As the plus sign became more clear and defined, the tears began to well up and blur everything.
I felt a choking in my throat. I could hardly believe it.
Baby number FOUR was officially on the way.
A baby on the way with so much of life in transition, in question, full of uncertainty. Where will we live? How will the bills be paid? How on earth does one homeschool a third grader, a preschooler, and keep a toddler productively busy and an infant alive? One thing was certain: we were now a family of six.
I barely made it to the stairs to run up to my room before the tears started dropping hot. I didn't want the other children to see me crying and ask what was wrong.
I wanted this moment for me and God.
It began in a whisper as I took two stairs at at time. In the quiet of my room said it over and over: "Thank You. Thank You. Thank You!!"
The joy of the gift of another tiny soul was overwhelming. I could hardly keep from literally dancing. He was entrusting me with another part of His heart!
Yes, I had been praying--actually asking--for another baby for several months.
You want to know what punches joy in the stomach? Knocking the wind out of a smile until it's deflated and crushed?
How many times I've already heard, in these two short weeks of knowing and sharing about this one-of-a-kind-God-glory that is growing in my womb: "You know, there are ways to stop that from happening."
"There are ways to fix that."
"Again? Another one? You can't be serious."
"Are you crazy?"
"Oh. What are you? Mormon? Catholic?"
"Is this because you only have girls and are trying for a boy? You can't control that, you know. "
I've heard these things and more said in unkind and thoughtless tones from friends, strangers, and even a pastor. Even after I said things like "I am really excited!".
So. I could stand on a soapbox and exhaust my passion on those who don't care, on those who disagree, on those who can't understand how a fourth child--any and every child-- could be a blessing.
But instead I think I'll kneel.
Kneeling, lowering the self down, is one of the best ways to gain perspective.
And I'll look into the God in them--these three little ones who bring so much Beauty and Love and Truth into my life.
I'll tell them again: "You are beautiful. You are a gift to me. I wouldn't exchange anything in the world for you. "
Not for more freedom with my time.
Not for more money to spend on things I don't need.
Not for more/some/any energy.
Not for more sleep or less elbows and feet cramping the bed.
Not to only spend one trip carrying things in from the car instead of 18.
Not to have fewer mirrors reflecting all the ways I need to mature.
Not to have more than 10 minutes a day that don't involve food.
Not to have a mid-section without stretch marks.
Not to have less whys, or crying, or diaper changes.
Yes, having a child, whether the first or the fourth or the fifteenth, will mean sacrifice. Change. Inconvenience. Interruption. Stretching. Refining by blazing hot fire.
But it also means having a magnifying glass to GLORY.
It means having a front row seat to God's continual creation of a masterpiece.
Women who can't have children, they get this. Women who have lost a baby, they get this. They understand a baby isn't just a number... isn't just another baby... but each baby is a one-time-only masterpiece.
If the church--those who really believe God is real and good and loves us and is involved with our every breath and the creation of every soul--does not treat every child as a blessing... Why should those who don't yet have a relationship with God?
What I am NOT saying: everyone should have a million children.
What I AM saying: Every. Single. Child. Is. A. Gift.
What is broken in us when we don't recognize this?
What is really splitting to pieces when we want to keep a child out of our lives that God wants to give?
The struggles of parenthood are expressed in so many ways and words but it often comes down to this core issue: not being able to control.
The illusion of control is an idol that God will lovingly shatter one way or another... kids are just a very effective destroyers of this particular idol.
And that smashing that they are so good at? It's a gift.
Baby #4 will be joining our family in March. Thanks to everyone who has celebrated with us!!