I'm now a little over two weeks away from my due date, which is really hard to believe. I've never been this far along in a pregnancy before, so in a lot of ways it's all very new to me. We've never gotten a nursery ready before. The twins came so unexpectedly that my mom and sister-in-law set everything up for us while we were in the hospital. I've never bought diapers before delivery before. I've never had to count contractions or pay attention to my body because I was already in the hospital when I went into labor with the twins (and I didn't even know I was in labor anyway!).
In a lot of ways the extra time has been nice. It's allowed for more rest and time to reflect on the changes coming our way. It's given me time with the boys before baby brother makes his grand entrance. It's given me time with Daniel before we are sleep-deprived and delirious. And while I am anxious to meet this sweet boy, I'm thankful that he's stayed put this long.
But in another way the extra time has been hard for me. It's revealed to an even greater degree my ever present struggle with wanting to control every outcome of my life. The twins shattered that illusion pretty quickly when they arrived eight weeks early. Our lives were turned upside down by premature infants and twice daily NICU visits. It was good for us, me especially. Now that I am in a more normal pregnancy situation I can start to believe that I am in control of this whole having a baby thing. Having some form of readiness for his arrival (a room ready, food in the freezer, bags packed) can make me think that I've got this--or that I have time to spare. So when I have a night of contractions I start to panic, not because I might have a baby born before his due date, but because he's not coming according to my plan.
You would think I've learned by now that babies come when the feel like it.
There is a spiritual parallel to my illusion of control about the day and hour that Seth will be born. The New Testament is full of warnings to be ready for the second coming of Christ, because none of us knows the day or the hour that he will come back to bring his children home and judge sin once and for all (Matt. 24:36; Mark 13:32; Acts 1:7; 1 Thess. 5:2; 2 Pet. 3:10). All we are told is to be ready. Ready to leave. Ready to follow him to eternity. Ready to give up our fleeting lives on earth for a better one with him. We are simply told to "keep watch" (Matt. 24:42). Like a mother waiting for the arrival of her unborn baby, we do not know when the true labor will begin, bringing forth the final consummation of the redemption of our bodies--our rebirth (Rom. 8:22-25). We can believe the lie that we have all the time in the world to get ready for that glorious day, but the reality is we don't know when that day will come anymore than I know when my Braxton-Hicks contractions will give way to the real thing. But in both of these blessed events, I do know one thing, it will come eventually. I will not be pregnant forever and this earth will not be here forever either.
So as I finish up these last days of pregnancy, I want to be ready. Readiness is a good thing for both a new baby and our final redemption. But I'm learning to let go of the illusion that I can control the day or the hour, that I can be so ready that it doesn't take me by surprise when it finally comes. Only God knows that day. And what a day it will be.