It was winter of 2004. The line on the pregnancy test was so faint that I threw it in the garbage, called my husband and told him it was a false alarm. I was a pastor’s assistant at the time, so I went back to the computer to finish up some admin work. I typed and filed and responded to emails and then, a few hours later, a thought hit me. What if a faint line is still a line?
I dug into the garbage, lifted up the instructions (now wet with coffee) and read, “Any test line visible on the pregnancy test, even a faint one, indicates a positive result.”
I still couldn’t believe it.
I gathered two coworkers, all three of us like detectives getting to the bottom of a case. We were unanimously convinced it had to be wrong. After all, the line was barely visible. We went to the store and bought one displaying the words “Pregnant” or “Not Pregnant.” It seemed there wouldn’t be as much room for error there.
I stared at the word “pregnant” but still, the only thing I felt pregnant with was doubt. I hadn’t been married for a full year yet, didn’t God know I wasn’t ready? Didn’t God know I still had insecurities and fears to sort through first?
A month prior, I was helping someone with their baby. I tried to strap the little girl in her car seat, but failed. I couldn’t figure out which clip went where and which button I needed to push to get it to latch. My head sunk into my collapsed shoulders like a turtle and I shot her a look that made my ignorance on car seats more apparent. The mom came over and latched it with ease. A little later that day, I was holding the baby outside. The mom told me that I really should get a blanket and wrap it around her legs. Maybe for other people, those instances wouldn’t be a big deal. For me, they were more reasons why I felt unsure about motherhood. You don’t even know how to latch a car seat! Of course you didn’t think to wrap the baby’s legs in a blanket, your not cut out to be a mom.
I was on bed rest for most of my pregnancy and Netflix didn’t exist then, unfortunately. My husband brushed up on his cooking skills and friends from church brought me magazines and books to keep me occupied. But mostly, I laid in bed afraid.
One night, Brandon and I sat in each others arms while he rubbed my ballooning belly.
“What if I’m a bad mom?” I bursted out.
The words came out of my mouth before I had time to process them. I went on to explain that my mom wasn’t the best example and I didn’t know who to turn to for advice.
Brandon formed his words deliberately as if he wanted me to never forget them.
“Mel, you are not just going to be a good mom, you are going to be an incredible mom. It doesn’t matter what kind of example you had, you have the Lord now. He is the best example of a loving parent. You can learn from Him. Mel, you are an amazing individual and I never question your capabilities as a mother. Never.”
Throughout the remainder of the pregnancy I held onto my husband’s words like an anchor, along with scriptures like Isaiah 41:10 “So do not fear, for I am with you; do not be dismayed, for I am your God. I will strengthen you and help you; I will uphold you with my righteous right hand.”
The fears still came, but Brandon’s words gave me a weapon to fight with. “But I have the Lord” was a powerful comeback to satan’s lies.
You don’t know how to be a mom.
“But I have the Lord.”
Your mom didn’t know what she was doing and you don’t either.
“But I have the Lord.”
You have so much to learn. You’ll always be behind.
“But I have the Lord.”
The voice of truth sometimes seemed like a whisper compared to the enemy’s shouts, but somehow that generic brand pregnancy test brought a comforting thought: A faint line is still a line and a faint truth is still a truth.
That was the season when I learned how to echo the whispers of God in the midst of the enemy’s shouts. The more I echoed God’s whispers of truth, the more muffled and incoherent my fears became. What is that, devil? I’m going to make a terrible what? I can’t seem to hear you amidst the echo of God’s truth, so pure and so good.
I’m glad doubt made an appearance in my life twelve years ago. That season led me to answers about my faith, about myself and about my future that became more certain and resolved than ever before. I’ve learned even tiny doubts that remain in hiding, can cast monumental and intimidating shadows. The best thing is to pull back the curtain. Most of the time, what we find, is that the source of the grizzly bear shadow of doubt is the equivalent of a paper doll glued to a popsicle stick. Doubts and fears are flimsy and unreliable, but they sure know how to puff themselves up and yell like bullies. Even in moments when the truth feels as faint as the line on that pregnancy test, I know now that a faint line is still a line and a faint truth is still a truth.
And guess what? It turns out I kick-butt at the whole mom thing.