When the LORD restored the fortunes of Zion,
we were like those who dream.
Then our mouth was filled with laughter,
and our tongue with shouts of joy;
Then they said among the nations,
“The LORD has done great things for them.”
The LORD has done great things for us;
We are glad.
Psalm 126: 1-3
Almost 2 years ago, we found out I was pregnant. Sammy was 5, Eli was 3 1/2 and Abraham was 1. We were nervously excited about a new addition! At 10 weeks, our baby was gone. This began a long season of grief and sadness for our family. The loss of this baby was devastating and familiar, as we lost our first child, Lillian Grace, when I was 22 weeks pregnant with her. Over the next months, I felt deep loss for our 2 babies we would not meet in this world.
During that time Charlie became the pastor of our church, and that was unexpectedly difficult for me. Grief is selfish, and I wanted his attentions, not to sacrifice for other’s sake. This, of course, caused much tension in our marriage and pain for my husband.
About 7 months after our miscarriage, I was pregnant again! I was fearful. A week later, I miscarried. What disappointment. I felt crushed and broken.
There were wonderfully sweet passages about our God and His character that I clung to during this season. I had to read truth to remind me of His love and goodness when my faith was so weak. Psalm 121. Isaiah 26:3-4. Psalm 94:19. Psalm 103. Psalm 34:18 was on my mind often…”The LORD is near to the brokenhearted and saves the crushed in spirit”. A women’s conference that summer provided a fresh view of God, of who He is, and of His glory. Revelation 4-5 became more real to me as I heard about our holy God. He is worthy of my worship and my thoughts turned off myself some. I was able to trust Him and His ways and to worship Him.
A few months later, I was pregnant once again, and afraid. I fought to trust God in His Sovereignty but struggled to feel hopeful about a healthy baby. At 9 weeks, this baby too was gone. God kept me through it all. He was faithful and loving.
My heart was changing in some ways. What I remember most was being convicted of my sinful, bitter heart, and feeling broken. I felt like a mess. I was not loving my husband and supporting him. I was selfish. I didn’t love our church. I made and idol of our boys. I couldn’t do life well and this revealed the pride in my heart. I hated feeling like I couldn’t handle life.
In my brokenness, God began changing me and showing me a better way to live. Romans 8:32 says, “He who did not spare his own Son but gave him up for us all, how will he not also with him graciously give us all things?”. This was a life-giving verse to remind me of God’s great love. I could trust His plan when He has given me Jesus Christ.Through another pastor’s wife’s blog (Christine Hoover at GraceCoversMe.com), I saw my sinful heart toward my husband, our church, and God’s will for me. I needed to be changed and desired the discipline if it was mean being more loving, secure, obedient and joyful. By His grace, I am a work in progress and life is better. I am thankful for my husband’s calling and hopeful for continued sanctification in my role as his wife. (I don’t dislike being a pastor’s wife, I feel privileged, but I question my ability to humbly love and serve others in the way this role requires. I know I can’t do it. I need much grace.)
Back to babies…we found out we were pregnant once again in December 2012. I remember crying and fearing yet another experience of loss and grief. If left on our own, we probably would have stopped trying to have a baby. In fact, we were nearing that decision as we got this news.
I was thankful and joyful over a baby, but not expecting to have the end result of my pregnancy be a healthy baby who would grow up in our family. Psalm 103:10-14 were precious verses to me as we waited to see our loving Father’s plan unfold. He saw us and was not dealing with us according to our sin but was our compassionate Father. Precious words as I struggled to trust HIm in trials and loss.
The last 9 months have been filled with sickness, excitement, fear, struggle, hope and joy. I was almost 7 months pregnant when, one morning, it finally hit me that if things continued as they were going, we would hold a daughter and have a little girl who lived with us. In that tear-filled moment, Psalm 126 came to mind–a psalm celebrating God’s mercy. It really did feel like a dream that He would give us another daughter. The Lord has done great things for us! We are glad. I want to give Him thanks for His goodness and to remember our journey. When life is difficult, when parenting is painful, I want to remember what God brought us through to have our child and how precious her life is. I also want to remember that our little girl is a gift from Him but that His Son was given to us first. He is the best “good thing” we can be given, and in Him is life. The greatest joy is found in His Presence as Psalm 16:1 says.
We ask for a fresh outpouring of mercy (Psalm 126:4) that our little girl would grow up trusting in Christ and be saved. That she would one day know the fullness of joy in our Lord’s presence like her sister and other siblings now know. He has made us rejoice and amazed us with His sweet gifts of 4 children, but we long for the Promised Land. We are still waiting and praying for faith for our children.
As I read Psalm 126 that day, I couldn’t help but feel the word “felicity” captured the mood of it. It’s a beautiful word and a wonderful, beautiful psalm. That is how we decided on her name. Felicity. Great happiness.
We thank God for the sweet gift of our daughter and pray she would find great happiness in our good Father.