Originally posted on my old blog in March 2014. Sweet baby girl Adelaide is now 2.5 years old.
Well, two weeks ago, I had a baby. And the entire thing makes me giddy, and I take one thousand pictures of her a day. Sometimes I post a picture or two (or five…) of her, and I absolutely love being able to share that sweet face. But every time I do, I hear a little soft whisper. It reminds me that even though everyone loves a picture of a soft, squishy baby, it’s a hard thing to see sometimes. Because for some people, that tiny little bundle feels like a slap in the face, a reminder of the thing that hasn’t happened, the thing you’ve prayed for, but the prayers feel like they smack into the ceiling and refuse to go any higher.
My husband and I had a hard time getting pregnant. It wasn’t the years-long struggle that other people have endured—dear God, please comfort those precious couples—but it was hard for us. There were tears and doctor’s appointments and tests and medicine, and then there was the month that the medicine didn’t work. They said, “Well, we’ll have to try something else.” And again I felt my heart drop to my feet. Because trying to have a baby isn’t the kind of endeavor where you progress. It’s pass/fail every month, and sometimes the fail stings a lot more deeply than you think. Because this is your family you are fighting for, and even when you don’t know your family yet, you still have that deep desire to hold them close. So when you see other people announcing a pregnancy or posting pictures of a perfect sleeping newborn, you feel slighted. Sad. Sometimes angry.
But that was the month—the month where the medicine didn’t work—I found out I was pregnant. Cautiously and fearfully, I walked outside and called the doctor’s office. Can I trust this test? Am I allowed to be excited? The nurse said, “Congratulations!” and I cried in the middle of the street. And then these words leapt into my mind, “You are the God who sees me” (Genesis 16:13). God had seen my tears, and he knew my hurt. I wondered why I ever questioned it. Perspective is easy once the prayer is answered, I realized. Lord, strengthen my faith.
The doctor said, “Well I can’t explain it, but the proof is in the pudding.” But I realized that I could explain it. It’s so like God to give me a baby the one month that science said it was impossible. He likes to do things we can't explain. He likes to remind us that life is in his hands, not ours. We call it “birth control” and subconsciously develop the belief that having children is up to us, but it’s not.
And that’s when God really began to work in my heart. My entire pregnancy I battled more fear than I ever had in my entire life. Would God give me this baby just to take her away? At one point while singing at church, after hearing multiple prayer requests for women who had endured miscarriages—God, please wrap your arms around those dear women; heal their wounded hearts!—the fear overwhelmed me, and I had to let the microphone fall to my side and let the tears fall. It wasn’t the time to sing. It was the time to be held. And God held me with lyrics I still sing to myself in moments of hopelessness:
“There’s no life apart from you.”
(“Lay Me Down” by Chris Tomlin)
“I know who goes before me
I know who stands behind
The God of Angel’s Armies
Is always by my side”
(“Whom Shall I Fear” by Chris Tomlin)
“All of my life
In every season
You are still God
I have a reason to sing
I have a reason to worship”
(“Desert Song” by Hillsong United)
I had to sing these lyrics to myself through every scary moment—the fifteen days she was overdue where I worried my body was failing her (“You are not normal,” a voice whispered), the week of contractions where I worried if she was okay (“God will take her away,” it whispered), the days I battled infection and was hospitalized when she was a week old (“You can’t provide what she needs,” I heard). I had to cling with everything I had to Isaiah 26:3, which says, “You keep him in perfect peace whose mind is stayed on you, because he trusts in you.” Caroline, focus on HIM, and you can have peace.
The lesson is this:
God is the CREATOR and SUSTAINER of life.
No breath is without his permission,
No heartbeat without his blessing.
Life is in His hands.
He knows what’s ahead,
He knows what’s behind,
and He provides.
There’s a verse that people always use to celebrate the birth of a child: “I prayed for this child, and the Lord has granted me what I asked of him” (1 Samuel 1:27). It’s a beautiful verse that is dear to my heart because it’s my story. But the next verse is the one I walk in when I’m afraid: “Now I give him to the Lord. For his whole life he will be given over to the Lord” (1 Samuel 1:28).
Adelaide belongs to God more than she will ever belong to me. She is his more than she will ever be mine. I can trust God with her because he loves her more dearly that I can ever imagine. She is his masterpiece—as if I could ever take credit for something so wonderful. (Seriously, she’s really cute.)
I wrestle with fear all the time, just like those days when we were struggling to conceive. The illusion of control is a hard pill to swallow. I have to give my family back to God over and over again. So this is my mantra: “Now I give Adelaide to the Lord. For her whole life she will be given over to the Lord.”
I can trust God with Adelaide. I can trust God with my family. And for the times when I fall short, I thank God for 2 Timothy 2:13: “If we are faithless, he remains faithful, for he cannot disown himself.”
Wherever you are in your life, you can trust God.
He knows where you’re going, and he knows where you’ve been.
He hears you, he sees your tears.
You are seen.
A video about our story was shown at our church the Sunday before I wrote this post, and the way a few people responded made me realize the value in being honest about the hard things we go through, and that has been my commissioning ever since. You can watch the video here.