One of the popular pregnancy books is the “What To Expect” series. I’ve read bits and pieces of a few of them and they are helpful enough, but one of my desires in pregnancy is to find a book that addresses the spiritual side of pregnancy . I want a book that highlights both the unique joys and struggles of this season, and points readers to the hope of the gospel and the truth of God’s promises to encourage them during this unique time. I haven’t found it yet. So I think I just might write it, and I would call it “Trusting God When You’re Expecting.” Read along for the first installment that I write … the first of many, I hope.
How can I believe Christ more than I believe some of the lies the “culture of pregnancy” in America would tell me? First of all, I can’t fall prey to the temptation to use pregnancy as an excuse to indulge unduly. Everyone says, “you’re pregnant – so you should have what you want!” It’s a little similar to the “bride-zilla” phenomena engaged women planning a wedding face – suddenly this new stage of life becomes an excuse to act how you want and get whatever you want because “you’re the bride,” or in my case, “you’re pregnant.” And I do think this can be heightened because, “I’m pregnant with TWINS.”
It’s easy for me to put a guilt trip on Seth and use pregnancy as a reason to be waited on hand and foot. [quick aside: while I was sick with a really bad cold/cough for two weeks and when I was experiencing some complications at the beginning of our pregnancy, it was necessary for me to lay low and for Seth to do much more than usual … but I’ve had to be careful not to take advantage of that now that I am physically better] Just last week, when Seth took the last serving of a meal, I said (with a bit of humor, granted), “You’re stealing food from the babies!” (because I had wanted another helping, too) Now that’s just not fair if I really began to think like that for everything!
It’s also easy to use the “pregnancy hormones” as an excuse to act demanding, critical, or even plain ole mean. Again, Seth usually gets the brunt of this behavior. There are days when I have felt emotionally “off” but these days should make me more dependent on God, more prayerful as I ask for sufficient grace, and more careful with my words and attitudes than other days. I am convinced that the Spirit’s power at work in me is greater than pregnancy hormones (if it worked to raise Jesus from the dead, I don’t think the Spirit can be limited by hormonal changes).
I’ve noticed that pregnancy enhances my natural bent to want to be self-indulgent, too. “Because I’m pregnant” can easily become an excuse to spend more than I should on clothes, shoes, jewelry, etc … all the “vain things that charm me most.” I would love to use pregnancy as an excuse for monthly manicures and pedicures. And let’s add massages to the list, while I’m at it. And why not buy the dream car I’ve always wanted? We’ll need it for the twins’ arrival, after all. (and, no, it’s not a mini-van but an SUV) Desires can easily take me over.
So what do I need to remember to battle these pregnancy-shaped temptations? That God, as before and as always, has given me everything I need for life and godliness [not self-indulgence]. That God will give me grace that’s abundant for my situation so that I can love Him and others better. That no temptation is too great for me to bear and God will always provide a way of escape. And, most importantly of all, that I can’t do this on my own! I will fail and I will succomb to these temptations, but I have a Savior who died even for that and who lives now to give me life and hope and daily grace. I won’t do any of this perfectly, and I don’t have to, because Jesus has already lived the perfect life for me and intercedes for me as my eternal High Priest. He is the one who has fought and overcome each of these temptations for me, and my role is to depend on Him and live in light of that truth and hope of victory.