We had a glimmer. A glimmer of hope. We felt we heard a word, a word that gave us hope to keep holding on.
Holding on like one day those Cubs will win it all. As a Cub loyalist, you get used to saying, maybe next season. Maybe
Maybe next time.
This is what it is like when you are trying to get pregnant, when getting pregnant is not easy. We often said, Maybe next time. We waited and hoped and waited longer as merely one couple who had difficulty in this area.
There are a multitude of reasons why couples struggle to have children. Some are easier to diagnose than others. For me, I had a low sperm count, so each cycle we hoped, maybe this time. The hoping and waiting can really tear at the fabric of your humanity. We are created to reproduce, so what do you do when that doesn’t happen? We even met with a fertility specialist, a doctor in Thailand while we were living there. He helped us try some interventions short of IVF, but each time fell short. However, on furlough from our mission’s assignment, we thought, let’s just take a break. Let us simply let the stress of wondering and hoping and yearning to get pregnant not be a part of these three months of crazy schedules and travel. Let’s take not only take a furlough from the work in Thailand but also a furlough from working at making a family.
We were six years into our marriage, and the question of when are you going to have a baby seemed to hit a little harder. The answers strained a bit more to come out.
‘It is all in God’s hands’
‘It is up to God’
And so on.
The emotional pain ground at our soul as we navigated our friend’s desires for us to have children. We were now two-and-a-half years into trying. Trying to do what should be natural. What should be God’s design for marriage, for family. But still nothing.
In all of this, we held onto a promise. A promise we received around our first anniversary.
We were at Foursquare’s Missionary training in Los Angeles at the Historic Angeles Temple property. We were soaking in the history of our movement, and the heritage to disciple the nations. In the two-week intensive, we found our heart growing in our desire to fulfill our calling to mission. At this point, we had no idea that Thailand would be our destination, but we were grabbing our destiny.
At the conclusion of the training, they had a commissioning service in which they prayed over each of the candidates for missionary service. For this divine moment, they had invited a special guest to pray over each of us. One of the pillars of our movement, Gene Darnell, began praying over the different couples who were preparing to go overseas to far flung shores or lands. We listened intently as she prayed prophetically over each person. As she drew near to us, our hearts raced in anticipation of what she might pray over us. We hoped for a word of how God would do a mighty thing through our lives in the place we would go, wherever that was to be. We wanted to hear of the divine purposes God had over our life. As twenty-something’s, we knew the world was at our fingertip, and we knew God had big plans. And His plan would overshadow our biggest dreams.
When she came to stand in front of us, we couldn’t hide our eagerness to hear what God would say through her, even as we stood stoically ready to receive a word.
And we could have never anticipated what she would say next.
We would have never guessed it in a hundred years.
She said that she did not have a word for us. But… those words faded off as my heart dropped. God did not have a word for me in that moment. Wow, oh wow. Talk about feeling deflated, letdown, or having the rug pulled out from under you.
But she did have more for us.
well not us.
She said that her word was not for us. However, she had a word for our son. Inquisitively, she asked if we were expecting. Quickly, rw replied, nope, we were not even trying at that point, not even imagining a child as we were still newlyweds in our minds. The little glint of a baby was not even in my eye.
Nonetheless, God had a word for our son and for his future ministry.
Wonderful as having a special word for our future son was, we didn’t give this word much thought over the next couple of years until…
Until having a child became difficult.
Now, back to our furlough, our time in the US after three years in Thailand. After much discussion and inner-turmoil, we decided to let go of the stress of not getting pregnant for a few months before reassessing our plans going forward. To make a long story short, in that break, God blessed us with a miracle. We found ourselves pregnant days before returning to Thailand and couldn’t have been more ecstatic and nervous. We didn’t want anything to go wrong since making the first one was such a slim shot. I didn’t have confidence to say, I could just make another one.
We were blessed in March of the next year with Eliana
who is now four and as rambunctious, curious, and sweet as could be.
Yet, we still had this promise, this word, this hope for a son. In no way did this diminish our love or joy for the miracle that was Eliana. We knew God blessed us richly with her and would be satisfied if we only have had her.
But a glimmer of hope began to peak up in our hearts. We thought about having two children, maybe more depending on how God blessed us. And so we started trying again, and again, and again.
Quickly, we were back in that old pattern of saying, maybe next time. The pain of waiting 27, 28, 29 days only to have the cycle start again. I held out hope, optimistically believing this could be the month only to have those empty hopes come crashing down again and again.
But we had a promise. We knew that word had come from God. I am not sure how, but we knew that word resonated in our hearts as from God. But now we were nearing our 10-year anniversary. This word was becoming faint as it was nine, long, pain-filled years old.
The picture in my mind of how this word even came at that meeting many years ago was becoming blurry as old memories do. The word and promise was fading, but I was ever-clinging to hope. This thing called having a baby happened once, so surely getting pregnant could happen again. Couldn’t it?
Anything is possible, right.
At the point where hope feels so dim, and you are only reminded of it every 28 days, you start ignoring the longing to have a another child the rest of the time.
I still remember that night when Tina came to me on the couch to share the good news. Since I thought we were waiting one more day before testing, so the surprise pretty much bowled me over. I was speechless and elated all at the same time.
The promise was being reborn in me as the baby was beginning its life.
At the big ultrasound, we found out that this baby was going to be a boy. And the promise was going to be fulfilled, even if it took 10 years. God is not slow in working, but time sure seems to move slow in waiting for God’s timing.
On April 9, 2015, our little boy was born, healthy and beautiful. We waited to name him until we met him, but there definitely was one name that had to be the one for him—Zachariah Kenneth Opie. Zachariah means God remembers which couldn’t be more true to our story and waiting. Our clinging to a promise.
Are there things in your life, you are still waiting to see take place.