Our sweet girl turned three on June 25. It was a special day to celebrate her, that started with her putting on a “bootiful dess” (beautiful dress) and eating German pancakes on the porch and ended with cheesecake and a tired, happy, grateful girl being tucked into her bed.
Celebrating her life always brings back memories of the months of pregnancy & her birth that made me a mother.
Part of our story is that we got pregnant sooner than we wanted to, only three months into marriage. It was a difficult pregnancy emotionally, even though physically, it was textbook.
My husband and I had to wrestle with what it looked like to have our plans changed, to have our short married life of two transition to a family of three before we felt remotely close to ready. Those months that my belly grew, we wrestled with how we viewed family and deep, unseen wounds and what it means to follow the Lord when the life you wanted feels “over” and it had barely begun.
That particular Sunday, only days ago now, we sat in a pew near the back after dropping our birthday girl off “to play with kids” in Sunday School. We were sending off a missionary as part of the service, and her father was giving the sermon that morning.
Part of his story was that he and his wife had gotten pregnant in high school. They were unmarried and scared. That child was the brave woman who stood before us. He shared about his dream to be a pastor felt as though it would never happen. But years later, he was standing up as a pastor, helping to send his daughter into the world and telling how Jesus had redeemed their broken story and turned it into something utterly beautiful.
I took a deep breath as I listened, hearing not just this man’s words, but a familiar whisper to my heart as Jesus spoke over me.
Daughter, I know you wish for a different story sometimes. I know you wish for a pregnancy that had been wanted and planned from the very beginning. I know you want to be able to tell your daughter that you were excited from the start. I know you hate that these things weren’t true.
Tears welled in my eyes, as I knew Jesus saw my heart. I did wish for those things. The story of our daughter didn’t go how I imagined the story of our first child might begin. I wanted a story for our girl that didn’t have such a messy, painful start. I wanted a story that began with joy for our daughter named for delight.
It is okay. It is okay that I changed your plans. It is okay that you were surprised and scared and had to wrestle with me about what I was doing. It is okay that you weren’t excited or wanting a baby when I gave you one.
This story isn’t about you. This story is about me.
Think about the story you just heard. The important parts weren’t the mistakes or the messiness. The important parts were what I did. How I redeemed it. How I made beauty come from ashes.
Your daughter’s story is a beautiful one. And not because everything was perfect or planned.
It is a beautiful one because you invited me into the mess and wrestled with me.
It is a beautiful one because you allowed me to redeem the brokenness there.
It is a beautiful one because I wanted her the whole time.
It is a beautiful one because I chose her from the beginning.
I felt the shame that I didn’t even know I carried in my heart melt away. My daughter’s story isn’t the one I would have chosen. But I know Jesus is right. It isn’t beautiful because I chose it.
It is beautiful because he chose her and redeemed her story.
And I have the privilege to be her mom.
It is a gift straight from Jesus. I can barely believe that I get to watch this exuberant girl experience life every day.
I get to receive hundreds of tight neck squeezes and be told I look beautiful by a heartfelt little girl. I get to dance and twirl in my kitchen (why am I always the Beast?) and celebrate bulbs coming up in the spring with the most joyful child. I get to have tea parties and build block castles and color with washable markers all over her tummy. I get to have my eyes fill with tears and my heart practically burst when my husband and I gaze at the girl Jesus gave us, asleep in her bed each night, peaceful and exhausted from giving everything she had to enjoying her day.
And I get to tell this girl that even before her dad and I knew we wanted her, Jesus knew that she was the girl our family needed.
I get to tell her that Jesus chose her to be our daugher from the very beginning.
I get to tell her that there is grace in knowing that Jesus chose her when we didn’t even know we wanted her.
I get to tell her how glad I am that Jesus gave her to us.
I get to tell her that Jesus tells the best stories and he picked her for ours.