“God, please let mommy have a baby in her belly”.
I’ll never forget hearing my young son’s prayer, twenty years ago. I was content being a mom to an only son after our journey through a miscarriage, infertility and adoption, yet Jake longed for a sibling. I’m convinced a young child’s trust and unwavering faith in God can move mountains. Two years later, the doctor announced, “You’re pregnant!”
However our short lived joy turned to sorrow when we discovered our unborn son had a fatal birth defect.
“Is my baby brother going to die?”
This question broke my heart. I cried out to God to help me respond.
Finally, I replied, “Whatever God decides, we will trust Him”.
Amidst uncertainty, our family chose to step forward to trust God no matter what during the next 28 weeks of my pregnancy. Even if God chose not to heal our baby, we vowed to trust His plan. We embraced moments to demonstrate love to our unborn baby: we sang, read books, prayed, tickled unknown body parts, and played hot wheels on my belly.
One day Jake announced he wanted to give his baby brother a gift. He chose a soft, caramel colored stuffed bear. I realized Jake would probably enjoy a gift from his baby brother too. But what?
“God help!” I prayed.
The word“ Trophy” popped into my mind. What a perfect gift. Jake loved sports. His room was adorned with trophies. A few days before my due date, I waddled into the trophy store, purchased this surprise gift, took it home and tucked it inside my suitcase .
When my due date finally arrived, I was being induced at one hospital and received an unexpected call. Jake had fallen off the monkey bars at school, broke his arm severely and had been taken to a different hospital by ambulance. During Jake’s surgery later that night, I pleaded with God for our family’s strength to endure this and for the next day’s labor and delivery. This time God answered my prayer through people. Some stopped by the hospital to pray with us. Others dropped off meals, cards, snacks, movies, toys and balloons for Jake. My sister-in-law, crafted shirts with Velcro so Jake could dress easily, became his caregiver while I was in labor, and agreed to drive Jake to the hospital when I had the baby. My mom offered her presence at the hospital and dressed and bathed our baby.
When John Samuel was born on August 22, 1996, I knew he would be ushered into heaven soon. My husband led Jake into the hospital room to say “hello” and “good-bye”. With one arm in a sling and the other clutching his teddy bear gift, he edged close to my bedside and handed John Samuel the bear, then touched his brother’s tiny toes.
“John Samuel has a gift for you!” I announced.
Jake’s brown eyes sparkled with curiosity.
I handed him the trophy adorned with a cross, a bible and praying hands. Then I read the trophy’s inscription:
“To my big brother Jake….because you prayed for me.”
17 years later, this priceless trophy is still the tallest one on Jake’s shelf. It stands as a tribute that prayer is a gift. It also reminds me that God hears our prayers, He answers them, and He has a plan, even if we don’t understand it.
Postscript: After John Samuel’s death, I lost two more babies through miscarriage. In 1999, I gave birth to a healthy son, Josh and in 2001, another son, Jordan. When Jake gets annoyed with his younger brothers, I remind him, “Remember…you prayed for them!”
Who do you know who is facing uncertainty? Offer your prayers or an act of service as a gift to that person. If you need ideas or more prayer, ask me. This is my offering to you, my reader, as a “birthday gift” this month to honor John Samuel’s life. Feel free to send your prayer request to me wall to wall on face book: kathehomanwunnenberg, or email me at firstname.lastname@example.org.