Have you ever received the kind of news that knocks you off your feet? I have. It was a beautiful spring day and my husband burst through the front door (after having been at work) saying, “The birth mother wants the baby back!” It was probably NOT his finest moment. Knees buckled, falling, falling; such was the emotional impact.
Let me rewind. I married late. So late in fact that one time my sweet mother introduced me to her banker in this way: “This is my daughter, Betty Lockhart, she never married.” You get the idea. Not that I hadn’t been asked; I was even engaged. Those opportunities were not right and I, as a committed Christian, was determined to not marry the “one available.” I was searching to marry within God’s will.
Nobody in the world wanted a wedding more than me, but I waited and waited for it because I knew that as much as a wedding would fulfill my desire; what followed was a marriage and that would be for keeps.
By the time my wedding came, I had already had gynecological surgery, making my surgeon swear to leave my parts intact if at all possible. He did and 6 months after we married, another happy event ensued…I was pregnant! Given my age and history, it was truly a gift. A week later I miscarried. Not incidentally, we were also in the middle of a move to another state. Try doing that when you have to be off your feet. I thank the Lord for a good husband and attentive friends.
The next year our new city was dotted with fertility testing, drugs and specialists. I am NOT a drama queen, nor do I invite drama, but drama ensued. Briefly, one test introduced a staff infection that no one knew about until another test (about a month later) sent the bacteria raging. I became deathly ill (no, really) with pelvic inflammatory disease and that stole my reproductive health forever.
If that is not dramatic enough, this illness began about two hours into a two day trip. We kept driving because at that point, we thought it might be something I ate or a little bug. No, no. By the time we reached our first destination, our friend took us to the ER. There I was admitted and it took 4 days for the medical staff to be convinced I would recover.
This was in April. The previous January, my husband and I started talking about adoption. We dined with a friend of ours who was an OBGYN; we told her that we were open to the idea and that if she ran across someone in her practice who was in extremis, to consider us as potential parents. That baby was born in late April and “miraculously” the birth mother chose us. We had him for two days when my husband burst through the door. After he was taken away, my husband began calling friends who came and sat with me for two days. Healing balm!
But it was not as healing as what God did on the third day! I had cried my eyes out and was finally able to open my Bible. I was not mad at God, just extremely sad. He led me to Psalm 18:30—“As for God, His way is perfect; the word of the Lord is tried (and found true); He is a SHIELD to all who take refuge in Him.” There it was. God speaking. To me. He was not being mean by snatching something precious away, He was SHIELDING me, us, from something. I felt an immediate peace, though still in pain.
AND He was leaving the door open for us to welcome, less than a year later, our oldest son into our family. Yes, I said “oldest,” because almost three years later we welcomed another son. Those are stories within themselves…
That is how God put our family together. It is not typical and more drama than I ever bargained for, but it gave me the opportunity to go deeply with God and to know Him more intimately than I could have ever imagined. There is no experience on earth that matches God speaking from His Word into the heart of the hurting. Or the confused. Or the prideful. Or the helpless.
Betty Lockhart Hower is an empty nester residing in Virginia Beach. She graduated from UGA, was in vocational ministry for 16 years before she met her husband, and is privileged to be a mom. She loves her friends, the beach, Mexican food, white chocolate, not cooking, Scruffy (her dog), and is about to attempt to learn Spanish.
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