My journey with Baby Ray – Part 1

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I just had to say thank you for the incredible warm wishes and kind words you offered to us last week when we announced our exciting news. I was quite honestly overwhelmed by your kindness and love! Goodness this Ray Baby is loved so much already. Truly, thank you!

What is so sweet about this journey for us, and for me in particular, is that God has been incredibly gracious and gentle with me. Thankfully, the Lord has taken my hand and has led me every step of the way. For me, this journey has not been typical or easy. But two things I know to be true: He is good, and His timing is perfect.

While Will has loved the idea of having kids for a few years now, it’s taken me quite some time to get used to the idea. My journey started a few years ago, when I really struggled with the idea of having a baby. I’ll be honest : I am not the girl who has dreamt of being a mom my whole life. Yes, I’ve wanted a family, and when I see myself old and gray, I see kids and grandkids in that picture. But actually taking the steps to have a baby right now? A bit terrifying in my book.

I’m going to be honest here – the past few years I’ve felt very strange and sometimes alone, because I have never had a strong desire to have a baby. I share this because my prayer is that it will be an encouragement to some of you out there who might be walking a similar path. It has literally taken me years to come to this place of being joyful about bringing a life into the world, but even now I am okay with the fact that it’s going to look different for me.

At the risk of sounding a little crazy, and possibly even being ashamed of this later, here is how I’ve felt: I love my life with Will, and I know having a baby will change what we have. I love my sleep. A lot. I don’t like baby toys or clutter. I’ve always loved the idea of having a family, and I see us going on camping trips and having adventures together. I’ve always loved working with adults or older kids / teenagers – I’ve never been one to volunteer in the nursery at church. Those teenage years excite me (I know I’m weird, but I’ve led a youth group for 5 years so to me, it’s not intimidating!) The baby years? The toddler years? Yikes. I like a clean and organized home. I don’t like crumbs or messes or drool. (Says the owner of Winston, I know. Ironic.) When Instagram feeds get taken over by babies, it slightly annoys me. (I’m pretty sure I’ll kick myself for that one later, because I see this as inevitable.) Getting used to a growing belly and changing body is an act of surrender for me. Childbirth? Can’t even talk about that one yet.

The list goes on and on, friends. But in all of it, I’m so thankful for God’s grace.

So how did I get to this point? The point I am at now: a place of joy about this baby?

It began in the beginning of this year. The Lord called me to fast the month of January about motherhood. I didn’t want to, but I did out of obedience. I gave up sugar and processed food with the intent of digging deep in my heart, asking God what He had for me. At this point, I did not want to get pregnant. I did not want to start “trying.” I was not ready in the least.

There was no voice from heaven or specific moment that my heart was changed. But it was the first step in the journey where my heart began to change. There was a theme that the Lord spoke to me throughout that month, over and over again – in sermons, songs, scripture, in my quiet times in the mornings : surrender.

The truth is this: the life of a believer should marked in surrender, not selfishness or pride. And the more I prayed, the more I heard the voice of the Holy Spirit gently nudging me towards surrender. Just like the Water Song in Hinds Feet in High Places, the Lord was teaching me that the lower I go, the more beautiful my life is to Him :

Come, oh come! let us away–
Lower, lower every day,
Oh, what joy it is to race
Down to find the lowest place.
This the dearest law we know–
“It is happy to go low.”
Sweetest urge and sweetest will,
“Let us go down lower still.”
Hear the summons night and day
Calling us to come away.
From the heights we leap and flow
To the valleys down below.
Always answering to the call,
To the lowest place of all.
Sweetest urge and sweetest pain,
To go low and rise again.

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I was wanting this and fighting this in my spirit, all at the same time. But I knew if I was specifically praying about motherhood, and if the Lord kept speaking “surrender” to me, then it was time to do just that. Surrender. So I tearfully let Will know that I wasn’t ready to start trying quite yet, but I was ready to stop preventing.

I realize these words sound crazy to so many of my friends out there who so desperately want a baby, who have struggled with infertility, who love family more than anything. But every one of our journeys is different, and the Lord teaches us His faithfulness and goodness in different ways. He calls each of us to surrender, to seek Him, to follow Him, and that looks different for everyone. And that is OK.

Anyway, month by month I would continue to pray and get a tiny bit more accustomed to the fact that I very well could get pregnant. I never got to the point of being super excited about having a baby, but each month the Lord formed my heart just a tiny bit more like His – a bit more selfless, willing to surrender all my plans. After 6 months, I was okay with whatever happened – totally fine to not get pregnant, totally fine (even though still a bit weirded out) at the thought of getting pregnant.

So after several months of not getting pregnant, we decided it was time to prevent for just a few months so we wouldn’t have a baby in wedding season. Which is hilarious, because that’s exactly when I got pregnant!

No, I don’t see this as God laughing at us and in some cruel way doing exactly what I didn’t want. Because here’s the thing : in every step of this journey He has been SO good and SO gracious and SO patient with me, I just knew that His plan was trustworthy from the start. It’s NOT my plan – it’s His. This timing has been such a gift, because I’ve entered this new season of motherhood with open hands, knowing this is His life and not mine. And the reality of it is this: the creation of a new life is way more important than booked weddings or predictable finances. My security lies in being in the middle of His plan for me, and there’s no denying that I’m in the middle of it now.

I’ve had this weird, supernatural peace from the moment I found out I was pregnant. Yes, I cried and I prayed and I freaked out a bit for the first 30 minutes. Normal. But I have also been laughing at it all, from a place of trust and joy, and I can’t help but think this too, is a gift : “She is clothed with strength and dignity; she can laugh at the days to come.” Proverbs 31:25

So here I am, about to be a Mama, already in my 2nd trimester. I can tell you this : this is going to look different for me, and I’m okay with that. God is writing my journey and my testimony, and my prayer is that I will follow Him. I may not have Pinterest Boards yet and I may not be taking weekly photos of my belly and I may not be dreaming up nursery plans quite yet. We are still going to travel and have a clean home and run a business. But I will be a Mama, and I’m going to be a good one! Not because I’ve always dreamt of being a Mama, but because God is teaching me and leading me to be one. And He’s the best, most faithful, most generous, most loving Teacher there is.

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  • Jenn F. said:

    Beautiful, Nancy! And you most definitely will be a wonderful Mama!!

  • Amanda said:

    What a beautiful and truly honest post Nancy! While you may feel alone in your thoughts, I know that many other women out there have felt the same including myself! God will give you the strength to be a wonderful mom! Best wishes! :)

  • Becca said:

    Love this so much. Love that verse from Proverbs. Love you!!! Can't wait to talk with you about this more and welcome and love baby Ray. Praise the Lord for His perfect timing…even when it doesn't align with our own!
    XOXO

  • Tears are flowing! This is such a beautiful story of surrendering all to Christ. He is going to bless you and make you THE best mom you can possibly be. I cant wait to read more on this story :)

    xoxo
    Lauren

  • Lane said:

    Nancy, THANK YOU for writing this so honestly. I have struggled with the same things and have felt so weird for feeling the way I do! I'm so glad to know there are other people out there like me … and who have crossed to the other side beautifully. :) You are a gem and will be a wonderful mother!

  • kate said:

    Hi Nancy! We met briefly in Indy (@ Cafe Patachou--the weird Noonday lady who just had to say hello!) My journey is so similar to yours-I could NEVER picture myself as a mother. I felt God call me to motherhood in a similar way and I truly had to surrender to His plan. Some people are called to be a missionary in Africa but for me- where I felt the most fear- was becoming a mother, and it was where I had to trust God the most. He has used motherhood to refine and in some ways completely transform my spirit into being patient, gentle and selfless. Now I have a 2 year old that is the absolute JOY of my life. Congrats and be confident in following the Lord and trusting Him as you are on this journey-He has entrusted you with this sweet child and you & Will are going to be the best parents!

  • I'm not sure I've ever posted before, but I couldn't help and share that I can I so relate to this!! Clutter? Chaos? NO SLEEP? I LOOOOVE sleep? All things I was scared of, nervous about, when it came to motherhood. (Don't tell anyone but I cried for two days when we found out we were having a boy, ha!) There are so many emotions, unknowns, things outside of our control, when you're pregnant and all those feelings you have are so normal!! I really appreciate your candor!! Now being on the other side of it (with a 19 month old baby boy who is just the best!!) I can say that the experience, while different for everyone, is incredibly sweet and unbelievable rewarding. I'm excited for you and Will and the journey that you're on!! Congratulations!!

  • Lori Ellen said:

    Love this so much! As another who has never really wanted kids, I just have to say thank you for this. It was beautifully said.

  • Lauren said:

    Nancy- thank you thank you thank you!! I too have felt these feelings. The constant asking about when we might have children just escalated the shame I felt that I didn't want to have a baby yet. The hard part about social media is that so many people share what everyone shares, which tends to alienate people and you have had the boldness to do the opposite. Thank you for sharing your perspective, even though it isn't as easy to explain or as common as everything else out there.

    I had a conversation with a dear friend of mine a few months back, when I confided in her that I was afraid, and ashamed, and felt very alone about my feelings about motherhood. She had no resources for me or ideas of who I could talk to. This one simple blog has opened a new conversation.

    The Lord has been shaping my heart, similarly to yours. We are not yet ready to begin trying or not preventing yet, but this season has shown me so much of who God made me to be, and has reminded me that He doesn't make mistakes. How good is this God we serve that He walks with us through every season, molding and shaping us!

    Your life is such a beautiful example of His handiwork. Thank you for the work that you do, friend.

    Lauren

  • What lovely words Nancy.

    I'm beginning to see how everything in life has a certain timing, as well. I am a baby person (as opposed to a teenager person), but my lesson is the waiting for the baby (and the waiting for the hubby).

    The lady who sits next to me at work has just become a mama, and what was so interesting is that she wasn't a baby person either. However, it really was incredible watching her heart grow and prepare over the months. The day she left for her maternity leave you just knew she was ready and going to be more than okay. I'm starting to think there's a reason for the lengthy nine months of "cooking" time.

    Thank you for sharing your feelings - and please continue to share. You're helping others who aren't even in the same stage of life as you, so I can only imagine what a comfort it is to others in similar situations.

    Many thanks, Leanne.

  • Joey said:

    Hi Nancy! First of all, congratulations! I'm so happy for you and Will and know that you both will make excellent parents. Secondly, thank you for your honesty here. I feel 100% the same way about the whole baby thing. I imagine my life with a family, and when I'm old and gray I see us having a family, but the whole "let's have a baby" thing isn't on my todo list right now. And like you, I enjoy the teenagers (and I can handle an actual baby), but the whole toddler/child years--I just can't see it for myself. I wish you and Will and your new little bundle so much happiness and health. And it's so refreshing to see such honesty. <3

  • Em said:

    Love you, friend. As you know, you are speaking to my heart. I particularly loved these lines: "But I will be a mama, and I'm going to be a good one! Not because I've always dreamt of being a mama, but because God is teaching me and leading me to be one." So comforting, and I pray that will be true for me one day, too!

  • Laura said:

    I'm going to second what most everyone else who commented has said... I feel like you wrote this to me.

    I'm in the stage right now of nearing the age where people start to raise their eyebrows when I say we're not ready to have kids yet. I'm no longer in my low to mid twenties [even though I still feel like it inside] and I have had no desire yet to have a baby. Like you, I [am almost sure that I] see children in my future when I'm old and gray, but when I think that I might need to get moving and actually have those babies in the next x years... I can feel the anxiety creeping in as I type this.

    I want to welcome God in and let Him start to change my heart if that's His desire. And yet while I do want that, it is also terrifying to write and say because His timing might be sooner than mine...

    The word "Surrender" has been on my heart lately too. And while I initially freaked out hearing that's the word that led you to baby, I ultimately have a deep, deep desire to surrender my life's course to God.

    Thank you for your honesty, and for helping some of us not feel so alone. God bless you!

  • You are going to be a wonderful mama Nancy! I am thankful for your honesty in sharing, as I know you are encouragement to others who are reading this. God is good and I'll be praying that you experience Him in beautiful ways throughout this journey.

  • Sissy said:

    I am just so proud of you. You are going to be an incredible mother. I love you!

  • Laura said:

    Thank you for sharing this beautiful message. I'm glad to know there is someone else out there like me. You expressed what I am afraid to say out loud. I'm not there yet, but your experience gives me hope that I will find peace in the path. xoxo

  • AHH!! Thank you so much for writing this and being so vulnerable, Nancy!! I'm totally in the same boat as you and it is so encouraging to be reminded that God knows what he's doing even if I panic at the thought of having children! I can't wait to see how He uses you and Will on this journey into parenthood!! P.S.- On your travels, be sure to come to the farm!! :)

  • Margaret said:

    Oh Nancy this is so encouraging to read! My heart just resonates with so much of what you wrote. I'm not even married yet, but I can tell that babies & childbirth & having children will be an issue of surrender for me. I often feel guilty as I look around and see so many of my friends eager and excited to have babies. How encouraging to read that our journeys each look different. Amen. It's the same faithful God who leads us though. Thank you for sharing your heart on this!

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  • Your testimony through this journey is amazing and so incredible. It's such a blessing to me in so many ways :) I love you and baby ray!!!

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  • Elizabeth Atkinson said:

    Nancy, please please don't be ashamed of this post or your honesty. I'm cried all the way through this post because this was my thoughts and fears and feeling put into words. I have always felt strange and abnormal because I have never dreamt of being a mama. I have felt like such a horrible selfish person because there are so many things that will change will a baby comes that I don't want to change. This has been a huge battleground for me and I was convinced no one else felt the same way. There is no question that God brought this post into my life to help me to see that I'm not alone and most importantly, HE doesn't judge me for feeling this way. He knows me and He created me and my feelings and fears are no surprise to Him. Most of all, thank you for the reminder that He is a patient and gracious God, interested in helping us conquer our fears. To all of the commenters, you guys were just further encouragement that I am not alone in my fears and feelings. I feel so blessed to have read this article and the comments.
    Many thanks, Elizabeth

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  • Whitney said:

    I'm super late in reading this as you've already had the baby at this point but I am right there with you. It is encouraging to read as I have thought I was one of the only women that felt this way. Thank you for sharing your heart.

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