your story, my sweet girl.
one day I will explain to you the beauty in the details of your arrival.
the way Jesus came near to your mama and daddy and blanketed us with His presence and peace in ways we'd never before experienced.
one day I will remind you how I told your daddy that you were going to be sweet, I could feel it.
and then I laid eyes on your face and knew it to be true.
and I will explain to you the way spring awoke before her time,
blossoming a full six weeks early, to greet you.
she interrupted what should still be a clingy Michigan winter
with forsythias waving your color, our world painted yellow for your arrival.
your daddy knew your color would be yellow.
oh, how we anticipated you. especially your big sister.
but we were not quite ready. you made pregnancy easy on me, and I felt so good I was sure you'd hang on a few more weeks.
But the pain that woke me monday morning, i couldn't remember false labor feeling so intense.
it was only 3:30 am, but there was no way for me to sleep through the pain.
so i thought it best to get up and pack our bags (that was on my to do list for monday...though i planned to do it much later in the day).
i woke your daddy, told him through tears that i couldn't be in labor because all my clothes were dirty and I had so much yet to prepare.
he is gracious, you will learn this, though usually the morning is not his best time.
the Holy Spirit must have been wide awake within him, because he jumped to work on my behalf.
by 6 am he had washed three loads of clothes, swept the back hallway (because everyone's garage hallway must be clean to have a baby), cleaned the toilets, and packed bags of his own.
I lay down as morning dawned, hoping the contractions would dissipate.
I wanted more time with you, just you and me.
the squeezing slowed, and I drifted to sleep until 8 am demanded we rise and get Belle off to school.
I told daddy to go on and head to work, his day already full and overbooked.
but when my feet hit the floor and the pain forced me doubled over breathless,
i looked at your daddy and told him I was scared to be left alone.
we loaded in the car, and I breathed through the pain.
i will one day tell you how daddy asked if we had time to stop for coffee.
"just two minutes?" he asked.
and I will show you the look that silenced him.
and we will laugh at how a broken traffic light left us stranded at a solid red light for twenty minutes,
how i begged daddy to ask the nearby policeman to escort us through.
and how different this labor felt, contractions spread so far and sporadic.
how the nurses told me there wouldn't be time for an epidural, claiming it doesn't help during the pushing anyway. daddy will tell you how mommy begged and set the nurses straight, "YES it does!"
i will tell you how nearing 9 cm, my whole body shook uncontrollably,
how afraid i felt, and how i writhed as the wave of pain passed through my body.
the nurses stood over me, telling me to breathe.
"you try breathing when your body is turning inside out," i thought, but couldn't share.
how the next wave rushed over me, but this time, this time I submitted to it.
I let my body go limp and I didn't fight the pain.
i resolved to let it accomplish its purpose.
and somehow, not fighting against the pressure and the squeezing, made it more bearable.
perhaps one day over coffee we will extract some deep spiritual truth from this.
we arrived at the hospital just before 10 am,
and by 1:01 pm you were in my arms, blackest hair I'd ever seen.
i spotted daddy's crinkle ear immediately, just like the others.
but you, you were the first to have mommy's fingers and nails.
and oh, your dimpled chin and cheek stole the show.
you looked so small to me, and i worried about your weight.
"6lbs 2 oz" announced your nurse, and i threw my hands in the air and cheered.
19 3/4 inches of sweetness.
i will tell you that while the nurses stole you away to do their quick assessments,
daddy doted over how proud he was of me.
i'm not exactly sure of his words in that moment, but I'll never forget what his eyes told me.
and i will tell you that I've prayed since you were born for God to prepare a man for you that will look at you that way.
one day i will tell you that you'd held our hearts long before we met you,
but once we lay eyes on you we knew that God had given us an extraordinary gift.
i will tell you how we prayed and deliberated over your name for a day and half.
and I will explain how God leaned in and spoke it to our hearts.
how the day before your birth as I made baby cake pops for sissy's class,
i felt Him so close, sharing in our anticipation and delight.
he loves to share in our world, if only we invite him in.
i will tell you how you had a voice uniquely your own, your cry was strong and resolute, much different from your siblings.
i will tell you how your brother wanted to name you 'baby cocoa',
and after we saw you, we knew it was a nickname sure to stick.
and I will remind you how your sister gushed with pride, couldn't keep her hands off of you.
sweet selah joy, already your story has been written by your maker.
and one day, I will remind myself that though you are a beautiful gift to us, your heart belongs to a very good Father who has made you for Himself. And I will release you fully to Him.
already, I am daily releasing.
one day I will explain how his love for you is absolute, your very hairs numbered.
how my love, as full as it can be, is only a shadow of His heart toward you.
one day i will explain how you were once a hidden gift folded within me.
but in a moment so sacred, so beautiful,
you drew deep of this earth air,
and in our separation, your own heartbeat sustained you.
one day will tell you how labor drew the words,"Mercy" from my lips more times than I could count, but now I say them with an altogether different tone. It is all His mercy. your unfolding and your sustaining.
and one day i will tell you that if you forget everything else, remember
that it is all His mercy and grace and love.
It is the air around you and the pulse within you and the sun on your skin.
That in Him, our Jesus, all things hold together, and
that through Christ, nothing can separate you from the love of God.
and dear child, His love is your life.
He has created you for His pleasure and His glory,
and sweet girl, you are radiant with his fingerprints.
and so we receive you with hearts overflowing,
thanking God for loving us so extravagantly.
we can't comprehend why he loves us like he does, why he choses to call us sons and daughters.
but your daddy and I have learned, that though we may not ever understand the whole of it,
we can trust Him.
He is good, better than we can know.
and above all, we want you to know His heart like we have grown to.
and in even greater ways.
for then will your life tell the only story worth proclaiming.