It’s Christmas time! A time that I have always loved as a kid, and continue to enjoy to this day. Being an elementary school teacher only adds to that. I love the wonder. the excitement, and the joy the season brings.
As I was listening to “Joy to the World,” last week in church service, I was struck by the line, “Let every heart prepare Him room.”
I have heard this my whole life, I know it is the welcoming of Jesus into your heart during this time of Advent.
This time when I heard it, I thought to myself, “Man I have been in a lot of little rooms this year.”
I know, weird connection, but stay with me.
It started last May.
We had been in the house search for quite a while, and were in the waiting period before we closed on our house we now own. My heart was beating out of my chest as we met and drove to the office to finally close on our house. We sat in a little room. Expectant. Getting more nervous as we waited to sign the papers. All of the sudden, the paperwork was done, we owned a house, and a whole new responsibility came.
Three weeks later, I was sitting in our office, going through all of my dad’s memories and keepsakes as I tried to process his death. This was followed by another small room where we made arrangements. Those rooms still have a profound impact when I think of them.
From those little rooms, we left and went to a waiting room to check on Anthony’s brother that was in the hospital. We left that room in search for hope or at least a distraction.
We thought zoo, but instead drove straight home to Arkansas to an animal shelter. We walked along rows of little rooms and saw our Annie for the first time. We were instant best friends, and we happily processed her adoption in another tiny room. 24 hours later, we were new pet parents waiting for the vet with our new scared puppy. We had no clue what we were doing. Those rooms showed us that the best things in life can be so scary and exciting at the same time.
A few days later, we were another small but comfortable room where my family was waiting to stay goodbye to my dad. Surrounded by our friends and family my husband preached to us and honored my dad greatly. Finally, a last small room where we designed a headstone. Those little rooms taught me there was beauty in the ending of life, although painful.
As we left the service that day, we received another call to go and see Anthony’s brother that had been sick in the hospital. We were up there most of the night between a waiting room, and the smallest room where I supported my husband as he tried to make end of life decision for his 27 year old brother. Something that I still can’t believe we got through, and I am thankful I have never experienced with my own brother. A week later, we were saying goodbye again. That set of rooms taught me how strong my husband, and the strength of our marriage.
While we were in the hospital, I had this urge to leave the waiting room and find the nursery. I know it’s a overused dramatic TV show thing. They always go look at the nursery in the hospital while someone is on a deathbed. It really helps though. You see that life is a beautiful miracle that has to have a beginning, as well as an end.
In my head, I thought, “Maybe it’s time we bring a baby into this family.” I quickly dismissed this idea because honestly, we JUST bought a house, my dad and brother-in-law JUST passed away, we JUST got a puppy, and I JUST started grad school. We talked a little and decided it was probably best for one of us to finish grad school first.
A few months on quiet went on after that . We settled in our house. We settled into our life as pet parents. I got used to grad school again. We went on vacation. We got back to us. Friends got married. Showers and parties were most of our weekend plans We got in the back to school groove. We thought maybe no more life changes in 2017.
Well, you know they say you make plans and God laughs.
Two months ago, I was not feeling the greatest, and could honestly not tell if I had pregnancy symptoms or was just really tired. It took me a week to get up the nerve to buy a test. I took that test, and it was in fact positive, plain as day.
Now in the movies, this is normally where people jump up and down and cry and scream, but honestly I didn’t know how to process it. I really couldn’t believe it!
Anthony and I were cautiously optimistic as we waited for our first doctor’s appointment which was about 3 weeks after the test. We were happy to have a child, but at the same time, we have had so many friends go through struggles that we knew there was a possibility it may not happen.
I was even more anxious as I left work after a morning of parent teacher conferences. That afternoon, we found ourselves in a another little room giving blood, getting checked out, and getting the run down on prenatal care with our nurse. They made an ultrasound appointment for us, and we were on our way. I may have been lightheaded from the amount of blood they took, but I asked Anthony if they ever actually said if there was a baby.
Fast forward 2 weeks later, the nurse did my vitals and we were waiting on the doctor. It was about 10 minutes, but it felt like FOOOOOREVEEEEER.( Sandlot emphasis implied.) I was certain something was wrong and that the doctor couldn’t figure out what to say. Well, she came in and 10 minutes later our ultrasound was underway. All of the sudden we both heard a heartbeat that wasn’t ours and we saw this little thing just swimming along. There was a very strong heartbeat and the baby even waved ( well, as much as little nubs can wave.)
All of the sudden, this idea of a baby we had since we took the test a month prior was a real thing. It hit us. In that little room, we found out we were having our own child in the first week of June. In that little room, we saw that in the past 6 months God had been orchestrating and preparing our hearts for what was to come.
Whoa! Wait a minute God. You mean to tell us that our child will be born the week that both of our fathers died(Anthony’s dad died 5 years prior to mine a day apart)?Born in the same month we adopted Annie? The same month my brother-in-law died?
2017 has been a year of little rooms for us. Now we are 14 weeks along and starting to wrap our heads around being parents. We are both pretty clueless. I spend most of my time with 9 year olds, but a baby? I am not sure how everything works. We are mostly excited, and a little scared, like I usually am with most things. We get caught up in details, plans, and all the responsibility.
When the weight of that gets to be too much, I do a few things. I try to remember just how far God has already carried us. He has proved Himself faithful in our lives time and time again. I also go look in what is now our office, and imagine what this little room will look like this time next year.
Those thoughts make that little room full of peace, thankfulness, and JOY.