"Was this baby EXPECTED?" (or insert... a suprise, planned, on purpose)
That is the overwhelming question that I get nearly everytime I share with someone that this tiny bundle will be our fourth. I struggle with how to answer the question, especially to a complete stranger. I am past feeling like the question is insensitive, I realize that it comes with the best of intentions. It is not even that I wish they wouldn't ask. The rush inside of me when I hear those words has more to do with not knowing how to answer.
How do I tell someone, anyone really, all that led up to this baby becoming part of our family. How do I sum-up the story? An amazingly beautiful story to us, the parents, but not one that others want to hear every detail of. How could I do justice to the miraculous timing of this baby? How do I quickly share how it is possible that we were shocked by the news yet not surprised at all? How do I say that yes, I understand that no birth control=possibility of a baby. And in the same breath explain that I sold all of my baby-gear months ago feeling that our family was complete for the time. How do I tell the story of feeling prepared by the Lord? Prepared in a real and tangible way like nothing I've experienced before. Prepared for children, specifically. But how little I knew about what that preparation would mean and how hard RRL and I struggled through conversations about our faith in this area of having (or not having) more children. I simply prayed (without telling a soul) that if more children were supposed to be part of our family, that they would "just show up." Wouldn't that prayer sound CRAZY to anyone else- especially since I didn't even know what it would mean? Would it mean adoption, would it mean simply sharing ABOUT children with other parents, would it mean another pregnancy? Certainly I did not know it would mean sharing our home with three (additional) small children just for five months. How do I sum up the year that lead up to that "OH WOW, its positive" home pregnancy test? A year of deep spiritual, emotional and physical bonding for RRL and I. A year we saw how the Lord could use that physical bonding to help us SURVIVE (and even enjoy) this 10th year of our marriage. The year that was the very very hardest, yet very very best of them all. A year with more unexpected circumstances than either of us could have imagined. The year we dug deep to make (and keep) a huge financial commitment yet were challenged with difficult financial circumstances. The year we went from three children to six to four. The year we learned to trust, to obey, to walk forward. The year we grew. And THEN explain that this baby was just the icing on the cake. Not a cake we planned ANY detail of, but one of the sweetest we've ever tasted.
I want an answer that tells the asker, that tells my own family, that even someday tells my child (really all 4 of my children) the TRUTH.
And this is the Truth:
Sweet baby of mine-
I do not know yet whether you are a girl or a boy. I do not yet call you by name. I have no idea who you will grow up to be. I don't know yet what you will look like (though a quick glance at your brothers and sister gives me a pretty good idea). But this I know...you were ALWAYS meant to be.
You were known long ago. Long before I even met your Daddy and long before we began dreaming of children of our own. Each and every hair on your head is known, and was known long before you began to be knit together inside of me.You were ALWAYS meant to be.
You were created for a purpose, a purpose designed JUST for you long ago. Its a special purpose that only you can fulfill. And I cannot wait to see you become what you were ALWAYS meant to be.
You were GIVEN to our family. You'll be a special and unique individual, no one else in this world will be like you. But you'll also get to be part of our little team. A team that we pray can combine each of our gifts and talents and together accomplish the purposes the Lord sets before us. We are bonded deeply by our intense love for each other. You are a very special piece of this team. And you were ALWAYS meant to be.
I want you to know, precious one, that even though your Daddy and I have only known about you for a few short months, we already cannot imagine our lives without you. Although we did not orchestrate the details of your existence, we KNOW and love the ONE who did. We could not be more thrilled that he chose YOU for US. We already love every single tiny ounce of you, though we don't yet know much about you. We could not be more amazed at the ways HE chooses to bless us. YOU are one of those blessings, one of our greatest blessings.
AND YOU were always Always ALWAYS meant to be!
I love you,
So, yeah. How do you sum THAT up when someone asks the seemingly innocent, well purposed question? How can I explain that not a single detail of ANY of it (including this baby) was known or planned by me, yet because of God's great love for us I'm not surprised a bit by the way He orchestrated it? Yes, this baby was planned. Yes, he or she was very expected. Nope, not a surprise at all. And definitely, MOST definitely this baby was ON PURPOSE.
4 A message came to me from the Lord. He said, 5 "Before I formed you in your mother's body I chose you. Before you were born I set you apart to serve me..."