This blog post is a little longer than I like to write, but I felt the length was important so you can understand the details of this testimony.
Last week I was angry at God for the first time that I remember. In fact, I was angry at almost everything, and so, painful though it was to admit it, I had to admit that I was angry at God too.
Now, I know that it is stupid to be angry at God, because I know in my head that He is loving and perfect and wants the best for me, but in the middle of my anger, I felt like God’s hand had turned against me. Even though I knew He loved me, He didn’t want to show it to me at that point, at least not in the way that I wanted.
You see, for some reason unbeknown to myself (as logically it really did not matter), I was really angry that my 33 week old baby in womb was in the breech position. I had already prayed about it and felt a real certainty (faith you could say), that he was going to turn before the birth, but every day, as I felt the top of my belly, I could still feel the hard ball of his head, causing a plummeting feeling in my soul: a constant disappointment. I was really beginning to understand the verse ‘a hope deferred makes the heart sick’ (Proverbs 13:12) – I didn’t want to see anybody, I was angry with everything, and I was angry with God for making me wait when it seemed such an unnecessary thing for me to have to wait for. I was angry with myself too, that I was so angry and withdrawn over something so stupid. I tried to find time to talk to my husband about it, but our conversations just ended up in petty arguments about whether or not I had asked him to do something in a nice or a nasty tone of voice. And I felt stupid admitting that my negative mood was over something currently irrelevant.
Monday. Scan. Baby still head up. Good news: no obstructions and no cord around neck and plenty of amniotic fluid so, no reason why he couldn’t turn. So why won’t you turn?
Tuesday. Baby still head up. It’s our wedding anniversary and we take our boys to a hotel with a Jacuzzi because we can’t afford one with an indoor swimming pool and the doctor won’t give me permission to fly somewhere sunny. I spend part of the afternoon floating in the bath, praying the baby will turn. I go to sleep that night, daring a half-prayer to God that I would love it if, please, for my birthday, he could give me the gift of the baby turning. I am scared to pray it, as I am afraid of more disappointment, more proof that God’s hand is against me. I also know I have been like a stroppy toddler, having a tantrum because I haven’t been getting my own way, so there was no reason for me to deserve that gift.
Wednesday. Baby moved a lot in the morning. What that an attempt at turning? Still a hard bump at the top, but it feels different – could it be a bottom instead of his head? Go and see a new doctor in the afternoon. She is one of the only doctors in Peru who is comfortable with doing natural breech births. Not that that was the reason I was going to see her, as I was sure he was going to turn round. More that her methods are similar to the midwifery led care I experienced in England, rather than the medicalized focus on birth found almost exclusively here in Peru.
And if God did choose to ignore my prayer, then at least I wouldn’t have to go under the surgeon’s knife.
I told the doctor I had felt movements in the morning. I told her the baby could have moved round but I wasn’t sure. She smiled and told me she would have a feel. I got up onto the examining table and she gently felt my belly at the top and the bottom.
‘Definitely feels like he is head down to me’ She tells me.
Could it be true?
‘Yes, I’m 95% certain he is head down. That bump at the top definitely feels like a bottom, not a head.’
And so, despite my tantrums, my anger, my internal strops, my frustrated impatience, God graciously allowed the baby to turn. On my birthday. A gift. Completely undeserved. A lavish example of His grace.
Now isn’t that what grace is truly about? A gift not just unexpected, but completely undeserved.
And, if I had had my own way, I would have missed it.
It is good for our hearts to be strengthened by grace – Hebrews 13:9