“Now faith is being sure of what we hope for and certain of what we do not see.” Hebrews 11:1
Everyday, I see God’s faithfulness. It is real, alive, and walking through my house. My children are the completion of God’s promise to my life. My heart, my love, and my soul sleep in four beds tonight as I reflect on the miracle they are.
We were married on April 16, 1994. For the next five years, we trusted God would provide us with a family. The years came and went, still no baby slept peacefully in my arms. In 1997, we felt God calling us to Tennessee, so we stepped out from all we knew, packed up the few things we owned, and left our family, friends, and church for the unknown promise Nashville held.
One morning, sitting in the overflow chapel of the church we were currently attending, my heart cried out to God pleading, bargaining, begging, and ultimately crumbling into faithful worship. In the quiet of my whispered prayers, Jesus revealed his promise to me in a vision. In a blinding light, He stepped out clothed in robes holding a swaddled bundle in his arms. Jesus stretched out his arms to me and laid a precious baby in my arms. As I watched the tiny babe in awe, he slipped away, only to return with another child in his arms. Two more times he brought me a baby and the fifth time he returned, he stretched out his arms wide and smiled. I knew in an instant this was his promise, his covenant made straight to my heart…our house would be filled with the laughter of four beautiful children. I need only hold tight to His promise, filled with hope, knowing He would be faithful to complete it.
Buoyed by my Savior’s promise, every month I held my breath waiting to see those two pink lines on the pregnancy test I seemed to always be taking. Month after month passed, but I held faithful to his promise. Sometimes it was through tears, sometimes through whining, but I continued to stand. I held tight to my sacred vision unwilling to share it with anyone, but my husband, afraid if I spoke it out loud it might evaporate into the ether and never come true.
July 7, 1998:
We moved into our first house, a home held captive by a promise, waiting to be filled with an infant’s cry. I dreamt of babies, smelled babies, my arms ached for the weight of a warm, snuggly, blessed bundle, but my heart held secure to His promise. I began to share what God had showed me with just a few select people, my Mom, my mother-in-law, and a close friend. Hopeful, if I told someone about his glory, his promise would be revealed.
November 5, 1998:
Convinced I was finally expecting, since I was over a month and half late, I scheduled an appointment with my doctor. He ordered your standard pregnancy test. It came back negative. He prescribed pills to make my cycle start and I left his office crushed. I remember driving home through tears, crying out to God, “I still believe! I still believe in your promise! I trust in you! I know you will be faithful to complete what you have promised!” Bolstered by the peace of the Holy Spirit, I stepped through the door of our home, told my patient husband what the doctor had said, and showed him the prescription, then I told him what I believed God had revealed to me on the way home. I refused to fill the prescription and an overwhelming peace settled on me. We agreed to wait another month and see what happened. I can not put into words how hard we prayed for the next thirty days.
December 5, 1998:
I woke up early, before my husband, crept into the bathroom and took another test. I stood watching, waiting, and praying for the glimmer of a pink line. Tears filled my eyes as I watched the pink plus sign get bolder. I will never forget sitting on the side of the tub praying jubilantly at the revelation of the beginning of his promise. By the time I opened the bathroom door, my sweet husband was awake and starting to make coffee. I bounced, literally bounced into the kitchen, pink plus sign waving in my hand. We don’t talk about it much, but we both acknowledged it…had I taken the drug my doctor had ordered…we would have lost him, our son would have never been born.
Later that week, I returned to the doctor and he confirmed what I already knew. As he calculated the due date, he flipped back to my chart, astonished he realized I had been 1 week pregnant when he saw me in November.
I would like to tell you it was a textbook pregnancy. In many ways, it was, except for one fateful day in February. The doctor had ordered a battery of tests and when the results came back, the same physician called me at work. One of the tests had come back that our precious baby had Downs Syndrome. He informed me he had already scheduled a Level 3 Ultrasound for the next day, and then he hung up. Crushed and weeping, I sputtered out what had just happen to my best friend at work. I went to hide in the bathroom to gather myself together. She found me and took me to the office of the CEO of the company I worked for. He was a family man and a strong Christian with a pastor’s heart for God and his people. He sat me down and told me about all the miscarriages he and his wife had been through and how God had remained faithful to them. They had four beautiful children including a set of twins. He prayed with me and sent me home to be with my husband. Before leaving, he reminded me God could heal our baby in an instant, gave me instructions to call him as soon as the ultrasound was over the next day, and promised to continue to pray for us. That night was the longest night of my life. We called our family, they cried and they prayed, but no one lived close, so we were alone in our darkest night. I didn’t sleep, I cried, I prayed, I begged, and I reminded Jesus of his promise all before coming to the conclusion that I loved our son, no matter what was to come. The next morning, we stood waiting to be called back for the ultrasound, still, quiet, hopeful, and in love with our child. My boss was on his knees praying for God to heal our sweet baby. It didn’t take long for the technician to make the diagnosis. A few measurements and we were told HE was perfect, head to toe. There was no sign of Downs Syndrome to be found. God is good all the time and He is faithful to complete the work He has begun. We will never know if the test had a false positive or if God chose to heal Elijah in the twinkling of an eye. All I know is our miracle arrived on July 7, 1999, whole, precious, beautiful, and our greatest blessing, Elijah entered the world.
Nine months later, I discovered God has a sense of humor. We were pregnant again. There were no tears and no waiting. In the midst of nursing Elijah, we started all over again. I think I was probably in shock for most of those nine months, though convinced of God’s faithfulness. Our beautiful surprise, Savannah Grace was born on December 6, 2000. Eight pounds and three ounces of pure joy, she is truly the light of God’s heart and ours.
When you are raising two toddlers who are seventeen months apart, you don’t really have time to think about anything else. Sleepless, but so very happy, life continued on with diapers, double strollers, and baby food for two more years. I remember joking about how Elijah and Gracie felt like raising twins. One walked, the other crawled…one ran, the other walked and the blissful cycle continued until 2002.
In utter denial, I refused to take a pregnancy test though all my symptoms pointed to the fact…I was pregnant again. I was almost 11 weeks along before I finally went to the doctor. Mark and I had already had the discussion, three was enough and we were not going to have anymore after this one. In the back of my head, I remembered Jesus bringing me four babies and how was I ever going to see his promise fulfilled if we stopped at three.
The first ultrasound showed one baby. I actually ask my doctor to check to make sure it wasn’t twins. She pleasantly double checked and declared “Just one.” I went home and called my Mom with the news. She was a bit in shock considering I had a 3-year old and a 2-year running under foot at that very moment. I decided to tease her and told her it was twins! Just before she passed out, I told her the truth…the doctor said “just one.”
For the next few months, though overjoyed at being pregnant again, a part of me grieved for the missing child. At night as I rocked Gracie and Elijah, I would pray for our third baby and for the baby I wouldn’t know. A piece of my heart was broken. I confessed to my husband the dilemma of my heart and reminded him of the promised vision of so many years before. He believed we were doing the right thing by stopping at three, though he sympathized with my heart’s condition.
At 18 weeks, I was still pretty sickly. My doctor believed I had gallstones, so she sent me for an ultrasound to check my gallbladder. I convinced the technician to let me have a peak at the baby when she was done with the scheduled scan. By this time, I knew what to look for on an ultrasound, I’d had my fair share and was almost an expert. The technician kept the screen on for less than a second, turned it off, and practically ran from the room as she let me know she wanted to check with the radiologist to see if she had everything he needed. I got scared! She came back with the radiologist and the ultrasound started all over, but with the screen turned away from my view. They checked my gallbladder again and I ask if everything was OK. As they mumbled yes, they checked the baby and I held back tears, afraid of what was going on. Just then, the radiologist exclaimed, “There…there they are!” He turned the screen around for me to see it. Two heads lay side by side and the radiologist asked if I knew I was having twins. Twins!! God is faithful to complete what he has promised even when you can’t see it…four babies would fill our tiny home with overwhelming joy. In one week, we learned we were having twins and they were girls, identical girls, in fact.
February 25, 2003:
Emma Kate and Elizabeth Laine were born at 34 weeks and five days. Tiny, but healthy they spent one week in the neonatal intensive care unit in separate beds. The minute the nurses put them in a crib together, they snuggled, laid their heads on the other one’s shoulder, held hands, and came home the next day. God is so good! All they needed was each other. He had formed them in secret, one hidden behind the other. He was faithful to complete his promise, even when our decisions got in the way. He heard my heart cry out for our missing baby, saw my tears, heard my prayers, and in secret loved her into existence. My doctor later would say having identical twins were like winning the lottery. They had nothing to do with our family genealogy, and everything to do with the heart of God.
Nine years later, our house is filled with joy, laughter, and chaos. At times, the walls shake in our tiny, outgrown house. Every day I wake to God’s completed promise. They smile back at me, throw their arms around my neck, kiss my check, and say “I love you, Mom!” It is the most beautiful thing I have ever known. God is faithful to complete His promise! Never forget, we are His greatest love, his greatest promise.
“Let us hold unswervingly to the hope we profess, for he who promised is faithful.” Hebrews 10:23
“Now faith is being sure of what we hope for and certain of what we do not see.” Hebrews 11:1