But I digress.
I have another bucket list—my lifetime (aka actual) bucket list. This bulleted list kept in Notes on my phone is full of more adventures and goals, but ones that will likely take a lifetime to complete because they either take a ton of time or money. Or both.
There are a couple of things on there that require zero money, maybe just a little time. Find and return someone’s lost pet. Learn to change a flat tire so I can help some random person on the side of the road. I also want to witness a miracle.
Well ladies and gents, I have. A bonafide miracle.
Let me explain.
I have a friend. I’ll call her Heather. Heather and I have kids really close together in age, and it was so fun going through pregnancy together 2.5 years ago. In January of this year, she found out she was expecting again. I was thrilled for her, and offered to watch her toddler while she and her husband went for their first appointment several weeks later.
But when she came to drop off “Liam” the day before I left for India, she was clearly frazzled. I gently inquired, and she scrambled around dropping diapers and dumping carrot sticks and puffs on the ground saying she had started bleeding that morning. My stomach plummeted, but I recovered quickly. “It’s probably nothing!” I reassured her. But I don’t think either of us was fooled by my would-be-nonchalant tone. 2 hours later, there was a knock on my door. And when I opened it, Heather was standing there with nothing but devastation on her face. She simply shook her head no. And we stood there for a long time embracing in my doorway and she whispered through tears that there simply was no heartbeat.
Fast forward to April, and I find out I am expecting. I dreaded telling Heather because of her recent miscarriage, but she was, of course, happy for us. You can imagine my utter joy when just a few short weeks later she gave me news that they were also pregnant again. “This is amazing!” I shouted. And I jabbered happily away about how our children would be the exact same age apart as our toddlers are. But Heather was hesitant. VERY hesitant about having joy in this pregnancy. She and her husband just simply did not want to get their hopes up again, and they told no one of their news. I committed to pray for her daily. And I did.
Weeks went by, and Heather and I texted each other daily about our current cravings (doritos, Trix cereal, lemon-flavored anything, and Taco Bell, to name a few) and nausea complaints. She was MUCH further along then she was in her last pregnancy, and I started to relax.
Then on a Tuesday, I got a text from her with those same words “I’m bleeding.” I stared at my phone and had no idea what to say. I offered to watch her little one while she went to the doctor, but after speaking with her husband, they decided to wait until the appointment they already had scheduled for that Friday.
For the next 3 days, I spent significant time in prayer for Heather. But I found myself not praying for a miracle, but instead praying for peace, for emotional healing, that kind of thing. Because, in my heart of hearts, I felt that they were going to be given the same news at their upcoming appointment: “I’m sorry, but there’s no heartbeat.”
I hated myself for my lack of faith, for my inability to even consider that my God may perform a miracle. On Wednesday night, I felt so convicted that I got out of my bed in the middle of the night and lay prostrate before the Lord. I prayed the same words that the father is Mark 9 cried out: “I believe, help my unbelief!”
This Gospel story resonates with me deeply: here is a father asking for healing for his terribly ill child, and Jesus answers him that it is possible, IF he believes. In his desperation, the father cries "I believe!" But in the same breath he confesses his sin--and his shame--“help my unbelief!”
So in the same manner, I confessed my doubt and fear to the Lord, and asked him to have mercy on me and to answer my prayer in spite of my unbelief. That he would show me grace out his goodness and overlook my shortcomings for his glory.
Friday rolled around, and it might as well have been that same Friday from that terrible day in February. Heather dropped off Liam, frazzled and hectic. I wanted to pray with her before she left. Man I wanted to. But I chickened out. What if I pray for healing then it doesn’t happen, Lord? Then she’ll be even more upset. So I let her walk out of my door. 30 minutes later I got a text that said “we’re on our way back.” Dread flooded my stomach. Surely there was only one reason the appointment would have been over so quickly. The same news.
10 minutes later a knock at my door. In the strangest deja vu moment of my life, I opened it to see Heather standing there. With a different look on her face. “We have a baby” she whispered through her tears. I don’t really remember what happened next but just like before we stood there for a long time on the doorway embracing through tears while I cried over and over “Praise God! Praise God!”
He is SO faithful. Even when I’m faithless. Praise the Lord.