We're sitting across from each other at the same wooden table, he and I. It's the one we sat at before, about a year ago. It's evening, and His eyes are full of smiles. There's a twinkle in them that shows immense joy -- yet He is also concerned and eager to talk because He knows exactly what I'm going through.
Michael is standing patiently outside again, giving us the time to talk privately. Time will stand still as long as I'm sitting at this table with my Savior. Everything can be on hold for as long as I need it to be. He is patient and understanding, and He allows me to speak first.
First, I thank Him for this incredible first year of marriage with Michael. Amid happy tears, I find myself incapable of fully expressing the gratitude I feel in my heart, but He doesn't seem to need any further explanation. He knows. He always has. I take a deep breath of relief.
Next, I thank Him for the incredible gift of life within me. My tears flow again, and I tell him how absolutely amazed I am with His ability to create life! I thank Him for choosing me and believing in me and entrusting me with this baby. I thank him for my own body-vessel that continues to serve me well throughout this pregnancy.
And yet, I explain to him my deep concern with the hurting blood clot in my right leg. And His face shows an empathy that magnifies my feelings, yet is completely without fear. I have never seen an expression like this before, and I make it a point to never forget it.
And then I unfold. I unleash. I let it all out.
With desperation, I tell Him that I don't know where to give birth. I can't find a place in which I am comfortable. I tell Him how my current doctors aren't supportive of a vaginal birth without pain medication and labor management. I tell Him how they just recently told me to go and find another practice to work with. I tell him that I just don't know where to go.
His eyes share my concern, but then He smiles. He tells me that this reminds Him of His own birth story and how His earthly parents knew not where He was going to be born until shortly before He came into the world! They had the same last-minute concerns as we do!
The conditions were not ideal. The stable-cave was dirty, smelly, crowded, and cold. And yet, the Holy Family found peace within it. Mary and Joseph may have preferred to have been surrounded by loving, like-minded believers who'd be supportive of bringing the Savior into the world, but they weren't. Instead, they were observed by dozens of stinky animals and curious townspeople.
Now I'm smiling.
I never thought about my distress being similar to Mary's. And then Jesus points out something further: Joseph felt helpless to find a good location for Mary to birth, just like my Michael does right now. Our situation is not so uncommon, I'm learning. So, amid the challenges we face, we can have hope.
I tell Him that I wish I could speak to my child about this and get his or her opinion. But He reminds me that I am the parent and so is Michael...and that the best decision for our child is naturally embedded within us. No consultation with our child is necessary. Our precious child is, by his or her very nature, to be shielded from the need of this decision-making.
As the Teacher, Jesus doesn't flat-out tell me what to do. Instead, He tells me that within my heart I will find the answer. But He reminds me that only prayer will cultivate it.
It is time to pray, now more than ever.
I'm searching for my stable, Lord. Please help me to find it.