My Pregnancy Story – Volume 1
As I write, I am twenty weeks pregnant. Jacob and I recently found out that I am carrying our second son, a little brother to Maverick. Even now this baby boy is flailing and somersaulting about in my belly, and I can feel the occasional gentle kick…the most amazing feeling in the world. Over the last few weeks, as it has become obvious that my swollen abdomen is due to a human growing inside of me rather than too many cheeseburgers, the comments and congratulations from friends and strangers alike have multiplied. It's funny what people will say to a pregnant lady, and I generally get a good chuckle from well-intended remarks. These days I'm used to the words "big" and "healthy" in reference to my frame, but my personal favorite has to be, "Wow, Meredith…You're looking VERY pregnant!" Why, thank you. I reckon it's because I am.
Yesterday as Maverick and I were carting our way around the local fresh market, a sweet older lady smiled at my son, then at me and said, "Maybe this one will be a girl!" as she gestured to my tummy. I informed her that it was indeed a boy and how excited we were for Mav to have a brother, and what was that? A flicker of disappointment from this lady I had never before laid my eyes on? She nodded and congratulated me and went on her way, leaving me with my thoughts. I reflected back over the last five months of this pregnancy. She is probably the third person to express some sort of hopefulness that our second would be female. I was not offended by her (or other's) comments in the least, but I did find it interesting. Honestly, Jacob and I couldn't be more thrilled that God is blessing us with another son. When my latest ultrasound revealed little boy "parts," there was not an ounce of disappointment from either of us. I have 3 younger brothers, have traveled with band guys for the last 10 years, am married to a man and have a precious little boy of my own. God help me on the day he chooses to give us a girl. I will definitely need an instruction manual.
So back to where my thoughts led me yesterday as I stood in the grocery store after an encounter with a well-meaning grandma: I wonder where her statement originated from. Blame it on the upcoming election, but I sometimes feel as if the so-called "American Dream" has overstepped its boundaries and invaded every aspect of our lives. A well-paying job. A nice house in a safe neighborhood. A perfect family with 2.5 kids--a boy, a girl, and a…dog? I'll be the first to admit I have aspired to these things. But wait, wasn't Jesus all about us Christians giving our lives away, selling our possessions, and dying daily to ourselves that we may fully live? Never once did he say to store up earthly riches. In fact, he repeatedly taught us the opposite, to invest in treasure elsewhere--"where moth and rust do not destroy and thieves do not break in and steal." Can I break it down for real? Never once in the Gospels does Jesus mention the ideals of the American dream. Am I anti our country and the freedoms it afford us? Absolutely not. I just know that for me, it's time I reevaluate what I'm really living for and what I'm teaching my children to live for and chase after.
I am currently reading a book called Anything by Jennie Allen, and God has been using it to "stir the pot" of my heart and help me take a long, hard look at what I really value. Safety or risk? Comfort or obedience? Happiness or holiness? The American dream or the Cross of Christ? Granted, it's not that these things cannot coexist. It's more about my end game, my motivation, what gets me out of bed in the morning. So how in the world do I live for Jesus and keep my eyes gazing heavenward when the diapers and dishes and laundry and emails seem eternal? As I will soon become a mother of two, I can't help but ponder what I really want for my kids. Is it well-roundedness and a good education with a balance of music, athletics and social activities on the side? Where is Jesus in all of that? I'm coming to terms with the fact that I cannot give my children Jesus until I have him…or more importantly, he has all of me. God never intended to be some kind of appendage to our lives. We were not created to merely squeeze a little Jesus and a little Bible in here and there amidst our other priorities. He is meant to be our everything. We are meant to make him central.
So as I consider and dream and plan and pray in regards to my family, I have asked the Lord for a specific verse to speak over my boys every day, and I am pleading with God that these truths would bear fruit in their lives. For Maverick, it has been Micah 6:8 which says, "He has shown you, O mortal, what is good. And what does the Lord require of you? To act justly and to love mercy and to walk humbly with your God." For my second son it is simply the Greatest Commandment: "Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind and with all your strength," for if we've missed that, we've missed it completely. My prayer for myself, for the people closest to me, and for you is that Jesus would be our truest love and our greatest treasure, for only then will we know the richest life. And that is far better than any American dream.