A Baby Changes Everything
After the 4th of July fireworks in Illinois late last Saturday night I stayed up late writing a first blog post for our 2015 trip to India. I planned to write about trip preparations and losing my To Do lists but the words just wouldn't come together. The more I wrote, the more my writing changed into the topic of family, a twist that surprised, yet pleased me. It became emotional for me to write and emotional for me to read as I was being reminded just what a precious gift our families are to us. I thought it was emotional because I was anticipating our India trip but would soon discover it was more - a preparation for the changes that were to come. I was anxious to get the blog posted online, return home to Texas, and get back to those endless To Do lists. Jim and I left Illinois at 6:00am Sunday morning, settling in for our 15 hr. drive home. Though the road trip would be daunting, we were excited to start the journey home and anticipated a busy 2 days of last minute preparations before our departure for India on Wed., July 8th. Within 2 hours, we were reminded of that expression, “If you want to make God laugh, just tell Him your plans.” With a buzz of my phone, our world changed.
Around 8:00 am, I received a message from my son, Ben, that he and his sweet wife, Ashley Marie, were at the hospital. She was 7 months pregnant ( 1 day short of 32 weeks) and when she saw her doctor last Thursday, had been complimented for having a “picture perfect pregnancy”. But now, with this concerning news, Jim and I began to pray and he pushed a little harder on the gas pedal as we raced across southern Illinois, my heart racing even faster than the car engine. Almost immediately I heard the
The minutes drug into hours but finally word came that Adelynn Marie Waldrop was tiny (3 lbs 5oz), but as healthy as can be expected for a 2 month preterm infant. She was whisked away to the NICU where she will live for the next 2 months or so, as she continues to develop and grow stronger. Adelynn is stable and breathing on her own, growing a tiny bit stronger with each passing hour. There have been ups and downs already in her short life and we continue to pray without ceasing, knowing that God will continue to grow her and form her body and soul over the next few months, from this time forth, and forever.
I am especially proud of my daughter-in-law Ashley Marie, who displayed extraordinary physical, emotional, and spiritual strength, both through the untimely childbirth and the uncertainty of unknown challenges ahead. My son, Ben, is her rock, strong and loving, with a man's compassionate heart that loves deeply. Together, they have a bond of love that comes from God and most importantly, they share an authentic faith and know where their strength comes from. They worship and find peace in praying together.
I fell in love with our Little Miss Sunshine (as I've come to think of her) as soon as I saw her. Ben and I prayed together at her bedside, thanking God, claiming the promise that what He has begun, He will not abandon. He created this tiny new life and His name is written on her heart. As I stood over her bed, I was certain He was whispering to her in a language only she can understand.
The decision to go forward with our trip was agonizing. I struggled to hear God's will and was committed to following it, regardless of my conflicted emotions. “God's timing is perfect” kept ringing in my ears over and over, but the confusion is my head made discernment impossible. Did that mean the baby would be OK and I should go forward to India? Or did it mean her birth came before we departed, allowing me to stay home with my family who needs me?
I prayed without ceasing and the Holy Spirit consistently reassured me that God is not finished with Adelynn yet and I know she will thrive and bloom into a beautiful woman. She already knows our Heavenly Father for she has just come from Him. He will never leave her; I began to feel like I couldn't leave her either.
After more than 24 hours of wrestling with my heart, I made the tough decision to cancel the trip to India and headed for the hospital to tell my family. As I left the house I remembered a song that had brought great peace when I felt overwhelmed in the past so I went back and got my MP3 player, found the song “Could I”, set it to repeat and spent the drive to the hospital in meditation praying as the melody filled my heart and calmed my soul. The effects on me were extraordinary; to say I was a “new woman” when I greeted my family at the hospital is an understatement. I was elated to learn the baby was doing well and overjoyed to find Ben and Ashley Marie amazingly strong in every way, almost supernaturally so. A soothing serenity flowed over me as they asked me to go forward with our trip as planned. Ben and Ashley Marie's grace and love soothed my soul. It was as if the Holy Spirit was speaking directly through her heart. I had prayed for wisdom and discernment and when I was finally able to seek God with my whole heart, I found His voice in my soul, where it been all along, reassuring me to “Be still and know that I am God.” Psalm 46:10 Our Heavenly Father has beautiful Adelynn Marie wrapped lovingly in His arms. And this is something that will not change.
Saying goodbye the following night was hard for us all. Though I was certain it was God's will for us to go, it was Ashley Marie and Ben who provided the strength to send us off to do what God calls us to do. Standing in the NICU waiting room, embracing for one of our many “one last” hugs, Ashley Marie locked her eyes on mine, held my hands and said, “Go and do what God has called you to do. Go for all of us in the family and remember that someday, I want to go to India to serve the children with you. And someday, I want Adelynn to go to India with both of us too. I love you.”
A baby changes everything.
The following day, the packing and rush to the airport was more frenzied than usual and especially as we found ourselves neck-deep in the United Airlines/NY Stock Exchange/Wall Street Journal mysterious “technical shutdown” that threatened 2 of our 3 flights over 2 days. Terrorism? Hacking? Coincidence? More confusion, chaos, and uncertainty. But I found the delays to be another gift as they gave me some extra time at the Dallas airport for extended loving conversations with Ben and also with my own daughter, Ashley, who has been the family “rock” and caregiver during the past few days. Seeking a quiet place away from the complaining passengers and endless delay announcements, I wandered down to the quiet end of the concourse and was drawn to a light from an almost hidden open doorway. I was drawn inside and for the first time ever, found myself inside an airport chapel. And though I was the only person there, it was not empty. It was filled with love and grace and joy and peace and light. As I prayed for Adelynn, Ben, Ashley Marie, and our family in front of the beautiful stained glass window in the tiny chapel, I was reminded that God sent His son as a tiny baby too. He sent His only son to be the Light of the Word. That baby became the Great Healer. That baby will heal our baby. That baby is the source of a family's love and the source of life. That baby changes everything.
Thank you, Father, for giving us your baby, this River of Life that flows through my sweet Adelynn's soul, through my family's unshakeable love, and around the world, all the way to India and back home again.
“For this child I have prayed.” 1 Samuel 1:27
As I write this, we are on a series of flights to India. We cherish your prayers and ask that you pray for sweet Adelynn, her parents, Ben and Ashley Marie Waldrop, and our family during this time of hope and healing.