I’ll celebrate my daughter’s birthday tomorrow. This might seem like a fairly ordinary occurrence. But it’s not to me. Because this is the girl God gave us after almost a decade of infertility. You can read our story here, but the short version is we met when Lovelle was twenty, she became ours at twenty-one, and tomorrow she will blow out twenty-five candles on her cake.
Because God is extravagant in His goodness, I’m not only a Mama now but also a Nana. Lovelle and her husband welcomed baby Eula Ellen (nicknamed “Ellie”) into their lives last August. God is in the details because August 28 is the day Lovelle officially took our last name. We call it “Gerth Day” and treat it like a holiday in our family. Ellie came on Gerth Day.
A few months after Ellie arrived, Lovelle and I were standing in the kitchen at my house. She asked, tentatively, “Does being around Ellie make you wish you had a baby of your own?”
I didn’t hesitate with my answer, “If God told me I could go back in time and choose to have a baby of my own or have grown-up you again, I’d pick you in a second. I wouldn’t even have to think about it.” This is the gut-honest truth. This is redemption. This is God doing heart-healing in ways I never knew were possible until I lived it.
I share this because you may be coming up on a milestone, too. Only you may not be on the other side of the answered prayers yet. You may still be in the ugly-cry-in-the-bathroom, stare-at-the-negative-pregnancy-test part of the journey. Or you could be experiencing another kind of barrenness in your life — a door to a job that just won’t open, a relationship that seems to have no life left in it, a dream that seems to be slipping away forever.
If so I want to whisper, so gently, don’t give up yet. I will never, ever tell you not to cry or rant or hide under the covers when you need to. Feel all the feelings. Say all the things. Just know that underneath all of that there can still be hope. God isn’t finished with your story yet.
It turns out Lovelle is a writer and speaker, too. She said this in a blog post: “As I find myself looking back on my past and all the things that have happened to me, I can’t help but wonder why things had to go the way they did…. Are you frustrated with the way your life is looking right now? Are you losing your grasp on contentment? Are you trying to read too much into how God is working in your life? I want you to know that God doesn’t waste anything. Even if you are doing something you feel is useless, God has a plan and it will come to pass. That’s the promise I am believing today and my prayer is that you do the same.”
Yes, tomorrow I will celebrate my daughter’s birthday. I will celebrate the beautiful, kind, strong young woman I waited on for so many years. I will celebrate the family God has given us. I will celebrate the God who knows the desires of our hearts even better than we do, who is still writing all our stories in wild and mysterious ways today.
Happy Birthday, Lovelle. You will always be one of the best gifts God has ever given me.
P.S. Would you like to celebrate Lovelle’s birthday with our family? One way you can do so is by joining us in partnering with Compassion International to empower little girls in poverty to grow up to be fiercehearted women.