Monday, February 1, 2010

Signs


Dearest Lily,

You are 5 pounds 7 ounces today!! Almost back up to your birth weight-praise God! It's amazing to me that a little over a week ago we were in the NICU with you, just praying you would learn to eat on your own. And here you are taking Mama's milk like a pro:)

This morning I was reading the story of Gideon in the Bible...where an angel appeared at the threshing floor, and told Gideon he was going to be used to help deliver Israel out of bondage. Gideon asks the angel to "give him a sign" that God is really going to do what He said. I love this story, because Gideon reminds me of...me. A little insecure, maybe not as trusting of the Lord as he should have been, and on top of all that, asking for "a sign".

Lily, I wish I could tell you that Mama is so full of faith, that I just go through life believing God for everything. I wish I had your daddy's cheerful optimism, and that I was more in league with Peter, walking on the water...but I'm more of a doubting Thomas. I don't ever hear a statistic about something -especially in sermons- without thinking, "I'm going to look that up when I get home!" I would probably make a great "fact checker" during national political debates, because I would always be thinking- is that really true??? So this little...big..cynical side of me, is always wanting "a sign". If I'm praying hard about something, count on it- I'm asking for a sign.

I am a skeptic about so many things, that it is hard for me to hear someone say, "God told me such-and-such" without thinking how do you know it was God?? I mean, wouldn't it be easy to just hear words in your head...and think it was God...but it's really just your own thoughts? See what I mean, Lily? Mama struggles with things like this. And because of that, I think God knows that He has to make things REALLY obvious when He's speaking to me...or I'll just keep second-guessing Him.

Sooo, when I had my first ultrasound with you at 20 weeks- the one where the doctor said he was 90% sure you had an av canal heart defect- I had a little crisis of faith. It wasn't on the way home from the ultrasound. It was when my little crises of faith usually come- at 2 or 3 a.m. I remember waking up and being filled with fear, and wondering if you were going to be alright. A large part of that fear was about Down Syndrome. You had lots of markers for it, and the av canal alone gave you a 70% chance of having it. I got out of bed and went into our dining room with the big picture windows in it. I sat on the floor by the windows, staring out at the moon and stars, crying, and pouring out all my fears to God.

Lily, when I say "fears", I don't mean your average- "I'm afraid I might be disappointed" fears. I'm talking about heart-stopping, gut-wrenching, scared-out-of-my-mind, panicking, sick-to-my-stomach fears. Like someone is pushing an accelerator in my heart, and I can't get away from the feeling of panic. I'm ashamed to say it, Lily, but I was so fearful that you would have Downs, and I felt completely helpless. I remember telling God, "I prayed, Lord- before I got pregnant, I PRAYED for a healthy baby, a baby without Down Syndrome." For one thing, I didn't feel I could handle a baby with special needs, with all that we have on our plate. My children are the biggest blessing of my life- but truthfully, lots of kids means lots of work! And I was just scared of the unknown..I wondered if I would feel differently about a child with Downs...would you even seem like my baby? I know all this sounds terribly selfish - and it is. But that is where my heart was at that night.

I cried for so long, and prayed, and poured out my heart to God. And I stared out at the night sky, and all the beautiful stars, and thought once again- God, You are SO ABLE to give me a sign. You made the universe- all these stars I'm looking at, that are light years away...it is nothing for you to give me a sign, please help me to know if my baby is going to be alright.

And suddenly, I had a verse of scripture come to my mind...it wasn't like I was thinking about the Bible, or trying to apply some verse to my situation. But it was as clear as a bell, "If you ask Me for bread, would I give you a stone?"

I really am not one of these people who walks around hearing the voice of God speaking to me on a regular basis. As I said, I am a cynic by nature. But I knew beyond a shadow of a doubt, that God was speaking to me that night.

And when I thought about those words, I really did not know what they meant. I remember wondering- does that mean since I asked God for a baby without special needs, that He won't give me one?

But don't most people - Christians, anyway- pray for healthy babies? And yet sometimes Christians do have babies born with disabilities.

I prayed and asked God to give me wisdom, and to trust Him...and I started to really think about that promise from God. If you ask Me for bread, would I give you a stone?

And you know what came to my mind?

You are not a stone.

My dear, sweet, beautiful, prayed for, sent-from-Heaven baby- you are not a stone.

Maybe in my mind, children with Downs were stones. They were a burden, they were not as lovely, they were something to be a little fearful of, they were not "bread". Otherwise why would I pray for a child without Downs?

I can't say that those words that night wiped away every fear I had about you being born with special needs. Even since I've had you, I've had moments of grief. But it was a reference point for me in the days ahead. Every time that ugly fear began to creep in again, and I felt that wave of panic threaten to engulf me...I would bring my mind back to those words...If you ask Me for bread, would I give you a stone? And the anxiety and fear would give way to the assurance from God, that you are not a stone.

God gives GOOD gifts to His children, and my requests for a healthy child did not slip past Him. He heard my prayers, and He gave me you, dear Lily. That gives me great confidence that He believes you are bread, you are good for me, you are a blessing, you are a wonderful, perfect GIFT from God.

Every day with you has proven that to me. I texted my sweet friend Janet recently and said that every day is like Christmas, waking up with you in my life. I look into your beautiful eyes, and my heart just melts. Daddy and I just cannot wait to see who you will become. I am so looking forward to seeing you grow, and watching you reach all your milestones, and teaching you, and seeing all that you will learn, and all that you will teach us. I feel so, so blessed to be your Mama, and I am SO very thankful that God entrusted me with you.

Well, those are my "true confessions" for the day, sweet Lily :)

I started this off by telling you about Gideon. What I read today helped me so much. Because I am ashamed that after 24 years of being a Christian, I still ask God for "signs" all the time. Yet here was Gideon- asking the angel of the Lord to give him a sign that God would really use him. And God didn't say "Forget it, you skeptic! You had your chance to believe, but since you're only going to trust me if I give you a sign, I'm moving on to someone else!" Instead, He gave him the sign he asked for, and spoke to him, and used him. That gives me hope that God still loves me, in spite of my moments of fear and doubt. He's going to help me through, He is a loving, gracious Father, and He has compassion for this little doubting Mommy.

I am closing for now, but I just want you to know- I will spend the rest of my life showing you how much I love and treasure you, and how thankful I am that God gave me YOU.

All my love forever,

Your Mama oxox

3 comments:

Danielle said...

o ya baby! now we're talking!
O patti I love all your posts. I love your openness. your honesty. Little Lily is so very loved. She is a precious precious gift. You are very articulate w/ your writing. I think a book is a good place to take this blog some day! (: When you have free time of course! (: ha

CKopp said...

Reading the title of this post, and then seeing the picture, I was expecting something like, you asked her for a high five, or you said, "How many boys does Uncle Chris have?" or something like that, I mean, that would be a sign, but I get what you were saying too, I just thought, you know, with the picture, I mean, she is looking at the camera, and holding up five fingers, I just thought, you know, like it was the sign, but I see that its just a cute picture, a really cute picture.

Leah said...

Isn't God's compassion wonderful, and how we are still covered in his grace after so many years of knowing him? I'm still amazed that He even hears my prayers.

I'm seeing into a heart I never really knew before and I"m touched by your posts, Patti.