She holds the tiny baby wrapped in soft pink felt and asks to hear to the story again. How her story began.
How do I tell her I almost killed her?
How can I explain why I didn't?
I wrap my arms around her and pull her close. My five year old bundle of joy and life that almost wasn't.
I can't say I already had the appointment scheduled at the same place I had paid for her sibling to be aborted the year before.
I can't say I did drugs to try to make myself go through with it.
I can't say I tried to commit suicide and longed for my own death before ending the life of (another) baby growing inside me.
We snuggle and she wriggles with excitement. She stares, stares, stares at the baby doll in her palm.
"Well..." I breath in deep, those memories, those years. I feel the pain throbbing behind my scarred heart.
"But this is a joyful story" He whispers. I take His offered hand, we walk back to that dominion of darkness that He rescued me from together. His light keeps me from being overwhelmed.
She needs to know He alone can rescue. She needs to hear this story. He knew it would be her story.
She tries to wait patiently for the few moments it takes me begin. She grins from ear to ear and covers her hand with her mouth to try to hide her overflowing excitement. She is about to burst with joy.
I try not to burst into tears.
I smile into her glowing face "I love you so much!"
She wriggles closer, waiting. Hand over grin.
"Well... this baby doll reminds me of what God did in my life through you."
She can barely take it. I'm not talking fast enough for her. But my mind is rushing and my tongue is thick and slow and I have to take every thought captive and stay here and not go back there and remember that I am a new creation in Him.
I can continue now. "... Before I had you, I didn't love or follow God." My tender eyes meet her wide ones. Her face says: does mom really mean that? Could that be true?
"... I did a lot of really bad things. But Jesus still loved me. He loved me so much, He gave me you..."
I had begged God to show me His realness. To stop me from destroying myself and every good thing that came my way. To hold me. To love me. Selah is the first good thing that survived me in a long time. He answered my prayers, but in a way I did not expect.
O LORD, the king rejoices in your strength.
How great is his joy in the victories you give!
You have granted him the desire of his heart
and have not withheld the request of his lips.
You welcomed him with rich blessings
and placed a crown of pure gold on his head.
He asked you for life, and you gave it to him—
length of days, for ever and ever.
She smiles unashamedly. She knows that of course she is a blessing. I have said it a thousand times.
"... God taught me all about love through you. He changed my life, and your Daddy's life, and lots of people in the family, and He helped save other peoples lives through you like Connor and Iliana..."
The names of my god-children bring a fresh wave of smiles. They are her dear friends. God saved them from a similar fate.
"...God has very, very special plans for you!"
She holds the baby. I hold mine, growing into a young woman, babyness long left behind. My arms overflow with His reward. We smile.
This is His story. He rescues. He redeems. He rewards. He loves. Oh, how He loves.
Praise the LORD, O my soul;
all my inmost being, praise his holy name.
Praise the LORD, O my soul,
and forget not all his benefits—
who forgives all your sins
and heals all your diseases,
who redeems your life from the pit
and crowns you with love and compassion,
who satisfies your desires with good things
so that your youth is renewed like the eagle’s.
Counting thanks today... overwhelmed by Grace...
#59 That He forgives all my sins
#60 That He heals all my diseases
#61 That He redeemed my life from the pit
#62 That He crowned me with love and compassion
#63 That He satisfies my desires with good things
#64 That He would reward me after all I've done
#65 That He never leaves me or forsakes me
#68 second chances
#69 That He can create a new person out of an old one
#71 That one lost lamb is worth His time
#72 He brings me home