Come October of last year Nathan and I both had an inkling that proved true. Though we had not completely squelched the thought of more children, we also had not planned on them. Sometimes I would think about it and he would think about it but never at the same time. Then, a conversation at the breakfast table. He revealed to me how God had recently laid it on his heart that the possibility was possible and would he just be willing and cheerfully so? And myself? Well, in the most random and unexpected of ways God had called me to this possibility as well. Over a book, a novel, just a fluff-and-stuff kind of read. In it was a character who was pregnant with twins and for whatever, God-given reason, I began to long. So, maybe the surprise began with that – us actually having one heart and mind over the possibilities.
We found out we were pregnant later that morning; I shook, he cried. We were…happy. Then the surprise of my other feelings. Here I had thought we were “done,” and I had begun to think of what might be next. The days that followed were filled with early pregnancy sickness which led to weakness of mind and spirit. I couldn’t even think above the tears and nausea and exhaustion to pray that my spirit would rise above my flesh!* I loved this life within me, but I couldn’t cope with the lack of life I felt in my body, soul, and mind. I was overwhelmed!
Fast forward 2 1/2 months later, and life has started to fall back into, well, life. Little things like eating and feeling good about it, drinking a whole cup of coffee, drinking water, and making supper are bringing big blessings to my days. Now, to really ponder the New Year…the Year of Surprise!
I had a chance to take a morning slow before school began again, and I got to indulge in a rare past time. I wrote my Dad a letter! I sat up against my pillows in bed while Nathan rested beside me on one side and my cup of coffee sat steaming on the other, and I wrote…5 pages! I told Dad about my word for the year and where it originated. Then I went on to explain my deeper hopes for Surprise! this year. It went something (sort of) like this:
As much as I am looking forward to physical surprises this year, I am looking more for surprises of The Spirit. I want to be surprised at how I look at people and circumstances – maybe finally seeing them how God does. I want to be surprised at how I respond toward people and in circumstances – maybe finally having that “gentle and quiet spirit.” I want to be surprised at the joy I find on the easy and the hard days, in the sun and in the shadows, with plenty and with little. That would truly be the greatest of all surprises!
That’s it. A year to be surprised by a Savior Who loves me more than I know. A year to hopefully begin to see fruit where years of cultivating and weeding and transplanting and watering have been done. A year to be surprised when there actually is less of me and more of Him. This kind of year will not be for my natural, faint heart; His strength will have to win my whole heart and take up residence where my weaknesses have lingered for far too long. Surprises don’t settle for the old, they take on something new. A new day, a new gift, a new perspective, a new-because-it’s-growing-everyday faith, a new and deeper trust, a new way – His Way.
God has already been revealing some of His Higher Thoughts to me as I am reading through the Bible with Nathan this year. I hope to find the right words in the midst of all the muddle in my head and share them throughout the next weeks. (I’ve been thinking on Abraham, Daniel, Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego. There are spiritual strengths in these men that are challenging me – surprising me!)
*a paraphrase from Amy Carmichael
Until the next time, I do want to leave anyone out there with the links to these wonderful opportunities made possible by this wonderful, surprise of a book by Sarah Mae and Sally Clarkson, Desperate.
free coffee for a year: http://sarahmae.com/2013/01/for-the-exhausted-mama-free-coffee-for-a-year-plus-new-gifts-added-for-those-who-purchase-desperate/
a spa/mentoring weekend with Sally and Sarah: http://desperatemom.com/spamentoring-weekend-with-sally-clarkson-sarah-mae/
a weekend retreat at The Cove in NC: http://www.itakejoy.com/who-tells-a-mama-what-to-do/