Thursday, July 3, 2014

No Crib for a Bed... But Amply Blessed All the Same

I have been done with school now for approximately two and a half weeks. When I was in school, I pictured myself laying in bed as long as I wanted to, getting up with a leisurely cup of coffee, and reading or crocheting or writing or going for walks all day every day.

I have been laying in bed as long as I want to every day. That has been wonderful. With the pregnancy sleeping discomforts creeping up, it's nice to be able to sleep in if baby kicking or muscle spasms kept me awake the night before. And, honestly, after Baby #1, I'll never get to do this again, so I'm savoring. I haven't been drinking coffee, though, and I haven't been spending my days in leisurely activities like reading, crocheting, writing, and going for walks. I haven't been drinking coffee because I've still got some lingering morning sickness -- not nearly as bad as during the first trimester, but enough that I have to force breakfast down and then force lunch down before my appetite starts to pick up. And I haven't been spending all my time in leisure activities because my mind has been consumed with the great question of What Next?

After much deliberation, we decided I should take the year off of teaching. Teach For America makes it possible for us to be in the schools teaching without a teaching license, but the Department of Education in Minnesota requires that we be working toward our license in order to be teaching. Therefore, I would have no choice but to continue teaching and taking evening graduate classes next year. That nearly put me over the edge this year. With a baby? No way.

However, that puts us in a difficult financial situation. We are so thankful that Mark has found a job he enjoys (and that his employer was willing to hire him on full-time when Mark asked -- otherwise, since we were on my health insurance, I don't know what we would have done when my contract with the school ran out). But the job just doesn't pay enough to make ends meet. So I've been spending a lot of time either working on my homework for my graduate classes or searching for part-time jobs that would work well with Mark's schedule.

And in the meantime, we decided not to renew our lease because the apartment is too small for us and baby. After much apartment searching, we realized it's not financially possible for us to pay for a two-bedroom apartment right now. It's actually cheaper (or just as cheap) to buy a house in a lower price range. So, we're considering buying a house. Or living with my parents for a few months and then buying a house. But a lot of that depends on whether I find a job, and if so, what kind.

In the meantime, baby's due date approaches and all of her stuff is still in an unflattering pile in our bedroom.

And our living room.

We have been so blessed. I honestly feel like we have everything we need for baby girl. Or at least, everything we need to get started. We just have nowhere to set it up. And I confess, when I see all the adorable nursery pictures of other expectant friends on Facebook, I feel jealous. I want to have a room for the baby. I want to have the room set up and be able to step inside and look around and realized We Are Ready. Unfortunately, that's just not going to be the case.

Being in an insecure financial and living situation for the third time in five years has gotten me down, especially with baby on the way. It makes me feel irresponsible and incompetent. However, I've been thinking, and other people have helped me think more positively about our situation. One of my aunts said to me: "Tough circumstances survived by grace are a precious gift to give to our children, a much better gift than expensive habits...I see so many kids that get so much material stuff early in life that sets them up for disappointment later. They're robbed of the pleasure of "yearning and earning," which is so much more satisfying than instant gratification."

And then yesterday, after I got flushed from a job I was halfway expecting to get, I felt really disappointed. (Or, to be more honest, I threw a temper tantrum alone in my apartment and sobbed on the phone to my mom .) But when I got to thinking about it more, I was reminded of the Bible verses that have been my theme in every other precarious situation since our marriage:

No king is saved by the size of his army;
    no warrior escapes by his great strength.
17 A horse is a vain hope for deliverance;
    despite all its great strength it cannot save.
18 But the eyes of the Lord are on those who fear him,
    on those whose hope is in his unfailing love,
19 to deliver them from death
    and keep them alive in famine. (Psalm 33:16-19)

And I realized, too, that even though this little girl might not be born into a world where her room is already set up and decorated, she has already been blessed amply compared to so many children in the world. Not only has she been getting excellent medical care since her conception, she has been fed (mostly) healthy foods from the get-go. She has not been subjected to alcohol (except for the glass or two I had before I suspected I was pregnant, and except for the dip of wine during communion) or cigarette smoke. She already has a stable family with parents who love her and extended family who eagerly anticipate her and pray for her. She will grow up in a family where she is taught about Jesus from an early age. Because of the family that anticipates her and the church of her parents, she will never be hungry or living on the streets as a child. Barring unforeseen circumstances, she will get to live until adulthood with her birth parents and will never know the trauma of being separated from the voices she grew to know in the womb.

When I got to that point, I no longer felt sorry for myself or irresponsible. God is good. God planned for the time when this little one would be conceived and already knows the date of her birth. He loves her more than I do, and He is preparing rich spiritual blessings for her, even if she doesn't have a darling nursery. She is already richly and amply blessed.