Giving Up

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It was maybe two days after I came home from the devastating doctor’s visit. I started texting a close friend of mine. I explained everything. The complications and the risks and I admitted for a moment I considered aborting one baby.

She never once judged me. She consoled me and encouraged me and most importantly, reminded me of something. I was asking for God’s grace when I didn’t need it yet. Asking for His grace meant I was dealing with a situation that hadn’t happened yet. It wasn’t a given that my son would be disabled and here I was telling God how unfair the situation was. As Rowan’s pediatrician reminded me, it’s hard to base all your opinions on a sonogram. Until I saw that baby in person, there was all sorts of chances of minimal health issues.

However, I was angry with God (whether or not I realized it) for giving me this news. I expected Him to fix everything and make it ok. I was bargaining with God. I was trying to control the situation. If you’ve read the stories about God and his people in the Old Testament, there is a recurring theme. Obedience. He asked them for their simple obedience and trust and they refused to fully submit and fulfill His wishes. How could I expect to be any different? I wasn’t truly ready to submit myself to Him. I was putting stipulations on my faith. It was my ransom demand. Fix my baby and I’d commit.

She reminded me that one of my chains I need to break free of, was control. The crippling kind that verges on obsessive. I had to have things just the way I wanted them. There was no margin for flexibility, error or even LIFE. Life wasn’t going to get in my way. Satan had used that chain and placed a faith-breaker directly in front of me. My baby’s life. If I could just “clean that up” I would have a much easier life.

God was giving me the chance to break free of that chain. He was giving me an opportunity to ask Him to take charge. I texted my friend back and told her that was it. I refused to give in.

Some of you are probably thinking about how I come back to the abortion issue. For me, I never realized how quickly that question could sink into my life. You asked me a week or even five minutes before that appointment and I’d have a strict answer for you. The reality, once again, is that YOU DON’T KNOW WHAT YOUR WEAKNESSES ARE UNTIL SATAN USES THEM AGAINST YOU. Satan cornered me and I started to weaken considerably.

She shared this picture with me.

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I knew what I needed to get through this situation. The peace of God that transcends all understanding. I put my phone down. I went out to my front porch.

It was probably 9ish so it was getting dark and the bugs weren’t that bad yet. I sat on my front step and looked above me.

Rowan was asleep ad Gavin was working one of his many late night (side effects of farming) so I was by myself. Well, there were two corgis out there. It was late and they needed to pee so I let them interrupt my solitude. You can’t say no to a fluffy corgi begging you to pet them.

I stretched my legs onto the step in front of me and looked up. It was clear and the stars were very visible. A great thing about Kansas. The skies never disappoint. I remembered a song by a favorite artist of mine. “Western Skies” by Chris LeDoux. Now I live in the Midwest, but I think it counts. Chris sings about peace of mind and the prairie moon. He talks about coyotes howling and on this particular night I could hear just that. My dogs know to stay close but its always chilling to hear them close by.

The coyotes reminded me of the one who wanted me to give up. Satan’s call was just as chilling once I remembered what it meant.

I looked up to the sky and I started to cry. There were five gallon buckets that could have overflowed with my tears that week. I couldn’t control it. I ranted at God. I told him it was unfair. Teenagers who gave up their babies had perfect ones all the time. I was jealous. I was mad. I was hurt. Why did my babies have to be the ones to suffer?

Then a thought popped into my head. Why me? Not one that rang of pity. One that rang of question. Why did He choose me? Why did He ask this of me?

Honestly, I was convicted in this moment. I was reminded that we are all put through the fire. This baby needed a mother and father who would stand up for him and show everyone what an amazing gift this baby could be. Baby Foster needed parents who believed in him no matter what. He needed a protector and God had chosen us. Not my neighbor. Not a vulnerable teenage girl. God was asking me if I could break my chains of control and fulfill the life Christ had called to me. Starting with this teeny tiny human the size of a lime. God had formed him with me in mind. What could this little boy accomplish with a God mightier than all on his side and earthly parents who had wholly invested in his life?

However, for this to happen I had to give it up. I had to give up my worries and my stresses. I told God how badly I wanted to do this and how much I wanted to give Him control. I needed to give it up in order to remain sane. It would eat me alive if I let it.

I did. On my front porch step I gave it all to Him. Every worry, insecurity, surgery consultation, blood test, sonogram reading, MRI imaging,  and my uncertainty of our future.

The song I mentioned in a different post was called “Forever”. I first heard it sung by a very talented friend of mine in church. I found it on my heart and began to sing. Softly, because I’m a terrible singer and I didn’t want to encourage the coyotes howling nearby.

She sings,

“One final breath he gave
As heaven looked away
The son of God was laid in darkness
A battle in the grave
The war on death was waged
The power of hell forever broken
The ground began to shake
The stone was rolled away
His perfect love could not be overcome
Now death where is your sting?
Our resurrected King
Has rendered you defeated
Forever he is glorified
Forever he is lifted high
Forever he is risen
He is alive, He is alive!”
It reminded me that Foster may die. He very truly had that chance. The statistics basically ensured it.
The name Foster means exactly what it sounds like. Webster defines it as follows,
“verb
verb: foster; 3rd person present: fosters; past tense: fostered; past participle: fostered; gerund or present participle: fostering
  1. 1.
    encourage or promote the development of (something, typically something regarded as good).
    develop (a feeling or idea) in oneself.
    • “appropriate praise helps a child foster a sense of self-worth”
  2. 2.
    bring up (a child that is not one’s own by birth).
adjective: foster
  1. 1.
    denoting someone that has a specified family connection through fostering rather than birth.
    “foster parent”
    • involving or concerned with fostering a child.
      “foster care”‘

If you went through that big old list then you know that it’s a complex word. Gavin grew up with a boy when he lived in Oklahoma City named Foster. He lost his dad at a young age and he was always a great friend to Gavin. We decided that we loved the name. When it came time to pick names we knew it was high on the list. When we found out about the encephalocele, honestly I thought I was having girls. ONLY GIRLS COULD MAKE ME THIS SICK. That was my one thought. I realized that when the sonographer said boys that I had lots of boy names to choose. Foster floated to my mind. I looked at Gavin and asked him to google the definition. I’ve always known what it meant but I wanted to look deeper than the surface. You know, in case it was like Sanskrit for poop or something. Couldn’t name my kid poop because I failed to google a simple word. Anyway, it struck a chord when Gavin read this particular part of the definition:

“encourage or promote the development of (something, typically something regarded as good).
develop (a feeling or idea) in oneself.
“appropriate praise helps a child foster a sense of self-worth”‘
As a parent you do your best to help you child see when they accomplish something and do a good job. You want them to feel loved and secure in knowing they are loved. It’s the simplest goals that are the hardest I think.
If anything, I want these boys, especially Foster, to know how much he is worth. To me, to his father, to his grandparents and MOST of all, how much God values him. He values his life immensely more than I could ever express. God values all lives and I want all my boys to know that. They have something unique and special to offer to serve their Lord and Savior. They were created for this. I’m so disappointed in myself for ever letting the word abortion creep into my mind. It hurts my heart. These days I see evidence of my sweet boys’ strength and personality when they hook me up to the monitors in the hospital. EVERY DAY Foster is the active one, the ornery one, the one who moves and kicks his momma to say “HEY, I’m here and alive”.
God gave me a chance to have these babies and I refuse to fail Him. He never failed me.
The adjective part of the definition of Foster is particularly soul searching for me. “denoting someone that has a specified family connection through fostering rather than birth.”
The hardest part of this pregnancy is the unknown. My babies could die any second. My boys could be taken from me five minutes after passing one of their monitoring tests. Thats my daily reality. Accepting that never really happens. I’ll never accept that my babies might be taken from me. They will always be mine. I think when we think in terms of loss during pregnancy, we think that there was something wrong with the baby and thats why the baby passed away. I believe that, yes, some babies have health problems from conception but every baby is perfect. In every way. Maybe they didn’t make it to this outside world but they lived and they were perfect. Thats the most important thing. THEY EXISTED. We, as mothers, fathers, and grandparents always remember them. They don’t really ever disappear from our hearts. I have little in terms of comforting words for those suffering a miscarriage. Years ago, I experienced one and its a loss thats permanent. You never truly recover, in my opinion. I knew it was a likely possibility with Foster and he could be borrowed. Borrowed in the sense that he belonged with God and I would have him for a very short time. Even now as he kicks me I know I may lose him. God may take him back.
I am only a Foster parent. My child in his entirety belongs to God.
In the Bible you may have read or heard about a woman named Hannah. She wanted to badly to have a baby and promised God that her child would be his. She would carry him for a short time and raise him to serve God. She had a beautiful boy named Samuel who went on to serve as the high priest to God. She kept her word.
I don’t have the faith of Hannah. She was a stronger woman than I. I have other boys that God has blessed me with so I will never truly feel alone physically without children. I will, however, keep my word. I am fostering this baby until God calls him back. It may be 5 minutes from now or it may be when he’s 16, or it may be when he has lived a long life on Earth. Thats the reason for his name. Foster Anthony, after my father’s middle name. It’s so important to me to have family names. What are we without our family believing and supporting us? Earthly AND heavenly.

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