In the weeks leading up to our first two anniversaries, I spent the days reminiscing about our wedding and all the happy memories surrounding it. This year I have spent my days with family (my parents and mother-in-law are here) as we anxiously await the newest member of our family and get our home ready for his arrival.
It’s kind of mind-boggling how much preparation one tiny little person requires. I’ve invested countless hours in checking off lists and making sure we have all our ducks in a row. As a result, my writing productivity has seen a significant decline. I had planned to get a lot of writing done once my class papers were all submitted, but that just hasn’t happened. My days have instead been filled with installing car seats, washing baby clothes, buying nursing tops with my mom and mother-in-law, and going on walks with my dad.
A part of me has bristled at my own decrease in productivity. A part of me feels like I am wasting time that could be used for ministry. Fortunately, God brought some encouragement to my heart through a book I have been reading this week. It is called Creating with God: The Holy Confusing Blessedness of Pregnancy, and so far it has been exactly what I needed.
Written by a fellow Duke Divinity School grad, author Sarah Jobe reflects on her own experience of pregnancy and what she learned about herself and God. In a chapter titled “Learning to Rest,” Sarah explains her frustrations with the fatigue caused by pregnancy. As much as she resisted it, her body forced her to slow down and, in the process, opened her eyes to new insights about Sabbath and rest.
The entire chapter is an absolute gem whether you are pregnant or not, but one section ministered to me so powerfully that I actually wept in public as I read it on a train. At one point Sarah recounts Jesus’ story of the shepherd who left his ninety-nine sheep to recover the one that had been lost (Matt. 18:12-14). In light of her own pregnancy, Sarah responds to this passage with the following words:
I always thought that it made more sense for the shepherd to stay and take care of the ninety-nine sheep, but during my pregnancy, God taught me to focus on one little lamb.
I love that. It is such a wonderful reminder that while I am doing less in the way of ministry, this time does not signify a decrease in productivity per se. I am very much doing something, and it is precious and good in God’s economy. Whether I am nesting or resting, already I am mothering.
This chapter, and those specific words, also reminded me of the extravagance of God’s love. In Matthew 18 Jesus describes a kind of love that would step away from the urgency of the ninety-nine to give His full attention to the one. Although that kind of love seems irrational and even unfair (and maybe it is), it also allows us the freedom to do the same without guilt or remorse.
What does that look like in my life, right now? Well yesterday I was struck by the reality that I am not promised another pregnancy. This could be my one and only. And while there have been parts of pregnancy that I dislike, I don’t want to wish this time away. The days of my pregnancy are numbered, so I want to soak up this intimate time with my son, marveling at the miracle of his tiny kicks and rolls. I want to imprint this season on my mind and treasure it in my heart. I don’t want to pack my days full with ninety-nine things so that I end up missing time with the one.
Those of you who have been reading my blog for awhile know that I occasionally allow myself Sabbaths or fasts from writing. This week I realized it is time for another. As I wait for this little one to come, and as I relish the final days of his inhabiting my big round belly, this is a season to focus on my “little lamb.” Of course, this shift in my priorities is by no means temporary as my identity changes and I transition into my new role as mother. However, I am designating these next few weeks to give him special attention and take a writing sabbatical in the mean time.
I will definitely hop on here to let you all know whenever Baby Miller decides to make an entrance. However, I will be writing a lot less, if at all, and I would greatly appreciate your prayers in the mean time! This is an exciting time for me and Ike as we wait to meet our son. There are ninety-nine different things we could be doing right now, but we are delighted to set them all aside for our one little lamb.