Few people will deny the magic and wonder that is pregnancy. A new life, quietly growing and developing, hidden away in serene safety. The part that is the most magical to me, and also – let’s face it – the weirdest, is feeling the baby move. In my current pregnancy I’ve able to feel the little squish move much earlier than with my first, and it’s so special. Every tiny kick. Those little alien wiggles and flutters instantly amplify the intimacy, the connection I feel with my baby; we’re in this together, Sweet One. I love you already. Each movement – now that I know it’s not just gas! – brings the baby to mind, hushes all other distractions, makes me thankful and reassured. A few weeks ago, I fell down the stairs… just gracefully bounced down some steep steps on my hiney, and immediately, even before I stood up, my thoughts went to the baby. I was at a Christmas party, enjoying myself, but my mind rushed and swirled with peripheral worry until I felt that reassuring wriggle inside. Baby was fine. And so was I. I could have cried with relief.
When I was very early on in my first pregnancy, before I knew his gender, name, or had seen his sweet little face, I remember so clearly a time when I needed reassurance. I wasn’t yet showing, and the life inside of me was a secret only known by a few. Still far too early for baby kicks and squirms, or even an ultrasound, I found my mind drifting and worrying. I couldn’t shake the fear that something had or would happen to our precious little life, this one we had prayed and hoped for, so small and helpless. As fear often does, it took over, plaguing my thoughts and distracting me from the rest of life, robbing me of so many moments of joy. At the time, I was at a beautiful country estate on a retreat with my church’s worship team. After finding our rooms and settling in, we shared a big meal together, and then had a powerful night of Spirit-fueled worship. Even there, when literally encircled by words and songs of praise, pointing to our perfect, mighty God – whose power I’ve experienced time and time again – I trembled with fear. Through sobs, I silently prayed to God for reassurance, for the safety of our child, for peace. Within minutes, in the middle of it all, a now-friend then-acquaintance approached me and said she felt God wanted her to tell me something. Her words will stick with me forever: “What God has started, He will see through to completion.” She had no idea I was pregnant, but God used her to speak the words my heart needed to hear. My sobs of fear turned into tears of relief… praise… awe.
“… he who began a good work in you will carry it on to completion until the day of Christ.” (Philippians 1:6)
The rest of the pregnancy, my son’s birth, and our life since then have already shown the proof and fruit of that promise. Though these past three years have been far from difficulty-free, they’ve been visibly shaped by God’s hand of grace, love, and provision.
Lately, as we settle into winter, begin a new year, and pray about and discuss important decisions and plans, I still have days of anxiety and fear. Though I trust in God’s holy hand and believe in His goodness wholeheartedly, I’m still so prone to distractions of circumstance, impatience, worry. What I’m sure of one day, these distractions can cause me to doubt the next. When I consider our steps, decisions, and needs, I am today reminded that this promise is still true – whatever the circumstance, the need, the trial. God will never leave me stranded. He has never abandoned me. Though His presence might not always be felt, or his plans for me clear, our God is not a leaver. He’s for us. He’s with us. Emmanuel.
What God has started – the passions he’s placed in my heart, the situations we are in, the needs we face – he will see through to completion. To resolution. To reconciliation. To peace. And that gives us strength and focus to ride out the winter and boldly step into the new year. To hold our heads up and keep our eyes fixed on Him, dwelling in His blessed assurance.