It took fourteen years, but on Mother's Day, 1998, I finally surrendered to God. Sitting in church that morning it was all I could do to keep a smile on my face. My heart broke as I saw countless mothers with their children and listened to the pastor extol the virtues of motherhood. Yes, he was sure to comment about virtuous wives as well, but that did nothing to ease my grief. Every fiber of my being ached to hold a baby of my own.
When my husband, Dan, and I got home that morning I sat on the bed and cried while he held me. “Doesn't God think I'd be a good mother?” I asked between sobs.
“Of course you'd be a good mother. We just need to leave this in God's hands.”
“I've tried, but I just can't do it any more. If we're not supposed to have children, so be it.” And with those words, at the age of 36, I firmly believed that Dan and I were destined to live the rest of our lives without children. In fact, the more I thought about it the more it made sense.
Almost two years prior to my “surrender” I had been diagnosed with fibromyalgia, a very debilitating and incurable condition. After receiving my diagnosis Dan and I prayed for my healing. I knew in that instant that God would heal me. I just didn't know when or how. Some days seemed to pass in a haze but all of them were filled with pain and muscle spasms. My condition had gotten so bad that I was forced to quit my job and rely on God for my well being. We were soon faced with the realities of being a one-income household and had to “downsize” our lives. I felt my world was falling apart.
As time went on I finally adjusted to our new lifestyle. I never dreamed that we could live on one salary, but we did. I took up my lifelong dream of writing. To my surprise I was beginning to enjoy my life, even with the pain. But every time I thought about having a baby I knew it would take a miracle - two miracles, really. Without the Lord healing the fibromyalgia I simply couldn't see myself being an effective mother.
About ten days after Mother's Day I called my doctor's office. I explained to the nurse that I was still suffering some side effects of treatment I had received in March to relieve a massive fibromyalgia flare up. I told her my symptoms and was not at all amused when she suggested I take a pregnancy test.
“You don't understand,” I said as calmly as I could, “We haven't gotten pregnant in fourteen years. I hardly think I'd be pregnant now.”
“Well, you just get a home kit and call me with the results tomorrow.” I agreed, already certain that the results would be the same as every other test I'd ever taken - negative. No baby. No cooing. No tickling. No joy. I bought the cheapest kit I could find, went home and took the test. What happened next is still a little fuzzy, but shock will do that to a person.
I remember Dan coming into the bathroom to check on me. All I could do was point at the test stick on the counter. It was positive! I was afraid to touch it for fear of changing the result. Thankfully, Dan was a bit more levelheaded. “You're going in for a blood test tomorrow.”
“But this says I'm pregnant. Could I really be pregnant?”
“You're going in for a blood test tomorrow.”
“Can this be right? Do you think I'm really pregnant?”
“You're going in for a blood test tomorrow.” Maybe he was a bit more surprised than I thought.
First thing in the morning I had a nice helping of humble pie. The nurse was genuinely happy for me, but couldn't resist throwing in an I-told-you-so for good measure. That afternoon I found myself at the obstetrician's office, still in a daze. I was assured that if the home test was positive I was indeed pregnant. The following day the blood test results confirmed it, and my journey to healing began.
I was immediately taken off the two mild medications I had been on for the fibromyalgia. Once again I had to rely on God to see me through. I was amazed to find that I felt better than I had in years. My pregnancy was wonderfully uneventful. Every test came back perfect. I kept myself busy preparing for the baby's arrival and getting closer to God than I had ever been.
As the due date approached I found myself getting anxious. Some of the anxiety was of the usual “new mom” variety, but the rest was fear that after our baby arrived the fibromyalgia would return. All I could do was pray and wait.
After what seemed like both an eternity and the blink of an eye, the day finally arrived. I checked into the hospital, changed into a lovely, backless hospital gown, and fifteen hours later I was holding Matthew, the most precious little baby I've ever seen. God had delivered our miracle.
But even as we adjusted to being a family instead of a couple, that nagging fear would not leave. I was waiting for the fibromyalgia to return. One morning during my prayer time the Lord gave me His peace and understanding that I was in fact healed. Rather than wait in expectation for the fibromyalgia to return, I needed to stand on God's hope and promise of healing.
Now, more than five years and oh, so many diapers later, I still look at our son and marvel. God's ways truly are not our ways. If I had been calling the shots, God would have healed me the first time I prayed. I would have been healed, but at what cost? Only now, on the other side of my miracles, can I see the changes God brought forth during my season of struggle and though it was difficult to get through, I wouldn't change a thing. Every day, with every smile, every hug, every tear, I thank God that He knows exactly what I need.