Sunday, February 26, 2012
Never Too Late To Turn
My sophomore year in college was seven years ago, yet I still love my days stuffed full to bursting and somehow still managing to get everything done. Last week, though, when the ultrasound revealed that our daughter was footling breech, everything on my to-do list became null and void. With that picture of my daughter head up at thirty-nine weeks, instead of scratching to-dos off my list, my madly spinning world scratched to a halt.
If I walked (then waddled) my three miles every day and did my stretches at night, if I drank my quart of raspberry leaf tea, took my gentle birth herbs and prenatal vitamins, if I read the books by internationally-known midwife Ina May Gaskin, I believed that nothing could go wrong.
Well, I was wrong.
Seated on the paper-sheeted examination table with the doctor and midwife discussing my options -- a scheduled C-section, external cephalic version followed by induction -- I realized that my entire life and that of my daughter’s was out of my hands.
There was nothing I could do but pray, which -- coming as a last resort and not as a first inclination -- caused me to understand that I did not trust my Creator at all. Seven years ago, doubt about the goodness of God’s heart crept into my own, and the only way I knew to combat it was to take the reins of my life back into my hands.
With every to-do scratched off my list, I felt like I was keeping one step ahead of catastrophe. I felt that if I had control, nothing could spin beyond my control.
For seven years, this self-destructive behavior masked as constructive never stopped. But then, for five long days last week, I was forced to stop. I was forced to lay back on an inversion table with hot packs and cold packs and pray, pray, pray that my daughter would turn.
I was forced to relinquish my control over the situation. I was forced to admit that regardless of how many quarts of raspberry leaf tea I consumed, regardless of how many miles I walked and books I read, I was powerless to bring my daughter into this world unscathed.
The only One who could keep my daughter safe, the only one who could turn my daughter back where she belonged was the same One who placed her inside my womb.
In the quiet of our living room, curled up on the carpet like the child inside me, I wept as I surrendered my control. I apologized to my Creator for attempting to take my life by the reins when He was the One who controlled its direction. I told Him that I knew even during that turbulent time seven years ago that He would’ve taken care of my family and my friends if I had only stepped out of the way and let Him.
Instead, I had thought that keeping my days full to bursting meant that my life could not break apart. But God never wanted my life to break apart. He wanted to heal it; he wanted to turn it back to Him just as I needed to turn back to Him.
I must’ve remained on the carpet in our living room for less than five minutes, but the change that took place felt so momentous it could’ve required a lifetime. When I finally wiped my face on my t-shirt and crawled back over to the inversion table to resume trying to get my daughter to turn, I realized that I had been as stubborn as my firstborn child, but that in God’s mercy He had waited for the surrender of my heart so that I could finally trust and turn my life back over to Him.
Looking back, although I did not feel it, I believe this is the afternoon my daughter also turned.