Jacob: September 14, 2010

Dear Baby,

I sat down to write to you on Saturday. If I’d written it would’ve been about how tired I was and how much my feet hurt, but how much I loved my jobs, and how frustrating it was to have a cold and not be able to take drugs on your account. But I fell asleep instead of writing to you, and now it’s Tuesday and I have a different story to tell you because yesterday I lost one of those jobs and all but lost the other. I want to say it was a humbling experience and that it’s drawn me close to Christ, but I don’t think I’m there yet. I need to get there, your dad tells me.

But yesterday I lost a job and had my second job deflated into almost nothing. Then as I lay in bed trying to fall asleep, waiting for the medicine to take effect and relieve the terrible gas cramps you gave me, your dad woke up wheezing, muscling air into his lungs. He took anti-inflammatory, wished for an inhaler, and paced or sat for an hour until he could finally breathe easily again. I lay there wondering if I’d have to call 911 when he stopped breathing. Last night as I tossed and turned I felt scared and vulnerable, and slightly angry, and full of self-pity about my work situation. Now that I write it down, I realize God’s great mercy was to spare Daddy any harm, or me the experience of watching him gasp for air. God is merciful.

So why do I fear tomorrow? God willing, we will “meet” you tomorrow at our first ultrasound, and hear you’re tiny heart beating like crazy. But at our first doctor’s appointment the nurse couldn’t find your heartbeat. I was watching her face closely and her expression didn’t change. Maybe she’s good at hiding, or maybe she was sincere when she said it was perfectly normal. I’ve been wondering ever since what tomorrow’s news will be. If I didn’t see so many signs of trouble around me—our daily little setbacks are nothing compared with the sorrow we’ve seen in some of our friends at church—I might find it easier to expect God’s mercy and compassion; to expect that He delights to shower us with blessings. Instead I have to take that entirely on faith, because His Word says so.

A line popped into my head this morning as I was trying to track down another job: “In Christ alone my hope is found.” It’s the start of a song and as such gets overlooked. But there’s nothing truer. So Daddy is right. Jesus is all we need, all that can make anything out of our lives. If only this experience could teach me to cling to Him more like a child and less like a scared orphan.

In other news, we’re starting to announce you to people. Aunt Kilby found out on Thursday and was positively gleeful. She’s getting married in January and moving across the world to Uganda. Who knows when you’ll meet her. She’s coming to spend Thanksgiving with us this year so we can spend one last time together so we’ve decided since we’ll just have found out whether you’re a boy or girl (Daddy already “knows” you’re a boy.) she and I will go and pick out your first newborn outfit together. Uncle David & Aunt Leigh found out on Sunday. They were thrilled. Apparently your first cousin will be either Ethan or Emilie, and about two months older than you. We told Jonathan, Daddy’s highschool friend, on Sunday, too. We’re telling your grandparents in the next few weeks, which raises a funny question: What will you call them!? My parents will find out a week from tonight when they visit us for the first time. I am so excited for them to be here! Daddy’s parents will find out two weeks later when they visit us.

Everyone who finds out is so excited for us. Yet we’re agonizing over how to handle the announcement around the St. Olaf community, since many of them probably won’t be as thrilled. I keep remembering Jesus’ words: “Blessed are you when men speak ill of you on my account.” I hope I’ll be good at teaching you this lesson by example by the time you’re old enough to notice, for all the practice we’ve gotten at St. Olaf. Little one, as much as I hope that while you are growing up you will know the security and happiness of a community that shares your loves and loyalties and convictions, I know it won’t always be so, and I don’t want to shelter you too much from the disdainful world. It, too, is part of a Christian’s identity, and I want you to understand it well and understand Christ – his meekness and humility and patience – better for it.

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