A New Journey – pt. 5

March 14th

Herm moved.

This baby has been called a lot of things:  Greta.  (Ewww… thanks, friend Jill.)  Munchkin, courtesy of overzealous sonogram lady #1.  An alien, during my initial worry stage.  A duck.  Little one.  Poonlet (one of my faves).

Lately, though, I’ve been resorting to “Herm”.  It’s hard to always write out him/her, or to say it for that matter.  So, since we don’t know the gender, Herm’s been working for me.

The midwife finally found Herm’s heartbeat and I got to listen, once again in wonder.  She wanted to check a few things, though, so I also got a bonus ultrasound.  I was watching the little screen, and I couldn’t believe my eyes: Herm was moving and kicking all over the place!  Herm even reached up to do something that looked an awful lot like Herm was scratching Herm’s head!

An everyday motion that will undoubtedly be  lame to everyone else was magical to me.  Simply magical.

The rest of the appointment went really well.  Herm is just the normal size  for this age, and I left greatly relieved. Does “relieved” mean I’m at the end of my struggle?  I doubt it.

When my mom was in the hospital, I had a crisis of faith.

I don’t mean that I lost my faith in God.  I mean that, all of a sudden, I had no idea what faith meant.

What does it look like to have faith when you know it doesn’t mean (necessarily) that you get what you want?  What does it mean to pray for someone’s healing in faith and know that the healing may come, or it may not?

I think that what I get from many Christians is that faith is praying and believing unswervingly that we’ll get what we want.  That may not be how it’s said and maybe it’s just me, but I feel it’s often what is meant.

The problem with that is: what do you do when you realize that’s not true?  What do you do when you realize you can’t control God?  What does “faith” look like then?

These are real questions that I had and, to some degree, still have.  How do I exhibit faith throughout this pregnancy, when I know in truth that it may go to term, or it may not?  I may have a healthy child, or I may not.

There are no guarantees stamped anywhere on my belly.  (Although, think about it… that would be pretty cool.)

I’m trying to walk the tightrope of reality-based faith, without falling into the ditches of despondency or, on the other side, denial.  Neither of these are what the Lord wants for me.

As I’m trying, though, I see warning  signs that I’m teetering or that I’ve fallen off completely.  Case in point: the state of my heart in this last appointment.  When I begin to expect tragedy, I am no longer walking in faith.  That much is clear.

As most of my prayers for my mom went unanswered (ungranted is a better word), I understood again that my faith needs to be in God Himself and in the sure promises that He’s given me and NOT in my ability to control Him through prayer.  If my faith is contingent on getting what I want, it is no longer faith in the Answerer of the prayers but in the answer itself.

That’s pretty much as far as I’ve gotten.  I believe God.  Some days, I believe in His kindness.  In faith, I believe that down whatever road He takes me, He will also guide me and hold my hand.  However, I do not believe that faith is a way for me to choose my own road or gain access to an easier one.

I don’t have any faith that my pregnancy will go as I plan.  I do have faith that it will go as He plans.

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10 responses to “A New Journey – pt. 5

  • Amber

    Thanks for sharing these thoughts you’ve been processing, TJ. I can definitely relate to and appreciate some of the questions and answers you’ve been pondering about faith and praying in faith. I agree with your feeling that often believers equate praying in faith with believing they will get what they want. And then when you don’t get what you want, it can lead to questioning and doubting and disappointment in God. I really appreciated your thought of having faith in the answerer of the prayer, rather than in the prayer itself. If you’ve ever had to pray fervently with petition for healing in the midst of unbearable pain, or in a time of life or death, and struggle through what it means if God doesn’t come through in the way you hope or expect and believe He can in faith, you understand those questions of faith in a deeper, more powerful way. You have and I have, in different ways, and though that doesn’t always feel like a gift, I do think it gives is a less shallow experience of what it truly means to follow the Lord and trust Him in faith…and that prayerfully leads to a deeper and sweeter communion with Him in the process. And that is a blessing that I will take. Even if it’s still hard to navigate in the midst of the pain. Let me know if you figure out the challenge of walking on the tightrope of reality-based faith. I teeter and sometimes fall off more than I’d like to. 😉

    • TJ Poon

      I appreciate your words, Amber! It would be nice to get that tightrope thing down, but I’m pretty sure that’s not going to happen 🙂 By the time I figure out how to trust him with this thing, there will be something new that will challenge me in a different way. Sigh.
      I do hope the things I wrestle through now will lead me to a deeper intimacy with the Lord, even though I know it’s not guaranteed. I have to be faithful and allow it to draw me closer rather than pushing me away.
      I pray that you also are able to enjoy a deeper and more intimate walk with God as you continue to seek Him through the challenge of ungranted prayers.

  • Anita Gonzales

    This post was so timely for me, and I thank you for posting it. I just found out I was pregnant and Im about 7 weeks. I had my first appointment today and I completely fell into the pray and “in faith” my request will be answered trap. Thankfully the Dr. said the baby is fine and has a good heartbeat but unfortunately I just have this fear of the Dr. I can’t control what happens there and what happens to me and my body. So it has caused me to have this internal battle. I want to have faith and just let go and let God, as they say. I am coming to find that although I pray for good health for myself it may not be what God plans for me. Its been very hard for me and I pray that this unneeded anxiety will not consume the next 8 months of my pregnancy. Thanks for sharing and its a bit comforting to know there is people out there who have somewhat similar situations.

    • TJ Poon

      Wow, Anita, that is wonderful news! Congratulations!
      It is so hard to realize that we’re not in control, and pregnancy is one of the things that makes it really obvious. Although we get to house these little lives for a while, so much of what will happen to them is out of our hands. It’s tough.
      I pray that you are able to enjoy the blessings of this time and find peace and joy in the Lord!

  • Ambreen

    I love your little picture! While this probably isn’t comforting to hear, I feel that sometimes I just go from worry to worry in pregnancy. And over half my worries are entirely irrational. At least you can see legs on that ultrasound. The ultrasound I had around 12 weeks or so, I couldn’t see legs clearly. The doctor wasn’t worried, but I was concerned. An observant friend of mine told me that Phillip’s her father – she’s going to have legs, long ones. By week 15’s ultrasound, sure enough, there were very visible legs. Anyways, while worries seem to be part of the package for me, I think in a way they’re good to have right now. We have to learn to manage them now, right? Otherwise we’ll be over-paranoid worry-wort parents. At some point we have to learn to let go and let what’s going to happen, happen. We can do our part to make sure the baby is healthy and happy, but we can’t control everything. On the other hand, while the babies in our tummies are the biggest miracles to us, this is a very normal miracle that happens all the time. Babies want to survive, want to grow, want to come to term, etc. And look around you — we’re surrounded by people who were born healthy. Wishing you and Herm continued health (or Poonlet, which I like too!).

    • TJ Poon

      Ambreen, I like your observation that we have to learn to manage our worries now – so true! There really isn’t a time where, as a parent, I’ll have nothing that will tempt me to worry. Learning to give those things over now is a challenge, but a blessing if we succeed! Thanks for your words!

  • Jenny

    little herm is a cutie. and i love his mommy!

  • Doug

    Nice revelation. It’s easy for me, sometimes, to have faith in God’s grace and benevolence. His justice or anger, on the other hand, that is a different story. I am so excited you and Jason get to experience the joys of pregnancy and childbirth (I’m expressing a little faith in the latter). Whoever thought losing sleep, having to give up selfish ambitions and desires, increasing family expenditures, and constantly cleaning up play-doh would be so joyful. Even the way I interpret God’s Word has changed since I became a father. I do pray, in faith, that God’s plans for your pregnancy are far better than you could have ever dreamed. Oh yeah, I also think Herm is freaking awesome.

  • Stephanie N.

    I love this, TJ, on so many levels.

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