“For this child I prayed, and the LORD has granted me my petition that I made to him.”
1 Samuel 1:27
What a familiar verse for those of us who have wanted to be moms since we were little girls but have faced obstacles achieving that status. I always love to hear messages preached from 1 Samuel 1, because like Hannah and so many of you reading, having a precious yet demanding, life changing bundle of joy was not without its challenges for Scott and me. And like Hannah, the LORD heard my cries and answered my petitions. And a funny, completely unplanned side note - our kids names are Hannah and Samuel! Here’s our story.
Scott and I made a deal. When I graduated college and got a real job, we could start trying for kids. About 3 months after we shook hands on the deal, I was expecting! The first half of my pregnancy went swimmingly! My nausea was minimal, the baby’s heartbeat was always swishing away at the doctor appointments, and my belly and baby were growing at the expected rate. One Friday morning, at 18 weeks in, a pregnant friend and I attended a nursing class. Later that afternoon, Scott met me at the clinic where I was to have our first sonogram. No way could I wait until the baby was born to find out the sex; I needed to know ASAP! Scott and I would have much to celebrate and give thanks for, seeing our little blessing for the first time and celebrating Scott’s birthday, which was also that day!
Bladder full, I laid on the table holding Scott’s hand while the technician scanned my belly. She pointed out her (It’s a girl!) arms, legs, and spine while we watched in amazement. After about 20 minutes, the tech left saying she needed a little help from the radiologist. We were new at this and had no inkling something might be wrong. The radiologist was only in the room a couple of minutes before he said he was going to go speak to my doctor, who happened to be in the same clinic. After a few minutes, Dr. Montgomery came into the still darkened room with the image of our sweet girl still on the screen. He explained that somehow, since my last checkup just one week before, her strong heart had stopped beating. I remember that moment feeling like an emotional whiplash. Elation to devastation in the time it took the doctor to speak those words. Four days later, I would enter the hospital to deliver her, only to tell her goodbye for now.
Fast forward, (even though it was the longest season of my life!) to the following spring.
I was pregnant again! God was making all things, both spiritually and physically, new in me, the earth was coming back to life after a dark winter, and Easter was coming! Almost immediately, however, I began experiencing problems with the pregnancy. The doctor confirmed our fears through blood work that the baby was miscarrying. I was to return to the clinic for the next several weeks for follow-up blood tests to make sure there were no further procedures to be done. I returned to work and went about life as normally as I could, but with a deep, abiding sadness. A few weeks later, I went in for my final blood draw. My hormone levels were almost to pre-pregnancy state, so I was hoping this would be the last visit to the lab. I realized that day that something was not right since the lab never called that morning with my numbers. At lunch time I called them, only to learn nothing except that the doctor would be calling me back. My worries increased when he finally called and asked me how I was feeling. “Sick to my stomach, emotional, tired, a little crazy,” was my response. I will never forget the words he said: “Well, that’s normal for what we found out today. You are still pregnant. I need you to come in today for a sonogram to make sure everything’s ok.”
I. Could. Not. Believe. It!
The sonogram that afternoon showed a little creature bouncing around somewhere inside my body, growing by the minute! Apparently, there was a series of errors in the lab showing I was miscarrying when everything was really perfect. Easter had just passed and we had celebrated the death and resurrection of Jesus. I suddenly had a glimpse of how Mary must have felt! Her son who was dead was alive again! I felt as if a miracle had happened in my own life when I saw that precious little baby. I finished out the pregnancy with no further scares, culminating in our beautiful daughter Hannah. She has continued to fill our lives with so much happiness, most recently in the form of a grandson!
God was definitely working behind the scenes in the first really hard trial of my adult life. However, it was during this time that Scripture came alive for me and really became applicable in my life! During our first loss and second presumed miscarriage, I experienced such darkness and despair, but Psalm 139:11 says that even though I felt like that darkness and despair would overtake me, God knew perfectly well the plans for my life! They were not shrouded in darkness, but they were light and perfectly clear to Him! Even though medicine was telling me there was no life developing in my womb, my Hannah was being knit together in the secret place, with God ordaining her steps and days to come.
Y’all, God wants good for His children.
I have to remind myself daily of that! I’m not worthy of His favor and blessings, but He bestows them anyway. He is working behind the scenes when all seems dark to us. He sees perfectly clearly. It is so hard sometimes, but we must wait, trust in Him, and allow Him to reveal to us that He was working all along. And it’s always more than we could have imagined.