It wasn’t our first drive to the hospital. We’d done it more than a few times to labor and deliver babies. But this time was different.
The one thing that always seems to stay the same is that things never go like we think they will. And we can cynically give up our expectations or learn to have our expectations be only in him.
So, we looked to him as we headed south, not knowing if we’d come back with a car seat full. Not knowing if I’d be returning our delivery room gifts again or actually getting to deliver them. We didn’t know if she was healthy or if we would get to call her ours.
But we knew he said: “Surely the righteous will never be shaken. . .they will have no fear of bad news; their hearts are steadfast, trusting in the Lord. Their hearts are secure, they will have no fear.” (Psalm 112:6-8)
“No fear” may have looked good on T-shirts in the ‘90s but doesn’t wear so well on this complicated heart of mine. It can feel secure and yet insecure. Fearless and ridden with fear. Trusting and doubting. Shaking and unshaken.
This is the gap we bridge between the eternal truth we read in the Bible, contrasted with the current headlines we read. And not just on the Internet, but even more so, the current headlines in our head.
But, we heard what he said and took those fears and insecurities and cast them on him and took his word and believed it to be true because he cannot lie, and we took that precious baby girl home from the hospital.
And this month marks one year since she took our last name.
These past 15 months have been ones of starting over for us in many respects.
When on-lookers adore our gorgeous girl, watching us with her and say, “Is this your first?”, we dust it off and give each other that knowing look of, “Oh yeah! We look young enough to be first time parents!” But then we laugh, knowing it’s been long enough since we’ve had a baby that they’re asking because we really just look like we’re trying to figure out what we’re doing!
Are car seats wider now? Because they don’t seem to fit in the carts like they did 7 years ago. And even with advanced degrees, we need reminded how to fold up this stroller made to last a nuclear explosion. We look like Charlie Chaplin wrestling comically with his chair!
But, we’re starting over with new eyes. New appreciation. New perspective. Of how fast it goes, how difficult parenting gets, and how grateful and humbled we are to be entrusted with another soul that will never die.
And although starting over means a fresh beginning, it also means beginning, yet again. In a fast-paced world, constantly speeding forward, marking those milestones and moving on to the next, hitting the breaks and turning around can be challenging.
I am encouraged though, remembering that the way forward in the Christian life is often by going back to the beginning. It’s tracing our roots to the Love that first loved us and the love we grow in response. It’s doing the works we did at first, like the command given to the church in Ephesus, trusting him with eagerness, hope, and joy. It’s recounting God’s faithfulness to his people for thousands of generations, starting with Adam and Eve.
It’s remembering that in the beginning of creation itself, I find the source of my identity as being made in God’s image. And then rejoicing that the Word, present in the beginning, became flesh and gave me the right to become one of his children, born of God himself, shaping my identity even more.
It’s finding that no matter where I am, the beginning or the end or anywhere in between, he’s there with me, because that’s who he is. “I am the Alpha and Omega, the first and the last, the beginning and the end.” (Revelation 22:13) I’m in good, reliable, and understanding company.
So, I’m getting comfortable here at the beginning, again. Because thankfully, his mercies never come to an end. They’ll start over in the morning, and I’ll need them; every single one!
- Whether by your choosing or God’s good ordination, where in your life are you starting over, finding a new normal, or going back to the beginning, again?
- What challenges does this change present in your lifestyle and/or life stage?
- Which of the scriptural truths referenced encourage you to remember that the way forward in the Christian life is often by going back to the beginning (e.g. the foundation of his love, his call of obedience, remembering his unchanging character and actions, his defining of your identity, the reassurance of his presence and help)? How does that truth inform your new circumstances?