It started something like this. I had a boy. And then I had a girl, who was stillborn.
I cried all the tears and one of the most pressing questions of my heart became, will I ever be a girl mom?
It seems almost silly or short-sided now, that I would aim so narrow.
All children are a gift. My esteem is certainly never measured in children. And some women never get to experience childbirth at all.
There was nothing profound or righteous about my questioning. Even so, after losing a little girl, it was there. I wanted so badly to know if there would be another chance to raise a daughter.
I asked the question in tears, in prayers and sometimes, in jealousy – heart emotions, hard emotions, tangled up in my grief.
My perinatologist doctor advised us not to stop there. It was a horrific experience, “But don’t stop here”, she told us. “Try again.”
So we let our hearts heal a bit. And tried again. We entered into that crazy sphere of hope, hope that consumes your heart and attention, where you track days and cycles and your stomach growls, your left leg itches, and you are just certain this is it!
But it wasn’t. It wasn’t it.
Months went by and hope got tiring. Any woman with arms longing to hold a baby, to find a spouse, to hold the unmerited but wild desires of her heart, understands this weary hope. I wanted to have faith but it scared me. I didn’t want to weep bitterly, become jealous, feel ungrateful, but it often felt all-consuming.
Most days I wrestled those feelings down, swallowing them hard on good days, only to have them lurch back up again.
If you are there now, please know it’s okay. All of it is okay. The ugly, the hard and wrestling. God gets it. He can handle it, deal with it, even when you, your spouse, your friends or family cannot. Even when you are repulsed by it all, the ugly and bitter guilt, you aren’t awful for feeling it. Just keep surrendering it, because that right there is brave.
My hope turned from a baby girl to any baby. Just any baby. Please can I have a baby? I didn’t plan to have an only child, certainly didn’t wish for the nightmare past year. Wasn’t there any reprieve for that? Didn’t I deserve something?
Somehow grace got through, still does, when I realize I don’t. I don’t deserve anything.
When I minimize my Creator God to my deserving it’s really my feeble attempt for control. Do you see that? If I believe he is who he says he is, I am, then there is no power struggle here. Because no matter what this looks like, what this feels like, He is.
Maybe we should take a minute to thank God that he isn’t dependent on our limited view, our wild emotions because, whew, those things are crazy!
I don’t serve a God that small, nor do I wish to.
So I continued to wrestle with the messy and muddy feelings and we met with a doctor to get help. We had just received our one year infertile badge, at which point the doctors are willing to start addressing the issue. We made the appointment to hear our options and before we could decide how to proceed, we were expecting.
God has funny timing that I don’t always find funny. But I keep trusting him with that as well.
The day we learned we would be having a girl, the tears came fresh, different. My husband slipped out of the doctor’s office and returned with pink flowers. Nothing in this moment was deserved. And this was the closest I had ever come to understanding what grace felt like.
I knew it in my mind, in my heart, in the Bible verses I had read and the hope I had proclaimed, but to know and wait and to hurt and doubt and then, this. I was overwhelmed by grace.
Almost exactly two years after we said goodbye, we welcomed a healthy baby girl to our family. And almost exactly 2 years later, yet another.
There are so many ways I could boast on God, things I have learned through parenting and motherhood, the gifts I see in each of my children, how he grows me and them, shapes me and them. It’s unreal when I take time to process it. Truly unreal.
But each year around this time, the calendar my faithful reminder, I am bowled over by girls. Two girls. Born within days of the very day we said goodbye to our first daughter. A double portion I was never even brave enough to dream of.
My dreams were never this big. My brave was never this big. I have never done a thing to deserve any of this. But God.
I look at them and am oh so thankful for the reminder of hard and scary things, of fragile and weak hope, of more than I could ask or imagine poured out beyond anything I could ever deserve. God is that good. And every year we celebrate that, sometimes in over-the-top ways, not because it’s their birthday necessarily, but because we have so much to be thankful for, so much to celebrate.
Even in the messes we don’t fully understand, the hurts that cut deep, he is working something beautiful, for our good, in his time. If only we are brave enough to hang in there and trust him with it.
For those of you into party details, those lovely cupcake flowers pics (also used for the fruit kabobs!), leis, luau cups, Pixy Stix and balloons are all available from Oriental Trading. They were so kind to send these over to help us celebrate and they made our luau all the more special!
Ready, set, BRAVE
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