This is “BC.”
She is the fun-loving daughter of some friend’s of ours. BC is about 18 months old, but she doesn’t know it. So, we have not told her. That is why she is riding my 9 year old daughter’s razor scooter. Since she had seen my daughter zooming around the cul-de-sac, BC naturally thought she could as well. And ride it, she did with the help of her mom. She laughed and smiled the entire time because that is how she rolls.
See what I mean…
On this bright morning when they stopped by our house on their daily stroll, I sat on my front porch snapping shots of her and marveling at the grace of God. Not because BC likes to razor scooter or because she makes me laugh, but because she is even here at all. Children are a gift. There is no doubt about that. But for two people who had little to no hope of having any, BC is simply an answer to our prayers. And she doesn’t know it.
Caroline’s parents had a very difficult time carrying a baby to full term. The day of their appointment to hear the heartbeat of their first unborn child is a moment cemented in time. They were full of excitement and anticipation as any new, budding parents only to leave the office with shattered dreams and hopes when no pulse could be found. It was when they both felt like this process would be forever tainted with fear and doubt. But, they kept trying. Trying to have a baby and trying to keep the embers of hope for a child at least smoldering upon their hearth.
But even those were extinguished after my friend later had an unexpected ectopic pregnancy rupture late one night that found them both in the hospital not knowing if she was going to live. The physical healing from that took a long time, several months. But the toll that it took on their spirit was devastating.
Not only were they afraid to begin trying for a child because of the trauma of the second miscarriage. They were now more afraid of allowing themselves to hope because due to the rupture, they were working with half a reproductive system.
That October when they got pregnant a third time, something alarming happened. I was cleaning up when my doorbell rang. I opened the front door to find my friend in desperate, heart wrenching tears. She had just come from the doctor and learned that this pregnancy was another ectopic that had attached itself to the ruptured fallopian tube. The doctor told her that this signified that her viable tube was not fully functioning. To put it simply, they had just moved from the category of ‘a possibility’ to now being on the side of the paper that read ‘highly unlikely.’
I remember that fall and winter. It was cold and dark for my friends and for us as we walked with them through their disappointment, grief, and hopelessness. Around February, my friend pulled me aside and asked if some of us wouldn’t mind coming together for a prayer time as they began to embark on trying once again to get pregnant. A hand full of us met in their home as a community desperate to have their prayers heard by the living God. Some of us were admittedly very doubtful, but it just felt right being together and simply asking. Honestly, at that point it was all that we could do.
One of my favorite verses in the NLT is psalm 116:1. It says, “I love the Lord because he hears my voice and my prayer for mercy. Because he bends down to listen, I will pray as long as i have breath.” That night for me was about asking for mercy for our friends. I love the idea of God being gentle and kind enough to bend down to listen to His children who are small and helpless without Him. That night, I remember specifically saying that if He heard our prayers and gave them a child….we would give Him all of the glory.
Two months later, they found out they were expecting. My friends were still afraid to get excited since they had been in this place three other times before. But that was alright, because we were hoping enough for the both them. As the months began to trickle by uneventfully, a quiet joy began bubbling inside of me. Though I was afraid to say it out loud, I kept seeing a little girl with curly red hair that belonged to them.
And then it happened.
One night around our dinner table, our friends allowed themselves to begin dreaming aloud about their Christmas baby girl. That moment still brings tears to my eyes, because it takes courage for us all to hope and dream in the face of potential disappointment and heartbreak.
Yet we are told in Isaiah 51 that “The Lord will comfort Israel again and have pity on her ruins. Her desert will blossom like Eden, her barren wilderness like the garden of the Lord. Joy and gladness will be found there. Songs of thanksgiving will fill the air.”
But honestly never in our wildest dreams could we have thought that their ‘wilderness’ would blossom quite like this…..
“Look mom and dad, no hands!”
I like watching baby Caroline. She is full of spunk and life not unlike many toddlers her age. I do not know what God has in store for her in the future. It really need not be anything ‘spectacular.’ For now she serves as a reminder to this young woman that God is real and listens to the heart cries of His children. Because sometimes, she doesn’t know it.
***roll on, baby caroline. roll on.:)