I've felt compelled over the past few weeks to follow through with something I've been toying with for a while. I really feel like I need to write a book. Even if it's only for me, my family, and friends, I want to get down the story of Poppy right now, while it is still so fresh in my heart. I don't want to forget any of it, and I want to leave a record of what God did for us throughout the journey.
I still haven't settled on a name yet, and I welcome suggestions!! If you think of something, please, please share it with me. But for now, this is Chapter 1 of Poppies in December.
The first thing I did was laugh. As I looked at the double pink line that indicated a baby was on the way, the irony of God’s sense of humor won the foremost top spot in my mind, with all of the typical things—shock, excitement, the urgent desire to tell my husband—following closely behind. Nathan and I were ready for baby number two, but I had publicly announced just months before that there was no way I was having a baby in December. My life was too busy to squeeze one more thing into those joyous 31 days of the Christmas season. But as my mind quickly counted ahead the months, I realized our little surprise was due to hit right in the middle of all of that wonderful holiday chaos on December 19th. And I couldn’t wipe the smile off my face.
I loved it. I loved that God was giving me our second child in His timing, and letting me know without much subtlety that my plan wasn’t always His plan for my life. I suddenly loved that our baby was going to be born right in the middle of the most exciting month of the year. I loved that Marianna was going to have a baby sister or brother just one month after her second birthday. Everything about it was perfect.
With all of these wonderful thoughts and plans floating around in my head, how could I have guessed that my life was about to change forever? How could I have dreamed as I drove to Nathan’s office to tell him about the baby, that we were standing on the brink of the darkest valley of our life together? How could I have fathomed as the news of the second baby spread like a wild fire, that I would soon be sharing a very different and heart-wrenching sort of information? And how could I have imagined that God was about to take something as ugly and life shattering as a deadly disease and transform it into something more lovely than anything I’ve ever experienced?
The answer to each question is simply, I couldn’t. Life doesn’t often give warnings before the sky collapses on our heads. Instead, disaster and heartache strike with a suddenness that knocks the breath from our lungs and leaves us panting, staring up at the sky, questioning the kind of God who could allow something like that to happen. This is where I began my journey, on my knees, begging Jesus to deliver me.
From that moment on, He wrote the pages of this story and allowed them to unfold day by day. The story of Poppy Joy is really just the story of God’s unmatched love and faithfulness to me, as I struggled to hold on to Him when all of my other familiar gripping holds were suddenly out of my reach. He chose me to carry this child, equipped with no special endowment of faith or courage, to show me that it isn’t about my weakness. It’s about His strength.