living in expectancy

You might be getting tired of posts on the topic of waiting and expectancy, and at moments I find myself getting tired of waiting and being pregnant, too. Yet this is my season of life right now. And I want to embrace it for all that it is, knowing that as the Ecclesiastical wisdom goes, a time for waiting and resting will inevitably transition to a time for birth and parenting that we’ve been waiting for – which will be a season of busyness and activity. Knowing that the end [of pregnancy] is near loads each new day with meaning and anticipation. Knowing that the end date is unknown gives a sense of urgency and purpose to each moment (or at least a heightened desire to be purposeful). I often find myself asking the question, “If I go into labor tonight, what will be most important for me to accomplish today?” At the beginning of bed rest, that question was answered rather simply: finish well with those I had been counseling by referring them to other counselors and complete the grading for the distance ed course I had been proctoring (great course, by the way: CCEF’s “Counseling and Physiology” taught by Dr. Mike Emlet). Gradually my priorities shifted to finding a childbirth preparation DVD since Seth & I couldn’t take the class we were hoping for,  packing a hospital bag (umm … yes, this probably should have been my first priority but I think it was part of living in denial the first few weeks), and making sure the preemie-size clothes were washed and ready.

The point of this post isn’t to give a checklist for “preparing for labor and delivery,” as there are MANY out there which are helpful, but rather to draw the analogy to how I want to be living in this same sense of expectancy every day of my life as a Christian. By definition,  being a Christian means that I am one who is a member of God’s family because of the grace of Jesus Christ for me and therefore I belong not to my own kingdom and this physical home, but to God’s Kingdom where I will be at Home only when I am face-to-face with Christ (and “away” from this earthly body – after death or Christ’s return). Two sermons I’ve heard during this season of bed rest have caused me to meditate further on this reality – and to long to live all of my life in expectancy.

The first one was preached by my husband on faithful endurance on July 18th, and a key phrase of the Hebrews passage he preached on stood out to me in particular:

“…you knew that you yourselves had a better possession and an abiding one.” (Hebrews 10:34)

He preached on the fact that so many times we are so focused on building on our earthly possessions that we forget about this better possession (all the riches of heaven and knowing Christ) that is to come. And we fail to endure faithfully when we suffer on earth because we think that this is all there is – that THIS is life. This is life, to be sure, but it is only a shadow of the Life to come. And that should make me not less engaged in each day, but more engaged. More purposeful, more desirous to live according to priorities that reflect the Life that is to come. Just as our priorities are being rearranged by the two lives that will soon be coming …

The second sermon that also struck me was by our pastor, Rev. Jack Howell, the following Sunday (July 25th) on Hebrews 11. Here are a few verses that stood out:

“These all [Abel, Enoch, Noah, Abraham, Sarah, Isaac, Jacob] died in faith, not having received the things promised, but having seen them and greeted them from afar, and having acknowledged that they were strangers and exiles on the earth. For people who speak thus make it clear that they are seeking a homeland. … But as it is, they desire a better country, that is, a heavenly one. Therefore God is not ashamed to be called their God, for he has prepared for them a city.” (Hebrews 11:13-16)

I am waiting for a Home that is to come. I am living in expectancy of it – so then why am I so frustrated when life doesn’t seem to work out the way I was planning? (i.e. – going on bed rest the same day we moved into our new house) This is not the season to be totally settled and completely at “home.” Similarly to bed rest. If I thought this was how my life would be indefinitely, each day would be much harder (and I do have great compassion for those who are bedridden without an end in sight – my heart goes out to you!). But I know that eventually, these babies will be delivered and I will be “delivered” from bed rest. I am not completely settled with my life right now that mainly consists of sleeping, reading, blogging and emailing, eating, hosting visitors, with frequent bathroom breaks. I want to be out of this recliner and active. Especially on such a beautiful beach-worthy Saturday as today. Yet I digress …

The point is that viewing this particular season as temporary and without knowing when it will end (but being assured that it WILL) gives meaning and purpose and urgency to each day. How much more so if I viewed all of my life as that – temporary, with a definite end yet unknown to me, and true Home ahead of me? How much more purposefully would I live? I hope to keep this lesson from this season of expectancy with me all of my life … thus preparing me better for the Life that is to come.

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