Thy Mercy, O God
I am really excited about this next blog entry. It’s written by my daughter Erika: the selfsame daughter who’s going to have a baby in November. The Erika we had a shower for last June (See “Baby Talk” entry from May 31). And that was before we knew she and Richie are expecting a girl. Yes, Woody and I are going to have a granddaughter. We are overjoyed!
And now let me introduce Erika’s first blog entry, written from the mom-to-be point of view. And from Ireland. You may even notice a few “Irishisms” in her writing. As American as Erika is, Richie-speak” has rubbed off on her. I hope you’ll enjoy meeting Erika, and even consider writing back to her. Every mom-to-be could use a little encouragement, right? Just like every mom!
This is the highlight of my week. I work in a school/day care centre (we say “crèche” in Ireland) and it is a non-stop, go-go-go life for me in my Montessori classroom of young 3-year-olds. I treasure my quiet Saturday morning with coffee by the computer catching up on emails, or sitting with my journal.
In just over 3 months however, this morning will look very different! You see, as I’m typing this I’m already feeling an eager young life inside me, jumping, flipping, and kicking, eager for her chance in this world—the life of a developing baby girl. A baby girl who will be my daughter!
A baby girl.
My mind is constantly trying to grasp this idea—the idea that I will be a mother, that Richie will be a father, that pretty soon Saturday mornings won’t be quiet coffee time but will be filled with attempts at breast-feeding, crying (probably crying from me and the baby), dirty nappies (diapers), and efforts to soothe and comfort a small, dependent baby.
And as I think of those things, the early days with a baby, I am thankful for two things. First, that my mother will be here to help (you are planning on staying for 6 months, right, Mom?) But mainly, I’m thankful for something that has been a recurring thought in my mind throughout my whole pregnancy so far—I’m thankful for God’s mercy for me despite my desire to control, rather than to trust.
I do pretty well at controlling my life and the situations around me. I say this a bit tongue-in-cheek, because for me, the reason I am good at controlling my life is because I find it very hard to trust God. So often it’s easier for me to control rather than to rest in the truth that God is capable of redeeming—or even using—my mistakes or “dropped balls.” And I feel that while I’m scurrying around, picking up the pieces that I or others have dropped, I hear faint whispers from God saying, “Erika, rest. I can do this.”
Most of the time, I continue on in my flurry.
Why do I continue on? Why do I insist on doing things myself when God is offering rest? Do I really believe that God will take care of these things for me? Will He get the house tidied, or make the meals, or engage in conversation with my husband after I’ve had a long day of kids needing me constantly? No, probably not. But will He maintain peace and harmony in my house even if it’s a mess? Will He provide good health for my family even if we have to order take out or have frozen pizzas tonight? Will He provide me with the strength to engage my husband and care for him even when I’m totally spent?
Is that hard as all get out to believe at times? Yes. And my flesh cries out to do it myself: To feel the adrenaline of having things under control, to look like “super woman”—or “super mom” in your case.
But when I’m trying to be Super Woman I’m missing out on deeper things of God. I’m missing out on a moment with Him, on knowing fuller His promise of provision (a provision that goes deeper than an orderly house or homemade meal), and the meaning of the phrase, “my yoke is easy and my burden is light.” My heavenly Father is wanting to give me a kiss and I’m turning my face away from him to get back to cleaning my kitchen.
So here I am, almost 6 months pregnant, and have found myself in a position that I cannot control. The life of this little girl growing inside me is only dependent on me to a certain extent. I can eat properly, exercise wisely, avoid certain activities. But her developing body, her organs, and her health and wholeness are God’s alone to look after and provide. This has been such a lesson in trust, and such an encounter with mercy. When I worry about her, all I can do is go to the feet of my Father and pray that he will protect her. But I also pray that He will help me to trust Him. And I praise Him that He will have mercy on me when I don’t and can’t trust Him.
And He will do the same for you.
When you find yourself rushing around trying to sort out lunches, carpooling, cleaning, and family schedules, and you get wrapped up in activities, my hope is that He will remind you that HE IS ENOUGH. That though all those things are important, they are small in the grand plan He has for you and your family. And my hope for you is the same as my hope for myself: that we will take Him up on His offer to provide, that we will be able to “drop balls” trusting that He will care for the situation and that through it we will know Him more intimately.
And we can praise Him for the fact that even when we find ourselves incapable of trusting, or not wanting to trust, wanting to do it ourselves, that He will have mercy on us and will continue His provision and protection.
I want to finish this off with the lyrics to a song that has recently been an anthem for me. It’s an old hymn that has been re-done by a compilation group called “Indelible Grace” (I highly recommend any and all of their CDs! See www.igracemusic.com). —Erika
Thy mercy my God is the theme of my song
The joy of my heart and the boast of my tongue.
Thy free grace alone from the first to the last
Hast won my affection and bound my soul fast.
Without thy sweet mercy I could not live here
My sin would reduce me to utter despair
But through thy free goodness my spirits revive
And he that first made me still keeps me alive.
They mercy is more than a match for my heart
It’s wondrous to feel its own hardness depart
‘Tis all by thy goodness I fall to the ground
And weep to the praise of the mercy I’ve found.
Great Father of mercy, thy goodness I own
And the covenant love of thy crucified Son
All praise to the spirit whose whisper divine
Seals mercy, and pardon, and righteousness mine.
©2001 Same Old Dress Music (ASCAP). Words: John Stocker. Music: Sandra McCracken.