Surrendering to a Season (Thoughts at the Beginning of My Ninth Pregnancy)

Mackenzie Chester, the sacred everyday, surrendering to a season, pregnancy

This morning I drank a cup of tea for the first time in six weeks. Rich Assam with a swirl of cream. The taste of it brought tears to my eyes. It is October, and nothing complements the first of the crimsons and golds like a steaming mug of fragrant tea.

I am just rounding the corner on the first trimester of my ninth pregnancy. I cannot express to you what it means to me to wake up and feel alive, to want to get up out of bed, to have an appetite and actually like food, to enjoy being in the kitchen, to feel like I can genuinely smile at my children in the mornings, to have thoughts coming back into my head.

It has been an incredible and intense season of resting, waiting, listening, and ultimately surrendering to this all-consuming process again, which I have come to understand many times as a quiet calling that God is speaking over my life: To allow another child to move through my body and into the world.

The day before morning sickness hit me, I was literally sitting at my kitchen table with my journal, grateful, awestruck, teary-eyed, and overwhelmed by the flood of ideas that rushed through me. Every time I sat down in front of a blank page, words and lists and ideas would rush out of my pen. It was like the rainy season in Costa Rica, downpours out of clear skies, almost every single day of the week. I have not experience creative flow like this since I became a mother thirteen years ago. My mind was awake, my thoughts were alive, and the words came down like a deluge. And I loved it.

I woke up to a pregnancy that turned my rushing-river of creative flow into barely-moving molasses. I would lay in bed for hours without a single thought in my head. And just be dumbfounded by it. The juxtaposition was almost comical.

And slowly, over days and weeks of feeling that I had literally nothing to give to anyone, a few words came together as a phrase in my mind. And it comforted me. This is what it means to surrender to a season. Surely nothing has taught me this lesson more than allowing myself to be transformed by motherhood, which has left no part of my life untouched.

Isn’t this what we do as mothers? Surrender our lives to the different seasons of serving our family? We are constantly learning to lay aside our own preferences, our own wants and desires, for the bests for our children. Through pregnancy we are offering up our bodies as empty vessels that will carry a life over the wide ocean to the other side of the womb. We offer our minds, which are overtaken by constant thoughts of the needs of our children, of rearranging, of making visionary plans that will serve our family. We offer our souls, which are knit so deeply together with these lives that have moved through us that the cost is dear.

And this is precious to God. This is my worship. For the last six weeks, it has not looked inspiring or praise-worthy. It looks like laying on a bed. It looks like sleeping through the heavy hours of morning-and-afternoon sickness. It looks like letting a lot of non-essentials go. It looks like allowing myself to be served. Allowing my husband and older children to pick up my responsibilities for a season. And to be ok with that. Because God is doing this work in their lives too. And the truth is, there is no other way for this perfect tiny, imperceptible heart to be formed and begin to beat. For this little life to be knit together in my womb than to surrender to the whole process. The discipline of rest. The discipline of surrender. The discipline of trust. The discipline of saying yes to the next step and following through with faith.

There is beauty in every season. Just as the leaves are beginning to golden, I feel the glow of life stirring in me. I feel the plum-sized baby moving in my womb. And I feel myself waking up to the joy of it. Waking up to the beauty of a new season. I am tasting tea for the first time again. I am seeing the early light of the morning with childlike surprise and new wonder. I feel alive. Awake anew to the miracle and sacred beauty of my one-and-only life.

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