You know that I love you.
My heart is bursting with joy, excitement, anticipation, worry, anxiousness, fear, doubt... all at once. "Lord, you know all things, you know that I love you." While my my mind and heart seem to want to combust with the amount of emotion I am feeling these days, St. Peter's words keep coming to me as I near the birth of our son.
Simple trust. The most difficult thing for me. I had such different experiences with my first two births; Gemma was a long, natural, somewhat traumatic episode with a difficult recovery, while Felicity's was half the time yet powerful and fearful as I decided to receive an epidural around 9 centimeters to help with the pushing stage.
I think I'm still sorting through those two experiences, and I can't say I've totally healed or understand everything with clarity (especially in time for this little one's impending arrival).
But, a theme I'm finding as I type these words here and elsewhere on Ever Easter...is that at some point, I have to act on faith.
That may sound like a terrible, forced, disingenuous expression of devotion to the One who created me, but I actually think it's simply me growing in love. For most of my life, I relied soley on how I felt - most particularly in my relationship with God. If I "felt" His presence and gifts of the Holy Spirit, everything was hunky dory. Sure, I can totally understand my worth as a beloved daughter because I could "feel" that love. But, the moment that feeling slipped away, I was left to my own reserves, grasping for acceptance and love anywhere else I could find it. I'd tumble down a deep, dark rabbit hole only to desperately climb up again for mercy, and this vicious cycle lasted for years.
And, yes, I often still fight that cycle.
I've gone through many instances when I don't feel close to Him who is Love. Throughout my college years, during an ended engagement, and even recently, during my first born's birth. I remember feeling so angry, helpless, and abandoned during and after labor (this is NOT everyone's experience, so I dearly hope and pray this doesn't scare new soon-to-be mothers out there). I had a lot to contend with. Past experiences were stirred up and old wounds I didn't know I still had became clear with that birth.
What I'm messily trying to get at is; over the years, I have learned that my emotions are not me. What I feel does not makeup who I am.
A very wise nun and clinical psychologist sat me down once, took a pen and piece of paper, drew a large circle, and made a pen-sized dot in the middle of the circle.
"The circle is you. Your emotions are that dot."
Cue my brain exploding..
It was the first time I grasped that what I felt doesn't entirely make up who I am. Feelings come and go, emotions ride up and down. They are legitimate, they can be powerful, but they are only one aspect of our wonderfully complex selves. And, translate that into our relationship with God...
"Lord, You know all things. You know that I love you."
I repeat these words again because I want to choose to love.
Choosing to love, choosing to step forward in faith, to act on faith, to engage our will, attempting to place our life, will, and heart in His hands is pivotal. And, it is asked of us daily. It is also one of the hardest tasks ( at least me for) to take up. And, this side of heaven, I'm not a model of perfect trust. But, I sure want to keep trying.
The Lord knows what we are feeling, He knows our inmost being. He knows I'm a "seething ball of hormones" as Brian would put it. And, He takes all of it - my joy, anticipation, fear, anxiety - and asks me to lay them down before Him. God is asking me to grow in faith, hope, and love, and the journey is refining my heart to fully understand what it means to be deeply, truly fulfilled.
As I await the start to this third labor, despite whether I "feel" God's presence and consolation throughout it - before, during, or after - I know He is there beside me, calling forth this precious new soul.