About a year ago I sat in church on Easter Sunday holding back tears as I watched a beautiful little toddler dance wobbly next to the rows of chairs. I had been wanting a child of my own very badly, but situation and means prevented us. When my husband and I got in the car he told me that he was ready to start our family. The tears came forth, but transformed from longing to relief.
I thought of that day as I sat in church on Easter Sunday a few weeks ago rocking my fussy baby. We sang the words, “He makes all things new.” Pretty much as soon as we got home, he puked all over his adorable Easter overalls. He kept projectile vomiting throughout most of the day. My husband couldn’t help me because he was also sick and slept the day away. It was a hard day and I loved every minute of it.
Of course I didn’t want my baby to be sick but I loved the opportunity to care for him extra hard during this time. It is a dream come true to calm the screaming cries and mop up the milky vomit, to wipe stinky bottoms and to wrench my neck as I try to coax baby’s hand out of the massive tangle of my hair. Better yet, to cuddle a sleeping baby or listen to his coos. The best part of being a mom? The first smile.
I remember my baby’s first smile like it was yesterday. He was not quite a month old and I had just come in from walking him in his stroller and as I bent down to pick him up he gave me a bright eyed, ear to ear grin that said, “Thank you for being my mom. I’m so happy to see you!” and it brought tears streaming down my cheeks. “Thank you!” I cried, “I needed that!”
You see, these tears did not just come from a postpartum hormonal new mom. They came from a woman who finally had her dream come true of being a mom for many empty years. They came from a woman who was suddenly whisked away from her three day old baby for major abdominal surgery (twice!) due to a very serious infection. They came from a woman who was visited by her newborn for a few short hours every day for nearly three weeks. They came from a mom who barely knew her own baby son as he approached his one month birthday. They came from a woman who was redeemed and renewed as a wife, daughter, friend, mother, and child of God.
I’ve been wanting to articulate what’s been going through my mind and heart over the past few months for several weeks, now. However, it’s been hard to piece together these thoughts, much less a semblance of words to even inadequately express what God has been working on my heart. It took more than a month after I was discharged from the hospital to even think about what’s happened in my life since February 8th without dissolving into tears, much less talk about it. One thing I can tell you is what God has done in the world around me.
Doctors and Nurses
I had such an outpouring of support while I was in the hospital. The daily visitations from family with stacks of cards and gifts in hand – not to mention my days old son in tow. The devotion of my dear husband. Visiting friends. I had many doctors and nurses make comments to me and my family about how surprised they were about my support system. Even though I had a few setbacks, they were also surprised at my determined progress in healing.
One nurse even commented to my mom that they were surprised how, after all I was going through, that not once did I complain. What reason did I have to complain? Were it not for the skilled doctors and nurses, their knowledge and available treatments, I may not even be here to share my story. I was so motivated to get home to my son and encouraged so constantly and deeply by friends and family (literally all over the world!) through prayer and well wishes that I didn’t think once about complaining. I certainly didn’t consider giving up. Because of that, my presence in the hospital was a testimony of Jesus Christ’s healing mercy, patience, and grace. Praise Him!
Family and Friends
As I mentioned, my son came to visit me nearly every day I was in the hospital. I don’t remember much about anyone’s visits for about the first week. However, I probably wouldn’t have been able to see my brand new baby at all were it not for my parents and my husband’s parents. They stepped in and traded off taking care of him so that my husband could stay with me at the hospital. Then, as I began to heal, so that my husband could go back and keep our family business running. I don’t even want to think about what would have happened to my son and our business if our parents weren’t able to care for our baby.
On top of the unconditional family support, my husband and I are blessed to be a part of a strong community rooted in the Body of Christ. Between Summit Church and the Central Florida Christian Chamber of Commerce, we were flooded with blessings. Aside from visitors, cards, gifts and prayers while I was in the hospital, I never had to worry about what I was going to eat after I returned home. McAlister’s Deli even stepped in and sent us (via a chamber member) two meals weekly for several weeks.
After devoting our lives to serving God through others, we were overwhelmingly blessed by others serving Him through us.
The support that most surprised me was the customers from our auto repair shop. People that we would probably never had met were it not for their business at our shop not only made a point to let us know that they were praying for us, but they dropped off cards and generous gifts as well. It’s not the way one would expect a mechanic to be treated.
Next year at church on Easter Sunday, I fully expect my little boy to be wobbly dancing in the isles. I fully expect to be full of joy as I watch him. I’ve been made new over and over again in the past few months and, while it’s been a difficult road that I’m still healing from and still trying to sort through emotionally and spiritually, I’m grateful to God for the chance at a life for which I’ve longed for many years. I wait for the time when Jesus returns to take away all the pain so that we can be embraced in a fully restored relationship with Him.
Then I saw “a new heaven and a new earth,” for the first heaven and the first earth had passed away, and there was no longer any sea. I saw the Holy City, the new Jerusalem, coming down out of heaven from God, prepared as a bride beautifully dressed for her husband. And I heard a loud voice from the throne saying, “Look! God’s dwelling place is now among the people, and he will dwell with them.They will be his people, and God himself will be with them and be their God. ‘He will wipe every tear from their eyes. There will be no more death’ or mourning or crying or pain, for the old order of things has passed away.” He who was seated on the throne said, “I am making everything new!” -Revelation 21:1-5