Yesterday I had a routine lady doctor appointment. Don’t worry, this is not going to get weird. In the appointment, the friendly lady doctor joined the loud chorus of friends, family, and strangers who consistently ask me when I will produce a miniature pooping machine of my own.
“So…. when are you thinking you will have kids?
How old are you?
How long have you been married? Nearly four years?
What are you waiting for? There is no great time to have kids, you know.
Didn’t you say your husband is handsome?”
… and on and on….
I like babies most of the time, you know, when they are bathed and happy and pudgey in the legs and butt cheeks. I have met a lot of cross eyed babies, which kind of make me nervous since I’m not sure which eye to look at, but I know they are a blessing too. I’m super glad their parents love them and that age will straighten out their eyes.
This season of life is really fun because a lot of my dearest friends are growing babies. If I showed you my Facebook newsfeed, you would see a lot of babies and a lot of baby bumps and a lot of status updates regarding the minimal sleep new parents get.
My friends’ babies vary in development from the size of a kiwi to a grapefruit to a small human that screams and reaches for things. While the baby is still in the cooker, I’ve learned that lots of pregnant women compare the size of their baby to pieces of produce. I guess that is popular now? Babies are identified with the size of grapes and oranges, but never bananas. This makes me wonder if there is an odd-shaped phase of baby development that no one talks about. For example: “My baby is the size of a large pineapple right now, but soon the spiky leaves will fall off and grow into a head” or “My baby is the size of an overgrown zucchini, but we are hoping the little bugger will shrink down and round out.”
If I am every lucky enough to be pregnant, I look forward to drawing alarming and specific food parallels to the baby size: “Yeah, my baby is the size of a bottle of ketchup from Costco. It’s weird, but normal.”
Pregnancy is amazing and weird.
I can’t wait to meet all of these tiny people that are now the size of round produce, because they are going to remind me of my best friends and there is nothing better than remembering favorite things.
It is like pieces of my heart are multiplying with all of these new babies coming into the world. Babies are doing to me what the people of Whoville did to the Grinch on Christmas. My best friends are literally growing me new best friends, which is awesome because it saves me a lot of time and effort and gas for the shcooter, since the shcooter seduces most of our friends for us, like offering candy to a baby.
So why am I not cultivating miniature produce? What explanation could I possibly give to my lady doctor and friends and strangers?
First of all, my opinion truly doesn’t matter since God can plop a little life inside of me whenever he pleases. It could very well happen even when I’m not ready, and if that happens, pregnancy is still a sign of goodness and mercy and blessing. Life is always a miracle and my readiness doesn’t change that.
But if God asked me this morning, I would tell him I’m not ready to produce a baby. There are the superficial reasons, like how I’d rather not get fat or stop drinking coffee or smell like spit-up, but mostly I’m not ready because I feel busy producing other things.
We are all designed to be producers in one way or another.
Colossians 1:10 says: “Then the way you live will always honor and please the Lord, and your lives will produce every kind of good fruit. All the while, you will grow as you learn to know God better and better.”
Produce every kind of good fruit. We are all producing something, a diversity of things that are good and essential. Production comes in seasons and each one is valuable.
In agriculture, fields that produce a specific product like corn or lettuce must also have a season where they grow a cover crop, a crop that is not edible or lucrative but is valuable because it renews the soil and enhances biodiversity. A cover crop recharges the soil for the primary crop. When there is no cover crop, the soil degrades and becomes useless. Without a cover crop, there is no production at all.
In some seasons we find ourselves producing a primary product, a crop that seems (and is) really valuable to the rest of the world. It is exciting and very public, like tap-dancing on stage. I love producing a something that is publicly valuable and easy to identify. It’s like knowing all the words to a song that everyone else is singing and right now it seems like everyone is singing about babies.
But sometimes it is time to grow a cover crop. It is an invisible growing season that enhances the quality and fertility of our hearts for a crop that is yet to come. It is private and personal, but important. Sometimes we just have to spend some extended time investing and gearing up for production, preparing for the harvest. I’m always surprised by how much time and effort the harvest requires.
I have friends that had to wait a really long, heartbreaking time to have a baby, even though they were seemingly ready to produce. They had an inexplicable and extended cover crop season where they had to make a long, sacrificial investment in the soil of their hearts and relationships. Some are still investing, some are now holding babies. There is a season for everything.
It is the same with my beautiful single girlfriends who had to (or still have to) wait for the right dude to scoop them up into marriage. I’ve watched God produce amazing things through their relationships and careers and time alone. It was a different kind of fruit, but an important kind. Sometimes it is the bravest kind.
And in all relationships, particularly in marriage, there are times of bounty and then times of scarcity, where the investment feels unusually trying. But each season builds things into us that enhance our depth and quality and viability for production.
This is my long-winded way of answering the question of baby-making. I’m considering seasons and production and the diversity of each.
My current season of production is not the baby variety. It is still a good kind, even if it is a different kind.
I am working on writing a book that sometimes feels just like a baby, except it doesn’t love me back and isn’t cute. It is worse than cross-eyed. Also, my book is super selfish. It keeps me up at night and requires all of my brain space and attention. Just like a parent, I spend little time progressing in writing and more time cleaning up the previous day’s writing mess. I feel uncomfortable and wring my hands as I think about how ill-equipped I am for this task.
And yet every day I sit at my computer and do my best to produce, because that is what I’m supposed to do for now. And I’m really hoping that this small or medium or large fruit that I am growing and developing and writing will be sweet and satisfying to someone somewhere in the future. I guess a producer invests without knowing the size or exact time of the harvest, but he is faithful and hopes for the best. He plants and prays for rain.
We are all growing a little something inside of us, producing every kind of good fruit. The products all look different, sometimes in the shape of kiwis or grapefruit or babies and other times in weird things like ketchup bottles from Costco. But in producing we are growing and learning to know a God that plants just the right seeds at just the right time in just the right people for a perfect harvest that only He can quantify.
God is growing producers.