Her weeping came ahead of her presence, causing my heart to pound. As a mom of three, it wasn’t the first time a crying child had entered our bedroom hours after we thought they’d gone to sleep. My mind went racing through the evening, then over to her to find the trouble, so I could do what I’d done so many times: soothe the hurt, ease the fear, or comfort her in sickness. The familiar words tumbled quickly from me, “Baby, what’s wrong?” But I had absolutely no context for what she’d say next.
She’d just finished her first semester at college, had found a great job, had made sweet friends, and had found a place to serve in a local church she really liked. There wasn’t a mention of a young man yet, though her dad and I had smiled at the thought we could be a few short months or years from meeting him. But no matter where we thought her life was, her tear-filled words came nonetheless: “I’m pregnant.”
God Is Here
What would run through your mind if those words were spoken to you? What anchor would you grab onto as the wave threatened to sweep you off the ground you were so easily standing on just moments before?
This is what ran through mine: God is here. Breathe because God has been here. Because the wages of sin isn’t a precious baby; the wages of sin is death. God knits together life.
We know their sin brought us to this place. She knows it, too. But the thing that held us up during those first shocking moments was the absolute grace of God to bring us another life to love rather than the death she—and we—deserve.
We all dream about our kids’ lives. We read the Bible to our babies each night, guide our toddlers to pray to a God they don’t yet know, listen to the words of David and Jesus pour from their little mouths as they stumble over the text in their first Bible. We watch over their friends, and we fret over grades and college prep tests. We find the best ways to get those pre-teens to open their hearts to us over donuts with Dad or coffee with Mom.
Our girl was no different, and we’ve thought a lot about it all, trying to find what we missed. We know we didn’t parent perfectly. We weren’t even believers when she was born. It’s so easy to think there’s a simple answer, that there was some missing act of love, or teaching, or discipline, or display of the gospel—something more we could have done. Should the cell phone have come later? Did we choose the wrong school? That guy? Her friends? Had we simply been so blind? You know how it feels to want to ensure “this” doesn’t happen to you and yours. You read all the blogs, ask all the parents who came before you how they got their kids through. You also know the panic you feel when what you prayed against happens. You feel desperate to reset it all, to find the way back to the place of peace, the longing to wake up and discover it was a dream, a warning so you can be a little more vigilant.
Fearfully and Wonderfully Made
And yet, did you hear that? The tiny flutter of a little heart beating means our Father’s hand is at work in our girl to give us all a gift beyond price. He alone is knitting those little eyelashes that will melt my heart and those cheeks I’ll want to kiss a thousand times. Those little hands curled up by her face, those precious little kicks—they are all the exhale of his creating breath as he speaks life inside our girl.
He is choosing once more to display his miraculous patience, not willing that any should perish, but that all—even our girl, even this baby—would come to repentance. He’s displaying the overwhelming sufficiency of the atonement his Son so triumphantly achieved. Because of Christ’s death, my repentant girl gets life, and, Lord willing, the young man we’re growing to know and love—and the baby girl she carries—will have life in Jesus too.
We’re so proud of her. She could have ended her public shame so easily. We’d never have known we are grandparents. But she’s fighting for more than herself now. She’s fighting to believe that Jesus is sufficient for her as a mama and for the baby she already loves. She’s now on the journey we’ve been on as parents, to believe that Christ has bought not only our lives but also our adoption. In doing so, we have greater sight today that Jesus really is our only hope. And we stand in testimony to our daughter that he is hope enough when your kids are little—and when they have little ones on the way. We can trust he is sufficient both for the day of triumph and for the day of great sin.
As I read back over these words, it seems so simple, doesn’t it? Just trust him so you can stay in the story God is telling, and tell the right story by your own responses. Trust that he has only and always dealt with sinners, and is really excellent at redemption stories. You can believe it for me easier than you can believe it for yourself. I know because that’s true for me, too. And yet, these words aren’t easy at all, are they? They are blood-bought and hard-fought by the triune God who loves us.
And they must be hard-fought by us as well. Read his Word as if it’s actually true so that when the wave breaks over you, you can let yourself be swept away They are his waves. They will not overtake you, will they? Is he not with you? Does he still not say, “This far shall you come, and no farther, and here shall your proud waves be stayed” (Job 38:11)? Treasure his Word in your days of peace so you rest secure in the day of trouble.
There you’ll find the stories written long ago for us. There we watch him deal with his wayward people and return them to himself for his name’s sake. There we see the everlasting covenant he made with a people who have worn down the path our daughter’s walking today. There we learn how to read her life in light of a great cloud of witnesses to God’s faithfulness. And there we find her story changed because of the one who became sin for us all that we, the shamed and the guilty, might become the righteousness of God in Christ.
It’s a story that’s hard and messy, but it’s never without hope. Our children’s lives have never been dependent on our parenting. They have always been in the hands of our God, and so are we. Our hope doesn’t rest in what we do for them, but in the Christ who is hope enough for us all. We trust in his grand story that has always been an upside-down tale, where those who deserve death get life because the one who is life took on death and triumphed.
So it’s not really too surprising, is it, that instead of receiving the wages of death, our family’s free gift of grace is a grandbaby.