For This Child I Prayed


A Facebook note I wrote in June.  Our baby was born this month :).

For this child we prayed…

by Kathryn Allen Ritchie on Tuesday,
June 7, 2011 at 7:25pm
For this child I prayed, and the Lord has granted me
my
petition that I made to Him” 1 Samuel 1:17.
Sometimes I am surprised.
Sometimes God’s goodness creeps up on me in such an overwhelming way.
Just out of the blue my life completely turns upside down and begins
a new course, transforming it into never the same again.
…There was that moment that I visited Florida in December 2004 and sat in
my first seminary class. I learned to know God in a way that has been profoundly
beautiful.
And my life has never been the same since.
…And then of course the moment when Nicholas contacted me again several
years after breaking off our original engagement.  7 months later I was married to
the most wonderful man and I’ve never been so happy (we’re still waiting for the
moment people warned us about when we’d wake up and think “I can’t believe
I am married to him/her!”  We’ve decided it will never happen.) We’ve never been
so in love and our ardent respect and love for each other only grows as each day passes.
So,
yes,
sometimes the goodness of God creeps up quietly and then overwhelms me

with a shocking joy.

Because I think a special song in my heart has to do with suffering, I
often relate God’s goodness to what He teaches me through suffering.
Because of that, I don’t always expect God to give me a deep happiness –
or at least I think He will take me through a hard journey first.
Terrible to say, I forget that God is a Father who delights in giving good
(and sometimes that just means easy, happy – getting the bread right away
instead of first seeming to get a stone – Matthew 7) gifts to His girls and boys.
Well,
this January I wrote a note titled “Trusting God When I’m Not in the
Mood.” I shared our decision that I quit law school for a year. We had
several sortof reasons why. Saving money for adoption was one of them. I loved
law school and I felt emotionally crushed. But Nicholas felt strongly about
it.  He didn’t even know all the reasons why – logically in many ways it
seemed to make sense to keep going – I was loving it and doing well, but
he just felt in his heart that this year I needed to take a break.
He didn’t make me quit. But I knew God led through him and I trusted
him. So I did. And it was really hard at first because it felt as if  God just took
away one of my greatest joys.
In February I herniated a disc in my back and was in bed for a month and a
half (and am still healing). During that time I realized that trying to do law school
that semester would have been a disaster. But I didn’t really understand
why I had to go through the pain – what was the point of this?
There seemed to be no reason why. I literally laid still and rested
constantly because that’s all I could do.
Around that time I went through some days of deep discouragement in
seeing our finances being eaten up a little here a little there.  Nothing
major – just little frustrations that seemed to be stealing from our adoption
funds.
Such as my little dog jumping on the sofa and, because of a bladder
infection, draining himself onto the sofa. He had never done anything like
that before or since and he  had to pick the week I was already discouraged.
I “wasted” 100 dollars getting the sofa clean. When I handed
the upholstery cleaning man the money, I felt so angry. Didn’t God know that
we needed that money for the adoption?
The Lord reminded me that He is the Provider.

HE will provide for a
baby in HIS way and I needed to give it up to Him.

It was at this time that I learned that Hollie, my husband’s sister,
was pregnant. I was sooo happy for her. But it also reminded me of what
several doctors had told me over the years – that I wouldn’t be able to have
children.  I stood in my parents-in-laws kitchen and starred into a cabinet
just to give myself something to do.
And I had to make a choice. I would, by God’s grace, rejoice with her. I would
separate my personal pain from the joy of her baby and I would delight in this
pregnancy. And I did.  And I delighted in my husband’s brother’s wife being pregnant.
Sometimes I still sat on the bed and cried with Nicholas. Sometimes I
really struggled with resting in God’s plan.  But I did rejoice and I made myself go
back to God’s promises of good plans for His children – claiming them with my mind,
making myself sing praises to God, delighting in my family’s joy, even when sometimes
my emotions felt more like pouting or giving in to despair.
It was in February, at my parents-in-laws, that I read a great little book on yielding
(written by a missionary from their home church).  And, although I know I had yielded
this issue to the Lord in the past, it was with renewed peace and hope that I really
committed my womb to the Lord… telling Him very childlikely that I knew He was
the God of miracles and He could send us His child for us through adoption or
even put a baby right into my womb.
I really said that , something like: “You can even just put a baby in
there, Lord. I know You can do anything. And if you choose not to, I will praise
You.  And if you choose to make adoption take longer than I had hoped, I will
praise You.”
It was a very sweet, broken, time for me. Because of my theology, I don’t
believe this pray “changed God’s mind”… but I believe it was a very
strategic moment of being reminded that God is good and sovereign and
the one in whom I can and must rest. I also happened to read the book
“Hinds Feet on High Places” that a friend just happened to forget when she
had come to visit. Every night I’d read a little and go to sleep thinking on
facets of God’s faithfulness and the vitality of resting in His good plan.
This was such a soulstrengthener to me.
On Saint Patrick’s day (such a good day! St. Patrick – the real St. Patrick
– not the one of myths – was a great follower of Christ), as I was driving to the
back doctor, I had this feeling that I should stop to get a pregnancy test
since taking all this medicine may not be safe for pregnancy.  I dismissed that as
a silly thought and remember thinking the drugstore was on the wrong side of the
road anyway.
Well, on the way home I just happened to take a different route and drove
right by the parking lot.
So for some reason I stopped. I felt crazy. I didn’t want Nicholas to
see it… not that I wanted to hide it from him, but I didn’t want him to see
it and think I had thought I was pregnant and then wasn’t and was so
heartbroken, since I didn’t really think I could be pregnant anyway.
But there was one doctor last year that gave us a thread of hope.
It was too fragile a hope for me so I had kept that little thread safely
tucked away in a closet of my heart somewhere. But I pulled out that thread for a
moment and considered it. And I picked up the test. Still, deep down, thinking it
was silly and wasted emotional energy.
On the way home I had to stop at Starbucks to pick
up more coffee beans for Nicholas and there was a line so I decided to take
the test while I waited.
And it was positive.
And my thought was: “well that’s interesting”… rather in shock and disbelieving it.
When I got home I took another and it was still positive… so I just marched into
Nicholas’ office and handed it to him. He told me later he didn’t know what all
those lines on the test meant but figured, if I was handing him a pregnancy test,
there must be a reason.
So we went to the doctor and sat there in total shock. The doctor didn’t even
think at first that we were happy because we looked so serious since we were so stunned! :)
We are completely in awe of God’s goodness in giving us this child!
It came as a total astonishment as we were saving for our adoption and really
had developed a heart for adoption (which maybe will be God’s plan for future children).
Only one of my many doctors – the one my dad at the Hotze Clinic in Houston
my dad read about in an airline magazine last year – had ever thought there was
still a chance for pregnancy. It was so much fun to tell this doctor the news!
favorite response, though, was from a relative… when we said: “We want to tell you
about your new grandchild”, who said in horror: “You got another dog!?!”
At first I was really tempted to feel afraid. It seemed too scary – how could I handle
it if this became a miscarriage?
And, since we didn’t know when I had conceived, the first time we had an ultrasound
the doctor couldn’t see anything and thought it could be a miscarriage.
The next few weeks were emotionally heart wrenching.
Years ago this dream had practically died in my heart – for it to be resurrected
and then taken away… that just seemed too painful.
Nicholas, as well as something a professor at DTS just happened to say in class one
day, taught me to praise God every day for the time I have had with my child
instead of looking ahead in fear not knowing how long I will have with him/her.
The professor (whose daughter almost died when she was 19 and he was faced
with not being sure if God would take her from him)
talked with the class about how God doesn’t exactly “owe” us anything -
He owes us the promise He made to His Son of redemption… but if,
in His providence, what are the normal blessings of life aren’t what God
has for us, then that is the lot God has given us and we are to still rejoice
in His goodness. Instead of demanding through fear that God not take away what
He has given us, we have to realize the privilege it is to have them for however
long He wants us to have them (I didn’t quite write all of that exactly how
he said it, but that was the general idea).
And then that great verse in Matthew that reminds me that I cannot add an hour
to my life (or my baby’s life) through worry – that ministered to me as well.
So every day we committed to praising God for the days He had given us with
our baby… so “thank you God for 8 weeks and 1 day”, etc. That became such a joy-giver
to me.
It allowed me to find so much joy in this special season, while also a deep
confidence in God’s good sovereignty no matter what tomorrow will bring.
I look at the barren women of the Bible… so many… and I have their
stories specially marked on the back page of my Bible. I guess God did bring me
through a season of suffering before He gave me this gift (even before I got
married I had been grieving this issue).
And I think on my prayer over the years as I read those stories in Scripture…
that God would turn my barrenness to joy for His glory – in whatever ways
HE wanted.
And
I think now of what He has done for us… and I’m completely in wonder of
His great kindness – how He has surprised us with this miracle baby.
He didn’t have to give us a baby.
And
He didn’t have to give us one now (He could have waited until later and I could
have faced that struggle of
rejoicing and hurting all those months when my sister-in-law was pregnant).
But he let me be pregnant at the same time!
And
I think about God so clearly leading Nicholas to encourage me to take a
break from law school. No way I could have studied when throwing up the first
trimester (who ever  made up the name “morning sickness” didn’t know morning
sickness can be a 24 hour deal!)
And
I’ve wondered if that month and a half of rest is what gave my body the ability
to support the pregnancy at the very beginning.
And
I think of how good God was in showing me to get that test before the medication
could have really affected the baby.
And
I think of that special season of really struggling to trust God – and finding a
renewed joy in His good sovereignty – and how it must have been about that time
that I conceived (from measurements from ultrasounds, the doctor thinks I am
about 16 ½ weeks now).
So here I am.
At the same Starbucks where it all started. Journaling this so that I will
always remember my initial thoughts.
And thinking of how God’s goodness does sometimes tiptoe up on His children
and throw a treasure into their midst in the most surprising way. And I’m still just
trying to absorb that we really are having a baby! (I don’t think it will hit me until we are
holding him or her). And I am reminding myself, yet again, to trust my good Heavenly
Father with this baby and to praise Him for the opportunity to be a parent this
far.
So today I thank you God, for giving us our baby for 16 weeks and 3 days!