This kind of anticipation is so good for us. Without any anticipation, we might lose a deeper level of appreciation for these things. We await them in humility, giving God control of the timing of these blessings. We wait with a thankful heart, and the knowledge that God has the power to give or take them away at any moment. (Now that I think about it, this is what my book Goodnight to My Thoughts of You is about.)
Sometimes, after all the anticipation, it’s not quite how we thought it would be. The “right one” is imperfect. He didn’t propose the way you’d imagined, and the ring wasn’t as big as you thought it would be. Lots of things went wrong on the wedding day, and many things went well too. Consummation was, well, not quite the way it is in the movies, and marriage is nothing like a fairy tale ending because, let’s face it, we are not princesses. Sometimes anticipation can lead us to disappointment and unmet expectations. It is no different with the timing of when we get pregnant, when and how we deliver our babies, and the expectations we have for motherhood and the health and well-being of our children.
I think the secret is to be thankful. We need to have a thankful heart and a great attitude, even when life doesn’t go as we expected. We need to find laughter again, the way we did when we were little and we could cheer up with a little bit of love and attention. We need buoyancy. We have to stay afloat so we don’t drag others to the bottom of the ocean with us, even when we feel like we have every excuse to sink down low.
We have to somehow be okay when we have no control.
The only things we can control are our tongue and our attitude–the two things that reveal what’s in our heart.
It’s so hard when things don’t go our way. When we have to wait, and wait, and wait. The days drag by. We keep going because we trust God who knows all things and loves us with perfect love.
For as high as the heavens are above the earth, so great is his love for those who fear him; as far as the east is from the west, so far has he removed our transgressions from us. As a father has compassion on his children, so the Lord has compassion on those who fear him. Psalm 103:11-13