Not long ago I posted that my wife and I were expecting our first baby.
I talked about how dads can feel left out of all the festivities surrounding the new baby. And to that end, I encouraged readers to start doing and saying four things to help and encourage new fathers in this season of transition. Read that post here.
One of the ladies in my church read my blog and decided to take it upon herself to do something about it. She decided that I needed my very own version, a manly version of What to Expect when You’re Expecting.
So she graciously gave me this book, Dad’s Pregnant Too!, by Harlan Cohen.
As much as I was glad someone had read my blog and taken action on my words, I was thrown off at the presentation of this gift. But still, I decided that it was worth cracking open. So I started with chapter one and this is what I found.
“TIP #1 – THE MAGIC URINE: The Day We Officially Lose Control.”
Even from the heading I knew that this was not going to be good. Losing control.
But within my spirit, something started to do jumping jacks because it knew that there was an reality that I need to be reminded of.
“The lack of control begins with her urine…”
Cohen does a wonderful job on this opening chapter/tip to set a tone of humor and sincerity in this book. He shares how it took 3 or 4 different pregnancy tests before he and his wife were convinced that they were pregnant. Even Cohen tested one as a control stick to make sure the other pregnancy tests were working properly.
But even after the control and the few pregnancy tests by his wife, there was no changing the results. They were pregnant.
Cohen states this at the end of the chapter.
“There’s no controlling the future [now] even if you pee on a control stick.”
There was a sense of dread that gripped me the first time I read those words.
“There’s no controlling the future…”
I left it alone and reread the chapter a while later. I was still filled with that hopeless, discouraging feeling we all know too well.
Now that my wife is pregnant, my whole world is turning upside down and there is no stopping it.
I have to start planning on budgeting for a child and all the things he/she will need.
I have to start buying clothes and furniture and toys and diapers for this cute little alien creature.
I am no longer calling the shoots. I have suddenly become subject to the whims and demands of someone else. Someone who hasn’t even spoken a word or made a sound yet. Imagine the chaos my world will be thrown into when there is screaming and pooping and all manner of mayhem!
You are not in control of the future. This is not an encouraging thought. Especially when most of us spend all our time and energy trying to gain control. Trying to make our world work for us. Trying to see that things go the way that we want, not someone else’s point of view.
I’m having a baby and I am not in control at all. Even my wife isn’t in control. She has no power to stop the baby from growing or kicking. She has no leverage over the baby to make it stop demanding this weird food or that one. You could go even further and talk about how when a woman is pregnant, her hormones, her emotions, all sorts of things in her body suddenly develop a mind of their own and do whatever they want.
She is not in control. I am not in control.
This could be the worst “truth” to share with any new parent.
But that is also half of the most reassuring reality there is. Whether you are a new parent, an old parent or not a parent at all, you not being in control is only half of the equation.
You may not be in control of your future, you may not be calling the shots, but…
“For I know the plans I have for you,” declares the Lord, “plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future (Jeremiah 29:11 NIV).””
“Many, LORD my God, are the wonders you have done, the things you planned for us. None can compare with you; were I to speak and tell of your deeds, they would be too many to declare (Psalm 40:5).”
“But the plans of the LORD stand firm forever, the purposes of his heart through all generations (Psalm 33:11).”
Is there anything more reassuring than knowing you are in good hands?
The truth and knowledge that the future is not a mass of chaos heading your way is actually quite calming news for my soul.
Having the reality of a promised good and prosperous future brings light to the spirit and a smile to the face, doesn’t it?
You may not be in control of your future but God is and that is a good thing. That is an encouraging thing.
Your world may be spinning out of control. A baby on the way may already be demanding this or that from you, expecting you to change your preset life course, but…
God has it under control.
He has it under control because He is a God of order, for sure, but there is more.
God has your future in control because He is a God who loves you and wants good things for you.
He is going to take the chaos and the changes and the demands that are suddenly plaguing you and turn them into wonderful, beautiful things that will enrich your future.
So, while my life is slowly, and yet quickly, being changed and rearranged by this little baby, while I may have days now and then where I feel like I have no power or control of what is happening, I still have assurance.
I may not be in control, but God is. He is working out my present and my future for my good.
It can be a hard thing to remember, but it is the most encouraging thing for a new parent. And I hope that you find it as encouraging and that it gives you strength and peace in the future.