Each pregnancy we've gotten to experience, we've had a nickname for our baby. Lucy appeared to be the size of a single Rice Krispy on her first sonogram photo, so she immediately became dubbed as our little Rice Krispy, or "RK" for short. (In fact, we almost considered naming her Rory Kristine so that we could keep RK as her initials because we had bonded with her that way for the entire pregnancy. A sweet friend even mailed special Rice Krispy treats to us when she was born!) She certainly does have a "snack, crackle, and POP" personality, too, so it definitely fits her well;-)
I didn't have the privelege of carrying Gabriel in my belly for nine months, so I didn't have a pregnancy nickname for him. I do feel like I still bonded with him though, because about the time his birthmother found out she was expecting him was the time that the Lord began revealing His desire to me for our family to adopt. I spent the next several months daily praying for our future baby and his or her birth mom. I'll never forget the moment I got to lay eyes on him for the first time, this precious boy I had been talking to my Heavenly Father for so very long about. The only nickname he needed from me was being my future child. The night I got to spend in the hospital, after he was born, with him and his birthmother, tops the charts as one of the most amazing moments of my life--sitting in that room with the two people that the Lord had daily placed on my heart for so many months, and there they both were. It was a bonding moment unlike any other in my life, and unlike most mothers will ever get to experience. I cherish the unique way I got to bond with not only my newborn son, but also his birthmother. We just cannot imagine life without Gabriel as our son! He is the sweetest, most snuggly, most precious little boy!
With Annie, she instantly became Baby Mustard Seed, because she was literally the size of a mustard seed when I found out I was expecting, and because her sister had prayed with SUCH faith that God WOULD give her a baby sister from her mommy's tummy. The rest of us were totally skeptical, but Lucy never lost faith, and while the positive pregancy test surprised Mommy and Daddy, it just affirmed a little girl's faith in a miraculous God. And when the sonogram affirmed another of Lucy's certainties, we knew that God had truly blessed the faith of our little girl in answering her prayer so specifically. No, God doesn't always answer our prayers exactly as we hope Him to, but we can rest assured that He ALWAYS answers our prayers in the perfect way, and we praise Him for allowing Annie to be His perfect will for our family. Annie Beth, our little joy baby, continues to teach us what it means to believe, to trust, and to be blessed by an amazing, miraculous God.
And then there were four...While Annie's introduction was quite a shock, I do believe that Baby H's takes the cake many times over! We really didn't expect to be able to conceive again, and we certainly weren't even trying, because life this past year has been pretty crazy. There were many reasons that caused this baby's announcement to throw us all for a loop, but once the dust began to settle, we couldn't help but be anything but thrilled and amazed, realizing that this baby was just one of God's major ways of reminidng us that HE is in complete and perfect control in the midst of all of life's chaos. It may seem that those in "power" are calling the shots, but the One who holds the ultimate authority will never let us down. He has a beautiful plan, and while it doesn't always make sense, it does always brings Him ultimate glory.
So, why Baby H? Well, two days before we learned of Baby H's presence, DH had resigned from our church. We were in the beginning stages of hurt, confusion, and lots of uncertainty. Just a week before the news, we had finally finished paying off our medical expenses from Annie's birth. Having a baby at such a time of uncertainly for our family's future seemed crazy. Plus, weren't we once told we would probably never be able to conceive on our own? Yet here we were, about to have our fourth child! It was easy to get completely overwhelmed by all of the what-ifs, but God gently whispered to us, "Don't you see? I am STILL on my throne and in control over your lives. I am still able to produce miracles. I am still able to bless you even when others may seek to curse you. I AM. Will you trust me?" As overwhelming as it all seemed, we then chose to be overwhelmed by God's goodness and mercy and kindness over our family. We chose to trust in His complete control, and we continue to praise Him for what He's doing through the good, the bad, and everything else in between.
This weekend, we've had the blessing to be in Arkansas with DH's parents. We got to meet their new church family and lead worship on Sunday morning, and we gave a concert on Sunday evening. It's been a true blessing to meet their new church family who just continually outpours God's love onto our loved ones. His parents, too, have recently experienced a great deal of hurt, but God is restoring that season, and it's a beautiful thing to see.
As one fun last event with Nonnie and Opie this weekend, Larry built a big screen with the kids for us to watch a movie on last night. We'd been wanting to see the movie, "Inside Out," and everyone thoroughly enjoyed it. I related a lot to the character of Joy, because I notice in my own life how I so often try to keep everything together and just focus on the happy things. But the thing that struck me so deeply in this movie is when Joy realizes that to TRULY experience joy to the fullest effect, you also have to experience sadness. You see, it's often in the midst of our greatest hurts that our Jesus shows us our greatest Hope, and it's from our deepest wounds that we get to experience His greatest Healing.
So, as I was praying and thinking about this new life God has given to us, I was overcome with God's message of hope and healing in our lives, and I was so humbled that He's allowed us to grow our family. Are we still working through the hurt and confusion of this last season in our lives? Absolutely. But, we are working through it with the assurance that our God is in control. So when I think of what this baby means to our family, I can't help but be humbled, feel hopeful, and be expectant of the great Healing that God desires to do in our family. Baby H is truly a gift in so many ways, and we praise God for him or her!