I have been told that this baby is quite large considering how far along I am, and that my dates might be off, but here I sit, still pregnant, so time will tell! I have a growth scan on Tuesday that will give us a better idea of just how chunky this monkey is, and the doctor will decide from there if maybe it would be better to take baby out sooner rather than later.
I am definitely feeling pretty uncomfortable. I feel like this baby is trying to bust loose but is trying to do so by punching right out of my abdomen. He or she has quite a kick these days! At the same time, I took a loooong nap today and thanked God that I could lie down and know I could just sleep until I woke up, not until a hungry baby demanded my time, so I enjoyed it very much. :)
Josh heads back to work Monday, and I don't know who is more upset about it. We have enjoyed having him home so much! We were hoping the baby would come at some point during his vacation, but baby obviously wasn't ready yet! So now Josh is looking at missing some work, which he's not thrilled about, but we'll make it work. The kids are on Spring Break this next week, and we have some fun things planned together! I want to spend some quality time with my munchkins before their world gets rocked by a new baby, so I'm thankful for this time as well.
As promised, here is me and the kiddo at 38 weeks. Not much more room to grow!!!
The shirts I once wore to hide my pregnancy are now the only ones that fit haha! But that's okay, it can't be too much longer now!
I don't have any new baby pictures to share, as this kiddo has decided to be a good baby and go head down and face towards my spine just like it's supposed to for delivery! But that means ultrasound pictures are out of the question unless I want a nice shot of baby's bootie, which I do not, because we still want to be surprised about the sex! I have had quite a few people accuse me of knowing what we are having and keeping it a secret, and I hereby declare with Scout's Honor that we DO NOT! I promise! We will be just as surprised as all of you! I was so excited to finally get the little baby hats in the mail that I ordered a month ago, one for a boy and one for a girl, with their names embroidered on them. They are adorable!
I am absolutely gripped with fear now and then that something will still go wrong. Most days I'm fine, but there are moments that just make me crumble on the inside, worrying that we've come this far only to have to deal with some tragedy I can't even conjure up. I have been watching old ER reruns to pass the time while I lay in bed like the beached whale I feel like, and last night there was an episode on that I knew I shouldn't watch, but did anyway. Do you ER fans remember the episode where Dr. Greene gets in over his head delivering a baby in the ER? Pretty much everything that could go wrong did go wrong. Misdiagnosed Eclampsia, placental abruption, shoulder dystocia, a botched c-section, and the list goes on. It was horrible! I sat there wide eyed realizing that the poor mother was 38 weeks pregnant, just like me, and everything was perfect right up until the point when it wasn't. She died, and the baby barely made it out alive. Yes, I realize this is a fictional story, but it could happen to anyone. It happens every day, and when you are as seasoned as I am in things that can and do go wrong, you can't help but worry.
So I didn't sleep great last night. I should never have watched that episode, but at the same time it started a great conversation between me and the Lord. I told Him I was scared to pieces of things going wrong, and He reminded me that nothing will happen without His permission, and He will not allow anything that He can't later use to totally glorify Him. Even if I die from a botched c-section. Which I really hope doesn't happen. ;)
Moving right along, I was totally blessed to get to attend a Beth Moore conference this weekend! I had planned to go a few months ago, then realized I'd either be home with a newborn or too pregnant to sit for hours in fold up arena seats, so I decided not to. Well the other day I realized I was not home with a newborn and it might not be the worst thing if the uncomfortable seating put me into labor, plus my awesome friend was able to get me a last minute ticket!
|Me, Heather, and Rachel at the Beth Moore Conference|
For those of you who haven't heard of Beth Moore or ever had the opportunity to hear her speak or do one of her Bible studies, you should really do something about that. God has totally gifted her with the ability to speak directly into the souls of hurting women, to translate God's word into something that is so relatable in our every day lives. She is incredibly charismatic and her way of teaching cracks me up at times, which is not easy to do! I just love hearing her speak and watching her love for the Lord ooze from her very pores. I have never walked away from a study of hers without being radically marked by what God has taught me through it. I told my friends that I want to be Beth Moore when I grow up. My dream is to write books that women can relate to and speak to them in a way that turns them right to the Lord. Maybe someday!
The topic of her conference this year was "Marked". I'm sure every woman there got something different from it, but I will share what I gleaned from the whole thing. Beth had us delve into Scripture, finding examples of times when God has used "marks" to protect His people, to show others they belong to Him. She talked about how marks, or scars, can outwardly show the world who exactly we belong to, what we've been through, how we have healed from the wounds we've received. She spoke about how every one of us bears inward scars. These scars have permanently marked us, in a way that is usually visible to others. One of her "homework" assignments on Friday night was to write down what has scarred us the most in our adult life. When I told Josh, he said, "Well too bad you won't be able to think of anything." ;)
I obviously carry a lot of scars. Each time I have been hurt, each time God has allowed something in my life that cut me deep into my soul, wounded me severely, it left a mark that changed me forever. Beth talked about how it is up to us whether we allow the Lord to heal those wounds, and turn those scars into the signature of Christ. I definitely did some soul searching, thinking about if my scars bore the name of Jesus, or if they were simply jagged scars on my testimony that people wondered about. When people look at my scars, what do they see? Is it obvious that Jesus has healed them, has left His mark where those wounds once were? Are any of my wounds still left unhealed?
Oddly enough, while eating dinner with my friends before the conference started, before we had any idea what the topic would be, I was telling Heather and Rachel how much the scar on my chest still bothers me. I have this two inch scar just below my right collar bone from having my port removed awhile back. If you know me, I'm sure you've either wondered about it or asked me about it. It never healed properly, keloiding and becoming incredibly ugly and painful. I was telling them how much it bothered me, how I wake up sometimes because it's throbbing, how if anyone touches it, even if my clothing rubs against it or the seat belt touches it, it feels like an exposed nerve has been hit. I've talked to my doctor about it and he assured me he could try to fix it by cutting it out and leaving me with a new scar that would hopefully heal properly. I can't do that until I'm not pregnant anymore, but I have every intention of trying it. While I'm not thrilled at the idea of being cut open once again and going through the pain of that procedure, I can't imagine going through the rest of my life with a scar that is more like a wound, continually causing me trouble, one others look at and say, "Ouch, that must really hurt!".
I thought about my port scar a lot when I was listening to Beth talk. I asked God if any of my inside scars hadn't healed properly. I really thought about the things that have marked me in my life...betrayal, rejection, unspeakable loss...did those wounds heal properly? Were any of them still keeping me up at night, eating away at me? Did they heal, leaving the signature of Christ that others could look at and marvel at how the Lord left a beautiful mark that tells the story of His redemption, or did they heal only partially, leaving a scar that was still sensitive, ugly, and painful to the touch? Were there any areas of my life that I need God to go back and cut out so that He can leave a new mark, one that will heal completely, one that I can touch without wincing in pain, one that won't wake me up at night in tears?
There was another point that Beth made that really stuck out to me. She told the story of her father-in-law and how he has some sort of tube in his chest or abdomen that improves his quality of life. She didn't go into details, but she said he has a nurse that comes out every week to give him wound care. She changes the dressing, applies ointment, keeps it clean and fresh. Beth asked us if there were any of us that had wounds we are still nursing. Wounds that should have been long time healed, but ones we continually seek attention for, asking others to help dress and clean. Are there wounds we simply aren't allowing to heal? Do we walk around to our friends, knowing our wounds are far deeper than any of theirs, saying, "Oh my wound, look at my wound! Look how painful it is! Look how much it has hurt me! Isn't it awful!? Woe is me and woe is my wound!"
That definitely got me thinking, and I realized I so do not want to be that person, the one who constantly picks at her wounds, not allowing them to heal, not allowing them to scar over, seeking others to keep them fresh. I want my wounds to heal properly, to scar over with the signature of Christ, and allow God to use what once were terrible hurts in my life to show others that they can heal, that God is the great Redeemer, and He can turn even the nastiest and deepest cuts into marks that tell others of His love.
I want others to look at my life and plainly see that while I have obviously been hurt, that my life has not been perfect, but filled with painful wounds, God has completely healed me and given me joy. I do not want my wounds to go to waste. I'm grateful for my scars! Those things hurt like a son of a you know what. If I'm gonna have that kind of pain in my life, I want others to know about it! I want them to see that I have been wounded and healed, and I want them to wonder how such painful cuts could heal so beautifully. I want to be able to show them that there is only one way for scars to look so good, and that is through Christ.
I wonder how many of you have old wounds that never healed properly, leaving ugly and painful scars. Or have you allowed them to heal at all? Have you continually picked at them for years? Wouldn't it be wonderful if you allowed God to cut out those painful scars, and heal each wound the way it should have healed in the first place, leaving a beautiful scar, a mark of the Lord, telling the world that you hurt, and you survived it, and you plan to use it to glorify Him?
I wonder all the time why people are so private with their past hurts. I've known a lot of people who have been through horrible things, have been wounded deeply, and refuse to share any of it with the world. I have often wondered why those people were so protective of their past hurts, when so many others have been through the same things and could benefit from them sharing their stories. I realized this weekend that it is possible that those wounds never healed properly. That talking openly about them might be very painful to the touch. That maybe God was never allowed to heal that wound and leave in its place a beautiful scar that they could be proud to show others.
But I also think that we have been conditioned to hide our scars, to be ashamed of them, even when God has totally redeemed us and left His beautiful signature where an ugly wound once was! When Josh and I were struggling so much in our marriage, when we were on the brink of divorce and things seemed utterly hopeless, we had so many people pull us aside and tell us how once they too had struggled in their marriage, how God had restored their relationship, how there was hope in a seemingly hopeless situation. I remember feeling angry that they didn't speak up until things were practically too late for us. Maybe if they had, maybe if they had been more open with their scars, we wouldn't have been so wounded in the first place.
When I lost Lily, when I opened up about my many miscarriages, I had the same thing happen. So many women came forward, telling me of their losses, telling me how they'd never talked about it, never shared it with anyone. Why? I wondered. Why are we so very protective of our pain? Why do we keep our wounds in the dark where they can never properly heal? Why hide beautiful scars that God Himself healed and could so awesomely use for His glory?
I think the thing that spoke to me the most this weekend is how much God wants to heal our pain. He doesn't want us living in agony, He doesn't want old scars to constantly bother us and never heal. God so very much wants to turn those past hurts into beautiful scars that bear His name. He doesn't want to erase them, He doesn't want us to hide them, He wants us to be proud of them. To use them to show the world that He can create beauty from ashes, if we only allow Him to do so.
I know I have some more healing to do. I know God is working to leave His mark where my wounds once were. I'm a work in progress! But I will continually pray that God heals my wounds, and leaves His beautiful signature over each of them, showing the world Who I belong to.
"God will not look you over for medals, degrees, or diplomas, but for scars."