I had one girl and two boys, all under the age of seven. I was ready to burst, my fourth baby wiggling incessantly inside my pregnant belly, leaving me exhausted and eager to give birth. I had chosen NOT to find out the gender, but not-so-secretly dreamed of a sister for my oldest.
You see, I was the only girl in a family of three older brothers and always wanted a sister. But no matter how much I pleaded with my mom, no more babies were to be had.
A few days after an awful procedure called an “external version” to flip over my not-head-down baby, I packed my bags and headed to the hospital. After hours of induced labor, the doctor came rushing in just in time to shout, “IT’S A GIRL!”
My heart leapt for JOY (her middle name that mirrors my own) and, in that moment, I thought my BIG dream had come true and my earnest prayer answered.
Little did I know that something much BIGGER was on the horizon.
The birth of this baby girl became the very starting point of a now years-long journey of healing for me. I’m still not sure why.
Perhaps it was a fluke. Or maybe God just knew that I might be ready.
Immediately, her sparkly eyes drew me close, as if she could see right into my soul.
I had never before been able to open my heart without pause.
She was unconditional love wrapped in a tiny package of flesh and bones.
I had never before been able to receive love without restriction.
As she grew, her child-like wisdom shocked me in the best ways.
I had never before been able to move out of formulaic thinking.
Three crucial pieces to a puzzle that had long been missing in my life, and that changed it forever.
As I write, this young lady stands on the precipice of a hope-filled future, one that reaches far beyond me.
She still sparkles and I feel seen.
She still loves unabashedly and I receive it with JOY.
She still speaks wisdom and I am, again and again, moved toward healing.
My BIG dream did come true that autumn morning, the birth of a sister for my oldest.
But God had a much BIGGER dream for me, an “immeasurably more” kind: the slow, deliberate, continuing and tender mending of my own precious soul.