It is with great joy, gratitude and near disbelief that I share these long dreamed of and prayed for words…
We are having a BABY GIRL!
The Lord has heard nearly thirteen years of prayers and he has answered my cry. Yes the baby in my womb is a girl, a sweet, darling girl and I love her as deep and as wide as twelve years of grieving and hoping can stretch a heart.
In February of 2005, our precious Anna died, nestled snug in my womb, nearly nine months big. And when her heart stopped beating, a part of my heart stopped beating as well. Thirteen years has brought peace and a new way of living with joy…but the grief for my Anna girl will always remain.
Since then, the Lord has blessed us with four amazing sons and it is a gift and an honor to be their mama. Not a day goes by that I don’t feel the joy of getting to be a mother, their mother, and that I don’t look at Chris and realize how blessed we are to be raising these sweethearts into men.
But 12 ½ years of being blessed with sons, has not eradicated the ache and longing in my soul for another daughter. I have wrestled with guilt and shame for my longing- knowing that I am so extremely blessed. But the ache has remained and the pleading and surrendering my heart before the Lord has been a discipline on repeat for nearly all my adult life.
Once someone told me she knew why God wasn’t giving me another daughter. She said she knew it was because my story of grief would lose its testimony to those who were suffering if God tied it all up in a pretty pink bow. That seemed like the right way to look at it at the time and so I embraced it, so much so that saying yes to joy over this little one was difficult at first. I felt like I was abandoning those I have and will continue to suffer and pray with and for. But there is another message that comes with the blessing of this child-
GOD WRITES THE BEST STORIES. HE CAN BE TRUSTED. WAIT UPON THE LORD!
I do not know why some prayers are answered and some are seemingly not. A pivotal turning point in my grief and healing came when someone shared with me that God answers all of our prayers with either His supremacy or His sufficiency…and both responses are demonstrations of His perfect love and goodness. I have clung to these words, to His sufficient grace for me. Thirteen years of aching, praying and grieving has taken me deep into the heart of God and this sweet baby, even in joy, will take me deeper still. I know that my life is purposeful in both its seasons of bitter and beauty and I know that the grief for Anna will not suddenly end just because another daughter has been given.
This child is not a replacement. There will only ever be one Anna Rose Katherine. And our story will always be my favorite, because she is the one who made me a mother and she is the one who gave me Jesus in ways I never imagined possible. She is the one who in losing her life introduced me to holy comfort and I pray I spend the rest of my life sharing that sweet comfort with others.
A Hope Fulfilled
6 years ago we moved into our current home and I sat on the nursery floor and closed my eyes, trying to envision how I would paint and decorate for Elijah, just an infant at the time. But when I closed my eyes all I could see was pink and I fell to my knees in grief and shame. Of course I adored Elijah, I wouldn’t have traded him for a million girls, but the deepest desire of my heart came lurching forward in that moment and painted femininity all over my mind’s eye. I wept for Anna. I wept for the daughter I had prayed for so often. And then very gently I heard the Holy Spirit say, “Ask me.”
“Ask me what?” I thought
“Ask me what I have for you.”
And in that moment, the deepest desire of my heart, always spoken as a request, was now for the first time being timidly uttered as a question…
“Lord do you have….”
But before I could finish my sentence (“a daughter for us”) He spoke again-
“As sure as there is sand in the sea.”
It was a sacred moment. I didn’t exactly know what or how to take it- but I wept and worshiped and then I painted the nursery blue for Elijah embracing the present, with a new deposit of hope for the future.
In the days that followed, that phrase accompanied me everywhere. It felt so familiar. Finally I searched online, “As sure as there is sand in the sea” and this is what appeared…
Genesis 22:17- “I will surely bless you and make your descendants as numerous as the stars in the sky and as the sand in the sea.”
My heart dropped. Was God in fact giving me a promise, just as he had to Sarah and Abraham in her ache and long suffering for a child? Was He directing me back to age old words of hope and assurance offered to another grieving mother?
I held those words close. I shared them with very few people and continued to hope and pray even through years of guilt and punishment for the longing I carried. Honestly there were many seasons where I just wanted it to be over…the hope. It was too weighty to carry an unfulfilled desire for so long. I begged God to take it- I told him again and again that I was content, that I was satisfied with His sovereign plan, that I wanted what He wanted for me more than what I wanted. But every time I surrendered, the desire came back even stronger. So, I continued to pray for God’s ultimate will to be done in our life, remembering that sacred morning in the nursery and “as sure as there is sand in the sea.” I now know my hope was never rooted in anything ungodly but rather the burden of hope I carried was given to me by Jesus for the fulfillment of God’s ultimate plan for me and His kingdom.
To those of you who have followed our journey and have participated with love, faithfulness and prayer, the words thank you simply don’t cut it. I love you, I love you, I love you!
In closing this post, I wanted to share something very sacred to me as a testimony to God’s goodness and faithfulness…
I love the old hymn “Standing on the promises of God.” In decorating our little one’s nursery (the one once painted blue) I wanted to honor God’s promise spoken to me years ago by literally standing on His promises to me. My sweet niece Beth captured these images for me this summer…
Yes baby girl,
As sure as there is sand in the sea…
Thank You Jesus!
Baby Girl expected to arrive on Christmas Eve.