The big day is almost finally here! Our baby girl could be here today, a month from now, or right on time—the anticipation is unbelievable! I thought I’d take a few minutes and share a piece of my heart as my due date quickly approaches. The nursery is ready, her clothes are folded in sweet little piles, and even with a few odd jobs that I’d like to be done before her arrival, I feel so ready to meet my daughter—my heart could just burst with the joy that I know comes after the long and trying process that childbirth will be. Entering into the Christmas season along with this new season of life seems so appropriate, and I’m starting to wonder if maybe God is trying to teach me something in His perfect timing.
I thought I’d use this Bumpdate as an excuse to show off the wonderful maternity photos taken by my talented sister and photographer, Sara Bittner! If you’re in the Lancaster PA area, and looking for a wedding or maternity photographer, be sure to check her out—she’s amazing! Some of my favorite pictures of Steven and I are from this shoot…I just happen to have a giant gut in them! I guess we have to have our first family photo shoot with her too! 😉
When I announced our pregnancy, I shared a little bit about our journey to where we are today. We had it all planned out, our baby was supposed to be born during summer break (my husband is a teacher) last year, but plans are just plans, and life doesn’t always look the way we think it should. This pregnancy has been a breeze but I can genuinely say that almost every other aspect of our lives during this pregnancy have not been a breeze. I don’t want to go into details here, but trust me when I say that everything has been turned upside down in the past few months. The joy of expecting a healthy baby girl is the highest high that I’ve ever felt. But I’ve also been as low as I’ve ever been in these few months.
Even before our baby was a heartbeat on a screen, I’ve prayed that she would be a blessing and a light to the world. And, as it would turn out, her name means “light” (we’ll be announcing her name on her birthday, for now you’ll just have to guess!). We didn’t plan it that way or search out a name meaning “light,” it just happened, which I think is pretty awesome! I know that everything is about to change, but I also know that children are a gift from God. The hope and this new life that has been growing in my body during the darkest times of my life is already proof that she has and will bring joy and light to us. I pray that she will bring light into this dark world, not just now, but for her whole life.
And then I think about this whole Christmas story—unwrapping before us as it does every year. Circumstance has it’s way of making you see, even old things, in a new and different way. You know the story: the world, at one of it’s darkest times, was looking for a savior. Nothing was going right for Israel: They were being ruled by the Romans—it was not a good time. And God chose to use a child to save his people, a child to bring joy and light. Not to free them from the rule of the Romans, like they had hoped, or to free them from the hardships that they faced. God had something far more important in mind; He sent His Son to save them and us from eternal separation from Himself. God brought light into the world through a child, through Jesus.
The anticipation and excitement I feel for my child’s arrival are like nothing I’ve ever felt before. I can’t wait to see what she looks like, what her personality is like…just to hold her in my arms. What must Mary and Joseph have felt? Knowing that you will bear the Son of God has to be more anticipation and wonder than anything I could possibly feel for my child. To know the thoughts and questions that must have run through Mary’s mind…
As I anticipate my own baby, and consider the anticipation of the Christ child, I wonder if I anticipate His return like I should. Honestly, it’s been a while since I’ve found myself wondering what God will look like, what it will be like to walk with Him, and just long to be held in His arms. Shouldn’t I feel the same wonder and anticipation for the afterlife as I do for the arrival of this new life on earth? Has my focus on this life been taking over my gaze on the one who deserves my full attention?
I’m not going act like I’ve been the strongest, most committed Christian during the hardships that we’re facing. There have been plenty of days where I just can’t step foot inside the church, or where my prayers look more like the temper tantrums of a 4 year-old than a faithful follower of Christ. And honestly, I think that’s OK. If God truly knows me and loves me, he loves me at my worst too: why else would he have come to save me?
I know that God shows up in the most unexpected of ways, even in the darkest of times, and I believe that He is using this little girl to remind us of just that. In the depths of life, there is still hope, joy, and life. Just like the hope, joy, and life that he delivered through his Son over 2000 years ago. God sent his Son when and how he wanted to. And maybe, just maybe he sent this little girl into our lives when and how he wanted to. If things look dark this Christmas, I want to remind you that God sent His Son into the world in the darkest of times so that you could find hope and life in Him. Because of Christ’s birth, death, and resurrection we have the hope of eternal life with God, no matter how bleak things look in the here and now. Because of Christ, we have the hope of knowing, seeing, and being held by God for all of eternity.
I know that this Bumpdate isn’t the usual frenzy of nursery updates that you’re used to. I think it’s so important for me to share my heart with you though. Don’t worry, the full nursery reveal will be coming soon, along with the name reveal, and all of those fun things! I hope that you have a truly blessed Christmas, and remember the hope that we have because of the Christ child born so that we could live. If you have questions about this hope or who Jesus is, please don’t hesitate to contact me, I’ll be sure to get back to you as soon as I see that email pop into my inbox!