What I Learned about God in my First Trimester
My husband and I just hit the milestone of five years of marriage in early March.
We love our little yellow house in Franklin, TN. Our sweet pup always brings smiles to our faces even when she's bringing mud in the house from the backyard. We both feel so fulfilled in our careers. The things we talked about and dreamt about as college kids when we met all seem to be happening, so naturally, we started talking about one other thing that we used to talk about as something that we'd do "someday."
A few weeks later, I was waking up on a Sunday morning saying, "what's that awful smell?" before rushing to the toilet to vomit, walk outside the bathroom like nothing happened, turn down my normal cup of coffee, and look at my husband saying, "So, pancakes?"
Baby Wilcox was officially on the way with a trail of saltine crackers and cheerios to prove it. We are so excited to become parents!
In all our conversations leading up to pregnancy I was convinced I was ready. Or at least, as ready as I would ever be. It felt like the perfect time to make the leap. I also knew these things could take time, so why not start? In any case, I'd have nine months to prepare myself. I thought often of moms who had told me, "God gives us nine months for a reason!"
As soon as I got pregnant, a lot changed for me. Not over time, not subtly, but instantly.
That caught me off guard. I was counting on my nine months of prep time. I had prayed and believed for a baby as so many women have without realizing that I would feel a shift in my identity...instantly.
I had been living from this illusion of control. I run my own business so I create my own schedule. I had lined up the “perfect” amount of work for the first quarter of the year, had my list of new year’s goals in hand, and as soon I as I got pregnant I envisioned myself prioritizing hitting the gym, hydrating, easily keeping the secret, and being one of those pregnant women who seems like a superhero because she’s doing so MUCH. Basically, my mindset was, “I’ve totally got this!”
A few weeks in, I was wearing dirty sweatpants with greasy hair, covered in pregnancy acne (so fun!), and found myself waking up in the morning to immediately grab for my saltines praying in my head, please God, can I just keep these crackers down today?
The next thing any first time mom does is go for the research. I was rarely leaving my bed so I would scroll and read about all the things you simply must do for the babies health and yours. I felt betrayed by my body when it simply said, “no way!” to taking a prenatal vitamin. The sense of control I thought I had disappeared.
I don’t think it has to take having a little human bouncing around inside of you for you to have an increased sense of desperation for God.
For me, God used that circumstance to shift my “I’ve totally got this!” to “I’m totally lost and out of control. I need you, God.”
I learned to embrace pregnancy as something completely outside of control. For me, pregnancy seems to be the perfect image for what it’s like to live a life of faith. There are people who do everything “right” while pregnant and still experience suffering. There are people who do everything “wrong” and pop out healthy, happy babies a few months later.
We all have some illusion of control in our lives. We can pretend “we’ve totally got this” and prove it by serving in a position in church, checking off our favorite “good Christian” boxes or by surrounding ourselves with wise friends for endless hours of advice giving.
But what does it take for us to go looking for God?
My need for God became apparent quickly in pregnancy. I couldn’t stand the smell of our entire kitchen so I relied on my husband for food. Before sharing the news, our social circle shrunk as we turned down dinner invites and postponed events. I couldn’t help but take naps in the middle of the day even with a to-do list piling up. In all the ways I used to pick up my false sense of control I had to lay it down and simply say, “I need you God. I trust you in this.”
I had to ask for forgiveness from friends I let down, let go of freelance projects I couldn't keep up with, apologize repeatedly to my ever-helpful husband and finally...admit that being a limited human is actually a beautiful thing.
There is a popular passage in Matthew (Matthew 9:18-26) where two different people with two different stories and two different needs are searching for Jesus. One, a woman who has been bleeding for twelve years, another, a leader who doesn't want his daughter to die, both go looking for Jesus.
The woman touches his robe and receives her healing instantly as Jesus turns to look at her and call her "daughter." Then he returns to the leader's home, where mourners are already singing but Jesus touches this girl's hand and invites her to get up, raising her from the dead.
Both the woman and the leader received what they were looking for--healing and a miracle.
Lately, I'm left wondering if what we find in our relationship with God is what we go looking for. That woman and ruler decided Jesus was a healer because of what they had heard and what they believed. When they were in need of healing, they went looking for what they knew they could rely on Him to provide.
How often do I DIY my faith and try to simply stand in the gap for God instead of going to Him first? How often do I hang onto other solutions, trying to find some sense of control, before I admit that I’m in desperate need of God and actually go out searching for Him?
My pregnancy helped me realize quickly with humility that I don't just need God. I want God. I want to be proactively looking for God for all of my needs, my limitations, and my longings.
Is there something you are looking for? What if, we take God at His word that when we seek we will find and we commit to living lives of faith that involve proactively searching for God.
Let's live from a desperate kind of faith that commits to looking for Him just to touch the hem of His garment and a confident faith that believes Him when He looks at something dead and calls it back to life. Relying on the true authority of God in our lives is more trustworthy and secure than attempting to rely on ourselves.