What If I’m Not Ready Yet?

What If I’m Not Ready Yet?

Six years ago today our daughter, the firstborn, came barreling into our world five weeks earlier than her due date, with wisps of red hair and the personality to match.

My husband and I were not ready to be parents.

Our one-bedroom apartment was stuffed with boxes we hadn’t yet unpacked in our 10 months of marriage, and the landlord was in the middle of fixing a faulty wiring problem. Needless to say, our abode was not ready to welcome a newborn. We didn’t even own a crib yet.

Two days earlier, I’d told someone we’d be ready by the time our baby arrived because “we still had five weeks.”

Famous last words.

Today, she’s six, and nothing could have completely prepared me for the wild ride of motherhood. If I’d waited until I was ready, I wouldn’t have this red-headed, imaginative, unique, compassionate kindergartner who has taught me more about life and faith than all the books I’ve read.

Ready or not, I became a mom, and I’m glad it happened that way.

My husband and I are on the brink of returning to a leadership role we haven’t held in years. Later this month we’ll begin leading a small group at our new church. Almost four years ago we took a hiatus from all church service to allow our marriage to heal and our family to recover from a devastating hurt.

We’re in a good place surrounded by supportive friends and authentic community.

And even though I know we can do this, part of me wonders if we should.

Because some days I think we’re not ready.

I was 29 when we married, among the last of my friends to walk down the aisle. I thought I was ready years earlier.

After almost seven years of marriage, I’ve learned that readiness is not a prerequisite for marriage because few, if any, of us walk into marriage completely ready to surrender ourselves daily and work hard to join two lives into one life.

Sometimes this makes me less than emotional at weddings. Instead of crying for joy at the blessed union, I find myself thinking, “They have no idea what’s coming.”

A Hallmark sentiment if there ever was one, right?

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The future is scary, full of unknowns. Will the road be smooth and straight, or bumpy and winding?

The truth is: it’s usually both.

At times, motherhood has been easier than I thought and at other times I’ve wondered why anyone has babies at all. (And we aren’t anywhere near the teenager stage yet!)

Likewise, marriage has had its share of potholes, including a crisis I never thought I’d experience. It’s also been a source of incredible joy.

I couldn’t know everything motherhood would entail beforehand or I wouldn’t be a mother today. If I’d known everything about marriage beforehand, I might never have said the vows.

And when I read the Bible, I find that God doesn’t look for people who are ready or perfect or finished. He says to the stuttering shepherd: You will lead my people out of Egypt. And to the youngest son of the smallest tribe: You will be king. And to the engaged virgin: You will bear My Son. And to the low-class fisherman: Follow me.

Moses wasn’t ready. David wasn’t ready. Mary wasn’t ready. Peter wasn’t ready.

But they were available.

So, maybe it’s not a matter of being ready but of showing up, trusting God, and believing, as Paul writes to the Phillippians, “that He who began a good work in you will carry it on to completion until the day of Christ Jesus.” (Philippians 1:6)

Ready. Or not.

Lisa Bartelt About Lisa Bartelt

Lisa has been writing stories for more than a decade, first for newspapers and now as a freelancer, blogger and budding novelist. She lives in Pennsylvania with her husband and two kids. Read more at her blog, Beauty on the Backroads.

Comments

  1. Very timely for me. Thanks for your wonderful words and welcome to the blog!

    [Reply]

  2. Lisa, this is one of those lessons I forget as soon as I think I’ve learned it. It’s only when we stop pressuring ourselves to be all we’re supposed to be (ready, able, worthy, etc.) that we become available for God to go about His business in and through us. Thank you for the reminder!

    [Reply]

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