I had dreams and aspirations for the birth of my children that everything would go as planned. However, both children surprised me with an early arrival, with little time left for preparing for birth. At noon on Saturday, February 2, 2013, a friend called asking us to take custody of her nephew. What followed was a flurry of home inspections, background checks, and lots of cleaning. By 5:36pm that afternoon, a tiny trembling 8-month-old boy was placed in our arms with a little plastic bag of clothes, one blanket and a carseat. In less than 6 hours we had become parents with hardly any notice or preparation.
Six months later, on Friday night, August 9th, at 11:00pm, I went into labor. No warning signs beforehand of dilation, braxton hicks, effacement or any warm up labor. It was several weeks before my due date as I was expecting to give birth closer to September. Without infant clothes, a crib or even diapers, we were under-prepared and frantically readied the house to welcome our firstborn.
Preparing for Birth – Spiritually and Emotionally
I believe we must also be preparing for birth spiritually, emotionally, physically and mentally – preparing to receive new life and the responsibility of motherhood. In the latter ways I felt more prepared and this helped me through those unexpected circumstances. Today I want to address the spiritual and emotional foundations of welcoming a new child, and soon I will discuss strengthening yourself mentally and physically.
To begin with, my husband and I were open to God’s plan for our family and did not hold onto preconceived notions of what our first year of marriage should look like. We knew that if God wanted to bless us with a child, He would not withhold the means to provide for him! After all, we are merely stewards of His children. I have been reminded many times of the verse in Malachi 3:10:
“Bring the whole tithe into the storehouse, that there may be food in my house. Test me in this,” says the LORD Almighty, “and see if I will not throw open the floodgates of heaven and pour out so much blessing that there will not be room enough to store it.”
I saw this verse fulfilled recently as I was sorting through clothing that had taken over my house. I had been given over 450 boy items sized 0-18mo! He is faithful!
Do We Truly Trust Him?
It is amazing how in America we often have that verse backwards. We ask God to bless us first and then we will give Him the full tithe or surrender all of ourselves. We like to give conditions such as, “We will have kids once we can afford it,” or, “We will go off birth control after we have been married a few years.” As good American Christians we have even come up with great Christianized reasons such as, “I am sure God would just want us to focus on our marriage right now,” or the classic, “We are putting off having children so we can focus on ministry.”
We say we trust Him fully, but when it comes down to it, we work to keep our wombs off limits to His control and come up with every excuse in the world why we can’t accept children in His timing. To understand more what the Bible says about having children, I recommend reading Be Fruitful and Multiply by Nancy Campbell and The Bible and Birth Control by Charles D. Provan.
Not only can withholding your womb from the Lord hinder your relationship with Him, but it can also affect your child’s confidence. It is sad to see my adult friends who still walk around with guilt to this day or feelings of rejection because they were “accidents.” While I know Christ can redeem and heal those emotional scars, let’s not put that burden on our children. Instead let’s embrace each one with joy, knowing that every baby is a gift from the Lord!
A great book to prepare your heart for being a mother is Expecting Joy by Mary Lou Graham and Marianne Kelso. This book was written by my mother who has been pregnant once as a teenager and nine times in her marriage to my dad. She focuses on the fruit of the Spirit found in Galatians 5:22-23, and applying them during pregnancy. It also is a great book to give away to friends who are struggling with the idea of being pregnant or are considering abortion.
Let’s prepare our hearts for children while we have the time to do so!
Note: As the time of this writing, we have not been able to adopt the child we have custody of, but we are hoping and praying that it is in God’s will to do so. Please join us in praying for the best outcome for him.
What are your thoughts on preparing for birth spiritually and emotionally? What is your perspective on trusting God with children?