“A certain shame or bashfulness attached itself to whatever one deeply and privately enjoyed.”
― C.S. Lewis,
There is a story I have wanted to tell. Actually, “wanted” isn’t the right word. “Feel compelled” is more accurate. This story is quite personal and intimate so I’ve been hesitant to write it down. Now that my following is considerably larger it’s even more intimidating. I had already planned to write this story this month so I feel like I should go through with it still, extended audience or no. As I write this, only three people know the story of how my son came to be, but I feel that it’s time to open up and share that story publically.
The day Jon died I knew I was pregnant. I didn’t have to take a test to be certain. I spent the week preparing the funeral trying to ignore the truth I knew in my heart, desperately praying each night that I was wrong. I didn’t want it to be true. But I knew the truth.
Turn back the clock two weeks before Jon walked out the front door for the last time. It had been a busy couple weeks. Jon had lots of singing gigs scheduled, which was great for our budget but that, on top of having a 1-year-old who didn’t sleep through the night, made for a limited amount of time for us to connect. Being a sleep deprived mom I was usually in bed before Jon got home from singing. So most nights he would jump on his PlayStation and game with a friend for a few hours before going to bed himself. I was missing him so one day I shot Jon a text saying, “Tell Randy you’ll be later tonight. I want you first,” along with with a bunch of wink, kiss and fire emojis to make sure he knew exactly what I had in mind.
(Don’t worry, I’m not going to get graphic or awkward I promise.)
That night, when he got home he gave me a kiss and then said, “Before anything happens I need to tell you something.”
“I know this might sound weird,” he continued, “but on the drive home I felt like God said we shouldn’t use anything tonight.”
“You think God wants us to have another baby?” I asked.
“No! No, I don’t think so… I hope not! I think… well… I feel like God wants us to trust him. That tonight would be an act of trust.”
I did trust. I trusted Jon, he wouldn’t make up something like that. He was always a stickler when it came to birth control. And I trusted God. I saw Him opening all sorts of doors for Jon’s music. I was certain a recording opportunity was soon coming for him. I was already staying at home with Jocelyn, if this night resulted in a pregnancy, another baby wouldn’t alter much.
I was confident in our marriage. Confident in Jon’s music career. In our future. In God’s plan for our family.
“Ok,” I said and kissed him, “if that’s what you feel God said, then we’ll trust Him.”
In the final moments that evening, I knew in my heart Jon had given me another child and was completely at peace. I rested my hands on my belly and smiled over at Jon.
“Don’t you look at me like that!” He laughed, “It took 5 months to get Jocelyn, you’re not pregnant after this one time.” He paused and then more seriously said, “I really hope you’re not pregnant.”
I just kept smiling.
The first night after Jon died I lay sleepless in my very empty bed and remembered what had happened two weeks before. An overwhelming dread came over me. “Oh, God! Please no! Please don’t let me be pregnant. I can’t be pregnant!” I prayed every night desperately hoping that I was wrong.
When I confided to my mom that I was late she sent my sister-in-law out for a test. I had to wait to take it in the morning, so I lay awake the entire night pleading with God until I nearly made myself sick. Finally, 5 am rolled around and I couldn’t wait any longer.
I slipped quietly out of bed so as not to wake my one year old who was sleeping peacefully next to me and went to the bathroom to take the test. I cried on my bathroom floor for two hours after I saw that second pink line. (I wrote about that moment here.)
At first, I was overwhelmed with despair but as the reality sank in and everything that that new reality meant for me, my despair was replaced by betrayal. I felt betrayed by God. My prayers turned into accusations, “I TRUSTED YOU! I trusted You and You took my husband! I trusted You and You gave me a SECOND child to carry ALONE, to parent ALONE!”
I was beyond angry with God. I had done everything He had asked of me and in return, everything I hoped for had been taken away. I wanted to walk away from God. I no longer cared what He thought and I didn’t want to hear His explanation of why everything had happened.
And He was ok with that.
If I have learned one thing in my experience with God, it’s that He wants us to be authentic with Him. God gave me space to feel what I felt. He didn’t push me but He also never left. I could hear His gentle voice whispering hope into my heart.
There were many dark days and it took 7 months at least before I could be happy about my son’s upcoming birth. I couldn’t see through my pain that the child I thought was a burden was actually a gift. It was the kindness of God that whispered to Jon that night. It was the goodness of God that gave me an anchor for the storm in the form of my son. Without him, I am certain I would have fallen down a dark path.
I was already planning to get completely wasted as soon as all of the out of town funeral visitors left. I wanted to drink until I passed out. This was the response from someone who, to this day, has still never been drunk. (Tipsy yes, drunk no.) Before I even had the chance to do that, that option was removed. The presence of my son forced me to be stronger, to learn how to cope with my pain in healthy ways which included writing this blog.
And now, my son is so much more than the thing that kept me grounded in those early months of grief insanity. He has brought me so much joy. He is the happiest baby on the planet, always smiling, quick to laugh and rarely cries. When he looks up at me I see his father’s eyes. He is God’s gift of light in my darkest hour. When I look at my son I cannot deny the goodness of God.
John 1:4-5, 7-8
In Him was life, and that life was the light of all mankind.
The light shines in the darkness, and the darkness has not overcome it.
He came as a witness to testify concerning that light,
so that through him all might believe.
He himself was not the light; he came only as a witness to the light.