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And Then We Were Five

All was quiet in early September 2010. The 30-year-old me, who had recently discovered her first grey hairs in the mirror, flipped through the last pages in a book on insecurity. We were four years into our wait, and I was thinking about my biggest fear right then.

Missing the window.
Waiting too long.

Being an older parent.

I know someday I’ll probably look back at this and laugh because 30 is so young, I wrote. (Truth.) But the fear is still there.

The chapter I was reading referenced Psalm 112:7-8 and the person who fears God will not be afraid of evil tidings. But something funny happened – a little incident that has happened often enough over the years that I have learned to be the Spirit of God speaking right into the heart of my quiet time. I looked up the wrong verse. And it ended up being the right verse, with God joining in on the conversation I had started with Him.

Instead of reading Psalm 112:7-8, I read Psalm 113, and my eyes got wide at the sight of verse nine: “He grants the barren woman a home, like a joyful mother of children.” Right there, at that moment, God had interrupted the conversation with an “I hear your fear” and an “I see your heartache” kind of acknowledgment. And the chapter I had been reading finished up referring to the NIV version of Proverbs 31:25. It was the final “I see you” ribbon for that quiet-time morning, in direct response to the words I had just written about future laughing only minutes earlier:

she is clothed with strength and dignity;
she can laugh at the days to come

Proverbs 31:25, NIV

Fast forward nine years.

I loved every single moment of being pregnant with Jordan, and couldn’t wait to do it again. And then, with Jonathan, I didn’t love it so much. I was more tired. My body more symptomatic and uncomfortable. I thought that our family was complete and was happy not to experience pregnancy again. But there’s this thing about cliche statements – a reason why they are used so often: there’s a certain amount of truth to them. And that thing that they say happens to a woman right after she gives birth? When she suddenly remembers nothing about the dramatic ordeal her body had just endured? It happened to me, some time in those two-and-a-half-minutes between seeing Jonathan’s face for the first time and clamoring to get on the phone with the hospital kitchen to order the hamburger, french fries, and milkshake I had been craving for hours while I was relegated to chicken broth and jello.

“I would do this all over again,” I whispered aloud to nobody in particular as my tiny, unnamed babe tucked up brand new into the crook of my neck.

And so began the immediate conversation that surely upped Josh’s anxiety to a level he probably didn’t fully share with me. He was fine with two. Happy with two. Done with two. Me? I mean, I was too – fine and happy and absolutely content with our family of four. But I could also do one more. But, I didn’t want to be pregnant at 40, and time was a-tickin’.

When Jonathan was five months old, Josh made “the appointment” to get things taken care of – the earliest available was eight weeks away.

“Ok, God,” I said the next morning, “if You want to give us one more, You have two months to do it.” Little did we know, He had already done it. Two weeks later, I found out about baby number three, two days before my 39th birthday.

It’s chilly this morning. Jono woke up early – pre-6am – and I rolled over to see his big brown eyes quietly staring at me through the crib slats. Unsatisfied with the cozy bed snuggles, I scoop him up and come downstairs to let Josh sleep. The blanket is laid on the couch warm, and he is snuggled up inside of it. The coffee brews. The early morning light soft. And I think back to eleven hours ago when I saw one more plus sign on a pregnancy test. This baby isn’t even sitting up yet, and I’m pregnant with #3.

Steam dances up off the top of the mug. Morning beautiful. I turn the fireplace on in late May and wrap my hards around the coffee as I try to wrap my mind around a third baby. How does my heart have the capacity to love one more? It doesn’t seem possible. Oh, LORD, You’ve done it again. Three babes in three years. Blessed be the name of the LORD!

A funny thing has happened with telling people about this babe. The news evokes a certain joyful, “you’ve got to be kidding!” kind of laughter. Over and over and over again. And every time, I flashback to that morning in 2010 when we were four years into our wait. Back to when I was afraid of being an “old mom,” and God promised that I would laugh in the days to come. Because, as it turns out, answered prayer is marked all over with laughter. Just look at Psalm 126 – a section of Scripture I’ve referenced more than once in this sacred writing space (the most in-depth of which can be found here).

It’s a song that God’s people sang when He brought them back home from being exiled in captivity. Talk about answered prayer. “When the LORD brought back the captivity of Zion, we were like those who dream,” the psalm begins. Then our mouth was filled with laughter, and our tongue with singing. Then they said among the nations, ‘The LORD has done great things for them.’ The LORD has done great things for us, and we are glad.”

Jordan’s story is undoubtedly one giant, miraculous, incredible answered prayer, and while Jonathan’s is indeed marked all over by the same, it is more of a story of redemption. Of God, taking some weighty things and, quite literally, redeeming the time. (You can read that story here.) Jonathan is my coming-home-with-joy story after going-out-weeping, searching for healing. He is my surely-this-is-a-dream, Psalm 126 song in human form. And this babe? Well, this one is the “then our mouths were filled with laughter” part of that same Psalm 126 song.

There has been a redemption trend that God has been writing with each babe’s story. Jordan, with his due date right around Shawna’s death anniversary, and Jonathan with the redemption of bringing a babe home to the house I spent eight years dreaming of our family in. And this last babe? Well, our third tiny one is due to arrive in early February 2020. The same month that was marked all over with an anniversary of waiting heartache year after year. The same month that we first started trying for our family at the very beginning of our ten-year journey of delayed fertility.

Oh, for the greatness of His glory.

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