Lent for the Expecting Heart

(This post was originally published on the Baptist Convention of New England’s blog on March 9, 2020. You can find it here.)

Days swell with the anticipation of that larger-than-life rhythm that has marked humanity since the garden: death and resurrection. The groans of bringing forth new life hang heavy in the future. As I find myself waiting for our first baby this Lenten season, I’m struck by the phrase ‘expecting mother.’ What am I expecting? Surprisingly, my hopes are an awful lot like those of every other thoughtful heart during Lent, “great with child” or not.

I’m expecting to see the depths of my need.

Independence isn’t a spiritual gift; it’s actually a hindrance to fruitfulness. This sounds like a bummer to a girl who loves impressing others with a job well done. Motherhood isn’t a star chart, though, and I’m not asked to make an A. Grasping just how much of a beggar I am when it comes to grace is my first step to glory. I need those reminders every. single. day. Lent offers forty opportunities to live in just such a reality.

I’m expecting to be broken.

Repentance. (Sigh.) Martin Luther called it the sum total of a Christian life. I hear motherhood has a way of breaking you at every level: apart from the obvious physical strain of labor, parenting can drive you to the edge emotionally, wreck your spiritual strongholds, and exhaust your mental capacities—all within the first year or two. (Don’t even ask me to think about parenting teens yet!) Lent shatters us in the most beautiful ways. 

I’m expecting grace to meet me in the dark.

Pregnancy is a nine-month experiment in patience. While the highs are amazing, the lows can feel crippling. When it seems all hope is lost (because, come on, those hormones hijack any semblance of reason), a pierced hand takes mine and pulls me close. Jesus endured the deepest dark so that I could be rescued from it. I’ll never enter a pit He hasn’t prepared for me and filled with His muchness in advance. Lent is a season of grieving splattered with spiritual comfort in the most curious places.

I’m expecting the Promise Maker to be the Promise Keeper.

Oh, how I need to know that joy will indeed come in the morning! To be embraced by the fact that the Creator’s presence will be with me in that delivery room. He has pledged Himself to be sovereign, wise, kind, faithful, and a thousand other things that birth uncontainable joy in my soul. Because I know His track record, I can laugh without fear of the future. (Well, at least not get sick at the thought.) Lent banks on Easter with no Plan B. You might even say that we are putting all of our eggs into the Easter basket.   

Whether our sights are set on a Sunday morning sunrise service or a Tuesday afternoon delivery room, Jesus will come through in the most stunning way possible. Let’s wait well with great expectations. 

For I consider that the sufferings of this present time are not worth comparing with the glory that is to be revealed to us.

(Romans 8:18)

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