Our stories are so very different. But this past week I saw a tiny bit of something in your story that was like mine. It caused me to shake my head in disbelief. How had I never ever seen or known this before?
The time gap. The waiting.
Three days of walking between where you and Isaac were in Beersheba, to Moriah, where you were called to go.
The dusty-sandaled miles you walked between your Creator asking you to give up your son and the moment you raised your knife, willing to give Him back the promised son He gave you.
What were those hours like? Did Isaac catch you looking on him, fighting to memorize his every feature?
Did quiet, hot tears flow as you camped at night and watched your son’s chest rise and fall as he slept?
Did you look at the blanket of stars in the sky (Genesis 15:5) that were promised you and wonder what their faces would have looked like–a future family reunion you thought was never to be?
I wonder what conversations you had in your heart with God as you walked each morning, packing up from the night before and heading out for the day.
Oh, your waiting, Abraham. I hurt with you. With a sentence from God, back in Beersheba, your life changed.
Three days later, you laid Isaac down in Moriah. Laying down dreams.
And, oh!, that Moriah was very likely where the future city of Jerusalem would rest! That’s almost too much to handle the weight of the glory of what was to happen as God, Jehovah-Jireh, would show Himself as the Provider of the sacrifice that’d be needed.
In the land that would become Jerusalem.
But amidst the pain and breath that seemed locked in your chest, you didn’t know what was to come. Not yet anyway. You didn’t know your knife would stay clean. The ram wasn’t yet in the bush.
My little Gabriel wasn’t a promised one like Isaac, but I ache with you for the waiting we have in common.
With one sentence, on a Wednesday, my life changed.
“I’m so sorry, there’s no heartbeat.”
And then I journeyed for 6 days of, as a friend so perfectly said, “not being pregnant anymore, but not not being pregnant” as I still carried the tiny body of a tiny baby I ached to see and hold.
I had options. Who knew there were options?! A choice to be made at almost the very moment the arrow struck the bullseye of my heart.
I’m so thankful we chose to give my body some time to realize life was gone. It was so hard, but I’m so thankful.
And I can’t speak for you, Abraham, but those 6 days were important days. Holy days of a different kind of Advent.
Days when tears flowed and ache was real because life was precious and real. My body and heart needed those days of waiting.
Then, in a turn of events we didn’t see coming, Scott and I went into the hospital for me to be induced last Tuesday.
Just a week ago.
And, after a storm-free week of sun, it rained, just like it did when Abby and I drove home from the hospital 6 days before.
God was weeping with us. Again. The wait was almost over.
(Disclaimer: a bit more of my actual journey starts here, including a few of our favorite pictures of our beloved Gabriel’s feet and fingers.)
The doctor started me on my induction medicine at 2:30pm. Contractions started coming hard at 5:30pm, causing me to wonder if eating that beef stew had been wise. Suddenly, sitting down sounded horrible and I found myself rocking in place.
For an hour I labored through contractions in a way that I still can’t believe was needed to birth a 13-week-gestational baby.
But every contraction was a gift; a tangible, painful reminder that I’d been growing a baby and this tiny life was so very real and valuable.
I’m incredibly thankful for Scott who jumped in with what he’d learned at our birth class before Lizzy, massaging me, reminding me to breathe and groan low and productive. I’m thankful for anti-nausea medicine that hit my bloodstream quickly when, sweaty and exhausted, I asked for help. I’m thankful for the birth ball and the nurses who cared for me in such tender ways.
Then, at 6:41pm, Gabriel was born.
Perfectly formed but not fully developed.
(Please don’t copy, save or use these photos without permission. Thank you. Thanks to Tim Evans, the Aussie brother I never had, for watermarking these for us.)
My wait was over.
And like David, the writer of Psalm 139 I can’t help but profess:
13 For you created my inmost being;
you knit me together in my mother’s womb.
14 I praise you because I am fearfully and wonderfully made;
your works are wonderful,
I know that full well.
15 My frame was not hidden from you
when I was made in the secret place,
when I was woven together in the depths of the earth.
16 Your eyes saw my unformed body;
all the days ordained for me were written in your book
before one of them came to be.
I worship the One who made Gabriel, and then asked for him back.