Sunday, June 28, 2015

Meet My Little Miracle, Asa Marie

She's five months old today!

On May 9, 2014, God spoke to me—not audibly, but in the still, small voice we’ve all heard described. His message, as I jotted down in my prayer journal that day, was simple: “We will have a child. To be named Asa.”

This wasn’t wishful thinking or even an answered prayer. Just weeks before, I’d expressed doubt over whether I’d ever have children, though my proclamation was out of fear more than ambivalence. The summer before, I’d had a miscarriage; although it happened only five or six weeks in—and it was my first loss—the experience left me questioning whether babies were really in the cards for me. Perhaps my career was the gift God had chosen to give me, I thought, and slowly, slowly, I closed my heart to the idea of children—better not to hope for something that might not happen.

This might sound dramatic (no, it does sound dramatic), but it wasn’t just the loss that made me rethink motherhood. In early 2014, I was diagnosed with fibromyalgia. Though not a terminal illness by any stretch—or even a particularly life-altering one—it is a condition that leaves you constantly drained, a state I feared was incompatible with the demands of child rearing. I simply couldn’t imagine playing tag or hide-and-seek when my body hurt constantly. 

That’s what made the name God had spoken to me so significant. In Hebrew, Asa means “physician” or “cure.” Maybe, I hoped, God would bring healing along with His gift of life.

Still, my response to his message was measured—I calmly walked out to the garage where my husband was working and told him, without preamble, “God just told me we’re going to have a baby named Asa.” I’m pretty sure he said something profound like, “Oh.”

I assumed God meant someday—that Asa was a distant promise to be fulfilled eventually. But God had other plans. Despite our attempts not to get pregnant, I knew at the beginning of June that I was expecting. Frank kept insisting it was impossible, but I was certain; a pregnancy test, taken days before it should have been positive, confirmed my suspicions. Now, I was elated. But I was also terrified.

I anticipated the worst, and a bout of early-pregnancy bleeding only fueled my fears. I’d often wake up convinced I was no longer pregnant, fearing the life inside of me had gone still, even before I’d felt the first kick. As the months dragged on, it was only God’s promise that gave me peace. He’d told me Asa was to be born, and God is faithful to his word. Though I’d occasionally let fear seize my heart, I reminded myself, sometimes several times a day, that God’s plan is sovereign. His will is greater than the biology of my body.

When I was just 10 weeks along, I bought a white baby dress—one I imagined Asa wearing at her baby dedication—as a promise to myself that I’d soon be cradling her in my arms. I had another 10 weeks until we found out the gender, but I was already certain our baby was a girl. My logic: A boy had to be named Frank, after my husband, so Asa must be a girl. Luckily, I was right—I had a closet full of girl clothes by 20 weeks!

The months passed by, and as my belly swelled, the pain of my fibromyalgia subsided. Yet again, God proved faithful.

Although my due date wasn’t until February 10th, I joked that Asa would arrive on January 28th, the four-year anniversary of when I met Frank. I turned out to be right: Preeclampsia forced me to have a C-section on January 28th. Asa came out smiling. She was six pounds of perfection.

Five months later, I’m still trying to wrap my mind around this new kind of love, so all encompassing and complete. Like any parent, I would give my life for my child. But I can’t fathom giving her life for others—only now am I beginning to grasp that God’s gift of His son for our salvation was truly the ultimate sacrifice.