“We need another baby”, she said, looking up at me with her innocent, trusting 4 year old eyes.
My mind flashed back to all that had surrounded her younger brother’s birth. The diagnosis filled with words like “anomaly”, the uncertainty that pervaded my pregnancy with him, the days spent in NICU after he was born, a surgery at 3 days old, that emergency flight to a children’s hospital one terrifying day …
True, this boy’s life is inhabited by numerous miracles and the hand of God in every detail of his pregnancy and birth is irrefutable, but this mama’s heart shook a bit at those words. Another baby? No, sweetheart – our family is good with one sweet girl and her precious brother. We don’t need another baby.
Well, this 4 year old girl is sweet, but also tenacious. She didn’t argue with me – she simply went to a Higher Source and asked God to give us another baby. And it wasn’t very long before this mama got the surprise of her life.
I’ve been thinking about this alot lately – in the shadow of Mother’s Day. How I need this lesson to help me grapple with the things I’m facing now in my life! Maybe you can relate?
Let me back up a little bit here. My life at this point couldn’t have been more unsettled. Because of work and ministry situations, we were basically living in two different places – 1,100 miles apart from each other! So every 6 weeks we would pack up our kids and travel that long stretch of I-40, only to do it again 6 weeks later. We were realizing we couldn’t sustain this and were in the process of looking for a more permanent home. We were exhausted, struggling with burnout, trying to find a home in a new town while sustaining a full time ministry in another state, and now this surprise from God filled our lives!
They say timing is everything, right? I don’t know who “they” are, but clearly God doesn’t believe in following their vague rules. The timing in this case couldn’t have been worse, and I had many arguments with God about this. He sees all things, knows the intimate details of my heart – if little girl was right and we needed another baby, couldn’t He have just waited 6 months? Like Habakkuk, I lodged my complaint with Almighty God – and the only response I got as I waited those 9 months was the sense of His divine smile and the words, “Just wait – this is a blessing from me”.
So life went on. The pregnancy was long and difficult. I started waking up with migraines every morning. We continued to travel, but everything quite simply became harder. By the time God miraculously provided the perfect home for our family, we had only a month to move, and I could barely move my body – this baby was BIG and his presence was impacting every ounce of my strength. It was a messy time. People came around and helped, my mom flew across the country to pack our house for me, and we got settled in our new home just a couple months before Joshua entered our lives. And through it all, God’s voice continued to echo in my head – “Just wait…”
My daughter asked for a baby – and she got one for Christmas. Joshua – his name means “Jehovah saves”. And he is a daily reminder of that sustaining truth. His birth – filled with much drama and excitement – brought us the baby we all needed. A 10 lb, 10 oz blessing that continues to fill our days with joy and laughter. They laid him on my chest, and I wrapped my arms around that stocky, solid baby and squeezed as I laughed and cried.
A couple days later, while trying to hold him in my arms, I looked down and was caught by surprise. His arms and legs were spilling out of my arms in all directions – this baby was BIG. Laughter erupted out of me unbidden – I think it was my response to the laughter of God in my heart. He had said this baby would be a blessing – but He hadn’t told me how BIG this blessing would be! That it would be more than I could contain and exceed all my wildest expectations. And that’s when it sunk it – we may not be prepared for it, we may even complain to God about it, but when He decides to pour out His blessings on us, it will be in such abundance that we can hardly contain it. It’s the process of getting there that is so hard for us to navigate sometimes.
Sunday afternoon found me in my favorite place – lying in my hammock in the backyard. This peaceful moment lasted approximately 1 1/2 minutes – until I was divebombed by a 9 year old bundle of boy with long arms and legs and all the energy and wiggles that can be contained in a hammock. This boy fills every day with laughter. I wrapped my arms around him and thanked God once again for the blessing He knew I needed when my fearful heart wasn’t ready to accept it.
It was very fitting for Mother’s Day – and as we snapped goofy selfies and giggled in the sunlight, I found myself remembering. Remembering this story, because I don’t know about you, but I find myself back in that waiting place again. That interminable place that has no defined end and can leave you arguing with God once more. Doubting His timing. Wondering what He is actually birthing – and could He just hurry it up a bit?
These last couple months have held much richness and introspection. But I’ll be real honest here – it’s getting old. We have had reason to grieve over the last weeks, and the felt losses are starting to build. There have been alot of tears over the last couple weeks and the hurt is leaving me feeling a bit ragged. I don’t have the physical limitations I did 10 years ago while carrying this miracle gift baby, but the other limitations feel as confining. And what does God say in the middle of it all? “Just wait…”
Could it be that His blessings on the other side are so abundant that we won’t be able to contain it? Is He really able to do exceedingly abundantly more than we could ask or imagine, as He promises? (Ephesians 3:20) Will I sink into these present circumstances, or truly stand on the promises that hold so much hope?
“See, I am doing a new thing! Now it springs up; do you not perceive it? I am making a way in the wilderness and streams in the wasteland.” Isaiah 43:19
““Ah, Sovereign Lord, you have made the heavens and the earth by your great power and outstretched arm. Nothing is too hard for you.” Jeremiah 32:17
“I will hope continually and will praise You yet more and more” Psalm 71:14
“The eyes of all look expectantly to You” Psalm 145:15
“You apprehend with wider sweep
with wiser eyes than mine.
My history bears the fingerprints of grace…
You remain at work, lurking in the wings,
Sifting all my splinters for bright embers
that might be breathed
into more eternal dreams” -Doug McKelvey
And so I wait for this new birth in hopeful expectation.
“But as for me, I trust in You” Psalm 55:23