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Waiting in Wonder: Growing in Faith While You're Expecting
     

Waiting in Wonder: Growing in Faith While You're Expecting

5.0 1
by Catherine Claire Larson
 

A devotional journal inviting women to embrace the spiritual journey that awaits as they prepare for the high and holy calling of motherhood.

Expecting a baby is a time of unfolding wonders—from the jolt of first heartbeat, to the buds of tiny fingers, to the flutter of little kicks. During pregnancy, a mother’s body nourishes this quiet

Overview

A devotional journal inviting women to embrace the spiritual journey that awaits as they prepare for the high and holy calling of motherhood.

Expecting a baby is a time of unfolding wonders—from the jolt of first heartbeat, to the buds of tiny fingers, to the flutter of little kicks. During pregnancy, a mother’s body nourishes this quiet miracle’s development. But through the trials of morning sickness, the anticipation of labor, and the questions of whether she’ll be a good mother, she’ll need her own nourishment—both physical as well as spiritual. She’ll want to nurture her own heart so that she may one day strengthen the spiritual life of this child entrusted to her.

Waiting in Wonder guides readers through the weeks of pregnancy with devotions designed to encourage, strengthen, and inspire. Each devotion includes Scripture and journaling space for writing personal thoughts, prayers,
dreams, even love letters to the growing baby. And when baby is born, mother will hold a lifelong keepsake for rereading and reliving a truly wonder-filled time of physical change and spiritual growth.

Product Details

ISBN-13:
9781400321070
Publisher:
Nelson, Thomas, Inc.
Publication date:
04/16/2013
Pages:
379
Sales rank:
183,018
Product dimensions:
6.10(w) x 8.10(h) x 1.10(d)

Read an Excerpt

WAITING in WONDER

GROWING IN FAITH WHILE YOU'RE EXPECTING
By CATHERINE CLAIRE LARSON

Thomas Nelson

Copyright © 2013 Catherine Claire Larson
All right reserved.

ISBN: 978-1-4003-2107-0


Chapter One

WEEK 5

The Wonder Within

Only about two weeks have passed since conception, and already there's an amazing miracle unfolding inside of you. What began as a single fertilized egg has made the harrowing journey down a fallopian tube and implanted in the lush lining of your uterus. Cells have multiplied exponentially since conception, putting your little one at about the size of a pomegranate seed (0.13 in.) this week. Already three distinct layers have formed that will give rise to all the organs and tissues in the body. The neural tube (the precursor to the spinal cord, backbone, brain, and nerves) forms this week, but has not yet closed. And perhaps most stunning of all, God will cue a tiny heart to begin beating.

Unless you have an irregular cycle, you have already missed your period. And by God's amazing design, hormones in your body have sounded an alarm for drastic changes to begin occurring. Those hormones signal the body not to shed the lining of the uterus, but instead to remain full to protect the life that's embedded and to begin forming the vital organs such as the placenta, which will nourish your little one for the next nine months. These hormones and other changes in your body are also quite possibly already making you feel nauseous, averse to certain smells, emotional, and exhausted. Every symptom, however, is just another reminder that, to the glory of God, a little life has begun to form inside you and your life will never be the same.

Points for Prayer and Praise

* Praise God for conception—even under optimum conditions there is only a 10 to 15 percent chance of conceiving on any given cycle.

* Life is still extremely tenuous at this point; pray for the neural tube to begin forming properly and for the heart to begin beating.

* As the discovery of your pregnancy sinks in, ask God to help you as you process this life-changing information. And ask that you will come to fully accept and rejoice in both the news itself and the hidden wisdom of God's perfect timing.

Mommy's Memory Verse:

Sons are a heritage from the Lord, children a reward from him.

Psalm 127:3

Date:

Intimacy with Christ

Each heart knows its own bitterness, and no one else can share its joy.

Proverbs 14:10

You squint at the small window of your home pregnancy test. Three minutes never passed so slowly. Then—could it really be? Perhaps your plus sign came after years of negative ones and no words could possibly contain your joy. Or maybe your positive came only six weeks after having a new baby, or maybe it's only five days into starting your dream job. No matter your situation, you're excited, but you can't shake your shock. And whether the news makes you feel like squealing with delight or wheezing with anxiety, there is One who understands.

The intimacy you share with Christ is absolutely unique. No matter how close you might be to someone, no one understands you the way He does. He created you. He knows every millisecond of your past and every detail of your circumstances. No mother, sister, friend, or spouse will ever understand you so completely or be able to rejoice with you so wholly. But God does.

Rejoice today that you have access to the most beautiful and intimate relationship available: a relationship with Christ. If you feel like shouting your joy from the mountaintops, He exults with you! If your eyes are brimming with tears and you need someone to hear your worries, He stands ready with open arms. No matter your response to this news, you have the perfect One to share with you in this moment: to rejoice with you, to comfort you, or to whisper that all things happen in His perfect time.

Take a few moments to tell God everything you are feeling. He wants to hear your voice. He wants you to enter deeply into fellowship with Him. Once you have shared fully, be still. Listen. Write below what truths He is calling to your mind. How does it feel to be known so intimately by Him?

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What are some of the details surrounding the day you found out you were expecting? Whom did you tell first?

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Date:

The Blessing of Children

Sons are a heritage from the Lord, children a reward from him.

Psalm 127:3

Flip through prime time's sitcoms, and it won't take you long to absorb what our culture thinks about children: they drain your love life, your wallet, your independence, your patience, and your sanity. If there's one message you probably won't get, it's the one God wants you to hear: children are a blessing.

Yes, you will be changing diapers and cutting coupons. Yes, date nights with your husband will get harder and time to yourself scarcer. But God does not see children as a liability. He calls them a reward.

At the very heart of God is relationship. Father, Son, and Holy Spirit have eternally and blissfully enjoyed togetherness. Perfect relationship overflows with love. And at the beginning of time, love overflowed in creation. God created man in His image. He created us to be like Him and to be in the process of becoming more and more like Him.

When God gives us children, He gives us some of His best gifts. He gives us the gift of relationship. He gives us the opportunity to know one of life's deepest joys: serving another with selfless love. And He gives us a taste of the delight there is in creation, of the delight there is in seeing another made in one's image, of the delight there is in seeing another grow in that family resemblance. These are His good gifts.

Ask God to show you any ways in which the culture's dim view of children has tainted your own views. Ask God to make the things that are sweet to Him sweet to you. Write a prayer of thanks for the blessing God is giving you in the form of this little life growing inside you.

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Dear Little One,

You are a priceless gift. As I look out into the future, I see my life blessed in so many ways because of you. Some of the blessings I look forward to most are:

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Date:

The Heart Awakens

From the place of His dwelling He looks on all the inhabitants of the earth; He fashions their hearts individually; He considers all their works.

Psalm 33:14–15 NKJV

Only weeks have passed since conception, and already something so mysterious is happening inside you that scientists themselves struggle to understand it. Within that poppy seed–sized embryo, cells begin migrating and fuse to form a tube. Spontaneously one of those cells jolts awake and begins to beat. That beat starts a chain reaction. The cells nearby begin dancing to the same rhythm. And in the weeks ahead this tube will divide to form the four chambers of the heart.

Scientists are still trying to plumb the mysteries of the heart. While the brain later controls how fast the heart beats, the heartbeat itself is initiated spontaneously. What awakens the heart? Perhaps the better question is, who awakens the heart?

God forms the hearts of all. He has woven into the DNA of these cells a message that tells them precisely when to awaken. He forms the surrounding cells to begin beating to the same rhythm. Before any of us have lived a single day, God already knows precisely how many beats each heart will be given in its lifetime. Whether those beats are few or well into the billions, we can trust that the God who orchestrates the very first heartbeat has a purpose for each heart He forms.

Stop for a moment and meditate on the wonder of a God who can create a heart. If He can coordinate the timing of microscopic cells to begin beating, why do we doubt His timing in any area of our lives? If He can cause a single cell to jolt awake, how much more is He capable of bringing something out of nothing in our lives? In what areas do you need to trust Him more? Affirm that He is worthy of your trust.

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Dear Little One,

While God is at work forming your physical heart, I am praying for your spiritual heart. Here are a few of the things I am asking God for on your behalf:

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Date:

Let It Be

"I am the Lord's servant," Mary answered. "May it be to me as you have said."

Luke 1:38

God gives us an intimate window to the most important pregnancy announcement of all time. Mary didn't squint at a home pregnancy test. Instead, an angel appeared to her and told her that soon she would be expecting. But this wasn't any ordinary pregnancy; she would be carrying the Son of God. While there could be no greater honor, there certainly was a lot for her to feel anxious about. After all, she was not married, she was very young, and her story would be totally unbelievable to most around her. How would Joseph react? And what's worse, the penalty for her pregnancy could have been stoning. Talk about a crisis pregnancy!

But while Mary certainly had every right to respond with shock, fear, misgivings, or even depression, she modeled for us an attitude of total submission to the will of God. She said, in essence, "Let it be." She said "amen" to God's providence and His plan for her life.

Whether the news of your pregnancy was met with intense joy or intense anxiety, God calls each of us to come to a place of acceptance. None of us knows what the future holds. But if we are His daughters, we know that He has allowed this pregnancy as part of His plan for us. Can you say to God, "I am your servant; let it be"?

Pregnancy and a new baby bring great joy, but they also bring adjustments, hardships, and sacrifices. As you think about what these will be in your life, take them each to God in prayer. How does God use sacrifices and difficulties in our lives to make us more like Him?

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Dear Little One,

I want you to know that not only are you accepted into my life, you are welcomed joyfully. When I think about you joining our family, I rejoice and imagine ...

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WEEK 6

The Wonder Within

You may think you have a busy week ahead, but it's nothing compared to what's going on with your little sweet pea this week. And speaking of sweet pea, that's roughly the size of your little one right now, measuring in at a quarter of an inch (from crown to rump). Your little pea in the pod is busy, busy: eyes, ears, mouth, chin, cheeks, and jaw are all beginning to form. In addition to these kissable parts, tissue that will become lungs, kidneys, intestines, liver, a pituitary gland, muscles, and bones are forming. Arm and leg buds appear as well. How amazing is it that God has programmed your little one's DNA with all the information necessary to create the human mind and body!

God is at work in you also. Already the hormone HCG (the one that turned your pregnancy test positive) is signaling your body to increase blood flow. Your uterus—the home God designed for your baby—is growing and beginning to press into your bladder, which is one of the reasons, along with increased kidney efficiency, that you are likely running to the bathroom around the clock. Morning sickness may be starting. If it is, take heart in the fact that it is a sure sign that your body is preparing for this new little life. Lean into the loving arms of God, who cares for you and will see you through the days ahead.

Points for Prayer and Praise

* If you are already beginning to experience morning sickness or other pregnancy symptoms, praise God for the tangible reminder that He is at work within your body, producing this new life. If you've yet to feel any symptoms, thank God for the reprieve.

* Pray for your little one as the neural tube, which connects the brain and spinal cord, closes this week. This is a critical point in baby's development.

* Pray for your little one to one day come to know Jesus as his or her personal Savior.

Mommy's Memory Verse

"Before I formed you in the womb I knew you."

Jeremiah 1:5

Date:

Why Spirit Rejoiced

Mary said: "My soul glorifies the Lord and my spirit rejoices in God my Savior."

Luke 1:46–47

Last week, we looked at the most important pregnancy announcement of all time. We saw Mary's example of acceptance even in the face of difficult news. But Mary didn't just submit to the will of God; she rejoiced in it, despite whatever hardship it might bring to her own life. She moved beyond mere submission to a sacrifice of praise.

As she praised God, she called to mind His mercies in the past generations, His strength to bring down and raise up rulers, and His faithfulness to those who love Him. She saw what God was doing in her life as part of the larger picture of God's work in the world.

If the news of your pregnancy was difficult, Mary provides an example of moving beyond mere acceptance to joy. But even if the news of your pregnancy was wonderful news to you, have you seen it as part of a bigger picture? Have you seen this gift of life as part of the unfolding story of the mercy and faithfulness of God? Have you seen this little life as perhaps part of the new story of what God is doing in this world? Have you rejoiced in this news as representing something bigger than just you and your personal happiness? If not, it's time to let your soul glorify God and let your spirit rejoice.

Mary rehearsed various aspects of the character of God that are reflected in the news of her pregnancy (Luke 1:46–55). What aspects of God's character do you see reflected in the news of your own pregnancy?

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Mary's song of praise, called "The Magnificat", is perhaps one of the most well-known and beloved outbursts of praise in the Bible. Write your own prayer of rejoicing, or even song of praise, here as you reflect on the news of the life growing inside you.

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Date:

The Odds of You

"Before I formed you in the womb I knew you"

Jeremiah 1:5

Have you ever stopped to consider the odds of your existence? A friend recently told me how her parents met. Her father, a native of Alabama, met her mother, a French Canadian, sitting poolside on the East Coast. Her mother spoke only a handful of English phrases, but it didn't deter her father from asking her out. Sometime later the man traveled to Quebec to visit someone else, but remembered the girl he'd met. On a whim, he drove to the local Ford dealership and in his characteristic Southern drawl asked if anyone knew her. He was pointed toward her home. An impromptu date turned into an invitation from her family to stay for a week. And three years later, despite the odds, the two were married.

Now multiply unlikely scenarios like this millions of times over. In order for you to exist, each of your ancestral grandfathers had to have met each of your ancestral grandmothers at just the right time. Had they started their family earlier or later, you would not be—or at least would not be you. Likewise, had your life unfolded differently, the child growing within you would not be.

But here's the thing: there are no odds about it. God knew you and your baby before He laid the foundations of the world. He had already planned you both, and every circumstance it would take to get you here.

When you consider that God planned you before He even made Adam and Eve, how does it make you feel? And if you are God's child, you were chosen in Him before time (Ephesians 1:4). Offer God thanks for how He orchestrated every detail of life not only so that you would exist but also so that, in His good time, you call Him Lord.

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Dear Little One,

I want to tell you how I met your father ...

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(Continues...)



Excerpted from WAITING in WONDER by CATHERINE CLAIRE LARSON Copyright © 2013 by Catherine Claire Larson. Excerpted by permission of Thomas Nelson. All rights reserved. No part of this excerpt may be reproduced or reprinted without permission in writing from the publisher.
Excerpts are provided by Dial-A-Book Inc. solely for the personal use of visitors to this web site.

Meet the Author

Catherine Claire Larson is a senior writer and editor of Prison Fellowship and BreakPoint. With a bachelor's degree in English and a master's degree in theological studies, Larson hopes to give voice to Rwandans who are involved in one of the most closely watched experiments in forgiveness in our world today.

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Waiting in Wonder: Growing in Faith While You're Expecting 5 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 1 reviews.
Its_Time_Mamaw More than 1 year ago
Waiting in Wonder! How do I describe this book other than if you are expecting and wish to share your experience with God and the child   He will be gifting to you, this devotional journal will go from week one of until you hold your precious gift from God.   This journey will give you devotionals and scriptures to meditate on while also explaining the stages along with a peak into the growth of your child titled The Wonder Within.  It even provides a place to write down your thoughts and interpretation of the devotional and scripture,  not only to God but to your child.  The verses are provided as memory verse in each devotional. I was impressed at the way the book is set up and wish I had this book when I was expecting.  I have five daughters and I am pretty sure they will not be blessing me with anymore than the already fifteen grandchildren.  This year four of my granddaughters with be turning seventeen so I will definitely be recommending this book for their hope chest. I am sure they will not be needing this book for at least five or more years yet.  My favorite excerpt is page 162, Patient Partners, Patient Parents, and the verse provided:  Love is patient, love is kind.  It does not envy, it does not boast, it is not proud.  1 Corinthians 13:4 This is a wonderful Keepsake, shower gift and more. I highly recommend this book.  Disclosure: I received a free copy of this book from Thomas Nelson for review. I was in no way compensated for this review.  This review is my honest opinion.