Sometimes, I forget that we’re expecting. I suspect this is because my belly isn’t growing. I feel no kicks from within. I’ve never had a moment of morning sickness. Yet, we wait with great anticipation for the day that (Lord willing) my phone rings with the news.
A birth mom has selected you.
These words, they pierce my soul even as I type this post. When I ponder the immense, brave choice that birth moms make . . . the choice to place their very own child in the arms of another woman . . . to walk the earth knowing that this woman is called Mommy, instead of her . . . my heart is rent. The complexity of this endeavor we call adoption is never lost on me.
I think this is partly why I was so hesitant to let a few sweet friends from church throw us a baby shower. No birth mother has selected us. (If she had, the typical course would mean we have 6-8 weeks to prepare for the baby’s arrival.) The word imposter floated through my mind on a regular basis. How could I sit in a chair, smiling sweetly, and open gift after gift, when I am not expecting?
Except that I am expecting. It just looks different, and there isn’t a known due date on this sort of expecting. I can promise you that the joyful idea of our future child is very much alive and growing in my heart. I am definitely expecting to someday hold a baby in my arms. I completely believe that the Lord is working our adoption such that the growth in my heart, and our child’s growth in his/her birth mom’s tummy, will coincide in an overwhelming tidal wave of love (and grief, but that’s for another post).
So, it is in this reluctant place–uncomfortable with the idea of a baby shower–I sat until we attended a day-long training required by our adoption agency. In our ideal scenario, we would have plenty of time to prepare, and we would need not be in a rush. But then . . . they invited two adoptive families to join our gathering and to tell their adoption stories. We were surprised to learn that emergency placements are not uncommon. In both cases, the adoptive parents were contacted while the birth mom was in labor. They were told they could be matched one day and placed the next.
Obviously, this changed our perspective–and my willingness to entertain the thought of a shower! Suddenly, being at least a little prepared sounded pretty good. Let me tell you, I am so glad that I said yes when asked if we would like one, and it has not one bit to do with receiving gifts.
It confirmed for me that we have a supportive community around us, one that values life and agrees, in one way or another, that we are expecting. In a sense, they are expecting with us! It touched my heart to read the cards and to know how many people are praying not just for us, but for the newborn the Lord sees fit to place in our home. We are now surrounded by all things baby, and we are one giant leap closer to being ready to care for a little one.
I feel like our shower was a warm, preemptive hug for our future babe. Our friends and family, like us, are already falling in love with the idea of this child. We are ever-grateful for such a show of generosity and kindness.
Soli Deo gloria,
This is the command we find in Col 3:15b. Given the difficult circumstances in which we may find ourselves and the brokenness that permeates this world, hearing this command all on its own can make it sound cold and untenable. How can I give thanks when things are so messed up? How can I give thanks when I don’t feel thankful?
Thankfully, the commands to “be thankful” and to “give thanks” are always accompanied by further instruction on how we can obey. Col 3:15b is preceded by several chapters in which Paul beautifully describes all that God has done for us in Christ, through whom he created the world and is now reconciling all things to himself. “He has delivered us from the domain of darkness and transferred us to the kingdom of his beloved Son, in whom we have redemption, the forgiveness of sins” (1:13-14).
Then we arrive at 3:15-17: And let the peace of Christ rule in your hearts, to which indeed you were called in one body. And be thankful. Let the word of Christ dwell in you richly, teaching and admonishing one another in all wisdom, singing psalms and hymns and spiritual songs, with thankfulness in your hearts to God. And whatever you do, in word or deed, do everything in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks to God the Father through him.
So how do we give thanks when we don’t feel thankful? We meditate upon the truth about who God is, who we are, and all that he is doing in this world. This is what it means to let the word of Christ dwell richly in us such that the peace of Christ may rule in our hearts. It is by setting “your minds on things above” (3:2) that you can then expect to find “thankfulness in your hearts to God”.
So let us lift our voices with the twenty-four elders who sit on their thrones before God, saying: “We give thanks to you, Lord God Almighty, who is and who was, for you have taken your great power and begun to reign” (Rev 11:17).