What do you want to be when you grow up?
This has to be one of the most common questions a child is asked throughout their development. From the age of 2, when I declared that I would become a missionary, to my High School years when I wanted to pursue child psychology, I aspired to be many things. Even in adulthood, I have considered various career paths. Despite my inconsistency on selecting the right vocation, there were two things that I ALWAYS wanted to be: a wife and a mom.
For a period of time, I was needlessly scared that it may not happen for me. I was married by 26 and gave birth to our first born at 28 on our actual wedding anniversary. On my life’s timeline, it looks like two little years from marriage to motherhood. And yet, it was two of the longest years of my life. In that time, we experienced four miscarriages. There were four little angels whose sparks of light dimmed almost as soon as they were ignited. There were hours upon hours of pouring despair into my pillow. There were many doctors’ appointments followed by many tests, and for all the many questions we had, there weren’t many answers. Our firstborn son was a miracle.
For all the trials and uncertainties we experienced in the early months of our son’s life, he filled us with such joy and hope. We were pregnant again before a year was up. Sadly, we found ourselves back in the old season. The day before our son’s first birthday, I was in the ER receiving confirmation of a 5th miscarriage. It was our baby’s first birthday and our 3rd wedding anniversary. Kevin and I did not want to celebrate. We maybe have had a house full of people, full of food and full of laughter, but the celebrating was superficial.
I felt so disillusioned. Ridiculously, I had given God an ultimatum. My emotions were raw, my hormones were playing ping pong and my faith felt depleted. Despite my anger and unbelief, God was wonderfully gracious to me.
It was early 2015. I was trying to rebuild my faith as best as I could, but my grief was still very fresh. Kevin and I had committed to believing that this would be our year of restoration. I wanted to believe it more than I actually did. One evening, I was lying on the bed flipping through Facebook. An article caught my attention. It was from a private support group for mothers who had experienced loss. Someone had posted an article which told the story of a couple, from North Carolina, who lost all their septuplets at once. It was terrible. One detail stood out to me.
They had selected baby names to form the acronym ‘Messiah’. I had heard of the parents of 5 children choosing names to spell ‘Jesus’. There is no greater name, but I always felt bad for the child introducing themselves as Ursula or Ulysses. Messiah. I liked that. “How great to be reminded of our Messiah when thinking of the babies in heaven!” I thought to myself. “I wish we had done something like that…” It was a silly thought. We didn’t experience a mass loss. We never imagined we would be robbed of so much life. There was never an opportunity to plan out an acronym. I couldn’t shake the concept though.
We had chosen names for all 5 heavenly children. Kevin and I took turns lovingly writing their names in a special family book. “Could it spell something?” I wondered. I started flipping the letters around in my head. In order of conception, their initials were as follows: A, G, P, E & A. It took seconds to find the word. What a word, indeed!
My temples were pounding. I felt shaky. Their names spelled agape, the highest form of love! God’s love! It was a revelation. In this time of recovery, God wanted us to know that we had His agape. In our season of heartbreak, we were not forgotten. We were loved! We had His sacrificial love that prompted Him to give up His only Son so that we could have eternal life.
I do not believe that God took my unborn babies away from me. I don’t believe that the losses were a part of some plan. I do believe that God loves Kevin and I very much. Out of the darkness, He brought light. Out of the pain, He brought hope. He restored to us what the locust’s had eaten. To some this may seem silly, but this ministered to my heart in such a powerful way. The Lord Jesus was revealed to us in the memory of those 5 lives. This was the first moment where I thought, just maybe, that out of this troubled season, God would do something amazing and glorious. From death, there would be life.
2015 was deemed to the be the year of restoration. Before the year was out, I gave birth to another boy. How gracious is my God?! His mercies are new every morning. For as much as I was grateful to have the reassurance of His agape, God was only beginning to reveal His hand.