Advent 1: Hope and the First Trimester

I think it is on purpose that most pregnancies do not make a physical appearance the first tri-mester. It is no small gift to be given twelve weeks or so to wrap your brain around the fact that you are carrying a life inside of you.

I have been pregnant twice. Once I knew from practically the second I was pregnant. We were trying. I was hoping. We got pregnant. Just like that. We tried to keep it a secret but I have a huge mouth, and I started drinking gatorade in the morning instead of coffee. That was all it took for my friends to ask.

The second time it took me about six weeks to take a pregnancy test. I had this “flu” I couldn’t seem to kick. I was tired all the time. My oldest (about 9 months at the time) stopped breast feeding and when I googled it Google asked me if I was pregnant. Pffff. How ridiculous. Turns out Google is never wrong. I took a pregnancy test when less than careful teeth brushing made me gag.

The first trimester is often in secret, and it is most often the one where you feel the worst. You are tired all the time. You are sore and your body feels weird. You have to pee all the time for no apparent reason. Smells you used to like make you want to die. You don’t want to eat anything. You are starving. While no one can see it, something new is happening, and that something new makes you super uncomfortable.

The first Sunday in Advent is hope. While most often hope is portrayed as some sort of magic balloon that comes floating into our life, for me it is often accompanied with a sort of nauseous feeling. Am I really wanting this? Am I really expecting this? Do I really believe that God could, would, will work in this way I am hoping for? How long will I have to hope? How disappointed am I setting myself up to be?

I think we underestimate how uncomfortable hope can be. How hard it can be to carry all by ourselves. It is a little cruel to ask a woman to pretend she isn’t pregnant when she needs to sleep twenty hours a day, or puke every twenty minutes. Hope can feel that hard. It does for me anyway. I think this is one of the reasons I tell people so early, about the babies I was carrying, about the dreams and imaginings I sometimes feel God is stirring. I need people to ease the discomfort.

Can I tell you that I have been in the first tri-mester of a hope for a few years now? I wrote a manuscript about four years ago, queried agents, signed with one, and was sure I would have announced a book contract by now. But I haven’t. I don’t have one to announce. Still. And I have prayed about moving on, self publishing, turning chapters into blog series, and still I feel a pull in my spirit to wait. To hope. Just a little longer.

This hope is uncomfortable. It is hard. But I believe it offers the promise of something new. Maybe you too? Maybe I am not the only one with a secret uncomfortable hope inside.

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