My Journey with Baby Ray - Part 1

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I just had to say thank you for the incredible warm wishes and kind words you offered to us last week when we announced our exciting news. I was quite honestly overwhelmed by your kindness and love! Goodness this Ray Baby is loved so much already. Truly, thank you!

What is so sweet about this journey for us, and for me in particular, is that God has been incredibly gracious and gentle with me. Thankfully, the Lord has taken my hand and has led me every step of the way. For me, this journey has not been typical or easy. But two things I know to be true: He is good, and His timing is perfect.

While Will has loved the idea of having kids for a few years now, it’s taken me quite some time to get used to the idea. My journey started a few years ago, when I really struggled with the idea of having a baby. I’ll be honest : I am not the girl who has dreamt of being a mom my whole life. Yes, I’ve wanted a family, and when I see myself old and gray, I see kids and grandkids in that picture. But actually taking the steps to have a baby right now? A bit terrifying in my book.

I’m going to be honest here – the past few years I’ve felt very strange and sometimes alone, because I have never had a strong desire to have a baby. I share this because my prayer is that it will be an encouragement to some of you out there who might be walking a similar path. It has literally taken me years to come to this place of being joyful about bringing a life into the world, but even now I am okay with the fact that it’s going to look different for me.

At the risk of sounding a little crazy, and possibly even being ashamed of this later, here is how I’ve felt: I love my life with Will, and I know having a baby will change what we have. I love my sleep. A lot. I don’t like baby toys or clutter. I’ve always loved the idea of having a family, and I see us going on camping trips and having adventures together. I’ve always loved working with adults or older kids / teenagers – I’ve never been one to volunteer in the nursery at church. Those teenage years excite me (I know I’m weird, but I’ve led a youth group for 5 years so to me, it’s not intimidating!) The baby years? The toddler years? Yikes. I like a clean and organized home. I don’t like crumbs or messes or drool. (Says the owner of Winston, I know. Ironic.) When Instagram feeds get taken over by babies, it slightly annoys me. (I’m pretty sure I’ll kick myself for that one later, because I see this as inevitable.) Getting used to a growing belly and changing body is an act of surrender for me. Childbirth? Can’t even talk about that one yet.

The list goes on and on, friends. But in all of it, I’m so thankful for God’s grace.

So how did I get to this point? The point I am at now: a place of joy about this baby?

It began in the beginning of this year. The Lord called me to fast the month of January about motherhood. I didn’t want to, but I did out of obedience. I gave up sugar and processed food with the intent of digging deep in my heart, asking God what He had for me. At this point, I did not want to get pregnant. I did not want to start “trying.” I was not ready in the least.

There was no voice from heaven or specific moment that my heart was changed. But it was the first step in the journey where my heart began to change. There was a theme that the Lord spoke to me throughout that month, over and over again – in sermons, songs, scripture, in my quiet times in the mornings : surrender.

The truth is this: the life of a believer should marked in surrender, not selfishness or pride. And the more I prayed, the more I heard the voice of the Holy Spirit gently nudging me towards surrender. Just like the Water Song in Hinds Feet in High Places, the Lord was teaching me that the lower I go, the more beautiful my life is to Him :

Come, oh come! let us away–
Lower, lower every day,
Oh, what joy it is to race
Down to find the lowest place.
This the dearest law we know–
“It is happy to go low.”
Sweetest urge and sweetest will,
“Let us go down lower still.”
Hear the summons night and day
Calling us to come away.
From the heights we leap and flow
To the valleys down below.
Always answering to the call,
To the lowest place of all.
Sweetest urge and sweetest pain,
To go low and rise again.

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I was wanting this and fighting this in my spirit, all at the same time. But I knew if I was specifically praying about motherhood, and if the Lord kept speaking “surrender” to me, then it was time to do just that. Surrender. So I tearfully let Will know that I wasn’t ready to start trying quite yet, but I was ready to stop preventing.

I realize these words sound crazy to so many of my friends out there who so desperately want a baby, who have struggled with infertility, who love family more than anything. But every one of our journeys is different, and the Lord teaches us His faithfulness and goodness in different ways. He calls each of us to surrender, to seek Him, to follow Him, and that looks different for everyone. And that is OK.

Anyway, month by month I would continue to pray and get a tiny bit more accustomed to the fact that I very well could get pregnant. I never got to the point of being super excited about having a baby, but each month the Lord formed my heart just a tiny bit more like His – a bit more selfless, willing to surrender all my plans. After 6 months, I was okay with whatever happened – totally fine to not get pregnant, totally fine (even though still a bit weirded out) at the thought of getting pregnant.

So after several months of not getting pregnant, we decided it was time to prevent for just a few months so we wouldn’t have a baby in wedding season. Which is hilarious, because that’s exactly when I got pregnant!

No, I don’t see this as God laughing at us and in some cruel way doing exactly what I didn’t want. Because here’s the thing : in every step of this journey He has been SO good and SO gracious and SO patient with me, I just knew that His plan was trustworthy from the start. It’s NOT my plan – it’s His. This timing has been such a gift, because I’ve entered this new season of motherhood with open hands, knowing this is His life and not mine. And the reality of it is this: the creation of a new life is way more important than booked weddings or predictable finances. My security lies in being in the middle of His plan for me, and there’s no denying that I’m in the middle of it now.

I’ve had this weird, supernatural peace from the moment I found out I was pregnant. Yes, I cried and I prayed and I freaked out a bit for the first 30 minutes. Normal. But I have also been laughing at it all, from a place of trust and joy, and I can’t help but think this too, is a gift : “She is clothed with strength and dignity; she can laugh at the days to come.” Proverbs 31:25

So here I am, about to be a Mama, already in my 2nd trimester. I can tell you this : this is going to look different for me, and I’m okay with that. God is writing my journey and my testimony, and my prayer is that I will follow Him. I may not have Pinterest Boards yet and I may not be taking weekly photos of my belly and I may not be dreaming up nursery plans quite yet. We are still going to travel and have a clean home and run a business. But I will be a Mama, and I’m going to be a good one! Not because I’ve always dreamt of being a Mama, but because God is teaching me and leading me to be one. And He’s the best, most faithful, most generous, most loving Teacher there is.