One year ago today my husband and I took a leap of faith in our hopeful journey to become parents and put together a crib for our yet to be conceived baby bird and we proudly set it up in our yet to be used nursery room. For the last 365 days though, the room has sat untouched. Naked. And empty. Naked of any bed skirts and bumpers. And empty of any decorations or toys. And if I were honest, I am not sure if it has been hidden fear or just plain laziness for my lack of motivation to finish the room. My guess would be a combination of both. However that all changed this weekend.
On Friday I drove my mom (she sews, I don’t) to a fabric store and after picking out a bedding pattern for the crib, we scoured the aisles together looking for the perfect color of fabric. I would be lying if I told you I was 100 percent excited about our endeavors. Because honestly, this wasn’t done without me having some reservations. Nor was it done without me feeling odd and crazy as I walked up and down the aisles looking for the perfect shade of green to go with the blue. Or secretly praying the sweet lady cutting out our fabric wouldn’t ask me when I was due or if I knew what I was having. Because what would I say? No I am not due, but I’m believing God has promised me a boy? How awkward that conversation would have been. And not just for me, but her, and even my mom.
But friends, despite the nervousness and the moments I just wanted to abandon my cart and leave to go shopping for something less risky like a new pair of shoes, I pushed through and bought everything I needed. The pattern, the thread, the fabric, and even the paint samples. And I must say, each purchase made me feel empowered. Excited. Hopeful.
That is until I returned home.
My husband stood in the kitchen as I pulled everything out of the bags and began talking 90 mph about the ideas I had for the room. The pattern we would use for the crib bedding. The paint colors I would test out on the walls, and the decor I had found to match the bird theme. I was explaining about how the blue would go above the gold, and the brown would be on the bottom, while the one with the print would be sewn in the middle. My arms were flailing. My heart pounding.
I couldn’t believe I was actually doing this!
But while showing him the special fabric that would be used to make a pillow, my excitement began to fade when I looked up to see him standing there as if I was showing him a new sweater instead. There wasn’t a huge, over the top, cheesetastic smile on his handsome face, and his arms were nowhere near flailing like mine with excitement. Which I should have expected. Because while he is very supportive and believes without doubt God will fulfill His promises to us, he is like most men. And like most men, they typically don’t get overly thrilled about fabrics, paint colors, and home decor. They don’t dig out their cheerleader pom-poms or start doing toe touches when you talk about lumbar pillows and choosing pleated over ruffles. They just don’t. And while I know this, I couldn’t help but all of a sudden feel alone.
Alone in my planning. Alone in my building. Alone in my ideas and preparations.
And with that feeling of loneliness, resurfaced the awkwardness and the thoughts that I must be crazy for doing this without so much as even a positive pregnancy test. The fears I had once pushed away, began rising to the top. And the thought that my time and money was being wasted, shouted in my soul while the quiet whispers that my hope would be disappointed, echoed in my ear. All of these emotions poured out of me, but not in the form of words, just tears.
It’s in moments like these, when having faith is hard, like really hard, my mind always wanders to the story of Noah. I begin to think about how he must have felt when he started such an outrageous project as building a huge boat in a desert where it seldom rained. I imagine the looks he must have received from his friends as he carefully cut and assembled the gopher wood. I picture the 600 year old man struggling to coat the giant vessel inside and out with tar while his neighbors stood around the ladder, laughing and criticizing him. I even begin to wonder what his friends must have thought each time he needed to go fetch a few more nails. Did they sometimes think all this time and money he was spending was pointless? Did they have moments of doubt that the rain was going to come? I’m only guessing, but if they were any part human, I bet each of them did. And his wife? I bet she wasn’t always interested in hearing about his woodworking ideas. Or happily available to stand at the bottom of the ladder, holding it steady and rooting him on.
And so if he wasn’t getting constant encouragement from his neighbors, friends or even his wife, then who strengthened him day in and day out to keep doing something as crazy as building a boat the size of a football field in a desert with a zero percent chance of rain? I would venture to say it was God. God was the one holding steady his ladder.
Because friends, it has been days since that moment I felt alone in my kitchen and hours since I read the story of Noah, but only moments since I felt discouragement creep into the deepest parts of my soul as I flung the paint color samples on the wall. However in the midst of my hopelessness, fear, and uncertainty, there was one significant moment when I stood back to look at the colors and everything within me shifted. I could instantly feel God holding my ladder steady. I could hear Him shouting encouragement to me…encouragement only I could hear:
“That’s it, Elisha! You’re getting it! Oops! A little paint drip, but that’s okay! It’s still going to look great! I’m proud of you, baby girl! Walking in faith and trusting me isn’t easy, but I promise I will make it worth it!”
It was with each paint stroke on the wall, the more excited I became for the child I hope will one day sleep, dream and play in this room. And it was with each whisper of encouragement to my heart, the less I worried or cared if others were as excited as I was about doing this. Or if outsiders, like the woman cutting my fabric, would think building an ark (nursery) even when it looked like a zero percent chance of rain (pregnancy) looked odd. Or even straitjacket crazy.
Sweet friend, I’ll be the first to raise my hand, jump up and down, and tell you that stepping out in faith is not easy. It’s not always rainbows and flowers. It’s sometimes scary. It usually feels odd. Awkward. And downright nerve-wracking. It will make your stomach tighten and knees buckle. But I will also be the first one to smile and say that through God’s grace, He will always empower His children to do outrageous acts of courage on His behalf. The same God who steadied the ladder for Noah and gave him the encouragement he needed to keep hammering, is the same God who held the ladder steady for me today. And friend? He is the same One who will hold it for you. So don’t be afraid to step out in faith…No matter how outrageous or awkward or ridiculous or absolutely risky and frightening it will feel at the time.
Have I not commanded you? Be strong and courageous. Do not be frightened, and do not be dismayed, for the Lord your God is with you wherever you go. ~Joshua 1:9
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