Life has been pretty consistent lately. I’m consistently pregnant (which I guess is good, since it would be completely freaky and institutional if I woke up and all of a sudden my belly was gone and I didn’t have to pee every 5 minutes). We are constantly doing something to get ready for something else. Life gets that way sometimes. Its like, “oh we have to clean the house because we have people coming” or “oh we have to assemble that crib so our baby has a place to sleep” or “oh we have to teach Franny not to kick me in the face because I’m really freaking sick of it and I don’t want to have to kill her.” To do lists tend to become to do lists because the accomplishment of one thing is dependent on something else. So I feel busy basically. My parents were here a couple weeks ago, and we had a short little break of it being just the two of us, and now its like madhouse. Some friends of ours are staying with us for a week, arrived on Tuesday, then we are going to Colorado for a few days to spend some time with family before we have a plus one. And after we get back its like BAM! Thanksgiving! BAM! Christmas! BAM! Can’t get on a plane anymore! BAM! I’m freaking huge! BAM! Baby! Its crazy right?! So, with all of this upcoming and current state of busy, I’m creating mental to do lists that are not dependent on other things. Rockefeller Center opened their skating rink last week, and come November they will put up the giant Christmas tree and it is a serious to do for us to go and admire the tree and get some hot chocolate at Serendipity 3 and just bask in the feelings of Christmas. There’s also a really awesome interactive exhibit at New Museum that just opened that has a 140ft slide in the floor that goes from the 4th floor down to the 2nd floor. I suppose I should probably get an ok from my doctor to ride on this slide, and if he says no then I’ll just have to wait at the bottom for Bryant and record his screams. See that? Fun little to dos that aren’t going to impact anything other than my happiness. New York City provides these kinds of to dos, and I am hoping that we make the most of it over the next couple months while I’m still able bodied and people aren’t staring at me in fear that I might yell “THUNDER CATS A GO!!!!”
I am 18 weeks pregnant tomorrow, go me! And as the halfway mark approaches, things are just getting crazier. I have a couple pregnancy apps on my phone. They give me nice little updates on how my baby is supposed to be growing this week, and also warn me about any new crazy symptoms that I may or may not experience. I appreciate the education at my finger tips, and occasionally sit and peruse the community boards to see what other women are going through. However, there are so many secret codes that its taken me awhile to understand exactly what most of these women are talking about.
TTC: trying to conceive
FTM: first time mom
DH: darling husband (I think that’s what this means)
BF: breast feeding
DD: I have no idea what this means
EP: Again, no idea
As if pregnancy wasn’t stressful enough, there are also secret clubs that talk in secret languages so when other FTMs come along they can scare the crap out of them with their fancy lingo. Did you also realize that old wives tales aren’t just told by old wives? Its true! They are spread around like wild fire, and the minute someone finds out you are pregnant, get ready for it, ear full of old wives tales! “Are you craving sweets or salty foods? Oh must be a girl then” “Looks like you are carrying that baby lower, must be a boy” “Heartburn huh? Going to be a hairy baby then” And the most irritating part about all of this, is that everyone is saying something different. I had an evil woman at the dog park tell me I was carrying most of the weight in my hips, the next day, a different lady sent from Jesus himself told me my belly looked like a basketball and from the back she had no idea (I’m planning to befriend this lady).
I’ve been having dreams that our baby is a girl, it doesn’t mean that I want a girl over a boy, when I say I am happy either way I really mean that. I don’t have a preference, which is good, because I’ve read comments on the super secret birth boards about women who are really disappointed when they end up having the opposite of what they wanted which is just a terrible terrible thing. So my dreams, always cast our offspring as a girl. I don’t really understand the whole “mother’s intuition” because I really don’t know what its going to be, but if my dreams are accurate it will be a girl. My Mother-in-Law, bless her heart, has told me on multiple occasions that her “mind, body, and soul” all tell her that its going to be a boy. I don’t want to argue with her mind, body, or soul. Last night she called to tell us that she spoke to a Pediatrician, the parent of one of her clients, and apparently they told her it is a ‘Known Fact’ that if the mom is dreaming it is a girl, it will be a boy. Can you believe that? A ‘Known Fact.’ I’ve also been told to pee on some baking soda or bleach, more tests from the old wives that will tell me the gender. Crazy right?! Yes, it really is.
So, as the weeks go by, I am not getting crazier, other people are. That is a known fact. I think I remain consistently terrified, with spurts of excitement, followed by glimmers of peace, and followed again by spurts of “oh no, what did we do.” To all you FTMs out there, you hang in there damnit, and feel free to slap as many peoples wrists as you deem necessary, because the touchy stuff is really amping up, and what a better way to let out some pregnancy aggression than to smack strangers who try to rub your stomach with their yucky hands (yes, I believe pregnancy aggression is a real thing).
I really don’t think there is a better definition for what church, no, for what being a ‘believer’, is like, than calling it messy. It isn’t meant to be clean and easy. It takes Bryant and I about 40 minutes to get to church every Sunday. Sometimes, as we are walking in pee smelling subway stations, and walking past passed out homeless people, I think “Its a good thing suits and dresses aren’t required at church.” Church isn’t how it used to be for us, it is more of a commitment. I think, at least for me, that choosing church in New York City has changed the way I feel about church in general. It used to feel too easy–too routine, but now, somehow, it feels messier.
Our pastor at Hillsong NYC finished up his series on ‘Church in the Wild’ yesterday, and the emotion that he exhibited on stage completely moved me. It was about more than just the message, it was about God’s heart for our church, for THE church. In the last 5 years ish, church has been redefined in my life. After events and struggles, and pressure, church redefined itself. I’ve spent a lot of time figuring out who I don’t want to be. I think I know who I want to be as well, but the list of “I will not be like that” is far longer than the list of “I will be like that.” I think this has a lot to do with my own hurt, and my own scars, all ultimately related to church. I don’t like to say that I am a Christian, because Christians these days are typically assholes–and no one wants to associate themselves with a group of assholes. I am a believer. I am a Christ follower. I am not a Christian. I define myself not based on how a group of people defines themselves, instead, I look to Jesus to define who I should be.
So back to Church in the Wild. Our pastor said something, well, he said a few things, that struck to my very core. I sat there thinking, “I will be like that” and because these moments don’t happen often, the moments when I add to the list of I wills instead of to the list of I will nots, I wanted to mark it here.
-I will not wake up one morning completely changed. I have to choose to let God change me. It is a process, ongoing, and never-ending. I will have to fight bondage, face pressure, look at death in the face, and remain in the chaos. That is church in the wild. That is where God will change me.
-If I am willing to be authentic, I will be wildly attractive in the wild. I am conditioned to hide my real self, but transparency is the difference. Even my scars tell a story. I will be authentic.
-If I am willing to get dirty, I will be wildly influential. Jesus got dirty in order to save me, so I have to be willing to get dirty to be there for people. Whatever their baggage, whatever their hurt, whatever their story, I will help them carry it.
Church isn’t supposed to be made easy. I think somewhere along the way its become too easy to be a part of a religion-to be a Christian, instead we need to be a church…a church in the wild. Nothing about people today is clean. So as God is working this message into me, reminding me that His purpose and plan isn’t meant to be clean cut, that church isn’t meant to be easy, I want to encourage you all to join me. This has nothing to do with church in New York City, but has everything to do with God’s church everywhere, every single day.