The other day a wise friend offered me this nugget of wisdom: “Pregnancy is eight months and one year long.” And that sounds exactly right. The last eight months have absolutely sped by, but now, as I struggle to tie my shoes and navigate three-point turns when I roll over, and as I long to see our baby face-to-face, it seems like the calendar is stuck.
Last Sunday I headed to church on one of those sweltering Midwest days when the humidity is already at 90 percent by 10 a.m. I was on my third pair of shoes (after trying on two others that no longer fit), and the short walk from the car to the front of the church felt like a 5K. My whole body felt heavy, and I wished I could take off this load for a while.
When I waddled up to the door, I was greeted by a white-haired grandmotherly woman I’d never met. As she shook my hand, her entire face lit up in a smile. “Oh, my dear!” she exclaimed, taking both my hands in hers. “You are carrying a blessing!”
In an instant, my perspective changed. I wasn’t just carrying a weight. I wasn’t just hauling around the equivalent of four bags of flour in my belly. I was carrying a blessing.
It struck me that when we ask God for blessings, we’re typically envisioning something warm and fuzzy . . . something that makes our lives easier. We assume blessings come to us light and fluffy, like rainbows and fairy dust. In reality, though, the real blessings are the ones that have some weight to them.
What nobody tells you is that blessings usually require some heavy lifting.
The job you’ve been asking God for? It will mean hard work, day after day. The dream you’ve been hoping will come true? It will force you to roll up your sleeves. The relationship you’ve been longing for? It will require regular maintenance. These are blessings, all right, but they’re blessings we carry.
I’ve been thinking a lot about Mary lately, who was considered “blessed above all women.” But if you think about it, her blessing was no cakewalk. She carried the weight of the unborn Messiah all the way to Bethlehem. She carried the weight of knowing a sword would pierce her very soul. And perhaps most of all, she carried the burden of watching her beloved son die.
Loneliness, sorrow, loss—this isn’t what we imagine when we ask God to bless us.
But the truth is, the weight is a gift. It reminds us to pray, to give this blessing the credit it’s due. It reminds us not to take treat this blessing lightly.
So that weight you’re carrying today? As heavy as it is, it’s worth it. The greater the burden, the greater the blessing.
Just as you cannot understand the path of the wind or the mystery of a tiny baby growing in its mother’s womb, so you cannot understand the activity of God, who does all things.