Moving Through Fear, Walking by Faith (How This Pregnancy Is Giving Me a New Kind of Courage)

I am in the second trimester of my sixth pregnancy.  This is really happening.  This is set in motion.  In a few short months, this pregnancy will end in labor, delivery, and the prize of all prizes–another sweet baby in our family.

People literally say to me all the time, regarding birth, “Oh, you’re a pro by now.”  “This one will be a piece of cake.”  (And this one I particularly love…)  “Don’t you just pop them out?”

I have yet to come up with a good response to those kinds of comments.

Every pregnancy, I wrestle with the fear of childbirth.  It sounds stupid, especially since I keep having children.  But it is true.  Every time I am here, I feel the life-and-deathness of birth.  It is visceral.  It is blood and water.  It is a beautiful but violent force that separates one body into two.

And here I am.

I spent nearly all nine months of Heidi’s pregnancy terrified of going through birth again.  It was really something I struggled against.  I knew that there was no other way to get to that baby than to pass through the experience, but every part of my body and mind were trying to run in the opposite direction.  I wanted to avoid pain.  I wanted to avoid the total and complete physical surrender to God, the point where I knew all I could do was trust Him to deliver the baby while I simply focused on breathing and staying alive.

It was a really hard nine months for me, and I felt totally consumed by my own fears.

I hate that feeling.  I have felt it with many of my pregnancies.

But this time is different.

Something amazing happened to me early on in my pregnancy.  One night, I woke up in a panic, with that feeling that the inevitable is coming.  I started to get white-knuckled right there in that moment just thinking about enduring another labor, delivering another baby in who-knows-what kind of condition under God-knows-what kind of circumstances.  I was just getting into a really good panic, when I heard something really clearly in my spirit.

Don’t even open that door.

I understood, and in my mind and my heart, I prayed and said, “God, I am not even going to walk down this road.  I am not even going to open that door.  I am not going to live in fear.”

I immediately felt calm and went back to bed.

So I have continued to remember those words.

The difference is amazing.  Whenever I feel the door of fear and panic about birth starting to open, I close it with a prayer that God’s will will be done completely in my life and the life of this child.  And then, I stop thinking about it and get on with my life.

It sounds incredibly simple, and it really is.  I wanted to share it because, having had a baby so recently (Heidi is now 15 months old), I still remember the way I felt during her pregnancy.  The whole saga is chronicled in my journals, and I could easily relive that kind of fear this go-round.  But it is the difference in living in fear and living by faith.

I know many people do not have such strong fears associated with childbirth.  But I am trying to apply this to other areas of my life.  I sometimes get in a panic about the future for my children.  What will the world be like for them in a few years?  What will they have to endure?  What kind of heartache awaits them?  All I can do is my best to raise them, and then, I must realize that ultimately, they belong to God.  And when I start to panic about their futures, and I am paralyzed by fear, all I can do is pray for them and choose to close that door and trust that God is in control.

Allowing my mind to be consumed by fear is the opposite of living by faith.

Randy and I have seen lots of miracles in our marriage.  We have seen God provide for our physical needs when we were desperate in countless ways.  It was undeniably Him, because the details were too perfect and the occasions too numerous for it to be a string of “coincidences.”  He has answered our prayers with miracle after miracle of provision–for money, for food, for a van, for gas, for work…  There were so many times He showed me that He cares for our physical needs.  And He showed me that we don’t have to live in fear when there is no money in the bank or we need a bigger vehicle and we don’t know how we are going to pay for it.  He cares about these things, and it is going to work out.

But this miracle feels different.  I can see that God is not only interested in me allowing Him to stretch my faith where our physical needs are being met.  He is moving me into a new season of faith.  Faith that ultimately, He is in control, and that I can choose to believe that, or I can continue to hold onto the illusion that I am in complete control of my life.  I want to let that go.  I want to rest in the fact that God will deliver me and my children.  And all I can do is prepare as best as I can for the future, without fear of tomorrow.

I do not want to live in this paralysis any longer.

God has given me the choice:  Open the door and let fear consume my life, or close the door, turn my back on fear, and begin to walk more fully by faith.

Painting by Paloma Chester, age 6

2 Comments Add yours

  1. Sara says:

    Beautiful, Mac. Thank you so much. You have been and are one of God’s many blessings to Joseph and me. We love you very much.