My only sister is having her first baby very soon. Maybe even as early as next week. For some, this would be a joyous occasion. But for her, it's miraculous. After two miscarriages, we all feared she would never have the babies she'd dreamed of having.
But God knew better.
As a missionary, you give up many things. Seeing family. Missing birthdays, holidays, special events. You also gain the riches of ministry and the blessings of new friends. For me, last summer especially, the one thing I knew I had to give up was the chance of being here to greet any children she'd have. I welcomed each of my husband's two nephews when they were born, and my sister was there to welcome each of my four babies as well. But to miss the opportunity to be the Auntie for her children? A huge sacrifice, indeed.
But God knew better.
Late last year, during the holidays, my sister shared with a few of us that she was pregnant. How mom and I cried tears of joy! The first thought that ran through my head was that I would actually be able to be here to see and hold my niece or nephew. What a precious gift! God's timing... Impeccable. Perfect.
Before even receiving the news from our mission organization last month that we'd been cleared for language school, we'd made plans and booked flights for me to spend several weeks in Iowa. Just so that I could be here for the birth of my newest nephew (yes, it's a boy!). Originally, we'd planned for me to remain for the entire month, with Troy and the kids driving up for an extended visit after Benjamin's birth. And then the news came. We talked about the implications of me being away for several weeks during the most critical packing time. And while I know he would prefer to have me there, assisting in the process, my sweet husband sacrificially allowed me to come. Knowing that the full responsibility for packing the rest of the house and all of the details at home would fall solely on his shoulders. Granted, he is a much better packer than I am (my packing exploits are legendary within our family circles. Four words best describe them: "trash", "bags", "last" and "minute"). So here I am, in a place devoid of disarray. While my husband is surrounded by packing boxes and a decade of detritus. A huge sacrifice, indeed.
I anticipate long, leisurely conversations with my family members (my mom and my sister in particular) over these next days. And I eagerly look forward to that phone call that lets us know it's time to head to the hospital. That first glimpse of "our" new little one. The first time I snuggle sweet little Ben in my arms. When I'm on the field and away from him for two years, I'll always have these memories to think back on.
All because my husband gave me this most precious gift. I'm not sure he'll ever know what this means to me. But it's not something I'll forget for as long as I live.
Thank You, God, for giving me such a caring, tender, selfless man. For blessing our family with Benjamin. And for the perfect timing that enabled all of this to be possible.
All precious gifts, indeed.