Unspeakable Joy

This little girl of ours is a promise fulfilled.Not a promise that is finished and checked off the list, but a promise with great expectation to provide in the days and weeks and even years ahead. I can be confident of this. One more trimester to go until we get to meet our promised child!

Last fall, Taylor and I wanted to start a family. Our desire was for a child to come into our home and become a part of who we are. This is no small decision. We began to pray. Lord, suppress this longing to be parents if it is not the right time. Our future was truly in God’s hands. At this stage in the game, we did not even know where we would be living or what we would be doing in 6 months time. Africa? America? On gracious financial support? Making our own salary? Lord, you hold our future. We have no idea what it looks like. It is you that directs our steps, no matter what plans our own hearts may make. Point our hearts in the direction you want to lead them. From October to December, we will seek You first. Come and answer us. We decided to pray in those three months specifically for God to decrease our desire for a family as a clear sign of what to do. Our God did just the opposite. Each day held a new anticipation to be parents. Each week left us longing for a little one to come alongside us on this journey. Each month brought a peace wrapped in trusting God to grow our family. Come December, our decision was clear. We want a child and our family is in God’s hands, so we made the appropriate adjustments.

Letting go of birth control was one of the most freeing and wonderful decisions we have ever made. There was an element of choice for us to make at the beginning, but the rest was entirely and completely up to God. There was nothing we could do to make it happen. We will either get pregnant or we won’t, and it will all be in God’s timing. He touches the womb. He knits the child together. He chooses the child you are called to love, biologically or heart- grown through adoption. We are free from the burden of deciding. Have your way, Lord.

Time passed, days moved on, the sun was up and it was down. All the while, God was orchestrating a beautiful plan, dreaming over our family and weaving it together in the secret place as told in Psalm 139. Meanwhile, I was folding laundry. It was a nice summer day to tidy up around the house and hang clothes on the line. As I stood at the desk in front of our window and smoothed out a few shirts, my heart and God’s were exchanging words. I don’t recall that we were talking about anything very specific. Just casual conversation to fill the air. “Lettie.” The name hit me fast and hard. That’s cute, I thought. I’ve never really heard it before. And it can be short for Loretta, my dear grandmother whom I’ve always wanted to honor with a namesake. And then I felt a holy stirring inside. A stirring of hopeful promise. God was speaking. “The child I give you will bring you unspeakable joy.” There was a calming grace and confidence in those moments with my hands in the laundry and my heart in God’s presence and I knew this was a promise to be fulfilled. Unspeakable joy. The future is uncertain. Timing and jobs and the geography of where we will call home continues to be a mystery. But this child...I knew was God’s to share with us. “I know her and I am writing her days in my book, even now. And she will be such a beacon of light in your life no matter what the answers to those other questions turn out to be. Unspeakable joy. My word does not return empty. Trust me in this. My promises will be fulfilled.” There was no bright light or booming voice or shaking ground. There were no tears or shouts or dramatic scenes playing out among me and the laundry. Just whispers into this heart of mine.

I knew to do a little searching about this “Lettie” name. It was not from me. It seemed to pop out of nowhere into my mind. Right then and there I opened the laptop and turned to our trusty google companion. I searched “Name meaning: Lettie.” Right there in the first hit, and the second and third and fourth, I saw the promise continue to take shape.

The name Lettie is of Greek and Latin origin and the meaning of the name Lettie is “footloose; joy.”

Whoa. I continued searching to make sure this was not just an outlier of baby name explanations. I proceeded to find “joy, joyful, gladness” time and time again describing this Lettie child. Could this be the gift God might give us? Is this promise of unspeakable joy ours? I tucked these things away in my heart and quietly pondered them for months ahead.

One March afternoon, after a few days of some telling signs, Taylor and I celebrated a positive pregnancy test with a stroll on the beach and some ribs for dinner. I quietly remembered this promise from weeks before. Fast forward to an ultrasound room in America, shirt up, belly out, cold gel smeared across my skin, surrounded by my husband, a rather curious 3 year old nephew, another oblivious 1 year old nephew, a sister, mom, dad, and 2 brothers on a face time call. We whispered to our sweet little nephew, Gray, who was about to burst from secret keeping and let him make the big announcement that our little GIRL was on the way! His voice shrieked with excitement and there were cheers all around. Meanwhile, this mama’s heart was exploding with a promise that continued to prove faithful. Tears filled my eyes at the significance of the moment. Quiet whispers from God in a room filled with joyful expressions of excitement. Those 3 words, “It’s a girl!” a precious confirmation that our sweet Lettie was not just a child to be celebrated but a faithful promise to hold close. Unspeakable joy.

My heart leaps with the joy that she has brought thus far, and the joy she will continue to bring when she rests quietly on my chest. In the hospital when home is far away. For the times when days seem long. In the moments that we find ourselves alone yet again. What a privilege it will be to go before God together and praise Him for promises fulfilled. To find rest in that assured joy. I will whisper into her ear about a God that keeps His promises and she will be living proof. God is good. All the time.

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“Come near to God and He will come near to you.” James 4:8

“You will seek Me and find Me when you seek Me with all your heart.” Jeremiah 29:13