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Lauren is nearing the end of her first trimester, and our baby is due December 1.
We are beyond excited. Ecstatic would be more accurate. Our family of four will soon be a party of five.
I never could have imagined it. I never could have imagined any of this. Overcoming my grief, falling in love, marrying the most extraordinary woman, having another baby! Everything has changed for the better since Lauren came into my life. I have known nothing but joy with her. And in a few months, we will have the awesome privilege of welcoming our own little bundle of joy into this world. It takes my breath away. It’s nothing short of a miracle, especially when I think about how far I’ve come.
Most people know how my first wife died in 2013, just eleven days after giving birth to our son. It was an emotional rollercoaster, experiencing the extreme highs of welcoming a newborn baby, then the extreme lows of coping with a tragic death. The grief was terrible, and the worst part for me was losing the ability to hope. I thought I’d live the rest of my days crying myself to sleep, struggling to take care of two small children as a single dad. I didn’t know how to live like that, and I didn’t want to live that way, either.
I do not believe time heals all wounds (you can read more about that here), but through counseling, a lot of prayer, and familial support, I slowly began to heal—even when it felt like I wasn’t. After about a year had passed, while I was still grieving but starting to feel a little lighter, I decided it was time to clean out a bunch of junk in my kitchen (my home was just a complete mess back then. Things only improved after I met Lauren). A group of wonderful and compassionate ladies from church came to my house to help, and we came across Ian’s baby bottles. He was more than a year old at the time and had outgrown formula, so we wondered what to do with them. One lady asked if I wanted to keep them—just in case, she stressed—but I chose to give them away. They were still in good condition, and I never thought I’d have more children (how could I, after all?), so it only seemed right that someone should get some use out of them.
As we bagged and boxed up everything for donation, this same lady asked me again if I was sure I wanted to give away all the baby items. I remember vividly standing in my kitchen and responding, “If God blesses me with more children, then He’ll provide more bottles.”
It sounded good at the time. I genuinely believed it. I knew God could provide, but I just couldn’t picture myself remarrying and having more children. I wasn’t in a place where I could dream about the future. I couldn’t imagine a day when I would enjoy the kind of deep contentment I am experiencing now. I had to take life one day at a time, tackle what was right in front of me, and all I could see was that I was a single dad whose kids needed me. I didn’t have time for anything else.
“If God blesses me with more children, then He’ll provide more bottles.”
Imagine my surprise, then, when Lauren came along and all I wanted to do was spend time with her. Suddenly, it was as if a whole new world had opened before me, and I finally began imagining possibilities I had never considered. Maybe I won’t be a single dad for the rest of my life, I thought. Maybe I will have more children.
Maybe I will be happy again.
And you know what? I am. I really am.
I haven’t met this new baby yet. All I have are ultrasound pictures (and my wife’s constant morning sickness) to remind me that a third child is on the way, but already I know that this baby is an amazing blessing. This child represents the new beginning that GOD has given to Lauren and me. This child is a reflection of our redemption story. GOD is in the redemption business. He has already taken our brokenness and brought us back to life, so it seems fitting that He would bless us with a new life.
And more bottles 🙂