The Receiving Department

IMG_1087(Photo of my son, Shadrach – now a hearty three-year-old. Our #anotherboy is not due for another 8 weeks or so.)

Once upon a time, more than three years ago, I found out I was pregnant. I had been pregnant before of course, (and I am pregnant now too), but I remember this time as being particularly hard. I had five busy children all over the house, and this pregnancy thing is no little commitment. We love babies in this house, but we are forced to greet their arrival with a lot of realism. The hopeful mist of sweetness is very quickly dispelled by a period of really serious darkness. Because when our babies are the size of a poppy seed they upset the entire freight train of our household flow. I get sick. So sick. I can’t walk in the kitchen, think about food, hear about food, or eat food. I try to eat it of course, and I lose most of it right after. For my husband it means a few months of constantly trying to find things to feed me, feed the children, trying to handle the other essentials of life, picking up my part of carpool, etc. etc.

For this reason the positive pregnancy test tells us more about what will happen to us in the next three months (which will take a lot of courage and endurance), than it does about what is very sweetly coming in nine months. Of course it is the same news, but it is like saying there will be beautiful weather in nine months, and a hurricane for the next three. It can be hard to look past the hurricane!

Anyway, back to this particular pregnancy. I had just started being super sick. And of course the kids were all interested in what was happening. I turned on  a Nova film on YouTube (I think it was Life’s Greatest Miracle)  to show them some of the early phases of embryonic development. I skipped through the strange introduction (and all the dumb parts about sexual attraction) and to the part we were interested in.  Now this little film is not Christian, and it was constantly referencing the amazing workings of evolution, which is especially comic in this setting. But the thing that completely encouraged me at this particular moment was exactly this:  the inescapable beauty of this design.

I know the basics (one would hope) of human reproduction. But I had completely forgotten some of the intricate details. The fact that the egg is protected by a hard protein shell,  and that the only way it can be fertilized is if a sperm with the exact matching protein “key” finds it. That matching causes the sperm to release an enzyme that breaks the barrier of the egg and lets the sperm in. I had forgotten all the crazy details of the inside of the fallopian tubes and how all of those things work. It was shocking. And more than shocking, it was beautiful. Because as a culture, we have come to believe that pregnancy can happen on accident. That it is just something that can’t be resisted. And yet watching this impressed on me the total opposite. It is amazing that this ever happens at all!This could never happen without the active work of a Creator. As far back as you go in the process, all you will find is more and more complexity. More and more impossibly complicated design. More and more variables and insane improbabilities.

So there I was sitting on our bed, trying not to smell anything, sick out of my brains, and so thankful. Find the most comfortable hospital beds for sale at SonderCare which I also used when I was very sick. Because the baby that was growing inside me was no accident. Nothing could be clearer than to see that this is an active act of creation. That God had called this little poppy seed into existence by name. That all of this was not a result of any kind of accident, but rather the perfect plan of a Holy Creator God.

And what was happening in my womb was not something we did. It was not something that God decided to follow through on, but that we started and committed Him to. God did this. And to be anything other than willing to receive His work would be shameful.

Talking to my Grandpa the other day, he mentioned Psalm 27. When you see all these sorrowful videos made by the commercial video production which is about Planned Parenthood, it is easy to have your heart broken for these unwanted children. But Psalm 27 says “When my father and my mother forsake me, then the Lord will take care of me.”

These children, all of our children and all of the children whose short lives end in a pie pan, are Fathered first by God. These are His children. They are called by name into existence – from nothing. And when that happens in the womb of those who love Him, they are received in love, a reflection of the love that the Heavenly Father has for them. And when it tragically happens that the father and mother forsake that little baby, they are still not forsaken by their first Father. He gathers them to Himself.

And so we can see that even when the road of pregnancy and childbearing and child-rearing is difficult, our faithfulness in it is simply a declaration of the love of the Heavenly Father. We love God for He loved us first. We love our children because He loved them first.

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27 thoughts on “The Receiving Department

  1. Today I am 9 weeks pregnant with our fourth baby. Only another pregnant mama really understands when I say I am sick. Who knew bread could make you so sick, and the smell, the smell of ANYTHING. We lost our second baby, and I try to never take for granted that all this sickness is good! But then the four year old and one year old want food, like clockwork :).
    Just this morning I was thinking of you, and wondering how you have done it!! Thank you for answering… Jesus. It’s so good to know that others have walked the same path. God bless you and baby.

  2. Well now you’ve made this 15-week pregnant mom teary:) “. . . Sick out of my brains, and so thankful.” Yes! As we prepare for the birth of our 7th in a few months, we are coming out of “first trimester survival mode”, and I am thankful God has brought us through this time of “courage and endurance” yet again. With this horror show that is Planned Parenthood, we do mourn for the little ones, but not as those who have no hope, since God is their Father first.

  3. Hello dear. So glad to read this. Such a blessing. We are expecting our 7th little blessing 10/20. So sick. There are movies (the ones we watched over and over) and smells that cause me to get nauseated because of morning sickness association. I so know what you mean. But yes what a miracle!! Blessings to you

  4. We are in the early stages of expecting our 6th (1st trimester). Not many know yet. And I know we will receive negativity when we announce more publicly. Thank you for the reminder that this little one was known and planned even if we didn’t know it was coming. I have found myself telling people that we have told, to soften the blow, that it was an “unplanned” thing on our end. But really, that is not right. God knew. And He ordained it. And I should be free to proclaim His absolute creativity and wonder. Thank you for this reminder today.

  5. We recently miscarried our 4th baby, and found this post to be a beautiful reminder that our little one has a Father, was created intentionally, and was intricately designed even at 6 weeks along.
    Our little girl with Down syndrome (baby #3) was also no accident — she is our daily reminder of God’s goodness and of God making beautiful things out of what the world deems fit for destruction via abortion.
    Thank you for this post.

  6. This is possibly the most beautiful thing I have read yet about our Father God and what it means to be created in His Image. He calls us forth into existence – mysteriously, miraculously, and intentionally. Never forgotten and never forsaken.

    (If a sparrow falls, He Sees. If a hair comes loose, He Knows.)

  7. Lovely reminder at a good time! Just entering my 35th week of my 3rd pregnancy, and once again trying to stem the tide of early labor. After dealing with this issue with all 3 babies (first one was preterm), my inclination is to worryworryworry with each contraction. I think I’ve been through more tests and medications with this baby than both my
    previous girls combined. It’s easy to start thinking, “Baby, you’d better be glad for all the stuff your mommy has had to do to keep you baking!” But then I stop and remind myself that it’s foolish to worry or think that way– especially when God was the One who started this baby and is knitting this little guy or girl together as we speak. Fascinating and humbling, and reminds me to trust in God, not my ability to analyze contractions. Thanks for sharing!!

  8. Thank you, Rachel, both for this post and for all your sacrifices for your incredible children!

  9. best ever, young rachel. May the Lord make you as the Hebrew women in Israel and cause your sons to be as olive plants full grown in their fathers’ houses and all your daughters as corner pillars, cut for a palace.

  10. Thank you. Our 6th is just 8 months old and we are coming out of the fogginess of the new-baby-in-the-house-what-does-life-look-like-now time. I am battling the thought of future children (they are all 11 and under and we homeschool) and feel some days like I am tapped out on kids. I want to be a good steward of the children I already have and can’t quite wrap my head around God equipping me to handle more well. But He is faithful and trustworthy and good. Battling ourselves is usually what drives us into the mud. Your words help me to look outward. From where does my help come? Heavenward, always. Thanks again for the encouragement! Blessings on your family and your newest precious one.

  11. Thanks, Rachel! As I look around my house right now it is very much in a “Mommy’s pregnant” survival mode. I know one day we will do more then just survive but for now it is enough…..big little things are happening in the secret places :o) I am 14 weeks with our sixth with no end of sickness in sight. Thanks for the beautiful image to contemplate as I head out to Kroger with the children (holding my breath the whole time of course :o) to pick up some frozen pizza for them and Popsicles for me!

  12. Just read this with tears in my eyes. Feeling guilty. I’m putting off taking a pregnancy test with possible baby number 4. I’m afraid of those first three months and the new changes. We just got into a groove after baby three. Thanks for the reminder of this being so intricate and miraculous. Completely by His design and His working.

  13. What a beautiful post. And a beautiful heart. And what you said about the horrors of Planned Parenthood and those sweet babies being forsaken by their parents (but not God!) was so encouraging to me. I have always felt sickened and saddened by abortion but it has truly been depressing me lately with all the news swirling about. Thank you for that reminder! I am 37 weeks pregnant with our fifth child (all of them under 6 years old) and i have struggled emotionally this pregnancy and have received so many hurtful comments about having more children. Thank you for the reminder that babies are never ever an “accident” or something we’ve managed to create on our own. But only by the intervention of a loving Father could we ever receive a gift as precious as a baby. Thank you!

  14. What a beautiful message. I learn so much from your writings and am wondering if you can help me further with some advice. I am 7 months pregnant with my second son (Praise God!) and am having a very difficult time finding a doctor or practice that I am comfortable with and trust. I found out that many doctors, from the practice I’ve been going to since my 1st pregnancy last year, perform abortions. A Christian friend recommended me to another set of doctors that she was sure were pro life. I went today to find out that there is a new doctor in their practice that terminates pregnancies also and am not sure the path to take now with only 2 months remaining in this pregnancy. I don’t want the hands that help my baby enter the world to possibly be the same hands that end the life of another baby. Is there anyway you can tell me your approach for pre-natal care and delivery? Did you find a pro -life doctor or practice? Do you use a mid-wife at a hospital or at home? If a hospital, is it a Catholic hospital where abortions are not performed? Am I too worried about this? Should I just accept that this is the world we live in and stop over-thinking it? I spent a lot of the day crying about this and worried. I’m putting my husband through stress, we are currently buying a home. It is so much to think about. Would love some guidance from such a mentor like yourself. Thank you!

  15. I, too, am in the early stages of our fourth pregnancy, and this post was just the encouragement I needed! Fatigue and nausea seem to eclipse the joy of pregnancy while they last, so I was grateful for your perspective and for the reminder that this baby, this pregnancy, and this very tired mama are all in the hands of a loving Father. Blessings on you and your family!

  16. I am a little more than nine months away from my wedding and because I just a 20 year old girl, the pressure to prevent children at least in the beginning of our marriage is great. Thank you for reminding me of the beauty of God’s work and I pray that He gives my fiancee and I wisdom and love for His Will.

  17. Beautiful post, Rachel!

    @ Melissa: I would seriously consider finding a midwife. Midwives do not perform abortions and are very much for bringing life into this world. If you can find a Christian midwife, all the better. I have had 5 babies. I had two at my midwife’s out- of-hospital center and 3 at home.
    My mother was unable to have one of her babies with the midwife and we found a very pro-life roman catholic doctor at that time.
    May God watch over you and send you the care that you need.

  18. @ Ivyan: I was married when I was 20 years old, and became pregnant a couple months after. God’s ways are perfect. Do not fear. Praying for you, sweet girl!

  19. I am fifteen weeks pregnant with number nine, a very unexpected number nine. My husband and I thought we were done, wanted to be done. I am 44 and will be almost 45 when this little one joins the outside world. When I looked at the little plus sign I had to lift my jaw off the ground. I did not feel pregnant at the time and thought my cycles were off because of perimenopause. I have had many miscarriages, so our next conclusion was that this pregnancy would probably not “stick.” As I began to feel sick and very tired all the time, I told my husband that this was for real. We love children. We see them as a gift from God. But we are just emerging from a very difficult financial time, we are older and we were trying not to conceive. It took a bit for both of us to process our new reality, especially my husband. We have never really been into getting ultrasounds, but ended up getting one at 10 weeks. For us, it was like you watching that video. Seeing that little heart beating at 155 beats per minute was a miracle. My husband teared up and we were reminded how very precious every little life is, no matter how long it is with us or what season of life in which it is sent.

  20. Thank you Melissa for the advice!

    A note to Ivyan: I was married a little over 2 years ago at age 32 and received the SAME pressure to prevent pregnancy and the decision to be sure to give my husband and myself time to “ourselves”. This advice came from Christian women mind you in my church and family! 🙁 Thankfully the beautiful Holy Spirit guided me and did NOT give me peace about taking birth control or preventing pregnancy in ANY way and because of His guidance I have my beautiful most precious gift of a son, Abram (who is now 16 months) and my second son on the way (due next month)! I cannot imagine life without them and neither can my husband. To think that if I had listened to the advice and pressure coming my way would have prevented these people from existing is so sad and scary to me… and evil. 🙁 Please pray and don’t listen to people who are for “playing God”. Let God work in your life and your womb as he chooses! Blessings! 🙂

  21. Thank you for this. I read it when first posted and was encouraged in a different way. But now as a just barely pregnant again mom, I needed the encouragement in a new way.

  22. Great post, and encouraging to read the comments as well. We just welcomed our 7th little one 10 days ago, and it just seems to get sweeter each time in many ways! However, as our family grows and I get older I also experience many different thoughts and emotions about whether having more children at this point is best for our family. It’s clearly a blessing to have these precious little ones, but I’m unsure of how to know when we are really ” full” and how to move forward when my own leanings do not necessarily coincide with those of my husband on this matter. Rachel, I would love to read a post from you on this if you would be willing to address it. Thank you.

  23. Thanks for testifying! We love babies. We love our children. We love that we get to spend our lives with these people. We love that God is using it all to draw us to him. To grow us in holiness and understand more of his sacrificial love for us through laying down our lives and sacrificing for our children. My deepest heart’s desire was for more babies (we have 4 and one that we miscarried). I found out this morning that I am pregnant. I prayed before we knew we were pregnant with his baby that God would change my heart and help me not to fear men’s judgements; that he would give me peace and joy if he would give us more children. I know that this will be a battle for me. The moment I walked out of the room at the dr office this morning, I could hear whispers around the corner that I thought were judging me (not exaggerating). I can anticipate voices condemning us, being critical, being judgmental; and so I am praying now that God is going to use this to deepen my faith to take away my reliance on what other people think and to grow in my affections and trust and refuge in him.

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