September 2nd...it was a Friday morning...I was just about a week overdue, if you know what I mean. And I'd thought about taking one of those dastardly pregnancy tests but frankly I'd seen too many negative results to really stomach another one. I had considered asking God for a sign, like a dream, but then I decided that every time in my life I'd tried to rely on signs that it never worked. I'm far too good at tricking signs into appearing where God never intended them to be.
But I had a dream. It was exactly what I'd almost asked for. God has a sense of humor.
So a couple days later I decided to just take the stupid test and get all the disappointment over with for the month. The sooner I had an answer the sooner I could move on. I dipped the stick and set the timer for 3 minutes and walked away. When I came back, holding my breath...I couldn't believe my eyes. Two lines.
So I asked Curtis, who was busy making me breakfast, how many lines he thought their were. He told me two, and we just looked at each other stunned.
Now...don't get me wrong...I was excited. I was thankful, I was praising God in my heart somewhere. But mostly I suddenly and thoroughly felt gripped with fear. I don't think I've ever experienced fear quite like that before in my life. As we told our closest friends and family members and they all celebrated, I felt a little numb. Grateful but numb.
This lasted several days until I finally gave way to my emotions. In the shower (I seem to do a lot of emoting in the shower, actually) I broke down and I sobbed. It's been years since I cried like that. And I told God, don't get me wrong, I'm amazed at what you've done here, and I so want to glorify you but there's this huge BUT in my way. BUT what if you take the baby back? BUT what if something happens? BUT what if this breaks my heart and I'm worse off than before?
I've had two fears all my life. 1) That I wouldn't be able to have children and 2) That even if I could get pregnant that I wouldn't be able to stay pregnant. There's plenty of familial evidence to support both fears; these are not ungrounded. Clearly fear number one was well-founded, but once that was shoved out of the way it was time for fear number two to take over.
God heard the cries of my heart and instead of taking them as a sign of disbelief in His power, He took them as an opportunity to love on me so much and restore my trust in His goodness. I can only imagine the tenderness in His eyes as He looked on His daughter so afraid and uncertain. God is so good.
The following Sunday was September 11th which proved to be highly emotional for a lot of people. There was a big altar call and I felt the tug to come forward. I knew what it was that I had to lay there on the altar of the Lord. I knelt at our altar, face to face with the Almighty, and I knew that the only way to conquer the fear of losing my baby was to give my baby to God willingly. So I did. I figuratively but very truly placed this little life that I've wanted for so long on the altar, much like Abraham putting his beloved son Isaac on the altar all those thousands of years ago. I told God, and meant it, that no matter what He chose to do with that little life that I would praise Him anyway. That I would still insist in His goodness, even in my pain. I didn't promise that I wouldn't be angry or devastated, but that I would still see His goodness and mercy.
We came home from church, planning on a lazy afternoon with the dogs before youth group started. But we found Shiloh, sick, actually dying we would later find out. As Shiloh's situation went from bad to worse to hopeless in just a few short hours I remember thinking, crying out, that I'd just given God my baby, why was He taking my dog, my best friend, my ruff? I don't know. Maybe Shiloh was that sacrificial lamb that God provided Abraham with so he wouldn't have to give up Isaac. Maybe I had to give up something. Or maybe it was just Shiloh's time to leave us. I'll never know for sure.
A few days later I was driving from my office where I work in the morning to the library to grab a few books before heading out to the school where I work in the afternoon. I'd wanted to hear Gungor's song 'Beautiful Things' ever since I saw those two pink lines (more on that in this post ). But I hadn't. Until that day. And as I drove to the library the song came on KLOVE and I praised God, both in song and for the song. But God never does a little when He could do a lot. I came out of the library, started driving toward the school and Matt Hammit's new song 'All of Me' came on the radio.
He's the lead singer of Sanctus Real and we'd seen them in concert about a month before. Matt performed this song that he'd written about his baby boy Bowen who was born with only half a heart. The song is about the moment when Matt realized that giving his baby only half his heart, half his love, in an attempt to save himself from loss and pain wouldn't help anything. The only choice was to recklessly love him, no matter the ultimate pain or cost.
So here I am, driving down the road with tears just streaming down my cheeks. Confronted face to face with myself in music. Which is truly more important--guarding myself from potential pain or falling completely in love with this little miracle? Which would God have me do? One meant living in that horrible grip of fear, going back and forth from the altar, giving up my baby and then snatching 'him' back. The other meant living in a joyful celebration, not ignorant of the danger, but not crippled by its threat. That song has become my anthem, my chorus, my motto. I want to embrace every moment of this journey because I can't have it back or do it over. And if it all comes crashing down on me...God is still good. He will still give me air to breathe and command my lungs to suck it in, even if that's all I can do.
It's been about a month now since all this has taken place. We've had our first appointment and ultrasound. We got to see 'his' little hands and feet, complete with ten toes! We think we're having a boy, that's the general consensus among family and friends, too. There's just something about those pictures that says 'boy'. But we'll be thrilled and overjoyed no matter what. We are already thrilled. The morning sickness (which is really all-day sickness...what a ridiculous misnomer) and fatigue have been a struggle. I'm already in maternity pants...I don't quite have a belly but I'm getting bigger all the time. But I refuse to complain about weight gain or outgrowing my clothes. Or any of it really. I've wanted this for far too long to spend nine months whining about how awful it is. I can't do much for my baby yet, take vitamins, rest and eat, but I can endure the symptoms with a joyful heart..perhaps a merry heart...and in that way already love, nurture, and cherish my little one.
God is good. He is the God of impossibilities. He takes what cannot be done and makes it do-able. He took my broken body and barren womb and filled it with life. He took my fearful, fretful heart and filled it with love and joy. Only God can do these things.
If you haven't heard 'All of Me' I've provided a music video here on this post. It is such a beautiful song for any parent. I'm learning more every day how being a parent will change everything...require me to love far more than I ever have and give more than I ever knew I could. And its worth it all. Just like the song so beautifully says.