Since originally posting this on April 4, 2012, we have seen the Lord move in marvelous ways toward our daughter and her darling son. God used this child to bring our daughter home to us, and, more importantly, home to Him. She is now married to a man who also loves the Lord and he and his family have embraced our grandson as their own. Their sweet family are proof to us of God’s grace and lovingkindness.
“Mom, I’m pregnant”.
One phone call on a Saturday in January, and a mother learns that her child living away from home for the first time while attending school is living the very life that she hoped she wouldn’t, is making choices which are breaking her heart, and that she will become a grandmother sooner than she had dreamed.
That phone call was made in 1986, and the child was me.
I was nineteen years old and invincible. Having joined the Army straight out of high school, I completed Basic Training and went for language training in California. The whole world was before me and life was mine for the living. My heart, you see, was far from God, and I was, or so I believed, steering my own ship, guiding my own life, and there were no consequences for me beyond extra duty, push-ups, and maybe a hangover now and then. Meeting tall and handsome Sergeant Kelly who took me seriously and spoke of big dreams with confidence took my breath away— and my heart with it.
We met at the Defense Language Institute, the smaller branch located at the Presidio in San Francisco, while learning to speak German for our prospective roles in the Military. Falling in love in San Francisco was so very easy, so very quick. Jim and I married as soon as could be arranged after learning that I was carrying our child, between him finishing his training and his deployment to Germany, where I soon followed. We had known each other only 6 months.
A bride at nineteen and a mother at twenty. I rapidly went from the full-blown confidence of a teen to the bewildered ignorance of a new mom. From knowing everything to knowing nothing in a nanosecond; motherhood brought reality into pristine focus. Any illusion of control or invincibility (HA!) evaporated as soon as I held my tiny son in my arms and faced the towering responsibility that would now define my life.
Well, twenty-six years have now passed by in a rush of diapers, hand-me-downs, births, homes, moves to different countries and states, pets, new jobs, no jobs, homeschool, public schools, private schools, and homeschool again, graduations, driving lessons, colleges, Army, deployments, long-distance calls, vacations, dreams, tears, joys, and fears. Along the way we learned that we were not steering our own ship or guiding our own lives, but the Lord of Heaven and earth was at the helm, directing with intimate precision every twist and turn that our lives would take. What began with a heartbreaking call to my mother so many years ago has been redeemed by a God Who, in His loving wisdom and grace, had it planned all along. My children are truly a gift from God, and I have been blessed far beyond what I ever deserved to be a mother and have my heart grown and filled to overflowing. I wouldn’t trade a heartbeat with my family for a whole year of the life I used to dream of having. One marriage and five children, made whole in the sure knowledge that God is indeed good, though the circumstances of our lives may not be.
We have lately gone through one of the deeper trials of our life as a family with an extended period of unemployment for Jim. The Lord has shown His faithfulness to us in many ways, from keeping us fed and in our home and the bills paid, to seeing our older girls go to college to pursue the gifts which He so graciously gave them. We felt that we were teetering on the brink, yet at the same time, safely encompassed in His loving arms.
And then in January one of our daughters called from school.
“Mom, Dad, I’m pregnant”.
Suddenly, I was thrown back to that day twenty-six years earlier, when I had been the daughter on the other end of the phone, desperately hoping that my mother would respond in love. Now I’m the mother, hearing the fear and the pleading in my daughter’s voice. I’ve learned that a mother must face many perils in life in order to protect her children. I was now faced with an unexpected, yet manifestly perilous enemy which threatened my daughter, and it was the fear that arose from within my own breast and threatened to overwhelm me.
I love my daughter so very much. I’ve just learned that while living away from home for the first time while she attends school she is living the very life that I hoped she wouldn’t, is making choices which are breaking my heart, and that I will become a grandmother sooner than I had dreamed. Yet my love for her compels me to stand and fight my own rising fear for her life and future, threatened by foolish choices which she has made, and choose to embrace her with compassion and with faith that God is still at work, even here.
After all that my Lord has done for me, His own foolish child, how could I not?
We still have far more questions than we have answers, and my daughter’s immediate future, as well as the long-term, is unknown to us. She will graduate from school in May. Beyond that, we simply don’t know. We may or may not have a son-in-law soon, and along with him, a whole new branch to our family.
What we do know is this: that our Lord is good, His plans are perfect, and it is our duty to trust and obey Him throughout the coming days, weeks, and years. He knows my daughter’s future with unfailing certainty, because He has planned it all along.
And there will be a baby; and a baby is always good news.