I’ll be 40 when this August comes around.
With our other children being almost 16, 11, and 7, it has been years since I changed a diaper, bought a sippy cup, or had to plan my day around nap times.
It is an understatement to write that I’m relieved those days are over. I never was the girl who was eager for all those things. Pregnancy, nursing, babies, toddlers, preschoolers — it’s all adorable. But, let’s be honest: those years are all-consuming and exhausting. I have been there and done that.
I came out alive. Whew. Please, never again!
So, when my husband and I learned that we are expecting a baby, I did what most women probably do at this stage of life: I cried. My husband stared at the ceiling and let out big sighs. And he never sighs. Of course, one knows how these things happen, but really, how did this happen? The odds against this had been way too high.
I proceeded to wake up in cold sweats the next several weeks and vomit by day. Initially, God and I were not on excellent speaking terms. The conversations were usually one-way, accusatory, and prayer-whining:
“You never let me know about this — zero preparation!” “Do you realize we’ll be almost 60 when this child graduates from high school?”, “Did you forget we live in a foreign country now and everything will be so much more complicated? — how much more do you think I can take?” “We don’t have any room in our budget for diapers, wipes, or another round of education!” and “We don’t have the energy for this anymore! Hasn’t my body been through enough?!” and “What will the kids think!”
According to the World Health Organization, there are an estimated 40-50 million abortions every year. This corresponds to approximately 125,000 abortions per day. Research is showing that for the first time, older women are having more abortions than under-18’s!
For the very first time, if just for a moment– apart from the heart of God–, I could understand that last, horrific statistic.
We live in an uncontrollable world, and as humans, we exert a tremendous amount of energy trying to control it. This unexpected pregnancy halted almost every aspect of my life and elicited this question: how will I respond when God does the unexpected?
Because he does the unexpected over and over, he doesn’t just allow it; he performs it.
God is a superb storyteller, and he employs the utterly unexpected — at the very last moment — as his favorite literary vice to bring the plot to an unforgettable climax. The breathtaking ramifications shine the spotlight, not on the players but the author.
This device is all over nearly every bible story. God is always up to the unexpected and often unexplained.
Those who can flow with this go the way of God. Those who can not are left in his wake. He is not about to stop his purposes for the man’s preferences. Not only does battle victory belong to God, but also the strategy. And since he’s God, he’s not accountable to let us in on every single detail.
When I realized this, this pregnancy’s shock did not dissipate but the miracle of it, the sheer awe, became more magnificent. I began to lay my hands on my belly and speak words of welcome, acceptance, and love over this new life. I broke the word curses I had lamented out-loud, for even in the womb, the tone is set for a life of blessed acceptance or shameful rejection.
It became clear: there two paths are set before me. One was the way of death. It is dark, despairing, grumble-ridden, and heavy with feelings of being overwhelmed. A bitter, tight, ugly, and tired woman will emerge from that path. The other is the way of life. It is full of light. The woman who appears from this path laughs at the years to come without fear. She walks with a sense of dignity, beauty, and grace.
I want this path; I want to become this fearless woman.
When we began to let the news leak out, the transparency of those who walk in the Way of the Unexpected God and those who tend to walk in the Controlled Life becomes more evident through the responses.
I have needed the comments of “This is going to be awesome” and “God is so amazing” and “Don’t you love it when God does stuff like this!”. Yes, the empathy for my fragile heart and tired body (this has been the most challenging pregnancy) has also been essential from my dearest friends, but not the looks of pity or the sense that this will take us back or be too much.
We sing songs of surrender. We exclaim God’s wisdom and power. We teach our children that the fear of the Lord is the beginning of wisdom. Yet, we too often forget that we love and serve with a God who creates a beating heart in a secret place. One who brings his Spirit in flames of fire on his followers that they speak in strange tongues. One who is called a friend of sinners. One who might put an evil person in a place of authority so he can pull out his glory in the last unexpected moment. One who says the last will be first and the first will be last.
We have a God who does not make sense, yet at the same time is the father of truth and logic!
Can we handle this untamable God?
Forgive me, my Papa God, for withdrawing my trust when you do the unexpected. Forgive me for acting as though I am the Sovereign. Forgive me, my Mighty King, for living as though you are not my ruling authority. Forgive me, Holy Spirit, for not willingly giving my body up again as an instrument of righteousness. Forgive me, my Savior, for forgetting that your grace is not too small, your tenderness not too lean, and your provisions ever endless. Forgive me, oh Artist and Author of life, for looking at your creation with the small eyes of the world and not the large eyes of eternity.
Increase my strength to be faithful!
Last week we had an in-depth ultrasound performed (due to my age, of course) to check our baby’s health. On a large screen, we saw human life the size of a peach. The oversized head held the developing brain—the heart beat out with triumph from the small chest. The spine curved and supported the body with exactness. The tiny legs and feet kicked and floated through the precisely measured amniotic fluid.
The arms, spindly and free, waved about and raised their hands for a few moments and then let just one hand stay up in greeting and praise. Five tiny fingers flexed to show off their perfection.
It was love at first sight.
My husband and I looked at each other sheepishly. The God of the Unexpected had been silently weaving a new life together, which he had imagined before he spoke the world into existence. He had been busy at work, ignoring our shock completely and not slowing his pace despite our objections.
I came home, looked intently at this photo of our son, and in the aloneness of our bedroom responded in the only way I now could: I bowed down before a Holy, Holy, Holy God.
27 Replies to “Surprise Pregnancy at 40: How Do We Respond When God Does the Unexpected?”
Thank you for your honesty and vulnerability. When I found out I was pregnant with Kaiden, I was sad and upset at God because I had my life figured out. I was finally on the road to seminary and on to MY life. God has opened up so many doors – not to go back to school, but to be a mother. The boys often come to me with God questions, which I thank God for. They are my seminary. I can’t help but think of how many doors this little man is going to open for your family and ministry. He is truly a blessing!
We are so excited for you all!
We wanted you to know also that we love reading your updates and we continue to pray for you. One day, we hope to stand on Mexican soil with you.
With all our love,
Jen and Josh and the boys
PS – we have a new address. We moved again. It is 626 Slayton, GH 🙂
Oh Renee. How much I have cried out for the Lord to bring more workers to the fields; never once have I yet considered this little man could be a very answer to those prayers. Brings tears to my eyes. Thank you for your words. Love you too, from Mexico to the Ukraine!
Angel, thank you for your words of honesty and vulnerability. They challenge me to take time to reflect and assess the perspective of my life. Am I trusting the One who has ordained my days? There is no way that I could have written the story of my life as God has written it. And, oh, the many surprises, as you know, not quite like yours, but life-changing none the less. The Lord is bringing you another “holy love” into your life but even more so into a world is crying out to be shown the way. The Lord is ordaining this life, not only for your family, but for his generation and the impact that he will have, the work that the Spirit will do through him, long beyond your days. You have always raised your children to be ‘warriors’ in the Spirit, not for yourself, but to be light in a dark and desperate world. Could this baby, this little boy, this young man, this son, brother, husband, father, grandfather….be an answer to the many prayers you’ve prayed for the Lord to raise up workers for the harvest, to bring peace and truth, in your day and in the ones to come? May this unexpected Blycker son praise the Lord all the days of His life. May he, from the moment of his birth, walk out this calling and anointing on his life. And may he bring more laughter, more joy, more truth, more fun, more repentance, more praise, more songs into your family’s life. I love you and miss you all.
A “volunteer”, this makes me smile, Barb. And what a powerful ministry you and Ed have had through the years, made richer by your five and now what a quiver to walk in your faithful steps. Thank you for your joy!
Marilu, what an astounding and powerful word of truth! Thank you for sharing your story; I am refreshed and enlivened by it, especially in light of knowing how radiant your face is every time I see you.
We rejoice with you Angela! Our fifth child was a “volunteer” and she has always been a ray of sunshine in our lives. And she is the one who gave us our granddaughter after ten grandsons! May God richly bless all of you.
To walk on the way of the Unexpected God is not easy, we battle constantly with our humanity. Thank you for your honesty and your heart of repentance. God truly works in unexpected ways and that is always been so intriguing for me.
Our beautiful daughter came when I was 46 years old, 15 years after our firstborn son and 10 years after our third born son. My husband was 52 at that time. We had an awesome job which we lost right after our daughter was born. It is been almost 11 years and we still do not have a regular job, but God is been so faithful and mercyful to us.
I had the best pregnancy ever (in spite of having had high blood pressure since then) and physically I feel better than before I had her. Raising a daughter at this age, is has been so wonderful, you have lot more wisdom and experience than before although a little less energy 🙂 She is our companion now that our sons have left home, and everywhere she goes she brightens our lives. Couldn’t ask for more.
Just last weekend I saw a friend from childhood who just told me that I inspire her to have her only child , she was 48 years old when she had her boy.
These days I am constantly able to witness to younger women who are afraid of getting pregnant. We need to be a light in the darkness of older women who are falling on the trap of abortion.
I can honestly tell you, that I never expected this to be my call, specially when I was young and single, but I can now tell you that I have never felt so sure of God’s will for my life than having our daughter. To Him be the glory.
When I was pregnant, someone told me “God has a great sense of humor”
Angela and Ben, congratulations for this great blessing!! Enjoy every bit of it. It is totally worthy.
Remain living big with the flow of the Spirit.
Un abrazo enorme y estaras en mis oraciones,
Thank you, Kristy! I believe so much what you wrote. Thank you for seeing God is this and for your joy!
Excited for you all! Believing God is going to use this little boy in your ministry in ways that would not have happened without him. Plus, he will be so blessed to be a part of your family.
I did not realize until now your girlie came at 40 and where you were in life and perspective when we met. Wow. Thank you for weeping with me and rejoicing, dearest Ginger. You are missed.
Thank you, Julee. Your vocabulary of joy makes me grin! I’m cheered by your response and reminders.
And I met you then a couple of years after the birth of your last son…how time has gone so quickly! Your wit and wisdom as a mother of such a gang deeply transformed and inspired my mothering, and still does. Thank you sweet Mary!
Yes, Kristen! How great is his love and ever open arms that always finds our repentance irresistible!
Which is usually how I feel my friend, after I read your posts!
“Life from his perspective” — YES, this is exactly what we desire. Thank you Jane, for your wisdom and prayers. Your investment in our lives and those here is priceless.
Barb, I am encouraged by your testimony! THANK YOU for taking the time to read and to share. Blessings on your family.
Thank you, dear Cindy! How right you are about the beauty of your son’s life and how this little one too, will radiant.
More wonderful dirty socks!!! 🙂
God gave us a special needs son that I felt the same way about for 1 hot second then moved on to joyful thankfulness. What a HUGE blessing this boy has been to everyone he comes in contact with. I have a feeling yours will be the same. Much love to you from Michigan! – Cindy O
Thanks for your well written post. I, too, had a baby at 41. My other children were 16 and 13 1/2 when our youngest was born!! I thought I was going through my change but it turned out to be a totally different change than I expected! Our son has been such a blessing and our older children were like junior parents which was so helpful as my energy level was not as up to par than when I had them. My husband and I were never upset…shocked, yes, but ready to embrace this new venture in our lives. He has kept us young and we made more friends who had children his age. Our son is now 23 and we are so thankful to the Lord for bringing him into our lives!!!
Dearest Angela and Ben, when I read your news of a child being born on Mexican soil, at age 40, I saw your gentle, loving spirit and thought how blessed that new life would be. Yes, our great God is a God of beautiful surprises and I know He has many joy filled ones for you as He continues to show you life from His perspective! I love you in His magnificent name, Jane 🙂
Why thank you my almost 16-year old son! You will be a grand big, big brother!
This is an amazing assessment of the gifts God has given, the writing is exquisite and the message more so.
Love! My heart is stirred with your words Angela. I appreciate your candidness and your ability to humble yourself and ask forgiveness. Our God is the God of second chances. He loves you, Ben and all the kids! He is good and His ways are not like ours. He will provide! I guarantee! Welcome little one!
After several child losses the doctors suggested my body had finished its role of child-bearing. It took me two years to overcome the feelings of grief for ending something I was not ready to end. And then, then I embraced with whole heart all the new found freedom and changes this meant and my heart began to fully connect with a new sort of future. Until I turned 40 and my son was born, who has, 14 years later been one of the sweetest gifts to my life’s journey bringing in hilarious outrageous never-before-thought-of perspectives and making me rich indeed. So Praise God for all that flows from Him is blessings! so exciting!!!!
Awwwwwwwww! Ahhhhhhhhhh! Gahhhhhhhhh! Awe! How many more words can I think to type with just a few letters that represent my reaction to your amazing news. I love his little high five/praise hand! God truly is good … all the time. I think of Elizabeth and all the joy she brought into your family. Pretty sure I remember your mom spreading that news 😉 God bless you all as you continue on the journey. With love, The Wilkes.
I am in tears as I read this…the beauty of your pen so articulately expressing the beauty of your heart, Angel. The radiant woman of God I met a short time after my own surprise child was born at 40 never ceases to amaze me. Thank you for your testimony. Thank you for sharing your life, your living gift through your writing. Now I too am blessed. ☺️