As I lay immobile on the bed, it felt as though I were on a carousel with the world spinning around me. I fixed my gaze on one immutable point, your daddy’s eyes, as I mouthed over and over to him, “I’m okay, I’ll be okay,” as the stream of tears threatened to blur my vision.
Despite my words, despite his steady eyes, the tears wouldn’t stop pouring out of me. I heard a healthy cry and I saw you from across the room, all ten fingers, all ten toes, your pink skin and head of dark hair, and then my consciousness gave way to the hazy background.
The long summer was marked by the dry California heat, and the long wait for you. The drought caused a strict watering schedule that turned the landscape from lush green to yellowed and dead. The trees’ leaves were dry and spotted as they scattered the streets with their lifeless forms. My own body felt huge and achy; my mouth and throat were parched with an unquenchable thirst. My days were filled with to-do’s and restlessness, as I waited for you to make your radiant appearance, like a small pretty bud giving way to a bright and beautiful bloom.
But in my waiting and quiet anticipation, my own life and perspective began to look stale and dried up. The longer I waited, my focus shifted from living to expecting, and my days became consumed by preparation and obligation– stealing the each moment of its own vitality.
On a Sunday morning, at 39 weeks pregnant, my slow bloated body ambled through the streets of Old Town Orange in a feeble attempt to “walk the baby out.” The Old Town neighborhoods seemed to be the one place that hadn’t been affected by the drought. As my eyes drank up one green manicured lawn to the next, my focus halted on an ugly brown tangle amidst the tidy landscape. The gnarled dead vines wrapped around the splintered edges of the decayed wood siding. A dusty sign on an old stake poked out of a wheel barrel in the center of the dreary scene. It had only one word in bold lowercase letters, “grow.” I snapped a photo because it seemed significant- and then I left it like an unfinished sentence, to go about my business of walking.
That evening I went to church. My heart felt heavy with the anxious anticipation of when you would come. I hadn’t had any contractions, and I was afraid I would need a c-section. I wanted to be in control over what would happen, and I wanted to know what to expect. Yet as we sang the worship song, “The Sound of Grace,” my racing heart and worried mind gave way to an overwhelming feeling of rest and peace.
Grace, sweet grace; A fountain for my soul. Grace, sweet grace; A mighty waterfall. Drops of mercy all around; Everywhere the sound of grace.
As the tears streamed down my face, I looked up and smiled. For the first time in a long time I was soaking up the moment for all its goodness as God nourished me with his love and assurance. Deep in my heart I knew that no matter the circumstances, His abundant blessings wouldn’t run dry.
I awoke to your weight on my chest, your soft warm body and hungry suckling mouth. Tears ran down my cheeks as I heard the heavy pounding of rain outside the window.
You came to me like the much anticipated rainstorm that refreshed us that Tuesday morning, quenching a deep thirst and washing me with relief and gratitude. And since you’ve been here the tears flow unbidden from my eyes. Anxious tears, tears of relief, tears of fear and pain, of fulfillment, and tears of pure joy. But every drop that falls from my face, whether born out of gratitude or struggle, I collect in an alabaster jar; knowing that they bring me the nourishment I need to grow.
Despite the gnarled vines that threaten to choke out new life; the thorny weeds of shame, fear, and mistrust, God scatters new seeds in my life; He waters them with His grace, and grows my life into an overgrown garden of beautiful blooms.
As I rested in my hospital room, I stared at your peaceful face. Your perfect lips pushed out little puffs of breath. My phone lit up and buzzed quietly with a text message. Auntie Erin had sent a picture, with the caption: “Look at the full rainbow over Orange today!!”
My arms were full of you, and my heart was full, knowing that God never leaves us exactly where we are. Through the waiting, through the tears and the struggle and the blessings, I never stop growing and He never stops pouring down His Grace.
God gives us rainbows to remind us of His promises, but all I need to do is look into your face and I know: God is good.