Today I discovered that I've been using the incorrect due date for most of my pregnancy. Talk about a let down. Just when I thought I had five weeks left until my due date, I discover I have six. And when you are in the last "home stretch" of your pregnancy, that is the kind of news that will make you cry. (Expecting mommies out there, don't leave me hanging on this one!)
Over the last few weeks, I have had an overwhelming need to slow down and quiet down. It's not that my calendar has been incredibly full, it's that I have kept my mind full and occupied at all times. As someone who has dealt with anxiety for many years, quieting my mind is not only difficult, but would almost encourage the anxiety to surface. I have always kept "noise" on around me. Music in the car. Podcasts while I workout. Netflix or Hulu on at all times in the background at home. There was a day a few weeks ago where I felt extremely overwhelmed. So many thoughts, to-dos, fears, frustrations and things to look forward to were swirling in my head (as usual), but add on the intensified emotions of pregnancy and I just thought I might go crazy.
I was getting ready to go on my daily walk around our lovely neighborhood and realized my headphones were missing and immediately considered not going on my walk because having a podcast to listen to makes the time go by faster. A small voice told me to just go and enjoy a quiet walk. By the time I got back home I was amazed at how much I noticed. The sounds I heard, the things I saw. I take the same walk each day, and it was like a completely different neighborhood. Because I was present.
One thing I love about the Lord is that He is all about the details. There have been so many moments that are seemingly insignificant, but help me feel (or see) His love. Throughout this pregnancy, it has been so evident to me that He is in the details, because HOW ELSE could this miracle happen?! Honestly, the fact that not only does my body create a HUMAN without me doing anything (other than taking prenatal vitamins and not eating sushi...ok and a few other things), but it also creates an entirely new organ to sustain that human's life. Hello. This is amazing. My hips hurt, she's kicking my organs and I can't get out of bed without rolling over like a beached whale, but seriously. Still amazing.
He is down to the details, even this thing called "baby brain". I always associated it with forgetfulness, which is of course very true, but I realized that as soon as I got pregnant, many of the fears and anxieties I used to have took their place on a far away shelf because my mind had no room for them. I had to realize that what was happening in my body was in almost every way, out of my control. As time went on, I had to force myself to let go of things in my schedule that were making me too busy because I mentally could not operate at the capacity I did before. As someone who likes to be productive and maximize every minute of the day, I have learned to see it as God's way of nudging me to ENJOY this pregnancy. Enjoy the fact that I need to take naps now. It's good for me and the baby. Enjoy the fact that I have more evenings free, so I can spend time reading and cooking (which I love doing).
Recently, our staff blessed all the Mom's with a little gift bag, which included the book Breaking Busy by Alli Worthington. Incredible timing (God's details!) that I would get this book to read. Just three chapters in and it's a refreshing reminder that I need to be more intentional about being busy with PURPOSE and not just wearing myself out, especially during this time of preparing for a newborn.
Alli says, "Finding your passions that lead to your purpose may feel difficult at times, but remember this: God's not keeping it a secret from you. He's waiting for you to stop striving and set everything aside that is keeping you busy and distracted, then turn your attention to him." In a season where there has been a tremendous amount of change in a short of amount of time, this is something I needed to hear. So far this year, Jon and I have been preparing to no longer be two, but three. We've had a few of our closest friends move. We've found a new home for our growing family and then lost that home unexpectedly, forcing us to prepare our 1-bedroom for a baby. We've also been navigating job changes for the both of us. It's a lot. To say 2016 has been an emotional roller coaster would be an understatement. Through ALL of this, I've been trying to figure out what God has for me: what my purpose is and what to do next. And ultimately, because of this "baby brain" of mine, I've been nearly forced to slow down and not worry. Yes, I have days where my emotions take over and I freak out about how we are going to pay for things and where we are going to live and how it's all going to work out. But I have felt that peace that surpasses all understanding more than I can remember and I'm pretty confident I have baby brain (and of course the Lord) to thank!
So let me encourage you. Whatever season you may find yourself in (and whether you have baby brain or not), slow down. Make space for quiet. God is always speaking to us and eager to work through us, even when we have a hard time hearing Him. Whether we are full-time moms or CEOs, He wants to use us. Be intentional about the things you are making yourself busy with and focus on the things that will fill your soul, not just your calendar.