I saw her in the waiting area. With everyone surrounding us – bagels & coffee in hand. A three hour flight ahead of us, I couldn’t help but notice her cute fashion pants of the day. Though no make-up was on her face, and her hair was held back by a headband and pigtail braids to her shoulders – there was a confident elegance to her disheveled appearance. Though exhausted,as she was noticeably with baby in tow, strapped around her body – I saw a glimpse of something that I couldn’t quite figure out.
As I dismissed the thought, I began to work on my freelance content calendar, that in no way was spiritually motivated at all. And then, all of a sudden I couldn’t help but sense the Holy Spirit whisper and nudge my heart to pay attention. He does this often, right before I enter a restaurant and I need to be ready to intercede for my waitress, or in Starbucks drive-thru line where He calls me to pay for the car behind me (which mind you always exceeds more than just one cup of Starbucks finest.) Over my 26 years I still have blonde moments that might never change, but one thing has – I look to hear Him. I may not always listen the first time He speaks – but I make it a point to try and not miss it the second time.
And as I closed my laptop and headed to board the plane, He whispered again – ‘Don’t assume, just listen.” As I got closer and closer to my row, I realized my row partner would be none other than the mother from the waiting area. As the flight got ready to take off, she looked at me hesitantly and stated, “Don’t worry – he’s a good baby, it won’t be bad at all. I promise.”
As most of you who read my blog, you know me personally. And if you don’t, might I take a moment to give you some insight into my life. I have so many passions and dreams, but one I have always been the first to state, my first passion in life is not to be a mother. Every time I see a baby my womb does not flutter and my heart does not skip a beat. It does when I’m preparing for a teaching or putting together a presentation for work, but not over spit up and play dates. I didn’t choose this life – it chose me.
(Seemed appropriate, right?)
I love how my friends yearn to be a mom. They wake up waiting for the day when they can hear a baby’s heartbeat and register at Babies R Us; and I yearn for the day when I receive first class status on my AAdvantage account. It’s different life – neither right nor wrong – just different.
So, now that you are aware – for all of this to ensue, as she stated this promise to me – my heart was softened with a little bit of conviction. My long sigh and slight thought of annoyance when entering the plane was instantly replaced with a deep sense of compassion. I can’t imagine doing what she is doing. And that is where Jesus + Holy Spirit showed up.
“You’ve never let yourself imagine it, Jess.”
In a matter of moments, I pulled out my journal and bible (as I normally do on a long flight – catch up on quiet time, right?) and as she saw this, she informed me she was also a believer. And how she was in the military and get this – a helicopter pilot. Remember that confidence I mentioned? Yeah – I knew it. She then went on to tell me about her and her family moving, her husband (who is a rocket scientist, like what a power couple?), and her other son. As she talked with such love and joy about her family, I again felt what I normally feel in these occasions – nothing.
In my past, I have never been able to relate to this. I don’t know what it is like to long and love for a child as most women. And for years I have felt ashamed of ever thinking this, let alone writing it. Like what kind of woman am I? To not to give the miracle of life – what could possibly be missing in me? Maybe some of you can relate, or some of you can’t at all. Either way, it became quite clear this flight wasn’t just to take me to a new destination physically, but to land with my heart in a new place spiritually as well.
As she soon got situated, and as did I – I pulled out my book and started reading. And then as on every flight, the food and beverage cart came around. She ordered food. As I could tell, it would be really difficult for her to eat, while holding and rocking a baby. And there it was, the nudging. “Don’t assume she can do it on her own, ask her if she needs help.”
“God, it’s me you are talking to – you know this isn’t my area.”
“She’s a stranger, and a stranger asking to hold her baby – it is 2015, God. Have you seen Law & Order?”
But I couldn’t shake the nudge, so I nervously asked. And with the look and expression of thankfulness on her face, she breathed out a sigh and said, “Yes, that would be great…” So she handed eight week old Oliver over to me. The biggest eight week old baby I have ever seen, might I add. And as I sat there, he just stared into my eyes – like he knew. This lady has no idea what she is doing.
As I held baby Oli, my heart was instantly softened and God reminded me of a word I received earlier this week.
“Jessica, you’re going to be a great mother.”
And as I rocked him back and forth, the Lord began to rock my heart open in places I didn’t realize had been asleep. More like caged for year. And after a few minutes, she took her baby boy back and as she kissed his forehead like he had been gone for years – I looked away as tears welled up in my eyes. And just like that, an area of my heart that I had hidden with to-do lists, 5 year plans, and the busyness that only our 20s can bring – I uttered in the spirit…
I do want kids.
Even as I just typed that, I breathed a sigh that only can be seen in me when something has been lifted – or in this case, received. A word of encouragement at the beginning of this week and a divine appointment from a bad a** helicopter WOMAN, Christian, pilot (excuse the *** but guys, it’s necessary) all for God to reveal a part of my heart that I had locked away for year.
The nothingness that I had felt in the hour before, was now replaced with a genuine okay with longing. And okay to long for something that is not right now. Not an idol or even an obsession, just the adequate expression that if God wills for me to bear children, then it’s okay. It’s okay to imagine a life with kids. A family Christmas. A road trip gone bad. And even, a Babies R Us registry.
Maybe there is something that God is trying to show you, and to you – you wrote it off years ago. One of those, “God, that’s for them – but not for me.” I am with you, friend. But what I see at the root of this – as God led me to Psalm 139 to remind me of my identity.
“I praise you because I am fearfully and wonderfully made; your works are wonderful, I know that full well. My frame was not hidden from you when I was made in the secret place, when I was woven together in the depths of the earth. Your eyes saw my unformed body; all the days ordained for me were written in your book before one of them came to be. How precious to me are your thoughts, God.” How vast the sum of them.” Psalm 139: 14-17
The lie you, that we, have believed that it’s for everyone else and not us is a matter of not realizing our worth in Christ. It’s a root issue of hurt in your past that has somehow made you feel disqualified for a promise God may be genuinely trying to put into effect for your destiny.
Maybe yours isn’t children, maybe it’s writing a book – or going on a mission trip – or starting a company. Maybe its marriage. Whatever it is, I pray you take it from me – listen to the nudges of the Holy Spirit and allow Him to interrupt your plans and release a promise that’s been held captive by doubt and fear. And maybe, just maybe – I’ll run into you at Babies R Us in the next few years?