Leap Without Looking
This weekend, I'm going to pick out a paint color for my baby's nursery.
Before anyone gets too excited, no, this is not a pregnancy announcement. Nor is it my way of sharing the good news that we've been chosen to receive a child through adoption. Nothing about our circumstance has changed to warrant this decision.
You might think I'm crazy for painting a room for a child I don't know for sure is coming, and part of me agrees with you. Part of me feels like Liz Lemon buying a wedding dress for a marriage she doubts will ever come to pass.
But this morning, I searched for a passage in Isaiah that has been pricking at the corners of my mind. It's been a long time since I've visited that particular corner of the Bible, so all I could remember was that there was something about barren women rejoicing. When I found it, I burst into tears.
"Sing, O barren one, who did not bear;
break forth into singing and cry aloud,
you who have not been in labor!
For the children of the desolate one will be more
than the children of her who is married," says the LORD.
"Enlarge the place of your tent,
and let the curtains of your habitations be stretched out;
do not hold back; lengthen your cords
and strengthen your stakes.
For you will spread abroad to the right and to the left,
and your offspring will possess the nations
and will people the desolate cities."
Isaiah 54:1-3 (ESV)
I know this passage was not written specifically for me. I know it is not a promise that all who are barren will bear children, because I've known too many faithful, kind people who never shed their barrenness despite years of patient prayer. But still, something about this passage made me pause and consider my situation.
Over the past ten months, I have schooled myself to expel hope from my heart as testing dates approach. "Don't open yourself up to disappointment," I repeat to myself constantly as I gaze at my reflection, as I drive home from work, as I pop open the bright pink box. "You'll only be upset."
I know that having PCOS complicates things. I know that even now that I'm on the special diet and taking the special meds and becoming more aware of my body's specific needs, conceiving our first child is likely to take some more time.
But I have been holding back. I have not been enlarging the place of my tent, lengthening my cords, strengthening my stakes. I have been pouring out my desires in prayer to God, yet living as if I expect Him to fail me. Actions speak louder than words, and my actions have said, "I don't believe this will happen." And I've had enough of that.
Will this temporarily increase my heartache each time I realize this isn't the month for me? I can almost guarantee it. But being vulnerable isn't the same as being weak. As my favorite writer, C.S. Lewis, said so eloquently in The Four Loves:
"To love at all is to be vulnerable. Love anything and your heart will be wrung and possibly broken. If you want to make sure of keeping it intact you must give it to no one, not even an animal. Wrap it carefully round with hobbies and little luxuries; avoid all entanglements. Lock it up safe in the casket or coffin of your selfishness. But in that casket, safe, dark, motionless, airless, it will change. It will not be broken; it will become unbreakable, impenetrable, irredeemable. To love is to be vulnerable."
And so, you see, I don't have much of a choice, do I? There will be more tears this way. More tears, and even more of the longing that fills every waking moment. More disappointment. More sadness. And more love.
It's time to leap without looking.
It's time to enlarge the place of my tent, to lengthen my cords and strengthen my stakes.
It's time to stop calling the nursery "the guest room" and paint the damn walls.