This post is very personal and way too long; but I feel it’s a story that must be told.
You don’t hear about it much anymore, but during the 70’s a concept known as equal time or equal opportunity was hotly debated. Television stations had to provide an equal amount of broadcasting time for both sides of a political issue. 1959 and 1971 are banner years regarding amendments and exemptions to the Congressional Act if you get really interested. I just wanted everyone to remember there was such a thing.
For a number of years, it didn’t look like my wife and I would be having any children. We were married in 1997; in 2002 she tested positive for the first time on a pregnancy test. We laughed, we cried, then we called everybody we knew. We started picking out names, and one person wanted to be the first to give the baby a gift. Then around 12 weeks or so we made a trip to the emergency room, and found out the she had already miscarried. The event was traumatic; much worse than never becoming pregnant at all.
We began to learn the value of a support network. Lots of people were very thoughtful and considerate; Jerry and Renae Brooks especially come to mind. When Teresa became pregnant again in 2004, we were very selective with how we disseminated information. Fearing the worst, we got in to see a doctor very early. This time we found out that at 9 weeks the pregnancy was already deteriorating. A scheduled D & C was much less overwhelming than the spontaneous abortion had been (the clinical term for miscarriage). A series of tests did not provide any answers as to why the two miscarriages, nor why it was so difficult to become pregnant in the first place.
So what’s with the equal time bit? Well my wife and I are full time in ministry. At a small Christian boarding school, we basically raise other people’s kids. My degree is in History, but I also certified to teach in the public school system. I studied Educational Psychology, Developmental Psychology, and did the whole student-teaching thing. So in addition to our questions and frustrations about not having children, possibly ever, at times it was tempting to question our profession. We both agreed that we were called into this ministry, but all things considered it was tough sometimes.
When we found out last December that Teresa was pregnant again, we were cautiously optimistic. Her doctor had been treating her PCOS for two years; would that be enough to make a difference? The ultrasound revealed a seemingly healthy baby early on, but also showed a fibroid in the uterus as well. The birth of a child is always miraculous; all things considered, I believe our case was even more so. Johannah Lorelai was born on August 11, which just happens to be Teresa’s birthday as well. The un-planned C-section was complicated by the fibroid, but when all was said and done we had a 7 pound 3 ounce baby girl.
There were times we questioned God’s plan. Here we were devoting our lives to education and ministry, and it looked like we would never be raising a child of our own. We lamented the exorbitant costs involved with adoption. Admittedly, there were some times we shed tears and wondered what we had ever done for God to punish us this way. So it seems to me equal time is in order. As we rejoice in the “new addition” to our family, we need to thank God at least as many times as we questioned him. We need to shed at least as many tears of joy as we did of sorrow. It’s not enough to nod our heads and agree that God is good; we must go at least as far – if not farther – to spread the news about his goodness as we did when our friends helped bare our grief.
“The Lord gives and the Lord takes away. Blessed be the name of the Lord.” Those are words of truth spoken by Job that illustrate the omnipotence of God. The whole of creation is his to do with as he pleases. The words are true, but do not offer comfort. We live in a flawed world, once perfect but affected by sin and the curse. The rain falls on the just and the unjust; God offers grace that makes life here tolerable, even joyous at times. It would be fair for God to let us burn in hell; anything else is more than fair. Marriage was ordained by God, although the institution today is not held in as high regard as it once was. Teresa and I are fortunate in that 1) we have been happily married these past 12 years, and 2) our parents gave us good models to follow. Hers have been married for over 30 years, mine for nearly 50. Having this child is blessing on top of blessings. Blessed be the name of the Lord indeed.