Tag Archives: birth

FaithWaiting

I enjoy making up words. I loved word play with my children. We now have several words only our family knows. Today I made up this one: FaithWaiting.

FaithWaiting is different from regular waiting.

All waiting is pretty excruciating. Waiting for admission to that certain college. Waiting to turn 16. Waiting for the wedding day. Waiting in traffic. Waiting for the biopsy results…or really, almost any results. Waiting to hear if you got that job. All kinds of hospital waiting is agonizing.

In our family we are waiting on a baby to arrive.  Pregnancy is so long! There are so many unknowns. My daughter is now down to the baby-could-come-at-any-time part of pregnancy. She and I are planners and we are having trouble with our plan making because we DO NOT KNOW WHEN THIS WILL HAPPEN. She is going to the doctor weekly now. Last time I asked her if the doctor said when this will happen and she reminded me rather sternly that they do not tell you WHEN.

I am planning to be there when this impossible-to-know thing happens but I live 5 hours away so how do I plan? How do I wait? How do they wait? How does anyone FaithWait verses plain old anxious waiting?

A few tips for FaithWaiting:

Do what you can. In my case that includes keeping gas in my car, suitcase mostly packed, making lots of casseroles to fill my daughter’s freezer when I get there, keeping my phone nearby.

Remember what you know. God is faithful. All will be well. You are not and never were in control. You are in God’s hands. Waiting is a gift, a discipline and an exercise in faith.

Trust. Today’s entry in Jesus Calling reminds us of God’s word to us, Waiting on Me means directing your attention to Me in hopeful anticipation of what I will do. It entails trusting Me with every fiber of your being, instead of trying to figure things out yourself. Waiting on Me is the way I designed you to live: all day, every day. 

Pray. Pray for peace as you wait.

Keep your routines and rituals. Sometimes keeping a schedule is an act of grace that calms us down and reminds us of God’s presence in the daily routine acts of life. Eat, exercise, work, rest, repeat.

I’ve preached and written before about how hard it must have been for the followers of Jesus on that day of waiting between Good Friday and Easter Sunday. How did they bear it? Can you imagine the sorrow, angst, worry, uncertainty and pain they must have felt? The Bible says very little about that Saturday but I believe it is one of the most important times in the whole Bible because it was a whole day of not knowing when all they could do was FaithWait. I imagine time just painfully crawling that day, oozing with despair.

Waiting is what the Christian life is all about. We do not know the plan. We do not know what the future holds. Most of the time we barely know what God wants us to do.

The difference is we wait as those who have hope. That is FaithWaiting at its finest. Psalm 33:20-22 offers this prayer: We wait in hope for the Lord; God is our help and our shield. In God our hearts rejoice, for we trust in God’s holy name. May your unfailing love rest upon us, O Lord, even as we put our hope in you. 

Casserole by casserole, I FaithWait.

Dr. Cindy Ryan is a pastor, wife, mother of three, breast cancer survivor, Mimosa to Keller and his soon to arrive baby brother and one who waits with hope.

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Lock Eyes and Smile

Even though it was 27 years ago, I still remember my daughter’s first smile. I’d been giving and giving and giving to that child. I shared my body with her. I gave birth to her which was a pretty major endeavor. And then for those first six weeks or so it was that endless cycle of nursing, diaper changes, getting to know her, miles and miles of rocking her to sleep. On this one, crisp October morning she locked eyes with me and smiled. It was a for real smile not a gas or accident smile. I remember being astounded. I even said out loud to her, “You mean you’re going to give something back?” It filled me, that smile.

So fast forward a few decades. Her son is now six weeks old. He’s been smiling a bit but those were just accidental smiles amid the myriad of faces he makes awake and asleep. I love all his faces. His mad cry face is one of my favorites, but I like them all. I just happened to be there the week he started to smile (because I can’t quit going back to take him in.)

He locks eyes and smiles. I wish I had words to describe how that felt…like connection, wonder, rebirth, joy, love. Then of course, I was beside myself trying to get him to smile again and again. He has a crooked smile and it is gorgeous.

And now he joins that great company of people, all around the world who can gift one another with a smile. A smile is the same in every language amazingly. It cuts across cultures, traditions and socio-economic classes.

The day my grandson smiled at me, I decided I was going to do that too. If he could bring that much joy to me, I can share it. So, I’m practicing: just lock eyes and smile; lock eyes and smile. Strangers seem to like it. Wait staff at restaurants do too. My husband enjoys it and so does my big football player son. You have to look up from your phone or your work or your computer and notice people to do it. It takes practice.

Mother Teresa, always wise and perceptive, said, “We shall never know all the good that a simple smile can do.” I’ve learned it from babies.k smile Lock eyes and smile and see what happens.

Savoring

In the wee hours of June 28, our 31st wedding anniversary, the home phone rang. With the birth of our grandson approaching, I answered it on the second ring, broken ankle and all. My daughter said, “Happy Anniversary, Mom…I think we are going to have a big present for you.” In a pure excitement fog, we packed up, and headed out of town as fast as we could; monitoring her labor all the way.  Of course, of course, of course there was a tire issue about two hours into the five hour drive.  We told the man at the tire place that we had a grand baby on the way.  His had been born the day before. “My baby had a baby yesterday, I know how you feel. We are going to get you all on the road.” He hurried his workers for us and we were back on the road in 30 minutes.

We arrived at the hospital at just the right time, about 5 hours ahead of little Keller’s birth.  We had pre-arranged that my daughter would have both her husband and myself with her during labor.  We made a fabulous team. I forgot how hard the pushing was and found myself in a full body sweat, pushing with her all the way. I have no words for how it felt to see my daughter’s strength and stamina; her husband’s love and encouragement; the wonderful work of a physician and team of nurses; the birth; the laughing and tears all mingled together; a slightly scary part where the baby had to go to the nursery for 30 minutes to be monitored at first; and his return to them, all pink and healthy.

They live in a place where every sunrise and sunset is more gorgeous than the next. I broke my ankle trying to capture a sunset  with my camera. And now, in between my sunrise and sunset pictures; this baby, picture after picture. I wanted to capture his littleness, his softness, his faces, his stretches. I wished I could take a picture of his sweet smell. At the same time,  I wanted to capture those sunrises, the pinks, the corals, the  yellows. I wanted to drink it all in because what I know now, that I didn’t use to know, is that that these moments are fleeting and so unspeakably beautiful.

Two days after his birth, I found my daughter in tears. She said, “He’s growing too fast.” I had no words of wisdom. None. I was looking at a grown young woman, a mom, who I just gave birth to myself. Our tears mingled as I said, “I know.”

I know we are to savor. I know we are to be grateful and in the moment. I know real moments are better than I-phone ones. But, wouldn’t it be so sweet if we could just pause  on the beautiful holy moments just a little bit longer than all the others? God is so good.