I was on the couch with Josh the other night when it happened. Out of nowhere, a memory began to play untriggered, like the movie reel we were sitting there watching. And the words started spilling out of me. So much so that I was suddenly bored with the movie and went upstairs to scribble it out. It’s from back in 2016 when I was newly pregnant with Jordan and that time when the ten-year-long answer to prayer I had been both privately and publicly believing God for was still one giant secret from the world who was waiting and believing alongside me.
“I want you to tell that story,” the Spirit of God whispered. And I couldn’t deny it, the words came on so hard and fast. And so I am – sharing the story for the first time. Because someone out there needs to hear it.
(7:05 am) Friday, 4/1/16
I’m nearing the end of my sixth week of pregnancy, and I have no idea how things are going. How this little love is progressing. If milestones are being met. How perfectly (or imperfectly) it’s all coming together. I just have to wait. And trust. And wait some more until we hear that first sound of the perfectly- formed heart beating. God, thank You that You’ve done this millions and millions and millions of times before. Thank You that, although I can’t feel it, and we’ve never heard it, there is a heart beating inside me 100 times a minute.
I had been circling around Isaiah 42 and 43 for months and, that morning, I read a commentary on Isaiah 43:19. Incidentally, it’s the same single verse on which the entire Dear Monday planner is based: “Behold, I will do a new thing, now it shall spring forth; shall you now know it? I will even make a road in the wilderness and rivers in the desert.” And in those commentary-words, God whispered hope, carrying on our morning conversation together:
“Spring forth – as a germinating herb,” I wrote the words from Jamieson, Fausset & Brown’s commentary on my prayer journal page. “A beautiful image of the silent but certain gradual growth of events in God’s providence.” God, I’m overwhelmed by Your Spirit this morning. And I can’t stop crying tears of joy.
I tucked my prayer journal away for two weeks of traveling across the ocean and then the country that had been scheduled long before I knew about our growing miracle. It included teaching at a women’s conference in Georgia that I had been speaking at for five years – an audience of women that had, year after year, walked with me through (the loss of and subsequent healing from) Shawna. It also included a planned visit in Florida with Shawna’s Mom, Aunt, and two cousins, as well as a few days with some very, very dear girlfriends I only got to see once a year (if I was lucky). Because of that trip, I had the special gift of telling most of the people that I loved the most about our miracle-babe in person. I hadn’t seen Shawna’s mom since her funeral. And I was overwhelmed with emotion when I realized that if I couldn’t tell Shawna about this baby she had begged God on my behalf for years for, then I had the gift of telling her mom. In-person. Which was the next best thing.
Fifteen days later, I was eight weeks pregnant and on my last flight back home, somewhere over the ocean. As soon as the plane landed, I would be going straight to my very first ultrasound appointment to hear that sweet heartbeat I had so anxiously waited to hear. But a funny thing had happened over those two weeks: I found myself fighting a lot of anxiety and fear surrounding that appointment. And then, on the last night of that conference, as I stood there in the darkened room surrounded by 250 women worshiping God, I realized what it was all rooted in:
I was preparing myself for no heartbeat.
At that point? I knew well how to navigate those kinds of waters – the sorrowful ones full of grief. I was used to the “no” and the heartache and the disappointment and the tears. But, as a girlfriend gently reminded me after sharing with her my Isaiah 43:19 quiet time camping spot: “if that were the case, that would not be a new thing. And He has promised you new things.
But still, I was terrified. So far, the pregnancy had been a dream. No nausea at all. Hardly any food aversions (just a new affinity for naps). I feared the lack of symptoms meant the pregnancy was not viable. That the doctor would say the words softly, “well, honey, you were pregnant..” And as I sat on that last almost-six-hour flight home, my mind went into overdrive. I played out the worst scenarios in my head. And I finally got up out of my seat, making my way to the tiny airplane bathroom, the anxiety and fear nearly suffocating me. But then it happened: 30,000 feet in the air, somewhere over the Pacific Ocean, God pulled the rug out from under my fear with David’s Psalm-139-words:
“I will praise You, for I am fearfully and wonderfully made,” His Spirit whispered to my pounding heart. The words rang in my ears. And they were quickly followed by one gentle and irrefutable truth: “This fear you’re fighting right now?
That’s not the kind of fear I’m talking about.
Typically, when something like that happens, I get on my phone and open the Blue Letter Bible app, and I start to dig. But on that flight, there was no wifi over the ocean. All I could do was walk back to my seat and rest in His truth. The only thing that I could do? Take His Word for it.
Two hours after the plane touched down on our tropical island home, Josh and I sat in the darkened ultrasound room. And in a matter of seconds, the doctor turned the screen, and I gasped. My tiny, long-awaited miracle was right there on the screen — our baby. The one miracle we believed ten years for was suddenly right there. And then, she flipped on the sound, and the heartbeat filled the room. And I sobbed in that I-can’t-quite-catch-my-breath kind of way. The pregnancy was viable. The baby was real. The miracle was real. The doctor was about to turn the sound back off when the sobs escaped me, catching her off-guard. She recognized the weight of the moment, and let the miracle-rhythm linger there in the room for awhile longer.
John 1:16 – we have received the fullness of Him. And grace for grace.
Grace upon grace.
One grace heaped upon another.
A blessing poured out that there is not room to receive, with a pledge for still more grace.
“Every good and perfect gift is from above,” I wrote the words from James 1:17-18 on prayer journal pages, “coming down from the Father of the heavenly lights, who does not change like shifting shadows. He chose to give us birth through the word of truth that we might be a kind of firstfruits of all he created.” God calls us to cross the sea in faith and watch Him perform His miracle. And give His good and perfect gift, whether that’s freedom. Or healing. Or financial provision. Or a miracle baby that followed one ten-year-long prayer. It all comes down from Him – the Creator of all light. And of all life.
He does not change. And His gifts and callings are irrevocable. (Romans 11:29). Because, after the trials? He gives rest. Always. And out of His deliberate purpose, His own free will, and His abundant mercy, God brought us forth from the womb – by His spoken word of sincerity and truth. Therefore, we should, by our own free will, choose to believe Him in the most impossible things that we might be a kind of first fruits. A leader separated out. With a conspicuous faith. Because, when all is said and done, when we have survived the trials and have patiently waited, counting it all joy when it all is hopelessly bleak and heartbreakingly confusing (Ephesians 1:12-13), we will be to the praise of His glory. Because we trusted Him. And believed Him. And then? We obeyed Him. And He performed His miracle.
All to the praise of His glory. Amen.