A few years ago a dear friend of mine told me a story about a gift she had given someone. That someone really enjoyed writing and my friend gave her a beautifully engraved silver fountain pen. Upon receiving the pen the girl exclaimed while looking at the detail of the pen with wonder, care, and sincere joy, “I didn’t even know I wanted this!”
Has that ever happened to you? Someone presents you with a gift they knew you would love but you didn’t even know it should be on your radar?
That’s how I have felt these last several months. Before we became pregnant this time around we were EXHAUSTED. Five kids, the hubby working what seemed like a bazillion hours each week AND going to school, being involved at church and at the kids’ school… we were pooped. The words, “Hey! Let’s add another kid to the mix!” did not escape our lips. They weren’t even forming on our brains’ radar.
But they were on God’s.
I admit, I have a hard time receiving gifts sometimes. I am, as I have said before in previous posts, a control freak. I like things my way and sometimes that crosses into how I receive gifts. It’s really ridiculous and selfish and prideful and just dumb (“Just be thankful! You are loved enough by someone else that they got you a gift!” I’m working on it, among my many other character flaws) so you can probably imagine that receiving the news that we were expecting a 6th child didn’t go over very well with me.
I cried. I got demanding. I rebelled.
And then we were told that our baby would likely die within weeks of learning she was in my womb and suddenly I REALLY WANTED another little peanut. The process of having another baby was never the issue for me; it was that I hadn’t planned on starting all over. Again. But from the moment we saw the + on the stick, I began operating under the assumption that everything would be fine so I could throw a fit, grow to appreciate the fact that we were going to have an unusually large family for the Seattle area and be on my merry way.
But much like a toddler who tests her momma in the store to see just how far she’ll let her wander before reeling her back in (usually when said toddler realizes they’re all alone and begins to feel sheer terror, all while momma is watching from a safe distance), God showed me my selfishness and immaturity. By being MAD that things weren’t going my way, He needed to show me something to get me on board with His plan.
So He did.
When I went to that first ultrasound and saw that something was grossly wrong with Phoebe’s head (very large cystic hygroma, which looks like a balloon behind the skull and neck area) and was told that 99% of babies with her chromosomal abnormality miscarry in the first 2 trimesters, I was dumbstruck. I wanted to be able to complain about being unexpectedly pregnant but I did NOT want my baby to die. I didn’t want her to be broken. I wanted her to be healthy.
See the toddler correlation there? I wanted it all on my terms.
FYI, my terms are stupid.
Two weeks later I began bleeding very heavily. We all… myself, the doctors, my husband… all of us thought I was miscarrying. The doctor prescribed a medicine called “Misoprosotol” to encourage my uterus to cramp down, helping the miscarriage along while avoiding a hemorrhage. My husband picked up the meds and brought them home. I decided to Google the name and learn about any side effects… because I don’t like those, especially the kind that include nausea and vomiting or any kind of pain (total wuss, I know). In my search I found that many people had some nasty side effects that I didn’t want. So I decided against taking the meds.
Praise God I did.
Had I taken even one pill, I would have unknowingly, unwittingly aborted my little girl.
The next day we went into the doctor’s office to confirm the passage of the baby and make sure that everything looked okay. When the doctor put the wand on my belly, I sat straight up. There before me was a precious little peanut kicking around and having fun playing in my womb.
In shock and confusion I exclaimed, “She’s alive?!” It was rather obvious she was.
I wasn’t having a miscarriage after all, but had endured a placental abruption, which, little did I know, would continue to harass me for 8 more weeks.
I heard a sweet soft voice in my head and heart saying, “She’s going to make it.”
Our girl was FIGHTING. And as she fought, I became very protective and proud of her. She was no longer “the surprise” that I wasn’t thrilled about (please know I am ashamed for feeling that way, but I am being honest as I know others have been and will be there too). She became my daughter; the precious, strong, spirited, tiny gift that I didn’t even know I wanted.
So here we are, much, much further along in the pregnancy… just weeks, maybe days from delivering this little girl whose body is a little broken but whose spirit is so very willing. We are so excited to meet this gift of a child and to declare to the Lord, whose ways and thoughts are not our own, “THANK YOU! I didn’t even know!” because honestly? I had no clue what a gift this little girl would be to me or my family or to others. She is changing lives and she’s never even seen the light of day.
Yes. I want that. I want HER.
Thank you, God, for knowing me better than I know myself and knowing EXACTLY what I need.
Thank you for being patient with me as I learn that Your ways really are better than mine.