Heartprints

Finding Faith In an Unplanned Pregnancy

I starred at the electric blue stripe on the home pregnancy test. Positive. Definitely positive. Tears bolted down my cheeks.

What happened? We were careful. How could I be pregnant now? We just finished four years of my husband’s seminary training and planned to enter a 1-year residency program. Our bank account held on by a few dollars, we struggled to find even a tiny apartment we could afford in the next city, and we didn’t have health insurance.

On top of that, our two boys were already more than I felt like I could handle. My oldest lives with chronic medical issues and adding a baby? I felt like a pottery jar shattered on the ground. Unfixable.

I can’t do this. I wept and wept.

Unplanned pregnancy

People offered words of congrats. Believers said, “God will help you. Children are a blessing.”  But those words felt pithy and dishonest.

Were they the ones that would carry the baby in my already stretched body? Would they suffer the pain of another c-section and months of hazy sleeplessness?

Yes, I know God will help me, but it doesn’t mean the journey is easy.

I didn’t need candlelight sentiment. I needed illuminating compassion.

As I called out to the Lord, he led me to the story of Mary. She too was met with an unexpected pregnancy in the hands of a perfect-timing God. She wasn’t even married and her apparent unfaithfulness to her betrothed, Joseph, made her a disgrace.

She also came with little means. Not powerful, not political. Humble. Hard-working. Poor. And the timing of Jesus’ arrival couldn’t have felt more transient as she spent the last few days of pregnancy on the road—away from family and friends back in Nazareth. (Luke 2)

I figured if the God of the universe provided for the Savior in a dusty town in the boondocks outside of Jerusalem, then maybe I could trust Him to provide for us as well.

I figured if the God of the universe provided for the Savior in a dusty town in the boondocks outside of Jerusalem, then maybe I could trust Him to provide for us as well.

So I began to pray for faith like hers. Faith that says, “I am your maidservant.” While submitting with trust to His plan (Luke 1:38).

The flicker of faith slowly dissipated the bitterness and fear. Over time, God showed His provision. He led us to the right doctor in the right hospital and the way to cover the finances. He gave me more strength than I thought possible in healing and parenting three kids in a tiny apartment in a new city. It still wasn’t easy, but He indeed upheld me.

Four months later after my healthy baby girl joined our family, my mom died unexpectantly. And I spent hours holding my baby girl, praising God for His timing. He knew Karis (which means “grace” in Greek) would be the grace I would need as I continue to grieve my mom’s passing. I cherish the moments with my daughter as I imagine my mother cherished hers with me.

Are you facing unplanned circumstances? Job loss? Scary diagnosis? A broken relationship?

I have learned that the times when God is most on display in my life, are the times I am in unplanned circumstances. Abraham did not plan to have a baby in his old age (he was as good as dead). Moses did not plan to lead the Israelites out of slavery instead of tending flock. Joseph did not plan to become a slave—nor high ranking official.

Peter did not plan to preach the first sermon at Pentecost. Saul did not plan meeting Jesus on the road to Damascus and then preach the gospel to the Gentiles. Lydia did not plan to host a church in her home in Philippi.

Like the great hall of faith in Hebrews 11, these people, living a life of unplanned faith, can encourage our hearts. Because they followed God in their assignments or set-backs, they were used by God to bring him glory.

No matter what unplanned challenge we are facing, I believe God can and will use this for His glory—if we surrender and follow Him in it.

A similar version of this post first appeared on SeanaScott.org.

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