Our babies did not come easily to us. We had to wait long, soul-stretching seasons for them. We cried, and prayed, and waited.
But after many long nights, and months, and years, they came. At just the right time.
God gave them to us.
They are miracles.
Both of them.
And sometimes, as they are falling asleep in my arms, I just stare at them.
These babies I once only dreamed of, only whispered prayers for, only sang about with tears running down my cheeks at the piano–they are right here, now on my lap. Running the halls. Climbing on the couches. Playing the very piano I once cried at.
If you are a mom today, especially a “post-infertility” mom (whether by birth, or adoption), can you relate?
You pray and wait so long.
You dream and you plan.
And then one day, by some miracle of grace, God gives you this child.
There they are, plopped on your very lap.
Given to you. Entrusted to you.
And your realize then, the birth you waited so long for, is not the end of the story…
it’s only the beginning.
I remember those first fragile days I held Selah in my arms. It seemed like she would last forever, just like that. This little porcelain doll.
Our days were slow and simple, with eating and sleeping as our only big, tenacious goals for each day. But soon, that tiny, baby girl, the one who was so small and delicate, I feared her legs might snap when I was dressing her, grew into a bigger, little girl. Who had blonde hair, and big blue eyes, and an even bigger vocabulary.
And the little years sped faster and faster. And suddenly, this little person, this little lady, is in front of you, telling you what she thinks about things, all things. Like which dress to wear on your date tonight, and why it’s the most beautiful one, and, “You really shouldn’t wear that one, Mom.” (And she can’t understand why I don’t want to wear the “beautiful” (old) bridesmaid dress from my closet to dinner.) And she’s watching me curl my hair, and asking me question after question. And staring at me, like I’m beautiful.
And telling me that I am.
And I don’t know when my little baby transformed into this little lady, but I love her.
And I’m glad she’s here.
Last Spring, I had a big decision staring me in the face:
Where will she go to Kindergarten next Fall?
Now, for most people, this probably isn’t that hard. But for me it was.
It was insanely hard.
My mind typically changed every day–depending on which moms I was hanging out with, what I saw on the news, which articles I read, or which opinions I picked up on from other people.
(This is no way to make a decision.)
It was no wonder I felt “all over the place” for months. One day, I’d be set on sending her to the public school. Then, it would flip to Montessori. Then, I’d ask my husband to crunch numbers for the expensive Christian school. And I’d start this cycle again and again.
There was only one schooling option I refused to consider. And that was: homeschooling.
Until one morning…
One morning, Selah came into the kitchen and asked me if she could record her new song on my phone. “Your what?” I asked. I opened the voice recorder on my phone, and handed it to her. Then she disappeared for a good 15 minutes, and when she came back, she was glowing.
“I made a worship song,” she said bashfully. “Oh,” I paused, “Can I hear it?” She nodded and handed the phone to me, smiling.
I pulled her up in my lap and we sat at the counter together. I didn’t know what to expect as I pressed play and we listened. But, I never expected what emerged from that tiny speaker.
It was the softest, most high-pitched voice you ever heard. But it was her song, it was her words, and I could tell, she meant it. Every word. It went like this:
“Oh, Your love comes crashing down,
Oh Your love comes crashing down, on us,
God, Your love comes crashing down.”
The song played on, but something paused in me, right then and there.
Where did you come from?
And I felt the weight of her then. The weight of raising her. Like a holy burden.
In that moment, I could see a glimpse, into her gifts. Like sunlight pouring through a little crack in the wall. Not because of something she could do, or become, but because of something inside of her. Something precious.
Like a little flame.
Something that could be so easily, and so quickly snuffed out by this harsh world we live in. But something, that could grow so strong, and so bright if gently fanned into flame.
It made me step back and really think about who she was, who God created her to be. It made me think,
“God, this is Your daughter, how do You want me to raise her?”
That was the day, I became willing to do “anything” God called me to do. (Even homeschool, if He asked me to.)
I wish I could say the answer came loud and clear that day, but it didn’t.
The following months, I was a mess.
I did not expect this to be such a hard decision. Just pick a school, right?
You know in the Book of James, when it talks about the man who is tossed like “wave of the sea,” “driven and tossed by the wind”, “double-minded,” and “unstable in all his ways”? (See James 1:6-8) Yeah, that was me.
I was a swirling tsunami.
And on one particular day, I just crashed. (Mentally.) I had “decision-fatigue.” (Yes, it’s a thing.) I heard about it on a podcast, so I know it’s real. (Just kidding. But, if it’s a “thing,” I definitely had it.)
I felt like curling up under my covers and crying. But instead, I somehow worked up the courage to drive to my friend’s house, where I sat on her couch and cried. I told her all my troubles and fears and questions, while she nodded gently and handed me tissues. “I know how stupid this probably seems to cry over,” I told her through my tears. But the look on her face didn’t tell me it was stupid, or that I was stupid.
She listened with her whole being. And looking through my tears, and hearing through my questions, she heard me, and she saw me. My very soul. The part of me that needed to be seen, and heard.
And then she spoke.
“No, it is hard,” she assured me, having two daughters of her own. “You don’t have to minimize how hard it is.” I sniffled and wiped away tears and mascara. “You pray for this miracle for so long, and then finally…at last, they come. God gives them to you. And you feel this burden of raising them. Not a bad burden, it’s good. Like, how do you take care of them?” And then she said something I will never forget,
“I mean, how do you raise a miracle?”
Her words went deep in my heart.
“How do you raise a miracle?”
You pray and wait so long. And one day, they arrive. And there is a living, breathing miracle on your lap.
And you know, deep down, they’re not “yours.” They are His. These are His children.
But He gave them, to you. He entrusted them, to you.
And one day, you will answer to the King.
And, how do you raise a miracle?
When it comes to schooling, I have heard every opinion under the sun. And I’ve learned something: opinions do not bring peace.
But Jesus does.
He gives in such a way, that the world cannot give. And when you are making a decision on behalf of your child, you really don’t need other people’s opinions.
You need Jesus.
He is the only one, who knows the way. Who speaks the truth. Who is the life.
And He never intended us to parent without Him.
He doesn’t give us children, and then walk away, saying, “Here you go, you got what you wanted.”
He doesn’t leave us as “orphans.”
He comes to us.
And he invites us again, and again, and again, to come to Him.
“Come to Me, all who labor and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you, and learn from Me, for I am gentle and lowly in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. For My yoke is easy, and my burden is light.” (Matthew 11:28-30)
How do you raise a miracle?
I don’t know. But I know you don’t do it without Jesus.
Because it is impossible to raise a miracle, apart from God, the miracle maker.
And the hands that formed that miracle, are the same ones, needed to lead that miracle.
The breath that gave life to that miracle, is the same tender voice needed to speak life that miracle.
Day after day.
Raising miracles is hard work. It’s a weighty thing. It’s actually impossible–without God.
But the God who entrusted the miracle to you, is the same God that will give you the wisdom, the peace, the strength, and the love to raise that miracle, every single day you get to have them.
Just because they are a miracle, doesn’t mean that you won’t have hard days, or that you won’t struggle, or cry, or wrestle over decisions.
And it’s hard, and it’s humbling.
Parenting exposes more in my heart than I ever thought was there. The fear, the pride, the shame. The selfishness.
I need Jesus more than I ever have. I mean that. My children and my husband need a little more of Him, and little less of me, every single day.
And some days I fail at it. But Jesus is gracious. Just like He invited those little children up into His lap, He invites the little girl in me, up onto His lap, still.
He listens carefully to me, He listens with His whole being. Like my friend.
And leans in, and speaks to me, softly.
He speaks to the wind and the waves swirling in my mind, in my soul.
“Why did you ask them, when you could ask Me?”
And it’s only at the sound of His voice, that my heart becomes still again. Like glass.
I’m happy to say, God did give us the wisdom we needed about where to send our “miracle” for school this fall. And, for us, that was: no where. We felt led to “homeschool” her for this year of Kindergarten.
It’s something I vowed I would never do, but somehow, I feel total peace about it. And something else, joy.
I don’t know if we will just do it for this one year, or continue. I think we’ll just take one year at a time.
But that’s one of the reasons I decided to do it. I don’t know how much time I have. (None of us do.) And spending a little more time with her, is something I will never regret doing, no matter how long, or short my life is.
I will write another (more detailed) post about the reasons that led us to homeschool this year. But, for the very curious, it’s because I was inspired by Sally (and Clay) Clarkson, and captivated by the ideas of Charlotte Mason, and the “wild + free” movement. We will be using “The Playful Pioneers” curriculum this year.]
In our school room, I made a sign, that says, “Raising Miracles.” It’s a reminder for me.
Because that’s what children are. Miracles. They are gifts from God. And not just the ones that are born from infertility or barren wombs.
All children are miracles.
All parents are “raising miracles.”
All of us.
What a high, and holy calling.
And yet, He never meant us to do it without Him.
And none of us can.
I did not write this to preach that “homeschooling” is the answer. It’s not. And I don’t even know how it will go for us. We might love it. We might hate it. I could be hooked up to an IV of caffiene by Christmas. But, that’s a risk I’m willing to take.
I wrote this post mainly to ask one question, one that I have been wrestling with for months now, and will continue to wrestle with for the next twenty (plus) years. And I pray you wrestle with it, too. Because these children are precious, and they are worth wrestling over. They are worth pausing sermons over, like when Jesus invited them into His lap. They are worth running to Jesus, and weeping at His feet after, like the father with a sick daughter. They are worth a little more than we can ever comprehend on this side of heaven.
So, I ask you,
“How do you raise a miracle?”
Go ask the One who made her.
He is the only One who knows.
Look for future posts under the “Raising Miracles” tab, or #raisingmiracles, to hear more about motherhood after infertility.
If you are currently (TTC) trying to conceive, you can find Biblical encouragement here, “When God Takes You From Barren to Beautiful.” or under the “Trying to Conceive” or “Infertility” tab.
You can also follow along at the Barren to Beautiful Facebook page. <3
Top Photo credit: Rachel Lusky