Vol 10, Num 7 :: 2011.04.08 — 2011.04.21
“Pregnant!” The word jolted me as I listened to the nurse’s voice on the other end of the line. I was thirty-eight years old and, to be honest, my confidence in my ability to mother was growing pale as we headed down the pathway toward parenting two teenagers. And now God wanted me to do this again?
I decided to keep the news quiet as long as possible. I felt embarrassment mixed with panic and needed time to get used to the idea. I didn’t want the attention and dreaded the inevitable question: “Was this planned?” At the same time, I felt guilty when I thought of friends and acquaintances who longed for a child and found themselves grieving with empty arms.
Days after we announced the news to our eleven- and fourteen-year-old daughters, my placenta tore. Now, I cried at the thought of losing this baby! The doctor put me on complete bed rest immediately. His directives abruptly terminated my activities as wife, mother, and church worker. I could not cook, do laundry, clean, or travel — anywhere. Having responsibilities I could no longer fulfill also meant our news would buzz abroad much earlier than I had hoped.
Following the doctor’s instructions also reflected a conscious choice to back up my pro-life convictions. Each day, I lay on the couch while my daughters filled my shoes doing laundry and cleaning. I chose life. Every meal lovingly prepared and delivered by a church family cemented my faith in the sovereign hand of God.
During those six weeks on the couch, I memorized Psalm 139. It seemed our baby was saying to God, “I praise you because I am fearfully and wonderfully made; your works are wonderful” (vs. 14). I clung to the truth that God knew what was best for our family. The support of my husband and the excitement of the girls drew us together. Friends and relatives helped me hurdle adjustments and uncertainties with their prayers, cards and hugs.
Talk about starting over! Back to diapers, midnight feedings, potty training, Play- Doh, Candyland, and nursery rhymes! As a family we enjoyed our new adventure together. The wonder of our little miracle enveloped us all. Yet, being parents to challenging, busy teens and an active baby/preschooler stretched us to the point of exhaustion. We haven’t always done everything right, yet through our weaknesses (and sometimes tears) God has become our strength. We named our baby Elisabeth Grace as a reminder of God’s promise in 2 Corinthians 12:9: “My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness.”
Our “baby” is now thirteen. Almost as tall as her adult sisters, she truly has been a joy to us. How could I have ever doubted God’s wisdom? Last week, Elisabeth said to me, “I’m glad my middle name is Grace. It helps me remember God’s grace is there for me.” I couldn’t trust my voice to answer, but nodded with a wobbly smile.
It’s been quite a journey. I wouldn’t trade it for all the peace and quiet in the world!