As much as I love The Lion King, the scene in which Scar sings “Be Prepared” always kind of freaked me out. All that fire, those bones, the creepy song—eek.
I was thinking about this scene early last week, during my last two days at work before maternity leave. I’m not a workaholic, but I love my job. In the early months of my pregnancy, as crazy as it sounds, I wasn’t sure how I would handle taking time off, at least initially. But as the time came closer, I felt more and more at peace with the transition ahead—to the point where I started to hope that the baby would come before its due date so that I could start to care for and get to know this little person that’s been living inside of me.
Okay, so that’s about 90% of the truth.
The other part of the story is that I wanted the baby to come early so that I could avoid, or at least put off, preparations to check out of the office for a couple of months. As prepared as I felt for labor, delivery, recovery, caring for a newborn, the whole nine yards, the idea of answering every email in my inbox, organizing the piles on my desk, and leaving instructions for the projects under my care seemed almost insurmountable. I felt like I could be prepared for either baby things or work things, but both? Unlikely.
I started to worry over the weekend, waking up Saturday with the idea that I would spend the morning working on email and other things I had taken home. A quick word from John happily changed my mind, and we ended up spending most of Saturday with friends and most of Sunday watching football. I ended up feeling much more peaceful and much more prepared for work Monday than I would have been, had I spent time on the computer over the weekend. Amen!
Monday was a productive day, but Tuesday morning, I found myself faced with the same fears again. How would I get everything done? I knew I couldn’t stay late—I had a doctor’s appointment early in the evening—and I was starting to freak out. Before I left our apartment, I surveyed myself for signs of labor, and was disappointed to find none.
On the subway, I reconsidered my surprisingly satisfying Monday for what had made the difference. Should I have been surprised? Of course not, but of course I was! The difference was prayer. I’d been focused and thoughtful in my prayer in both the morning and evening on Monday, and had even taken a moment to notice God’s grace in the middle of my day. That grace had helped me to be grateful for my work, for what I’d accomplished and what still needed to e done, and for the baby in my belly—all at once.
That morning I tried to give myself to God in prayer in the same way, and, praise to God, I left the office at the end of the day feeling good about where I’d left things and about what was coming next. Thank God for His grace through this patient little baby, who was helping to hold me accountable to the things for which I am responsible.
One of my favorite stories in the Bible is the Epiphany, when the three magi come to see baby Jesus. When they’re on their way home, they are warned by God in a dream to go another way to avoid Herod. They had to change their plans and take another route. This is so often what I need to do, too—to take God’s route instead of my own. His will be done, not mine. I expect this will be more important to keep in mind in the next few weeks than ever before. Thank goodness for an early reminder, and thank goodness for fruitful prayer.