The verses that re-tell the Christmas story have always been significant to me, not only theologically, but also in a very real, tug on my heartstrings kinda way. It truly is a story worthy of wonder and awe. About three years ago, a specific passage in this incredible story became up close and personal in a way I had not even considered. It is now one of my core, life verses. It has become part of who I am.
My husband and I have two healthy, smart, beautiful daughters. We are blessed. However, the picture in my mind (the photoshopped fantasy image we carry around with us that makes our reality look dull and unimpressive? Yeah, that one) had four children in it. It had always been my dream to have a bigger family. Reasons for that will be blogged about at a later date.
After our second daughter was born, we realized our plate was pretty darn full. My husband had that sense that he couldn’t really pick up anything else without fear of dropping what he was already trying to hold. His heart and life felt full and satisfied. He was done. I was crushed. Thus began what would become a two-year grieving process. I was still enjoying my girls, being a mom, and most days I loved being home with them. The weird part about the death of a dream is that it can feel similar the death of the living. It made me feel crazy at times, that feeling of missing someone or something that was never there in the first place. I cried, felt helpless, and after a while just stopped talking about it. It just was what it was.
Fast forward to when our youngest was four. Things got a bit easier, one daughter was in school, everybody slept through the night. My husband continued to grow in his relationship with the Lord. He trusted Him more, felt less anxious about his performance as a father, and he announced one day that he was open to having more kids.
I. WAS. FURIOUS. Are you telling me that, after years of mourning and grieving and laying my desire for more children at the altar and weeping and FINALLY FINALLY coming to a place of acceptance and peace and seeing the benefits of only having two children, NOW you tell me you want more kids? NOW?!? I wanted to punch him in the face.
It was terrifying to think about resurrecting a longing that was so deep in my heart that it had taken years to truly surrender. I was afraid to go there. I flip flopped back and forth for a few months before I was ready to try. Eventually my sense of hope renewed, and excitement began to take hold. We found ourselves expecting, and with our daughters old enough to understand the process, we were all feeling happy and optimistic. Our third was on the way!
One day, at the very end of my first trimester, I was showering and noticed some blood spots on the tile floor. Forty-eight hours later I was in the ER, hemorrhaging, undergoing an emergency, non-sedated D&C. It was horrific, and devastating, and painful. It rocked us.
Thankfully, I recovered fully, and was given the green light to get pregnant again. Six months went by without success, and because I was thirty-four at the time, I was allowed to use Clomid to help increase our chances. No luck there, either. We visited a fertility clinic here in our city, and after counsel and prayer, decided to give IUI a try. (Google it later if you’re unfamiliar.) While awaiting results in our second month of IUI, I felt an overwhelming desire to get off this roller coaster, though, at the same time, I still wanted to be pregnant. The Lord began to speak to my heart. I didn’t want to hear it, but I knew deep down what He was whispering, “This is not it, sweetheart. Let it go.”
I sat on my couch in my family room, sobbing, knowing that any time, I would go into that restroom and my fear would be confirmed. I called my mom, who is my incredible, wise, godly confidante, and poured out my heart. She cried with me, and we did our best to decipher what the other was saying over the sniffling and weird little hiccups. And then she prayed for me, and when she said these words, it was as if the heavens opened, time stopped, and I was receiving a message from my Maker.
Just as Mary responded to the angel, when he declared that her womb was full, “May it be to me as you have said.” Lord, help her heart be able to say, “May it be to me as You have said” even while she is being told that her womb is empty.
I was undone. His grace and nearness overwhelmed my heart, and from that moment on, with baby steps, day by day, I began to be able to say those words and mean them. I began to believe that His plan for my family, while mysterious and without explanation, was best. In her big moment, Mary didn’t know all that her future would hold, and neither do I, but His grace was sufficient for her, and it was, and still is, sufficient for me.
As we read and contemplate the Christmas story this year, I pray that the Lord would gently and kindly show each of us that area in our hearts where He is waiting for us to say, “May it be to me as You have said.” Watch His grace be sufficient, and feel Him set you free.