Eucharisteo always precedes the Miracle. Ann Voskamp

Last fall, my cousin and her husband came to stay with us for the weekend. They had been trying for a long time to have a baby, with nothing but heartbreak to show for it. They spoke of doctors and procedures and embarrassing details disclosed to strangers trying to help them . . . and nothing. There we were in a restaurant in Seattle listening, bleeding with them, grasping for answers, explanations, words that may balm what only a surgeon could heal in their broken hearts.

You see, she’s not just a cousin. She’s more like a soul sister, more like all of my best memories of childhood wrap up into her. All my late nights in tents giggling, all my “you be the kid and I’ll be the Mama” pretend days, the one who held the train of my wedding dress and Jack’s ring on our marriage altar, the one who reflects days long ago back to me, who reminds me that I am still me no matter how many diapers and bills and hospital stays I swim through.

And we want things for those we love, don’t we? We want our kindred to find deep and true love, love that reflects back to them how we’ve felt for them all along. And we want their dreams to come true: not for money or fame, but fulfillment, for joy.

We parted ways, and I returned home frantic. Helplessness infuriates me. I needed to run, to peel a tree with my fingernails, to pound into ground my fury for this Neglect. I craved an audience with the Most High. And, if He wouldn’t intervene, could I? I asked Jack if he thought there was any way I could carry a baby for her? He cried with me. No, Tay, I do not think God is calling you to surrogacy, even for her. I wept. I imagined a future for her void of the joy of holding her own child in her arms. I wept again at my own inability to help her. And then, it came to me.

I have prayed Proverbs 113:9 over and over for her and others who struggle to have children:

He settles the childless woman in her home
as a happy mother of children.

But that is the 9th verse of Psalm 113. Guess which phrase this beautiful psalm begins and ends with?

Psalm 113
Praise the Lord.
Praise the Lord, you his servants;
praise the name of the Lord.
Let the name of the Lord be praised,
both now and forevermore.
From the rising of the sun to the place where it sets,
the name of the Lord is to be praised.
The Lord is exalted over all the nations,
his glory above the heavens.
Who is like the Lord our God,
the One who sits enthroned on high,
who stoops down to look
on the heavens and the earth?
He raises the poor from the dust
and lifts the needy from the ash heap;
he seats them with princes,
with the princes of his people.
He settles the childless woman in her home
as a happy mother of children.
Praise the Lord.

I stopped my pounding. I knelt, I prayed, I wept. I lifted my hands in surrender.

Praise YOU Lord, Creator of the heavens and the earth.
Praise YOU Lord, who is bigger than this situation, who sees things I cannot, who created every cell of this couple’s bodies and every particle of their beings.
Praise YOU for their marriage–a miraculous provision–
Praise YOU for their love for You, praise you for their desire to raise children that love and obey you,
Praise YOU for our friendship.
Praise YOU that you hold the future of their family in their hands,
Praise YOU that YOU provide grace for this moment.
Praise YOU that you know their entire story, beginning to end.
Praise YOU because You will never stop doing good for them.
(Jeremiah 32:40)

And I can rest, here on my knees. I don’t have to run around the barnyard like some cockamamy headless chicken in the front yard squawkin’ for squawkin’s sake. I can praise YOU Lord, praise You for the miracle that begins here in my heart.

Because every miracle begins in the heart, in the womb of the soul. The Miracle begins with the kneel, with the hand lifted, with our THANK YOUs.

This last weekend, I flew to Spokane to visit my cousin and her family. When she picked me up at the airport, two carseats cradling 6 week old twins–a boy and a girl–sat in the back seat.

IMG_1949

We hugged and kissed and giggled and gabbed all the way back to her house, as we have always done. The babies slept, and it was if they had always been there, always been a part of our family.

It astonishes me how the miracle we long for gestates from the seed of a prayer into flesh and blood so silent, gradually and suddenly. How did we get here, Lord?

And there is only one answer, only one breath: PRAISE THE LORD.

We see the empty crib, the barren womb, the diagnosis. We see what the doctors say can’t happen, we see the heart and the family and the marriage that WILL NEVER HEAL.

We can play cockamamy-chicken-head, or we can PRAISE THE LORD.

Why not PRAISE THE LORD?

Kneeling, praising, cockamamy, thankful,

Taylor