Come, let us tell of the Lord’s greatness;
let us exalt his name together. Psalm 34:3
The snow falls steadily; it’s a typical Minnesota winter’s day.
Every being in this house is napping, with the exception of me and my heart dog Scout. The one who showed up on the doorstep of the Atlanta house I wish I’d never purchased, but the tool that God used to set my future into motion.
It’s quiet lazy Sundays like this—when there are toys strewn across my living room and diapers in the washing machine—that I remember this life of motherhood is God’s precious gift to me; a gift I long despaired I’d ever receive.
When we were battling infertility, when another month went by without two pink lines, I clung to Matthew 7:11.
“If you, then, though you are evil, know how to give good gifts to your children, how much more will your Father in heaven give good gifts to those who ask him!”
God cannot give me a bad gift. And if even Earthly fathers long to grant their children’s requests, how much more does our loving father in heaven long to give us the things we ask for?
There was purpose in my infertility. There was purpose in the waiting. I had hope then that there would be, because God’s word told me He had plans to give me hope and a future (Jer 29:11), but it wasn’t until I was on this side of the Jordan that I could see it.
Waiting woman, it is hard. Please hear me when I tell you that I know it’s hard. My heart almost turned to stone. I cried so hard once that I broke every blood vessel around my eyes. I grieved that if it weren’t for me, my husband would be someone’s daddy.
I almost fell into the trap of “why me?” Bitterness tried to grab me like a thief. But over and over I was reminded, yes, why NOT you? Have I ever gone hungry? Have I ever been unloved for even one minute? Have I ever been truly alone? No. Never. I have always been given more than I deserve. Because I deserve death.
And then on an ordinary Friday motherhood came in a phone call. A baby has been born. You’ve been chosen. Come and get your son. We drove through the plains and over mountains and through a blizzard, and my heart beat a brand new sound: mother love mother love mother love.
At the top of our stairs there was now a nursery; a room where a baby slept. Where a sweet boy was rocked and fed and sang over. He grew, and he grew. He smiled and laughed and walked and talked. He said “mamamamamama,” and “daddy” was his favorite word.
I dared not dream of more. How could this miracle happen again? Why me? Why would we deserve it?
Yes, He whispered. Why NOT you?
“He settles the barren woman in her home, a happy mother of children,” Psalm 113:9.
“This is for you,” He told me. “Remember: I can do anything.”
And on an ordinary Sunday night, much like this one, the phone chimed again. A friend asking, a young woman we know is looking for a family. Can we tell her about you?
Yes, we said again. Yes.
And so she called. And so we met. And so she came to our home and played with our son and we broke bread and watched movies and she took my hand and held it to her belly to feel this baby, a promise come to life, kicking away on the inside. And so we loved her.
And on a November morning, two years to the day we got word that a baby boy had been born, another text message chimed: “My water broke.” I raced to her and stood with her all day. Holding her hand, rubbing her back, encouraging her. The nurses kept asking, “Are you sisters?”
And that night, in darkness, our daughter entered the world.
When the nurse handed me a pink bundle, I whispered in her ear, “You are fearfully and wonderfully made.”
Our lives are ordinary. Our toddler watches too many Pixar movies, and our infant daughter wakes up in the night. We fight about what’s for dinner and who got up last with the baby. Our sliding glass doors are perpetually smudged by dog noses and toddler fingers.
But every minute of every day our life is a miracle. (And you know what? So is yours.)
God uses me, the worst of all sinners, so that you might believe.
At a baby shower celebrating this sweet baby girl, friends gathered around us, this tiny flower and me, put their hands on us, and prayed. Let her know You, Lord. Let her understand the sacrifice made by her first mother. Let her laugh and sing and chase after You, oh God. And someone prayed, “Thank you Lord for using Johanna’s life to bring You glory; thank You for Your faithfulness.”
And what I am learning, slowly but mightily, is that my story isn’t about me. It’s not about how God was faithful to me. These children are His. He knit them together in other women’s wombs. He protected them, and for plans that have yet to be glimpsed, He chose Aaron and me to be their parents.
My heart was broken at the thought of never being someone’s mother. I was crushed, and I mourned. I prayed, oh how I prayed, that if His will was for something else that He would plant a new desire in my heart. But He didn’t; instead He allowed that seed to burrow down in waiting and then, oh, how He let it bloom.