A big finish. A new beginning.

I remember how I am supposed to feel. The day my pregnancy app alerted me that I had entered the third trimester when I was pregnant with Lilly, I was absolutely paralyzed by excitement. Pregnancy is a long journey, and I just remember looking at my phone, realizing I was in the home stretch, and experiencing the sensation of overwhelming, breath-taking anticipation that soon I would meet my baby. I began wishing the weeks away, anxious for any sign of labor, constantly day-dreaming of the moment she would be placed in my arms for the first time.

This morning I woke up to the same notification. “You made it to Trimester Three! Get ready for the big finish—and new beginning!” This morning I woke up, paralyzed yet again, but this time for a different reason. Fear.

I don’t want to get ready to finish this pregnancy. This pregnancy means her heart can stay just as it is and work adequately enough to sustain her. This pregnancy means she stays with me. This pregnancy means that I can feel her every move.  This pregnancy means she is safe.

This pregnancy means I can still protect her.

I don’t want to get ready for a new beginning. A new beginning means a sweet, but very brief moment in my arms before she is taken away to the NICU. A new beginning means wires and tubes and monitors. A new beginning means wondering every moment if her body is working properly because I can no longer feel her reassuring kicks. A new beginning means an all-out war against germs since infants with heart issues will be met with much more severity if they get sick. A new beginning means that our next step is an impending, complicated surgery.

A new beginning means I can no longer protect her.

These feelings I have are very real. I would even go as far to say they are very justified. Emotionally, it will be impossible for me to completely separate myself from them.  I also know they, to some extent, are lies.

It is true that this new beginning will mark the commencement of that very scary list. It is true that we have an intimidating, murky path ahead of us that will challenge our patience and our trust. What is not true is the sense of control I currently have over her well-being.

It is easy for pregnant women to feel in control over the babies inside of them. After all, our bodies are all that separate them from the outside. Where we go, they go. What we eat, they eat. What we say, they hear. They benefit when women take care of themselves during pregnancy. They suffer when their moms make poor choices. It all appears to be a very maternally-controlled situation, and while the choices mothers do and do not make have a direct impact on their babies, ultimately control belongs to their Creator. The same Creator who once formed the very mothers who carry them.

I look over at our beautiful 19-month-old daughter, Lilly, and realize that because she was born without defect and has been mostly healthy during her life, I have developed a false sense of security in my own ability to keep her safe. The truth is that I have the exact same amount of control over her as I do her sister inside of me. Her Creator is the same Creator who now holds her sister in the palm of His hand.

How often do we, as Christians, find ourselves believing that we have control over our circumstances? Think for a moment how quickly some of the most iconic Biblical figures believed they were in control and how much quicker God reminded them they weren’t. Moses tried to use a speech impediment to exercise control over his circumstances. Jonah thought he could hide on a boat. It is amazing the silly, humanistic things that give us such security.

So what do we do with this, then? We are not in control. God is. That’s scary, right?

Well, it can be scary to let go, but I will bring it back to the context of our baby and explain what I’m doing with it.

The fear I have about my daughter is real. It is justified. It will never completely go away. God not only expects that fear, but He understands it. He knows his children and knows we need reassurance of His presence in times of trouble. That is why He addresses it many times in Scripture. Here are a few of my favorite verses that speak to this:

“God is our refuge and strength, a very present help in trouble.” Psalm 46:1

“Have I not commanded you? Be strong and courageous. Do not be afraid; do not be discouraged, for the Lord your God will be with you wherever you go.” Joshua 1:9

“So do not fear, for I am with you; do not be dismayed, for I am your God.  I will strengthen you and help you; I will uphold you with my righteous right hand.” Isaiah 41:10

“The righteous cry out, and the Lord hears them; he delivers them from all their troubles.  The Lord is close to the brokenhearted and saves those who are crushed in spirit.” Psalm 34:17-18

These verses comfort me greatly, yet I still find myself wanting to be the one in charge of her security. But if I was in control, truly in control, what could I do for her?

Absolutely nothing.

What can the all-powerful, all-knowing, almighty God do for her?

Anything and everything.

Her Creator is the same Creator who formed the oceans and the mountains.

Her God is the same God who parted the Red Sea to save the Israelites.

Her King is the same King who silenced “king” Nebuchadnezzar.

Her Protector is the same Protector who sheltered Daniel in the lions’ den.

Our daughter is His daughter.

Sometimes I like to play “Bible Roulette”. There are times I know I need to be in the Word, but don’t know where to go, so I will just open up the Bible and read the first verse I see. Yesterday, I believe the Holy Spirit led me to Proverbs 23:26 which says, “My son, give me your heart and let your eyes keep to my ways.” Incredible.

So here I am, giving Him her heart, giving Him my heart, and praying I can sing His praises through it all. While my fear may not subside completely, I am praying the Lord’s name over the paralysis it is causing my excitement.

We are in the third trimester, getting ready for the big finish and the new beginning. Praise be to our Lord Jesus Christ who finished the battle with sin and death and began for us a new beginning, redeemed and forgiven in His name.