When Gracie Entered Our Lives…The Best Surprise

I sank down on my in-laws’ bathroom floor. Disbelief. Shock. Laughter mixed with tears. The white, six-inch stick I held in my right hand bore a little pink line. My youngest was turning eight in a few days. My oldest was already in double digits. Matt and I were nearly halfway done with our in-home parenting, and I was looking into getting my Oregon teaching credential…and now we’re starting over?!

Summer was beginning, and my next seven months involved a burgeoning belly, intense morning/all day sickness, assimilating into a brand new state (literally and figuratively) and community, moving, remodeling, and anticipating the arrival of our little bonus gift, Gracie.

But what happens when life throws you an unexpected curve ball? You can stare at the ball coming toward you and strike out, missing out on what could have been, or you can swing!

I peeled myself off of the bathroom floor, resolved to embrace each moment this delicate, precious journey life offers, and see God’s perfect plan in it all.

And Little Did I Know Three Years Later…

IMG_0023…during my pregnancy and post-pregnancy how she’d somehow regulate my body and chronic pain, and the eight long years of medical investigation and mysteries would be null, gone, obsolete! Doctors can’t explain it, so I’m chocking that up to God’s sense of humor with how He wanted to answer my years of desperate prayers.

…the hours we’d spend in nursing homes and hospital floors encouraging great-grandparents with sweet coos and smiles. I’d be asked, “Is she real?” and “Can I touchIMG_0128 her?” from silver haired ladies whose memories cruelly faded, yet their eyes lit like the sun when they could touch Gracie’s skin. In times of deep grief and burying loved ones, the contrast of her relentless joy reminds me of hope.

…a carpool full of squeaky-voiced middle school boys every Thursday morning BEGGING to listen to “Baa, Baa, Black Sheep” and “B-I-N-G-O,” singing along with a toddler and a IMG_0131smile.

…the blossoms of new friendships she’d procure with mamas I’d never have met otherwise. Priceless.

IMG_0099…our family would return to Kenya last year, resurrecting Swahili in my brain and a resolve to relearn the language and only speak Swahili to Gracie.

IMG_0026…my 3rd c-section would result in another answered prayer with another medical mystery. After Cameron was born in 2003, I developed a severe pain in my side when I’d exercise, and I stopped exercising altogether. CAT scans, ultrasounds and numerous doctors couldn’t pinpoint it with the final doctor saying, “It could be your intestines super-glued to your skin as a result of your c-sections. There’s nothing we can do.” I laughed. Lovely. Just lovely. I conceded this as my future, but when Gracie was born, the doctor searched and found some issues she cleaned up, and in five weeks I’m running my first marathon.

…how my heart bursts every time the siblings interact.IMG_2495

…every rose smelled, every leaf noticed, every blackberry picked.

…how much I’d laugh. And laugh. And laugh.

IMG_9995The seconds on time’s clock slow to a halt when I bask in the warmth of the vital and important. Time gives me the gift of perspective. Potty training days will pass. Messes will still appear but will take shape in other ways. As I watch my eldest in his last year of middle school, I’m reminded of time’s precious commodity we hold in our hands.

I’ve fully wrapped my arms in a wide embrace around the gap in age between my children, and it’s truly the warmest hug to my longing soul.

God’s plan are always higher, better, and perfect, and often all we need to do is rest in that truth … and swing for the fences!

And aren’t the best things in life often the most unexpected surprises wrapped as a present of grace?


3 thoughts on “When Gracie Entered Our Lives…The Best Surprise”

  1. Anika,
    What a beautiful story! God knew what he was doing, you have a beautiful heart and spirit and he wanted another sweet caring soul on this earth.


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