I’d given birth to our daughter at 5:22 p.m. The NICU team had gone to work immediately and rushed her away from me.
I didn’t even get to hold her.
A night that should have been filled with joy was tinged with fear.
Knowing what I know now, I could make an argument that I wasn’t nearly as afraid as I should have been.
If I’d known how long it would be before I got to hold my baby girl…
If I’d known how long it would be before we got to take her home…
If I’d known how my hands would tremble on the keys when I searched for Rubinstein-Taybi Syndrome…
If I’d known how my motherhood experience wouldn’t come anywhere close to what I’d thought it would be…
If I’d known how my faith would shatter into a million pieces as everything I thought I knew about God got lost in the long days of specialists and therapies and one missed developmental milestone after another…
If I’d known how hard it would be to be Emma’s mom…
If I’d known what this journey would cost me…
I wasn’t nearly as afraid as I should have been.
From this place, 12 years in and knowing what I know now, I have to say that I shouldn’t have been as afraid as I was.
God held her when I couldn’t.
God held me while I waited.
God sat with me as I read the description of a diagnosis I never wanted.
God caught the tears that hit the living room floor when the invitations for the playdates didn’t come and all the other kids were walking and talking and saying Mommy while we spent hours in therapy for her to learn how to touch her nose.
God watched as my faith crumbled and He didn’t get mad. Instead, He put my faith back together.
No longer the faith of a good girl who believed her good behavior would get her in good with a good God.
No longer a faith in a God I had figured out.
No longer a faith that made sense.
Because God doesn’t do things the way I think He should. He transcends my understanding of logic and common sense. His scales don’t tip in my favor when I’m good, but always tip in the direction of my eternal good and the eternal good purposes of His Kingdom.
I don’t know what the future holds. Goodness knows there is plenty to fear.
The days when the little brothers are off to college and it’s just me and her again, like it was for the first five years before they came along.
Yeah, looking at that list, I’m afraid.
But I’m not nearly as afraid as I could be.
Because God is already there and there is nothing lurking over the horizon that will not first pass through His loving hands.
I know this not because a preacher told me. Not even because the Bible tells me so.
I know because I live it. Because every day, He is there. No matter what comes, He is already there. Even, especially, when what comes is something I would have preferred to avoid.
I know because God cares more about making me more like Him than He cares about whether or not I like Him.
Because He cares more about my sanctification than my satisfaction.
Because He’s big enough to handle my fear, my doubt, my anger, my frustration, and understands me even when I throw a temper tantrum about His plans.
Because God uses scared people all the time.
Because twelve years ago, I was afraid.
Tonight, I’ll close my laptop, and sing a happy birthday goodnight to my Emma. The little girl who rocked my world. The little girl who made me into a much better mommy than I would have been if she hadn’t permanently altered my definition of motherhood. The little girl who drives me insane and brings me indescribable joy. The little girl God designed before the creation of the world to be exactly as she is. The little girl God has big plans for.
The little girl God entrusted to me twelve years ago, even though I was afraid.