“As surely as you live, my lord, I am the woman who stood here beside you praying to the LORD. I prayed for this child, and the LORD has granted me what I asked of him. So now I give him to the LORD. For his whole life he will be given over to the LORD.” And he worshiped the LORD there. 1 Samuel 1: 26-28
I suppose when someone gets married they usually want a family, children. It is the natural progression. To live out the love that brought the two of you together by having more people to love. I know I wanted children. I was scared. I had very little to look back on in my childhood that was right. So I thought I would just trust God and avoid the wrong.
Schuyler was 2 ½ when I thought about another child. We prayed and talked. The time would never be perfect, so why not now? Months later I was pregnant. But something was wrong. I lay on the exam table my little son beside me as they looked for a tiny heartbeat on the screen. It had been there, but not anymore. The next night I cried in pain as my heart was broken by a tiny little life that was so quickly gone. We had told everyone. I was beyond grief. My whole world was smashed. Why would God let this happen. I knew He wanted us to have another child. Why?
As my body healed my heart did not. I wept and wept. We moved far away but the unfulfilled promise of a family was unpacked with the linens. I prayed. And a year passed. And another. My little baby was now a big boy ready to go to school. I knew I heard God’s voice telling me we were incomplete. But His hand was stayed.
My young friend’s lives were full of kids, babies, diapers, husbands, school, church, kids, kids, kids. They envied me. You only have one. How wonderful. I didn’t talk to them about it. Then one day a woman older than me, her baby 10 years old, talked about wishing and hoping and praying for a baby but none came. It was my story. Someone understood. Someone else had raised her fist to God and said “what are you doing?” I sought her out. I am going to the doctor, I said. I just need an answer. No, she replied, you need a baby. God has placed this desire in your heart. He has filled you with this longing. He will be faithful to you. You have been waiting in order to be prepared for a special child. My head was spinning. This was the plan all along? Really? Pray, I told her, because I don’t have the faith right now, but you do. She placed in my hands a plaque. “I prayed for this child, and the LORD has granted me what I asked of him.” Hannah’s prayer. Take this and return it to me when your baby is born. My head was really spinning now. The quiet words of hope circled and danced around me. When…When… Not if but when.
I was ready to be pregnant the next day. But it did not happen; as a matter of fact I had a bad report from the doctor the next week. Her words came back: Sometimes God has a plan for a child and He prepares parents for this child. Sometimes God has plans for this special child.
My son was trudging through kindergarten. I was looking ahead to Christmas when it happened. I took the test and the answer was yes, joyfully and wonderfully yes. I was so humbled, for all of my anger and frustration God was faithful. He wasn’t even mad about all my rantings and tears.
Months into the pregnancy we had an ultrasound. We wanted to know. Boy. Girl. So many people assumed I wanted a girl. We had a boy already… But my heart whispered “ A special child, a special plan…” I knew he was a boy. Intended to be a Man of God someday. A leader. Sure enough the technician confirmed my feelings. What to name him? I said, he has named himself…Samuel.
He was born on a warm July night. Even then he could not sleep. They thought he had lung damage. He did not. The doctor held him and prayed over him as he drew his first breaths. The he showed Joe the umbilical cord, tied in a complete, slightly tightening knot. We were told you don’t often see that. Most babies don’t survive it.
The nurses shook their heads and said gosh, I hope he sleeps for you… he did not, unless he was folded in my arms, his chubby fingers laced tightly in my hair. Only then he slept. We were one for a long time. Sleeping, eating, and almost breathing together. He could not get enough love. Joe teased, well; you got your cuddly baby you wanted… Oh thank God yes, I did. He grew under my heart but he has never left it.
Special? Most certainly. Just about everyone he knows can see it when they talk to him or meet him. He has a sweetness and vulnerability about him that is sometimes hidden by his mischief and adventure. What will be his call? What will he do with his life? I certainly do not know. I know he loves his Lord just like Samuel of old. And that he will always hear God’s voice speaking to him just like that little boy did in the temple’s bedrooms.
His dad and I talk at the end of the day about him. We are awed by his charm, his loyalty to his many friends. His unsinkable ambition. His ability to excel at almost everything he tries. His man like ways still wrapped in his little boy silliness. His quick temper. His firm convictions. His artist’s eye. We are so proud of him and all he has done. One day I hope he will have the chance to know this kind of crazy consuming love a parent has for their child.
I would not have changed a thing back in 1992. I still would not today.
I love you Samuel Dylan