We were in the middle of an impromptu family vacation when the thought first flitted through my bewildered brain:
“Maybe I’m pregnant.”
I’d been having mysterious symptoms in the weeks leading up to this day. And if my family hadn’t been in the other room, I would have laughed out loud hysterically at such an absurd thought. We were done having babies, had graduated out of the toddler tantrum and potty training stage several years before. I was in my dream job and for the first time since kids started joining our family, we were financially stable.
Having another baby was not a part of our plan.
A month later, I was in the doctor’s office, watching my doctor decide how to tell me she thought I could be having twins. Or maybe was just off on my dates. I could tell she really thought I was having twins.
The ultrasound revealed she was wrong, much to my relief (and teeny bit of disappointment). But it also showed a potential problem with the baby that had to be followed up on a couple of months later.
Suddenly, we were facing a scary unknown. The follow-up ultrasound revealed what my doctors had worried over weeks before. Our baby had a potentially fatal birth defect, one that could be corrected at birth, but that may be accompanied by a whole host of other issues, assuming he survived.
My heart shattered.
This unplanned for baby had quickly won my heart. Deep down I had always longed for one more little one to bundle up, to cuddle, to cover in hugs and kisses. I was in no way prepared to deal with anything different.
I had tests done to see if the baby had a chromosomal defect that was causing his condition, to know if we had to prepare for the worst. During the days of waiting, I cried out to God, unsure of how I was going to get through this, how we would prepare our kids to get through it, begging Him to make everything be okay.
I clearly heard Him say to me on one of those mornings, “What will you do if the worst does happen? Will you stop believing in me? Because in this world, you will have trouble. I have never promised things would be easy. Will you turn your back on me if things don’t go the way you hope?”
I stilled. I knew I couldn’t do that. I knew I couldn’t turn my back on the One who loved me more than anyone else ever has. He reminded me that He is the same yesterday, today, and forever. He never changes. Yes in this world we will have trouble, but He has overcome the world.
I decided right then and there that I was going to simply trust Him with our baby. That whatever happened, He had a purpose and I would believe He would see us through it.
Surrounded by the fragments of my heart and the tears shed in fear, I was filled with the most inexplicable joy imaginable.
In that moment of decision, He enabled me to stop worrying about tomorrow and to just get through this day, this moment. He turned my focus from the “what could be’s” to Him. He asked me to stop putting my hope in outcomes, and instead put my hope in His unfailing love.
The day our son was born, God gave me the most beautiful gift. Because our baby would need surgery and due to the seriousness of his condition, he had to be taken to the NICU immediately after birth. I was told that because of that, I probably would not be allowed to hold him. On top of all that, his delivery was further complicated by my placenta abrupting, causing him to go into to distress. But my tough little man rallied so well, despite having difficulty breathing, that the nurses allowed me to hold him for the most precious thirty seconds of my life. I didn’t know how long it would be until I could hold him again – to be given this gift amidst all the uncertainty still fills me with awe at His goodness.
As it turns out, our baby boy beat all the odds. Prepared to have him in the NICU for close to a month at the very least, we excitedly brought him home at 10 days old. His surgery was successful, and even the doctors were impressed with how quickly he recovered. Other than a funny, man-made belly button due to his surgery, there is no outward evidence of there ever having been anything wrong. He is in perfect health, the very thing we hoped for.
But more than that, the greatest gift God gave me in the life of our strong-willed, funny, little man-child is the ability to trust Him in all circumstances. If things had gone differently, if he had had innumerable health problems, or if the very worst had happened and we had lost him, I know I would have still trusted God and His plans. When I stopped trying to figure out what He was doing and just trust, that’s when I was filled with peace, when I was filled with joy. I could cry as my heart broke and still praise God because I knew He is who He says He is.
It is what I remember in the everyday dailyness of life – when toddler tantrums and dirty dishes and pre-teen hormones threaten to overwhelm.
He is the same yesterday, today, and forever. He has overcome the world. He’s got this.
All we need to do is trust.
A wife and stay-at-home-mom to two girls and two boys, Andrea spends her days chasing down a toddler, shuttling her teenager to drama practices, and putting out preteen sibling squabbles, all while pretending she does not need another cup of coffee (she really does). Andrea is full of passion for little ones to know God’s unconditional love and acceptance for them; journeying through motherhood has also opened up her heart to encouraging other moms. She understands what it is like to feel like you are the only one who loses it, who can’t keep the house clean for more than five seconds, and who sets the oven on fire. Her desire is for women to find freedom and joy in God’s grace on a daily basis. You can find Andrea at her blog www.joyfullmom.com, where she writes about finding joy in the everyday.